The abounding beauty of the city of Jupiter was obvious to us the minute we arrived. This town of some 65,000, located in Palm Beach County, and home to Tiger Woods and Burt Reynolds, is something to see; never having been there before, we were pleasantly surprised. In South Florida and it was beautiful, warm and humid in December! By the way, we have left the Space Coast and are now on the Treasure Coast of Florida.
One of the first walks we took in Jupiter was the Riverwalk along the Loxahatchee River which runs through the downtown. We walked around one of the hotels and a marina where the “boat polishers” were very busy so early in the morning, and on Jupiter’s beautiful white sand beaches.
We also visited Jupiter Island, not realizing Tiger Woods’ house is located there. Jupiter Island is an exclusive community, with the second highest per-capita income of any inhabited place in the country…with only 817 residents. Some of Tiger’s neighbors are Gary Player, Nick Price, Luke Donald and Jack Nicklaus.
Tiger’s mansion is set on 12 acres, with 10,000 sq ft of living space. He purchased the oceanfront property in 2006 for $40 Million, demolished the existing 13-year-old mansion and spent $20 million building the home he wanted. He did well despite the divorce settlement! (All this information, thanks to Virtual Globetrotting).
Not to be outdone, Trump has a golf course there!
After that, we went to Palm Beach. Good grief, where does the awesomeness end? We were taken by several things in Palm Beach: the mansions are extraordinary and the hedges…you have not seen hedges until you see these. Driving down the streets, the hedges are 15 to 20 feet high, and perfectly groomed. And, of course, the shops…everything you could ever want and afford…
On Christmas Eve, we went to Hollywood (Florida, of course). We had been told Hollywood has the world’s greatest boardwalk. Having seen it, we can attest that is quite spectacular. We found a bench where we could sit and “people watch” in a beautiful environment. We took several pictures of so many people enjoying Christmas Eve in a very warm climate, in their bathing suits, on the beach . . . Jump back California, Florida is right with you!
On Christmas Day, I said to Don, “this would be a good day to go to Miami Beach, certainly, no one will be out on Christmas Day, they will be visiting family, opening gifts, etc. Wrong! Just Damn! We went to Miami Beach and drove around that beautiful area for more than an hour and never, ever, found a place to park! By this time, we had seen most of beautiful Miami Beach so we went home.
Home…for us, it is where we park it. This time, it was CB Smith Park, a huge county park located in Pembroke Pines and it was so beautiful: ponds, creeks, trees, vistas…with tennis, golf, nature trails, peacocks walking around and iguanas…OMG, the iguanas. I had never seen one in my life. We were going out for a day or touring and there on the road, inside the park, we saw this huge, ugly monster looking thing! Don said “look at the iguana!” I, who had never seen such a thing, and grossed out by its appearance, rolled down the window and took several pictures. I wondered if I should tell the admin staff about this prehistoric lizard in our midst. Little did I know the ugly, gross, but beautifully colored creatures were all over the park!
I then became obsessed with the creatures. Read about them on the internet, took many pictures, could not take my eyes off the creepy things. I learned they love to climb trees and hang out on the limbs for days at a time, eating leaves and pooping on anything and everything below. They only come down from the trees to mate or to change trees. I will admit their coloration is beautiful, we saw green, orange and gray ones – no blue ones, but they are all so hideous.
Everyone I talked to was used to seeing them, so they were not grossed out like I was. I also learned that they hang in the very south of Florida all way down to Key West. They are not indigenous to Florida, they were brought to the area as pets! OMG a pet iguana, no way!
On the other hand, we saw, for the first time, the most beautiful birds – Monk parakeets. The parakeets are a vivid green on their backs, which sparkles in the sunlight, and their underbellies are light blue. The color combination is spectacular. There are thousands of them in south Florida; it is speculated they escaped from shipping containers coming from South America and from pet cages. They travel in groups making lots of noise.
We enjoyed the tropical trees and plants in Florida, so different from those further north, many of which flower in the winter. The tree pictured below is a Ficus tree, a potted plant in our northern offices and homes! In Florida, they grow as large as a Magnolia tree. The pine trees are also beautiful. I had never seen a long leaf pine so have included a pic. Norfolk Pines grow all over Florida. The Schefflera is another example of potted plant in the north & tree in Florida.
For all these many years, I had never been to Fort Lauderdale and had never wanted to because all I had heard was bad news about the city. Our visit there certainly changed my mind and Don’s. It is so beautiful along famous Las Olas Boulevard with the canals, shops and mansions. There are some 160 miles of canals running through the city, giving it the nickname “Venice of America” and the shops creating a shopper’s paradise. We were so impressed with the city, we never went to the beaches.
Since we were in the Everglades, we took another boat tour, but this was different in that we were in an Air Boat in the swamp of the Everglades. The boat was very loud and the young swamp guy driving it loved to go real fast and make sharp turns. Although he drove on top of the swamp vegetation, it did not appear to destroy it. He would stop the boat when he saw an alligator or water fowl or when the manatees would come to surface to breathe and munch on the vegetation. There is a snake in the picture below of the beautiful bird, but I cannot find it.
The “swamp guy” entertained us as he guided the boat around the swamp telling stories and he broke off a stem of a water plant showing us the caterpillar inside then he snapped off its head and swallowed it! Then he went to the side of the boat to show us how to catch a fish with our hands, but got distracted by an alligator so we went over for a close-up of the gator. He showed us a tree full of cormorants, also covered with lots of white poop which he called “Florida snow.”
We totally enjoyed Florida’s beautiful and interesting east coast. Looking forward to visiting the west coast, we took off for a trip across Alligator Alley to Naples.