This summer, we hooked up with a group of journalists in a zany South Florida Insider Tour that included a vintage Airstream trailer, a Jeep and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Our gig was to look at the light side of serious meetings in the Sunshine State, well known for its mood swings “from la-la to loco,” as they say around these parts. Continuing our series, we leave the splendid Sandpearl in Clearwater Beach and head across Florida’s inland belly towards Jupiter Beach Resort.
Fresh Atlantic breezes welcomed us to the 168-room Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa, located just north of West Palm. It’s quickly accessible but semi-secluded setting offers a glimpse into a quieter, more relaxed Florida. Our first stop was the seaside veranda with its icy drinks and views of the oceanfront pool. On the private beach nearby, hammocks swing under rustling sea grapes and a big hot tub fizzes like champagne. It was just the place to plan tomorrow’s fun.
“The oceanfront location, our smaller, intimate environment coupled with a friendly and caring staff makes meeting attendees feel comfortable and more relaxed so they can share new ideas and network,” promises Diane D’Amico, director of sales/marketing. Network we did, planning watersports as we watched the swirl of activities in the gentle ocean: jet skis, sailboats, snorkeling.
We were are eager to try paddle boarding. Only a few dunks later, most of the gang were stand-up paddling like old pro’s. For the next morning we rented a power boat to transport us and our cargo of mimosas and Bloody Mary’s to a beach along the Intracoastal Waterway. Not far from the hotel we found ourselves in the wildly tangled wilderness of the Peck Lake Area of Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge.
Nudging the boat’s bow up on the shore of a sliver-narrow barrier island, we set a kedge in the soft sand and settled in to watch nature in the raw. A short path through a tunnel of shrubs leads to a lonely ocean beach strewn with dunes and sea oats. It’s a nesting area for sea turtles, a popular fishing ground for shore birds and swooping pelicans, and also a good place for a salt water swim (albeit without lifeguards). On the ICW side is a tower to climb for a bird’s eye view of the Refuge and ICW, followed by a hot-dog dive into the water.
Nature watching plus watersports inshore and offshore are just the start of the resort’s meetings menu. The historic Jupiter Lighthouse nearby is open for tours. Surrounding it, the Lighthouse Entertainment District is the nightlife capital of the county. Jupiter Beach Resort offers 12,000 sf of meeting space including a 4,500-sf ballroom.
And check this out. Our eyes popped when we passed a row of Airstream trailers, mounted nose first and stern-to-the-sky in the ground along I-4 near the Dover exit. We pulled in at Bates RV, where they’ve set up a vintage trailer camp complete with period tow cars. They’ll also lend you a golf cart to go back and check out the Airstream Graveyard.
Boat/Airstream photos by Janet Groene