Travel Again- Feels so Good!
After 17 months of being at home, I have been getting stir crazy to get away. While I think that Maryland has so much to offer – mountains, seashore, nature, history and culture- we wanted to go beyond the borders of our state and my husband and I decided to get on an airplane and discover Florida’s Palm Beach coast.
I know very little about Florida’s east coast. I did know that Henry Flagler was a key figure in the development of the Atlantic coast and the founder of the Florida East Coast Railway. Being a museum educator I also knew about the famed Flagler Museum in Palm Beach and I wanted to be sure that we visited – otherwise no expectations for our trip except sun and relaxation.
I learned that Henry Flagler was one of the founders of Standard Oil and he used his money to build the Palm Beach coastline. We visited one of his iconic buildings, the famous Breakers Hotel and my jaw dropped upon seeing the beauty of the building and all of the details in the architecture. I wondered if Flagler knew other oilmen of the time- like Baltimorean Jacob Blaustein – who founded American Oil in 1910.
Whenever we travel, we like to ride bicycles to get a closer feel for the area. Our ride took us on a tour of beautiful homes, large boats, manicured gardens and pristine shorelines. We saw the famous Kennedy Compound where JFK spent time with his family, we saw Worth Avenue and the Giant Kapok Tree.
We also found signs of Jewish life on our ride as we passed two synagogue buildings in Palm Beach. The Palm Beach Synagogue – The Feuerstein Jewish Center which boasts lovely architectural detail in the building, and the Temple Emanu-El- Melvin and Claire M. Levine Campus. The buildings are within a short three blocks from one another. We also learned that the Chabad Palm Beach also welcomes guests to their center too.
The teacher in me always gets excited when I see a “Little Red School House” in any area and I was very excited to see that the first school house in Palm Beach was right across the street from where we were staying. It was very well maintained and I was surprised that it dated back to the 1880’s. The lumber cost for the building cost $200 and the school was built by volunteers. What I really found charming about the schoolhouse was the sign in the parking lot- it put a smile on my face! It felt good to be away and feels even better to be home again!