His­tory, cul­ture can be found

The Palm Beach Post - - IN YOUR COMMUNITY -

As a trans­plant to South Florida, I’m aware of some of the com­plaints res­i­dents of Palm Beach County have — hur­ri­canes, lack of deep his­tory, not enough qual­ity en­ter­tain­ment, dif­fi­culty con­nect­ing with oth­ers and over-devel­op­ment.

But a home is what you make of it. There’s cer­tainly plenty to do — es­pe­cially for fam­i­lies with young chil­dren and ac­tive se­niors. Do­ing a lit­tle bit of home­work re­veals Palm Beach Gar­dens has its own his­tory.

For me, it was dif­fi­cult at first to move from Eas­ton, Pa., one of three cities where the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence was first read, to Palm Beach County, where many of the his­tor­i­cal build­ings are from the early 1900s.

Palm Beach Gar­dens is even newer. A year af­ter in­sur­ance mag­nate John D. MacArthur in­cor­po­rated the city, its only res­i­dent in the 1960 cen­sus was a man who lived in a shack with no wa­ter or elec­tric­ity, ac­cord­ing to the Palm Beach Gar­dens His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety.

As the city grew, so did busi­ness. The Pro­fes­sional Golfers As­so­ci­a­tion brought its head­quar­ters, and golf re­mains an in­te­gral part of the city with The Honda Clas­sic each Fe­bru­ary.

The 1960s TV shows “Flip­per,” “Gen­tle Ben,” and “Trea­sure Isle” were filmed on MacArthur’s prop­er­ties in Palm Beach Gar­dens and on Singer Is­land. MacArthur talked with Walt Dis­ney while the lat­ter was scouting lo­ca­tions for the fu­ture Dis­ney World.

But that’s old news.

There’s plenty to en­ter­tain in Palm Beach Gar­dens to­day.

As for the com­plaint that there aren’t enough mu­se­ums and qual­ity per­for­mances? The pro­fes­sional Palm Beach Sym­phony plays master­pieces at Ben­jamin Hall at The Ben­jamin School, in ad­di­tion to its other venues. Bal­let Palm Beach, like­wise a pro­fes­sional com­pany for Palm Beach County and the Trea­sure Coast, per­forms clas­si­cal bal­let at the Eis­sey Cam­pus Theatre just south of PGA Boule­vard.

Those look­ing for more ca­sual en­ter­tain­ment can — for free — hear South Florida’s best trib­ute bands play every sum­mer at Down­town at the Gar­dens, which also has jazz Sun­days 1 to 3 p.m. on the first week of every month.

Many of the restau­rants on PGA Boule­vard also have live mu­sic on their pa­tios on week­end nights in sea­son.

As for fam­ily events, just about every week­end this month is packed with Hal­loween events. The Gar­dens Green­Mar­ket is in sea­son, and even when it’s not, there’s the Sum­merGreenMar­ket up the street at the stor­age fa­cil­ity.

The tree light­ing, let­ters to Santa and Palm Beach Hol­i­day Boat Pa­rade are usu­ally a hit.

Nine out of 10 res­i­dents rated their sat­is­fac­tion with parks and recre­ation ser­vices four or five on a five-point scale. City parks and county nat­u­ral ar­eas for ex­plor­ing are abun­dant.

The city has got­ten more crowded in the two years that I’ve been writ­ing about it, and it’s only go­ing to get worse. The hu­mid­ity is fierce.

But be­fore you give up on Palm Beach Gar­dens, give it a chance.

Sarah Pe­ters

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