Outside of Charleston one of my favorite coastal cities in the South is Palm Beach. I have been visiting Palm Beach regularly each year to catch up with my best friend who practices equine medicine there during the winter. Each time I visit, I find a new special place – a cocktail bar, a vintage clothing shop or a great pizza spot. Like Charleston, parts of historic Palm Beach are immaculately groomed and picture perfect. But it also has its funky local gems – particularly in West Palm Beach and especially when it comes to vintage shopping. All in all, it is a great mix – a small but growing city with history, elegance and whimsy. Worth Avenue is one of the most famous streets for shopping in America and there are no shortage of beautifully restored hotels to visit, dine at, have a cocktail or stay awhile. So, on a recent trip for a Junior League Holiday Market, I decided to also shoot my own vintage guide to Palm Beach and share some of my favorite spots for shopping, drinking and eating – all with their own vintage charm.
It was a lot of fun working with Erica J. Photography who was very patient with my obsessive location scouting, and especially Palm Beach Vintage who loaned me some fabulous outfits and accessories (all of which are available on 1st Dibs) that paired well with each spot we chose. And of course, the jewelry can almost all be found on candyshopvintage.com so most of our vintage guide is shoppable!
Vintage polka-dot two piece 90’s Carolyne Roehm from Palm Beach Vintage, Palm Beach Sunnies from us, Vintage Born To Shop Brooch, Vintage Floral Earrings and Vintage Buckle Bangle all Candy Shop Vintage.
Where to Stay
The Colony Hotel on Hammon Avenue is one of the coolest vintage spots anywhere. It is quintessentially Palm Beach with bright pops of color on the inside and soothing coastal pink on the outside and just steps from Worth Avenue. It was built in 1947 and recently redesigned by Carleton Varney who helms Dorthy Draper & Co.
It is an explosion of pattern and color and each room – even the hallways – have their own floor to floor color schemes. There isn’t a corner or room of the hotel that isn’t covered Varney’s unique, whimsical touch.
Vintage Pink and Green Ombré Chiffon Gown and hot pink Christian Louboutin mules from Palm Beach Vintage. Vintage Cocktail Ring, Vintage Kenneth J. Lane Bow Earrings and Unicorn Fantasy Necklace from Candy Shop Vintage.
Other historic hotels in Palm Beach to explore are:
The Breakers – A larger scale, grand luxury historic hotel founded in the late 1800’s that is more a full scale resort than just a place to stay. It is right on the ocean and you can visit their spa, dine and drink without leaving the property. The most well known and dramatic hotel on Palm Beach Island and home to HMF, a great cocktail bar and lounge.
The Chesterfield – Also located in close proximity to Worth Avenue, it was originally designed as a European Bed & breakfast and has grown into an intimate luxury hotel registered with the Palm Beach Preservation foundation as a historic landmark. Also home to the chic and delicious Leopard Lounge and Restaurant.
The Church Mouse just off of Worth Avenue is kind of the ultimate church resale shop. Staffed with volunteers the proceeds from the store go to outreach programs for Bethesda by the Sea, an Episcopal Church in Palm Beach. This is not your average second hand store, it is over 4,000 square feet and packed to the brim with an ever rotating designer clothes and accessories, china, art work, furniture and more. Open seasonally.
Just a few blocks from The Church Mouse is C. Orrico the official Lilly Pulitzer outpost of Palm beach and nested in the back of C. Orrico you will now find a shop within a shop – House of Lavande – a treasure trove of vintage and vintage-inspired jewels. And when I say treasure trove, I mean drawer and drawers and more drawers so carve out some time before visiting these two gems.
Stroll down Worth Avenue, just a short walk from C. Orrico and it looks like every shop is having a contest for who has the best awning. Most of the luxury boutiques can be found on Worth as well.
Vintage tassel purse from Candy Shop Vintage
But I did stumble upon this funky, high end boutique called KIOSK I have never seen before that had a great mix of unique clothes and accessories – some vintage, some new.
And the most incredible spot on Worth has to be Betteridge Jewelers a fine jewelry store with estate jewelry to make your head spin. My sapphire engagement ring is actually from their Connecticut store and I have received endless compliments on it over the years.
On your way off the Island, don’t forget to hit Classic Collections of Palm Beach – an upscale designer consignment shop with all of the gowns, bags, shoes and jewels you can imagine. Not for the faint of heart (or wallet). From there, it is fun to head to West Palm Beach to shop some funkier spots, first stops being on Northwood Road.
You can pop in for a coffee at Harold’s Coffee Lounge which has a truly excellent ice coffee to fuel more of your vintage shopping adventures.
Which you will definitely need to take in everything at Diane’s Boutique (below) an adorable vintage shop filled to the brim with colorful goodies. The owner, Diane McKinnie is so nice, it is like shopping in your best friend’s closet. And though most things don’t have price tags, she is sure to give you a good deal when you are ready to check out.
Just up the street is the Palm Beach chic furniture mecca Circa Who. Don’t worry, they sell online but it is much more fun to meander around their warehouse in person. They recently added a second room with other vendors, including some great vintage clothing dealers.
1960’s Mod LaJeunesse Handbag from Palm Beach Vintage.
And don’t miss Northwood Antiques and Design across the way, with curated vintage furniture and art. About a fifteen minute drive away is another road in West Palm Beach famous for antiques and vintage shopping – Dixie Highway – also the home of Palm Beach Vintage. Louise, the lovely and chic owner of Palm Beach Vintage has had her vintage boutique there for decades – and at one point even had a location in New York.
She is now nestled on Dixie Highway in her flagship store amongst other fantastic antiques and vintage shops like D. Brett Benson an incredible vintage and estate jewelry shop and Palm Beach Regency, another over the top Palm Beach Chic vintage furniture dealer. These are don’t miss spots, but Palm Beach Vintage was the first and main attraction for me with its immaculately curated and ethereal selection of clothing and accessories.
Just playing a little dress up in this 1970s Frank Usher Cocktail Dress.
Where to Eat & Drink
An afternoon can easily spent on Dixie Highway alone, all you have to do is park and walk up and down to hit all the shops, one after the other, along the way. But when it is time for a bite to eat, their is an equally fun vintage style diner to be found just up the road from Palm Beach Vintage. It has a wonderful retro vibe complete with astro turf and all. My friend MK of Seeline Vintage sent me there on my first trip to Palm Beach and it did not disappoint. There is even outdoor seating – great for brunch or lunch!
Other places to eat and drink in Palm Beach:
Palm Beach Grill – Contemporary dining with an old school, moody loungey feel. You literally cannot order a bad thing off the menu here, especially not the cedar plank salmon, the shoe string fries or the Key Lime pie which is (almost) the best I have ever had.
Pizza Al Fresco – Venture down an alley off Worth Avenue and find a twinkly old world European style courtyard with al fresco dining. The pizza hits the spot after a long flight or drive.
HMF at The Breakers – Sort of the living room of The Breakers, this open air, Mad Men style bar and dining room offers cocktails and light bites to eat. The waitresses dress in black cocktail dresses and pearls – how chic.
The Leopard Lounge & Restaurant – Mirrored walls, leopard print, woven fans, marbled ceilings and great cocktails. Plus a live lounge singer – need I say more? I am sure the food is good too, but does it even matter?
Cafe 155 at The Colony Hotel – A bright, happy grab and go breakfast and lunch spot inside The Colony Hotel (though you can enter from the street). Take you food to go or sit under the Palms and the grand columns in front of the hotel.
Cafe Boulud at The Brazilian Court Hotel – A restaurant by famous french chef Daniel Boulud. I have only had a drink here but have heard their brunch and dinner here is amazing.
The Polo Bar & Restaurant at The Colony Hotel – A throwback and an ode to the local Polo scene in Palm Beach (& Wellington). Not to be confused with The Polo Bar in New York, this decidedly more old school restaurant and bar offers poolside dining at The Colony, live music late at night and sit down dining inside. Decorated with palms and polo players with pillars painted to look like martini glasses – this is a true hidden gem of Palm Beach.
Thanks to Erica for the beautiful photos and helping me put this together and to Palm Beach Vintage for her true Southern hospitality. Hope you visit some of these magical spots next time you are there. xo