As the snow was falling lightly, the windshield wipers worked furiously to clear the slush that was splashing up from the roads, making the trip to MacArthur Airport in Islip a little scary. Neither snow, nor sleet, nor ice would put a damper on my journey to sunny Palm Beach, Florida, to open Dan’s Papers Palm Beach.
The MacArthur Airport is small, with just a few carriers, which made me feel safer in this COVID world than traveling out of LaGuardia or JFK airports.
As we pulled up to the Frontier Airlines terminal, I knew I made a good choice. There were few cars and even fewer people!
The airline made its reputation on having cheap fares and direct flights and with COVID still a terrible threat, I decided it would be safer to buy multiple seats and remain as isolated as possible on the plane.
My good friend Dr. Peter Micholas advised me to wear two masks and not to take them off to eat, as well as to avoid putting anything in the bins above the seats or using the bathrooms on the plane.
Luckily no one sat in the third seat of my row, giving me even more room to stretch out and relax without fear of COVID.
The airline’s reputation for having small seats is spot on, as the seat in front of me was only a bent elbow away. Despite that, it was worth using the airline that sells seats for $38. Though, it really costs more because everything is extra. From a checked bag to a limited number of carry-on bags. They charge extra for everything!
But the courteous and friendly staff made the flight enjoyable and we safely arrived at our destination after only two hours.
I had decided that, since I was alone, I would stay at a hotel for my southern sojourn.
A few weeks back, my friend Stacey Baron had taken me around town. We visited the historic Breakers Palm Beach resort, where we had brunch. It’s a big, bustling hotel that I didn’t feel would be comfortable for my six-week stay.
Then we saw the smaller, more intimate Brazilian Court Hotel and the Colony Hotel. When I walked into the Colony, I couldn’t help but laugh, as it was decorated in my favorite color, pink! It made me feel happy as soon as I entered the intimate lobby.
The hotel’s pool and outdoor restaurant made for a warm and inviting environment. I was instantly hooked and made a reservation!
I had an operation about 10 days before my arrival, so I had FedEx’ed my bags ahead of time and the hotel unpacked my clothes — everything was in place when I arrived!
When I walked in, hotel manager Bruce Seigel and the warm and welcoming staff made me feel at home. It was my first visit to Palm Beach and I was excited about meeting new friends, creating a new media outlet and building new relationships.
I got off to a fast start, going with Adele Fuchsberg and her husband Dr. Derek Enlander — who I met through Dan and Chris Rattiner — to the Classic Car Show of America, an antique auto show in the old-world Breakers parking lot.
It is truly remarkable to see how people collect these gems of the past, restore them and then compete for Best Car in the show.
The next day, Adele and her friend Gerald drove me 10 minutes from my hotel to The Royal Poinciana Plaza for a “party” in the garden, where people rent a “cabana” and invite a few guests for food and drinks.
Our hostess, Catherine Applegate of Douglas Elliman, served champagne, little sandwiches and a charcuterie platter to the guests gathered under the “decorated-to-the-nines” tents.
The plaza is surrounded by stores — many with outposts in the Hamptons — as well as the Americana in Manhasset and Manhattan.
As we weaved our way into the shops, Adele stopped to buy a marvelous woven, sun-blocking Panama hat at her friend’s store, Veronica Beard.
I was then delighted to meet for brunch the culturally connected and talented Donna Schneier, an art collector and mom of Rabbi Marc Schneier of Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach.
Donna’s friendship with the world-class glass sculptor Dale Chihuly will bring his work to the nearly completed Jack’s House, the Hampton Synagogue’s Children’s Center in memory of Mona Gore’s father.
Donna, a collector of contemporary art jewelry, is now bringing those artists to the public, curating a jewelry designers show at the Boca Raton Museum of Art in March.
What a treat to meet her after her many phone calls setting up my meetings with cultural leaders of the Palm Beach community.
Staying safe is our biggest challenge these days, so from balmy Palm Beach, I’d like to wish all my readers safe, healthy days ahead!