I’m reblogging this on behalf of the cold weather that has left me in a heap. After burying myself in three blankets and a quilt, I mentally reminisced about The Breakers in Palm Beach and the happy times I had the good fortune to spend there.
So if you have a minute, come on down south with me…you won’t regret it.
Wednesday, as I froze galloping around the bridle path, I couldn’t help dreaming of warmer weather which brought up my ex. When I think of him it’s always geographically. My few happy memories tend to be on holiday somewhere with him rarely present.
It was built in 1896 by Henry Morrison Flagler, a big shot at The Standard Oil Company who after building a railroad through Florida more or less founded Palm Beach. It was first named The Palm Beach Inn renamed The Breakers for its 140 acres of oceanfront property. Made completely of wood it burnt down twice, once in 1903 then again in 1925 twelve years after Henry died. His heirs, determined to rebuild better and stronger, modeled it after The Villa Medici in Rome.
Seventy-five artisans came from Italy to work on the paintings on the ceiling of the two-hundred and fifty foot long main lobby. It’s one of the most beautiful entrance ways I’ve ever had the privilege to grace.
Driving up the thousand plus foot driveway it’s easy to imagine yourself crossing the threshold of another time. Everyone from Gary Cooper to both Hepburns stayed at The Breakers and if you’ve had enough champagne you’d swear they were still there strolling its halls.
I remember the first time flying into Palm Beach International Airport. Even though I was used to winging around as a model this had a whole different feel. For starters, he paid. I can say many things about him but cheap he was not.
A car picked me up from my house while one waited for me in Florida. I was thrilled to be on my own for a day or two while he was elsewhere working and that time spent alone is what I hold so dear. I never went anywhere unless it was for work so let’s just say I took a happy bellyflop south.
“Miss Bianchi do you require anymore suntan oil? A fresh beach towel perhaps? We’ll be happy to serve you anything you wish anywhere you’d like. Just let us know.” While my pals were freezing in New York, I was basking like a sun goddess on a lavish, limitless expense account…sigh.
There was a running trail, golf and tennis courts, a spa with seventeen private treatment rooms, nine restaurants and five bars. Ho hum.
You would have thought I was Liz Taylor getting massaged while a cucumber mask freshened my face.
Stores like Ralph Lauren and Guerlain lined the lobby.
Then of course the last of the big spenders would show up, and I mean the last, so I’d have to flip into Geisha mode, something all Italian women can do in their sleep.
He preferred staying at the Flagler Club, a private set of rooms on the 6th and 7th floors where the bar was open day and night. There was a huge sitting room opening onto a balcony where you could take meals or just sit peacefully and read. We did have a good time together for the first couple of years before turning into the Hatfields and the McCoys fighting like two feral cats in cruise wear.
It’s amazing how long it took our relationship to call it a day, but what I’ve learned the hard way is, nothing stops all at once, it bounces for a while like a tennis ball and we were no different. He’d cheat, I’d leave…come back…break plates…leave again. He’d show up in a limo to take me shopping. I’d get in calling him terrible names while he’d scream SAKS, to the driver.
Oh my, the insanity level was over the moon, but the sun finally set along with my winter respite amid the palm trees, sand and all the sushi one could eat…