Best of the Road: Fresh Traveler on Delray Beach

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The town of Delray Beach, FL feels like a nostalgic cross between the cities of Miami and Manhattan in the 1960’s. We say the 1960’s because Delray feels like an undiscovered gem of a community that isn’t overrun with commercialism. The independent merchant is very respected in this town. The main strip of Atlantic Avenue is filled with independent stores with very few chains – only a Starbucks and a Subway and they’ve conformed to fit in with the look of the town. Everyone knows each other and stores pedal each other’s products rather than try to rip each other apart. Some of the stores that we hit included William DeBilzan’s Gallery  where you can find one-of-a-kind artists handbags designed by DeBilzan himself. Cruising Down Atlantic Avenue   We also grabbed a dress at Kismet Recycled Vintage Clothing and went to get our hair done at Naked Hair Salon  – the #3 best eco-friendly salon in the nation – to get into the 1960’s theme and cruised the downtown area at sunset in our 1957 Chevy Convertible before we headed to the beautiful and historical boutique hotel Sundy House  for an amazing dinner. Along with a vibrant nightlife, there is an equally vibrant early morning life. The good thing about being in the sunshine state is that you can do fun outdoor activities 365 days a year. You can start your day right with yoga by the beach – Jessica Om owns and operates Jai Healing Arts and leads yoga classes right on the sand. If you’ve missed the sunrise, group classes are also available at sunset. Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga or Bootcamp is a must-try. Trying to balance on a paddleboard while working those glutes is a heck of a challenge to your abs. A couple of these classes and your abs will be rock hard. Daily classes are offered by Megan and Andy Hurdman of Sutrafit Adventures. Albert Richwagon owns and operates Richwagen’s Bike and Sport where you can buy and rent just about anything – bikes, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, surfboards, scooters, kites, and more. We went out sailing in the water with him and snorkeled around a hundred year old shipwreck. Albert also does his part to help sea animals by volunteering his very early mornings to mark sea turtle nests on Fridays and Saturdays. Patricia woke up at 5am to go on one of his expeditions. After a whole day of beach activities, if you haven’t gotten enough of the water, we recommend getting a rain massage at the Seagate Hotel and Spa where water streams on you while you get massaged. We reemerged relaxed and rejuvenated. As for food, Delray is just as eclectic as the community. From beachside Italian at Café Luna Rosa (try the bruschetta, it’s amazing) to the locally-sourced gourmet dishes at Max’s Harvest where their menu changes everyday. So much fresh food is to be found all over Delray. Mangos fall off the trees here, literally. (video of this coming soon!) People are as warm as the weather.  We were even invited into a local’s home where Delray chef John-Paul Klein taught Patricia what locals make when its mango season. JP’s opening his own spot called 3rd & 3rd in the artist alley area of Pineapple Grove. A cosmopolitan town, people who live here hail from all over the world. We met a sampling of open-minded, very progressive folks from South Africa, Venezuela, New York City and Colombia. Many Delray residents seem to have lived in a big city and traded their fast-paced life for one of more quality and they absolutely got the bang for their buck. Ex-New Yorker Alex Warner left a high paying gig on Wall Street to move down to Delray to start Delray Boat Club, a luxury boat rental company that also offers tours down the intracoastal. We can see why. Fun here is about balance. This is a place to get rejuvenated. It’s really the best of both worlds. Small town friendliness without the small-town mindset. There’s a closeknit sense of community that’s made even closer (and more convenient) with a FREE door-to-door eco-friendly electric-powered golf cart service called the Delray Downtowner. Video of our ride, coming soon! Life is happy here in Delray. Without the cutthroat commercialism of bigger cities, residents are allowed to breath and just live. People are fun, present, health-conscious, athletic, socially-aware, and positive all year round. Maybe the year-long sunshine has something to do with it. People will be moving to Delray Beach, FL in droves once they know about it. I suggest you tell people about this town, but don’t tell too many.   http://blog.bestoftheroad.com/2012/07/10/best-of-the-road-freshtraveler-on-delray-beach/