Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Great Balls of Yarn and Beads Gone Wild
Dateline: Lake Worth, Florida, 3/19/08
This is not a knitting or beading trip. Jim and I are here to visit my mother, who for many years has spent her winters here and her summers in New York. For a long time I disliked south Florida, much preferring to visit my family in New York. For one thing, it wasn't possible to find a decent cup of coffee. I love coffee, but I like it very strong and flavorful, and I'd rather go without than drink coffee that I consider sub-standard. There's a yarn store not far from my mother's house, but the staff was not friendly to people like me who were not regular customers. And we couldn't seem to find many activities that appealed to us here. The area is full of strip malls and housing developments.
But over the years, things have improved a lot. There are now several Starbucks in the area, although they're nowhere near as prevalent as they are, say, in San Francisco or New York. Don't get me wrong; I don't think that Starbucks has the best coffee in the world. (Right now I would give that award to Gaylord's on Piedmont Ave. in Oakland.) But at least Starbucks is good, and consistent. While traveling I like to collect Starbucks the same way I collect yarn, and now beads. I wish I had thought of doing the Starbucks Everywhere blog.
The yarn store near my mother has changed hands and is now much friendlier. There's also a new chain of yarn stores, Great Balls of Yarn, which has no less than 5 locations in the area. My mother and I went to the flagship store in West Palm Beach and found a lot of upscale yarn, beautifully displayed by color. And what did I buy? A package of Twisted Sisters beads! Things have really changed when I can go to a great yarn store and not buy any yarn.
I wasn't so restrained at a fantastic bead store, Crystal Creations Bead Institute, which also has a website called Beads Gone Wild. I bought a bracelet kit, several bead weaving patterns, a toggle clasp in the shape of infinity, and of course some beads. This store has lots of great classes, almost making me wish I lived in the area and could take classes there. My sister-in-law Mary Beth is catching the beading bug from me, and bought some beads too. My 8-year-old nephew Max and my mother were both bored and kept urging us to finish our bead shopping and go home.
For non-shopping activities, we've found some nature walks that we enjoy in the area. This time we went to Green Cay Wetlands, which has a very nice boardwalk that enables you to see lots of birds and other wildlife. We saw turtles and even an aligator. Mary Beth is a bird watcher and particularly enjoyed this walk.
City Place, the Santana Row of West Palm Beach, is the antidote for all those strip malls. It has lots of chain stores, now two Starbucks, movie theaters, and several good restaurants. We ate at Legal Seafood, which used to be one of our favorite restaurants when we lived in the Boston area. It's now all over the east coast, and a lot more upscale than when we used to wait in line for hours at Inman Square in the 70's.