In pondering how on earth to begin the first-ever “I am West Palm Beach” column, I narrowed my goal for this particular installment to answering two significant questions:
- Why do we need a column on West Palm Beach?
- Who am I to write it?
Allow me to open with an anecdote.
My in-laws were in town this week, visiting from the Midwest. As I played tourist with them and heard “oohs” and “aahs” over places I’ve seen a thousand times, I remembered just how fortunate we are to live in a world-class vacation destination.
Visitors to West Palm Beach take time off from their jobs, put their lives on hold, and shell out thousands of hard-earned dollars just to spend one week in the place we spend all our weeks. Making it to this paradise is worth all the hassle to them. Sometimes it takes a fresh set of eyes to remind us exactly why we love where we live, doesn’t it?
That’s what this column is all about.
We live where people vacation and even have a hashtag to show for it, humble braggarts that we are. And despite all our setbacks and social issues—no place is without them—there’s a reason we choose to settle in and make our lives here.
But why should I be the one to pen a column on living and loving West Palm Beach? I’m no native. I have South Florida roots—three generations before me have called Miami home—but for the first 18 years, you could find me at a central Florida address. No, I don’t remember the days when SunFest was free; no, I wasn’t here when Clematis was too dangerous a place to take the kids. I never had a chance to enjoy a performance at the Sunset Lounge and never caught a show at the Carefree Theatre.
And that’s just it. I’d like to think that being a transplant gives me an angle no jaded lifetime resident can claim: I don’t live here by default. I packed my bags and headed south as soon as I could, and I’ve chosen to remain here ever since.
Which brings me to my next point. I’m a travel writer by trade—and a freelancer at that. In other words, I can work from anywhere in the world. My husband and I did the digital nomad thing for a stretch, and self-sustaining vagabonding sort of suits us. But no matter how many new cities we explored, there was something about West Palm Beach we couldn’t shake.
As we wandered, spending months in places as varied as Brussels and Barcelona and Cambodia, I realized that West Palm Beach is set apart. There’s nowhere like it. And so, over anywhere else in the world, I choose to call this sunny South Florida city home base.
And with exciting developments on the horizon that will draw ever more visitors to our city by the sea—like the advent of Brightline Miami this weekend—I hope that more and more people see why.
So, whether you live here or just wish you did, what can you expect from this column each week?
Think of it as a resource for discovering the best ways to enjoy West Palm Beach. I’ll cover old favorites and new events, grand openings and hidden gems. West Palm Beach is a little bit of everything—dining, entertainment, arts and culture, lifestyle—so this column will be, too. (And of course, I probably won’t be able to resist a travel spotlight or a personal review every now and then.)
In the meantime, you can find me at the Kravis Center every opening night, heading to Table 26 when I’m celebrating, jogging the Intercoastal in the evenings, or popping over to Jimmychanga’s for a late-night taco run.
There’s a lot to love about West Palm Beach, and we’re just getting started.