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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Friday, March 23, 2012

Venice Diaries XI

Our drive from Venice to Wellington on the east coast of Florida
was a breeze. Florida Route 80 runs directly from Fort Myers
to Southern Boulevard in Palm Beach County. It is mostly four
lane, with a short stretch pending expansion. We passed from
the Mexican town of LaBelle to the black town of Clewiston
at the foot of Lake Okeechobee. We could not see the lake
because it is dammed all along the south shore. Then through
a wide area of agriculture, so flat and treeless that you could
see the curvature of the earth.

Arriving for a late lunch, we began a hectic whirl of activity which
is standard for Sue Millard. Including a high school friend of
Barbara's from Pompano Beach, we were treated to a seafood
dinner at a black storefront restaurant. It has been discovered
by the white elderly residents nearby. They all looked like
immigrant progeny from New York and New Jersey. This in
contrast to the vacationers on the west coast who are mostly
cornfed midwesterners. Lots of Canadians there, too.

Next day, we went first to the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach
to see the exhibit of Tiffany lamps. Barbara had just read a book
about Clara Driscoll and the women who designed and made the
lamps around the turn of the 20th century. Awe-inspiring, these
expensive artifacts were the rage among the rich during the early
uses of electricity in the home. Revisited some of the rooms in
Flagler's mansion. He was an original "big oil" man along with
Rockefeller. Barbara's husband, Winston, was distantly related
to John D.; the name gets people's attention. She still uses
Barbara Rockefeller as her name.

Sue then took us to The Breakers for lunch. When we tried to
go in there three years ago, we were turned away. It was a treat
to tour the place as her guest. Then to the Four Arts Center of
Palm Beach for a fabulous exhibit of art and artifacts of the
Wild West from a private collection. Ending the day with dinner
at Buca di Beppo, an Italian restaurant (obviously), which has
a pictorial display of Italians and Italian-Americans that is
impossible to descibe.

When we drove back the next day, the transition between the east
and west coasts is sharp, mainly in the sudden emergence of trees
and groves in the west. Having sampled both coasts, we prefer
west by far -- except for the crazy pollen. If we come down next
year, Barbara plans to get allergy shots before we leave. The
rest of our stay will probably be spent in local activities,
although I would like to have lunch at The Lobster Pot on Siesta
Key. It is a Cape Cod derivative which I found on a previous

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