Advertised as a 14 acre living plant museum, Mounts offers 25 unique garden areas to explore at your leisure. Multiple pathways branch off from the main trail leading guests to spacious, well-planned gardens. Quite often we found ourselves wandering through secluded garden "rooms" all alone. No doubt this is part of Mounts' grand design to create a highly personal interactive experience for each guest.
Mounts Botanical Gardens
Our Favorite Areas
Cutting Corners Living Sculpture Stickwork Exhibit
O'Keefe Rain Garden
Windows on the Floating World
Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree Specimen
The sights, sounds, scent & feel can't be explained. Each display was spectacular, even those out of season. We took hundreds of photos but none truly capture the magic or beauty of Mounts Botanical Garden.
Palms, Pines & Towering Trees
The Weird & Wonderful Sausage Tree
Garden of Extremes
Peace & Tranquility
Educating Sarah by Robert St. Croix
Edibles & Medicinals
Dry Stream Bed
O'Keefe Rain Garden
Windows on the Floating World
The Windows of the Floating World is a truly unique garden. Access to the (now submerged) metal platforms was temporarily suspended due to high water levels from recent rains. We were still able to get pretty close & enjoy the garden from several angles. Although partially closed, it was one of our favorite areas. That says a lot about how fabulous Windows on the Floating world really is.
Cutting Corners - A Living Sculpture Stickwork Exhibit
The Rainbow Eucalyptus
I had no idea such a tree existed until I saw it on the internet a few years ago. It was so beautifully colored I had doubts it was real. After Google confirmed its existence, I added the Rainbow Eucalyptus to my bucket list of things to seek out in this world. You can imagine my excitement when I discovered one in Mounts garden. It was a huge specimen too. So awesome!
We hope you enjoyed a "scroll through" Mounts Botanical Garden.
Now we're off to our next adventure. Stay tuned!
It took some convincing for Jason to agree to return to Florida. He thought he didn't like Florida based on three past visits. A day cruise out of Fort Lauderdale (his senior class trip!) and 2 theme park vacations in the Orlando/Kissimmee area. One with me & The Kid when she was little. I assured him there was more to Florida than Disney & crazy traffic but I'm certain he only agreed because Florida was open & warm.
I've had the opportunity to visit several areas in FL over the years on the Atlantic & Gulf Coasts. This was my first visit to the Palm Beach area too. I didn't want to drag Jason around to places I'd already been so I spent many a night researching different areas and activities we could explore and enjoy together.
We arrived on Thursday, November 19th. It was sunny with temps in the mid to upper 80's and that's how it stayed for the next 7 days. A steady breeze off the Atlantic Ocean kept us comfortable, not too hot.
Marriott's Ocean Pointe of Palm Beach Shores
We had reservations at Marriott's Ocean Pointe of Palm Beach Shores. It's a beautiful resort right on the beach with much to offer guests. A children's splash pad, multiple pools & spas (two reserved for adults), a Tiki Bar serving food & drinks poolside, a Market with a Starbucks, frozen yogurt & ice cream shop, bike rentals, a putt-putt golf course, corn hole & shuffleboard, exercise equipment, (free) laundry facilities & more all with plenty of room for guests to spread out & safely enjoy.
The resort had extra covid precautions in place requiring masking & social distancing not only indoors but also when walking through outdoor common areas. There was plenty of seating, lounge chairs & tables spaced 6' apart throughout the resort. Guests did not share elevators outside of their household. Sanitizer stands were located on each floor at elevators & entrances. Anything needed could be ordered by phone & delivered to your door by the resort staff. The Market & Tiki Lounge charged to your room so there was no need to carry or exchange cash. Our room & all areas of the resort were squeaky clean with ongoing maintenance taking place daily.
We had a beautifully decorated 2nd floor Guest Room with a balcony. Set-up like a hotel suite with a comfortable king sized bed, a sitting area with a sofa sleeper & table set, a kitchenette with a sink, coffee pot, microwave, mini fridge, dishes, coffee & condiments, dish towels & detergents. Two closets & plenty of storage helped us keep our room tidy & not living out of a suitcase. Our room was spacious enough, perfect for us. The resort does offer 1, 2 & 3 bedroom villas with full kitchens too. I have no need for a kitchen when traveling. I want local cuisine!
Our "Pointe" of View
Palm Beach Shores is mostly residential with a handful of resorts. Restaurants & shops are a 1/2 mile walk north on Singer Island to the town of Riviera Beach. You can drive but we preferred to walk. It was a nice stroll before & after meals. We only drove when leaving the island for day trips.
We didn't have an oceanfront room but that's ok. The resort sits right on the beach and all rooms offer a view of the ocean. Our balcony overlooked a small parking lot at the main entrance to the resort, temporary parking for guests checking in at the clubhouse. It was beautifully landscaped with a fountain, palm trees, flowering shrubs & poinsettia. We could see a bit of the street which was quiet, 25 mph. Each day began and ended on our balcony. It was the perfect spot for curious Pillywiggins who like to people watch!
The beaches are sandy & beautiful. We're not ones to sit on the beach but this would be a great place to do so. Plenty of lounge chairs, cabanas & staff serving guests on the private beach. (The public beach is 1/2 mile north across from the restaurants & shops in Riviera Beach.) Rip tide advisories were in effect during our stay so we didn't swim in the ocean. We prefer to walk & wade anyway. Signage in the pool area & at both entrances to the beach provided daily tide & temperature information. The water was as warm as the air.
We found a few small seashells along the shoreline. Jason spent some time metal detecting, no treasures found just an old fishing lure. At least twice a day we walked the beach to Lake Worth Inlet to watch the fishing along the break wall. Pelicans let the fishermen know the best spots to cast. The locals fished the inlet for a variety of species. A few local restaurants will prepare your catch of the day.
There are several restaurants on the island. We wanted fresh seafood so we stuck to the restaurants with the best reviews & seafood options. Cousin Aaron surprised us with reservations of his own & joined us for two days. We enjoyed his company & ate like kings. We really needed those 1/2 mile walks to & from dinner!
Our favorite restaurant was a place called Mulligan's Beach House. We went back several times for breakfast, lunch & dinner. Everything we tried was really good. The orange cream stuffed French toast & the blackened seared tuna were delicious but honestly, it was Brian our server that kept us coming back. This guy was amazing! Brian worked the breakfast & lunch shift. Ask for him if you go!
We also ate at Johnny Longboats and The Islander which is located in the Gold Crown Palm Beach Shores Resort. All provided socially distanced indoor & outdoor dining, hand sanitizer, single serve condiments, curbside pick-up and/or delivery. We chose to eat outdoors.
We walked the interior of the island several times curious to see how the natives live. The streets are quiet, clean & nicely landscaped as are the homes. Away from the waterfront most were average sized houses. A wide sidewalk with beautiful green space on each side bisects the center of "town." It appears to serve as Main Street trafficked mostly by people out walking their dogs. Everyone we encountered offered a friendly greeting from a safe distance. Well, everyone but the pups. They still want to shake hands. :)
A visit to Palm Beach Shores can be as relaxing or action-packed as you like. There's a variety of things to do in the area. Too many to pack into one week. We planned two fabulous day trips. (Wait til you see our photo journals - up next!)
We enjoyed every minute of our visit but there's so much more we'd still like to see & do. We agreed, we would definitely return to Singer Island & our resort. Both exceeded our expectations. So, is it really the Best Little Town in Florida? Well, it was close enough to change Jason's mind.
Last year, Jason wanted to buy a "really cool car" from one of our customers. When he mentioned it to me, I reminded him that we didn't need car. (We needed another truck!) But when he told me the price was $200... well, what the hey. Almost any car is worth that in scrap value. Why not?
When Jason rolled in with this baby I burst out laughing. Cool car?!?! She was a strong contender for "Ugliest Car Ever Made." Purchased from Clark Griswold after their family "Vacation" to Wallyworld, no doubt. Low mileage, good condition, it was a bargain but Egads!!
"You're going to love this car come summer," Jason said. "When you & all your girlfriends load in and still have plenty of room for garage sale treasures." I'll admit, Jay knew the right angle to sell me on a vehicle but I couldn't find any "cool" in this car at all. It was hideous.
"She's got a Corvette motor under the hood!" Jason rattled on about B Bodies & other BS that meant absolutely nothing to me. I suggested he decorate the car with lights, a Christmas tree & Aunt Edna on the roof and park it in the front yard for the holidays. A pretty good offer considering the other places I could have suggested he park it. "Go ahead & laugh," he said. "You'll see, this is an awesome car!"
It only took a couple times behind the wheel to warm up to her. She's ugly but also a comfortable, easy driving car with a lot of get up & go! The perfect garage sale mobile & grocery getter.
I laughed when Jason suggested we "Take the Roadmaster" on the trip we'd been planning. Seriously?!? I didn't share Jason's or our mechanic's faith but again I went with - what the hey? What was the worst case scenario if we broke down in a $200 car? We could always ditch it for another to continue our journey. So, we loaded up the Roadmaster and hit the road!
We're back safe & sound after traveling over 3,000 from Northern Michigan to Key West, Florida through 10 states roundtrip. It was awesome! Oddly enough, the biggest shocker was not that the ol' Roadmaster had made it. Nope, it was the number of people that approached us along the way to compliment & eyeball our COOL CAR! I'm not kidding. It happened everywhere we went! Jason was right. People love their old B Bodies. You can add me to that list now too!
Preparing For The Journey
We traveled for a month straight and have successfully completed 11 days & counting of quarantine without illness. It's looking pretty good that we did something right as Jason & I have no luck whatsoever. We want to share our experience with the following disclaimer:
We are not medical professionals. Information contained in this blog post should not be construed as medical, scientific or legal advice. No Lifeguard on Duty. Swim At Your Own Risk! We are simply sharing our experience, the precautions we took and reporting what we witnessed along the way.
For starters, we avoided contact with people for 2 weeks prior to leaving. A portion of our trip was non-refundable. I wasn't about to have it ruined before we made it out the door. The best defense is always a good offense. We eat healthy but stepped up our game to include vitamins. We encourage everyone to build your immune system. Put in the effort to achieve & maintain optimal health. Eat healthy foods, exercise, take vitamins, avoid stress, get adequate sleep.
We had plenty of room so of course, I way over-packed after way over-thinking our every possible need while traveling during COVID. Better to be safe than sorry. Here's a list of the items we actually used:
I also packed a fully stocked medicine cabinet and a huge supply of cleaning & sanitizing products. We did not need any of these items but I'm glad we had them just in case. I would pack them again.
It's been a while since we've traveled. I anticipated paying tolls along the way so I raided the piggy bank for quarters. Turns out tollways are now contactless. A picture is taken of your car's license plate as you pass by and the state mails you a bill for tolls. We're still waiting on ours to arrive.
On The Road
We both enjoy the unexpected adventures found on "The Road Less Traveled." We mapped out a scenic route avoiding most major metro areas. We took turns behind the wheel. Jason & I have a pact when it comes to traveling. He keeps me safe on bad roads during unfavorable conditions. I'm the city driver unfazed by heavy traffic & Florida driving. Together we make a pretty good team.
Our first destination was Singer Island/Palm Beach Shores so we opted for an eastern route. We traveled US-23 "The Country Music Super Highway" through OH to Asheville, KY then branched off the main drag to get through TN, VA, NC, SC & GA. Beautiful scenery worthy of further exploration. Next time we'll schedule stops in Charleston, SC, Savannah, GA & St. Augustine, FL. We were close to all three.
We broke up the trip staying 2 nights at hotels. We chose Hampton Inns along the way. Our rooms were beautiful, comfortable & extremely clean. All ranged between $100-130/night. Everything is sanitized between guests. Masking & social distancing was practiced by staff & all guests we observed. Breakfast areas have been revamped to provide wrapped "grab & go" items for travelers. Hand sanitizer stations were located at every entrance, elevator & counter. The remote controls were inside plastic sleeves or "covid condoms" as we jokingly referred to them. We were very pleased with the level of care taken by the hotel & staff. We did not see the need to clean the rooms further.
Through every state people were masked & distancing. Everyone. Everywhere. I saw 6 people total over the course of a month inside of a building without a mask. Yes, I counted. We did our research online for each state's covid figures & current mandates including the specific areas we were to stay. We encourage everyone to do the same. It was eye-opening on many levels.
We traveled freeways, divided highways, two-lane & rural back roads. Across the board Michigan had the worst roads by far. Jason wasn't a fan of Virginia's roads either. No potholes but narrow. All other states had great roads with ongoing construction but not enough to inconvenience. Georgia & Northern Florida had the most highway patrol & people pulled over but they didn't catch us coming or going!
It was obvious which states were open for business. Many appeared to be booming. Large scale construction projects, huge cranes building skyscrapers, loads of residential construction taking place throughout several states.
Gray skies seemed far behind us now & we looked forward to the adventures ahead.
To be continued...