Artist's heaven

Tabby, ‘Gators and Palms

Our week in Naples at the Art, Antique and Jewelry Show, turned up some interesting highlights.

We visited Palm Cottage, the oldest house in Naples built in 1895 and which is now a museum. We were surprised to learn that sand, seashells and water make hurricane proof building materials – when compressed they form “tabby” and Palm Cottage was built from this. Whilst there the history of Naples and how Walter Haldeman a Kentucky newspaper owner, who founded the town, was revealed to us. The huge hall and sitting room of the cottage hosted many parties and the room decoration transports you back to pre 1920’s Florida when Naples Pier and the sea were still the only access to this wilderness corner of Florida.

Before we left we also took a stroll down 3rd Street where many local artists were painting en plein air the charming corners and buildings of this historic part of town. Colourful shops punctuated with sculptures, fountains and tropical plants make this an attractive and popular shopping street. It is the home to many art galleries and stunning interior decoration shops. It was fun to talk to artists as they painted in the sun and see a canvas come to life in front of you.

The opening in 1928 of the Tampa to Miami highway, paid for in part by advertising mogul of his day, Barron Collier allowed development to begin in the Everglades and created access to Miami from the West. The route along U.S 41 is now a scenic byway and the Everglades and Big Cypress National Preserve reveal some amazing wildlife, incredible birds and quirky landmarks. These include the smallest Post Office in America, Smallwood Stores and Joanie’s blue crab shack serving ‘Gator to hungry travellers.

The Smallwood family traded with the Seminole natives, flour for animal skins as well as medicine and a postal service. Their former store is now a museum filled to the brim with historical artifacts which transport you back to country life and commerce in the early Twentieth Century.

All this as we made our way back to the East Coast for Palm Beach Jewlery, Art and Antique Show. The Palm Beach County Convention Centre is packed with over 160 dealers and more than a billion dollars of art and antiques for this President’s Day weekend blockbuster. From 13-17 February the scene is set for the largest show of its kind in Florida.

For tickets please contact the gallery and we look forward to welcoming those of you in America to our booth 902/1003.


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