Culture and cuisine combine in South Florida to make a couples holiday to remember
Creating a happy holiday getaway for two is easy here in Martin County, where couples can find the perfect spot to get away from it all or a mix of just the right activities to get away to. Who wouldn’t want to spend a holiday basking in south Florida weather in the happiest seaside town in America? Coastal Living named Stuart as the top pick in its 2016 “Happiest Seaside Towns” list and you will, too. Imagine how happy your seaside holiday will be!
The Perfect Retreat
This refreshing Florida getaway is an easy drive from four major airports, but offers an escape that feels a world away. Encompassing the communities of Port Salerno, Stuart, Palm City, Jensen Beach, Indiantown, Jupiter Island, Hobe Sound and Hutchinson Island, the character of Martin County shows in the diversity and charm of its lodging options. Not a spot for those seeking “standard fare,” this is real Florida, and its natural character can be found among its wealth of independently owned accommodations.
From luxurious to quaint, places to stay here ooze old Florida charm and offer an ideal setting for making the best of holiday memories for two. Couples may find their perfect spot is amid the grandeur of the Seminole Inn, with its magnificent main lobby and winding staircase; or it may be among the lush native plants, exotic edibles and hammocks in the trees at River Palm Cottages and Fish Camp. No matter which they choose, they will find excellent accommodations with just the right atmosphere. Shepard’s Park Bed and Breakfast Inn, nestled in the heart of a historic downtown district, is near shopping and dining and the eco-friendly Inn at Tilton Place offers gourmet breakfasts and river views from third generation inn keepers. And these are only a few of the distinctive lodging options here.
Culture and the Arts
Those who want to take in a bit of culture during their stay will find plenty of options here and the holiday season also brings special performances not to be missed. Some prime examples occur at a centerpiece of the community for decades, the Lyric Theatre. This is a grand venue featuring seating for 500 and exceptional acoustics. It is home to variety of shows throughout the year and the holiday season is no exception. A favorite, “A Peter White Christmas,” will return this year. The show features the amazing talent of musicians Peter White, Rick Braun and Euge Groove and combines jazz, pop and classical music, putting a new twist on traditional favorites.
In another annual tradition, the Florida Arts & Dance Company and Russian Ballet Orlando will return to the Lyric with a performance of “The Nutcracker.” Taking in this beloved Christmas ballet set to Tchaikovsky’s thrilling music in this grand setting is truly an experience to remember. A complete holiday events list can be found on the discovermartin.com website.
In addition to performing arts, visual arts and historic preservation are also a huge part of the cultural landscape in Martin County. Art galleries display paintings, sculpture, photography and more. At the Fish House Art Center, visitors can walk through a working artist studio and can even take classes from fiber artists, potters and painters. Inspiration from the shifting sands and lapping ocean are the basis for much of this outstanding work and the artists love to tell the stories of their creations.
More stories of the diverse and resilient Martin County culture can be found at the Elliott Museum. The museum features a changing exhibition gallery and an art studio along with more than 90 vehicles, ranging from bicycles to wooden boats to an airplane, all preserved in a unique on-demand display system. Among the Elliott’s permanent exhibits are a tribute to its namesake, inventor Sterling Elliott, and maritime, baseball and local history galleries, all honoring the heritage of the Treasure Coast.
Part of that heritage is also preserved at Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge, Martin County’s oldest building. This is the only remaining of 10 Houses of Refuge built along the east coast of Florida. They were designed as havens for shipwrecked sailors and travelers along this then sparsely populated coastline. Restored as a museum, the house is open for daily tours of the living quarters and has a collection of historical lifesaving equipment. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The history, culture and character of Martin County was, and continues to be, built on its ecology. One of the most bio-diverse regions in the country, this is a destination to celebrate, no matter the season. Mild Florida winters are ideal for unplugging, spending time together and getting out and exploring the parks and conserved lands. State Parks, nature preserves and a National Wildlife Refuge will surround visitors with natural beauty and recreational opportunities. And that’s only the beginning. Those looking for relaxation or adventure will find the perfect outing amid the dozens of parks, marinas and recreational areas. For ideas to get started, Martin County offers suggested parks or eco-adventure itineraries and many visitors choose to create their own, to match their individual taste for adventure.
Speaking of tastes, the amazing dining options in Martin County are sure to be a highlight of any visit. Whether relaxing on the waterfront or peering into the action of a bustling kitchen, the views, the atmosphere and the creative menus all become a part of a unique dining experience. But the flavors? The flavors are what will make it memorable. Just a few of the exceptional spots that will allow you to feed more than your soul on this holiday getaway include:
The Gafford, is a family-owned restaurant in an iconic downtown location. The menu features locally sourced ingredients and meals pay homage to the owners’ grandfather’s 18-ounce ribeye and grandmother’s Southern fried chicken.
District Table & Bar is a seasonally driven restaurant which prides itself on its Southern roots and slow-food philosophy. The open kitchen offers diners a glimpse into the creative “center of the storm” while the dining room is a comfortable and relaxed respite.
The inventive menu at 11 Maple Street brings artistry and imagination together with local seafood and organic produce, creating scrumptious results. The rustic elegance, as it has been described, of this renovated home is the perfect setting for a fabulous meal to top off the perfect Martin County excursion for two.
Did you know?
Set the scene for memory-making in Martin County where building restrictions have limited structures to four stories, preserving breathtaking views throughout the county, yielding Old Florida charm accented with Key West style. Stuart, the county seat, was recently selected by Coastal Living as the top pick in its 2016 “Happiest Seaside Towns” list and ranked #3 in the “2015 Annual Best Small Towns to Visit” guide by Smithsonian Magazine. Only in Your State ranked Stuart as one of the “8 Most Beautiful, Charming Small Towns In Florida” and the area was also ranked #9 by House Beautiful on its “The 50 Most Beautiful Small Towns in America” list.