President Donald Trump might be surprised to know that Palm Beach, Florida got its start with a Spanish ship wreck in 1878 that was hauling a load of coconuts bound for Spain. It wrecked just a few hundred feet from his Mar-a-Lago compound, dumping hundreds of coconuts that washed up on the beach. In 1878, all of the barrier island of Palm Beach was barren of vegetation with no redeeming qualities except its beaches. Those coconuts sprouted in place and were also taken by some of the few natives and planted all over the island.
The coconut palms had grown lush by the 1890s when Henry Flagler came through with his famed Flagler Railroad. He immediately envisioned mansions built along the white sand beach in the shade of tropical coconut trees that could be enjoyed by his Gilded Age friends and business associates. Due mostly to Flagler’s efforts, Palm Beach soon became known far and wide as the beach town for the wealthy. Of course a plethora of servants were necessary to operate the homes but the owners didn’t want to see or hear their servants. They ushered them to the mainland in West Palm Beach for their living arrangements and retrieved them by boat daily. Flagler built his own Palm Beach mansion in 1902 - now the Flagler Museum.
Today the new rich, old money, titled and CEOs dominate the Palm Beach scene and their winter season when the local population jumps from about 10,000 to 30,000. Many enjoy the society of their peers at their favorite hangouts, some of which are as socially historical as the town’s beginnings. The Everglades Club, Breakers Hotel, Worth Avenue, International Polo Club and President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago are the hot spots for those who can afford it. For the rest of us, there are charming restaurants on the causeways and mainland, affordable luxury beachfront condos and even though you’ll never get into the Everglades Club, you can at least have a drink at The Breakers and shop at one of the town’s consignment shops where many of last season’s glamorous clothing and accessories eventually end up.
Currently revving up for one of the biggest and longest social events of the year, the International Polo Club is calling all horse and polo lovers. For twelve weeks, horses and riders will compete for over half a billion dollars. There will be more than 6,000 horses in the events and many come from stables nearby in Wellington, which has been home to many who participate. Bill Gates, Bruce Springsteen and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg own homes in Wellington where their daughters compete in the events. Many of the world’s most skilled polo players make Palm Beach part of their circuit including polo-playing royals. Seasonal amenities surround the grounds, making sure attendees have everything at their fingertips to provide for their comfort and enjoyment from food to high-end shopping and art galleries.
For those who take their equestrian pursuits seriously and have a lot of money, one prime polo estate is currently available, just in time for the festivities and the Palm Beach social season. Windsome Farms is an 80-acre horse training facility in Wellington with everything imaginable for serious riders and their trainers. The H-shaped, 4,624-square-foot stable facility has 52 stalls with tack room, a Grand Prix field with natural jumps and hills, three training rings, 19 paddocks, lakes, large automatic walker and manicured landscaping in the public areas. Not surprising that it is the place where many Olympians have stayed and trained. Accommodations include two one-bedroom apartments—both with a kitchen, bathroom and living room upstairs and an owner’s lounge with kitchenette and full bath as well as a riders’ lounge with kitchenette and half bath downstairs. There is also enough pristine land where one could build the estate of their dreams. The listing agent is Marley Goodman Overman, Illustrated Properties, Palm Beach, Florida.
Windsome Farms, located in the middle of the world-renowned Palm Beach equestrian center now in prime season, priced at $25 million.
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