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Basking in the sun and cradled by the dazzling Atlantic Ocean, Palm Beach County definitely deserves its reputation as a foremost destination for ultimate relaxation and exploration. From the beaches, shimmering water, and dazzling reefs to the east, to the western expanse of the Everglades and other wild lands, there are plenty of places to see and sights to soak up.

Even with all of that beckoning, you may find it difficult to leave your luxurious beach chair. But, getting up and exploring will definitely be worth it—even if you stick to the urban jungle. With iconic shopping avenues and antique shops, you may have to remember to pack another bag for your souvenirs. There’s also historical sites aplenty (like the Jupiter Lighthouse or the Flagler Museum), plenty of places to stand up paddle board and kayak, and even fishing charters and diving expeditions to choose from. Actually, you might find that you’ll be a bit spoiled for choice.

And when you’re done with your adventures for the day (or looking for a place to grab a bite before heading out for more), Palm Beach County is a haven for all things culinary. From elegant steakhouses and stunning, fresh-caught seafood to Asian fusion and quaint bistros, there’s plenty of choice for your culinary adventures, too.

Palm Beach County is brimming with things to do, and the fact that it’s a string of amazing destinations festooned along awe-striking Atlantic coastline will definitely make for a memorable stay. No matter how you travel, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Palm Beach County—even if you didn’t know you were looking for it. From the history-rich shores to the amazing biodiversity of the interior, Palm Beach County holds all the adventure you could hope for. But if you’d rather spend your time with your toes in the sand and a cold drink in your hand, we definitely wouldn’t hold that against you.

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Blue Arauz

Expertise • Beer Culture

Community Manager for Yelp and equal-opportunity drinker (although admittedly inclined to porters and stouts), Blue Arauz is our go-to guy for all things beer-based in Palm Beach County. Seeing as it’s his job to find and celebrate local businesses in Palm Beach County, as the Community Manager for Yelp in Broward-Palm Beach, he’s the perfect source for awesome finds aplenty. And when considering the fact that the brewery scene in Palm Beach County is exploding, he definitely has his work cut out for him. Somehow, though, we don’t think he’ll mind scouting out the best new locations (and making sure the classics stay spectacular). It is his job, after all.

Clay Conley

Expertise • Food & Wine, Culinary Culture

Chef Clay Conley opened Buccan in Palm Beach, Florida in 2011. His intention was to create a space that replicated the warmth of cooking at home with friends, offering full-flavored small plates designed to share, a casually sophisticated ambiance, and easy camaraderie. The raving accolades that resulted from his realized vision included two James Beard Award nominations for Best Chef: South, numerous Best New Restaurant awards, and an expansion….in February 2012, he opened Imoto (transl: little sister), an intimate, Asian-focused extension of Buccan.

Clay’s modern American approach at Buccan blends the classic comfort of his New England childhood, the rustic boldness of the Mediterranean, and the sensual influence of Latin America in thoughtful, explosive arrangements. The time he spent living in Tokyo and subsequent travels though Southeast Asia inspire his offerings at Imoto. In all his cooking, Clay applies contrasting tastes, textures, and temperatures to traditional flavor combinations, highlighting his flair and sense of balance.

Due to increasing demand, Buccan Catering, a full-fledged catering division for events held on or off the restaurants' premises, launched in 2013. Fulfilling a lifeline dream of opening “a sandwich shop on the beach,” The Sandwich Shop at Buccan opened a year later. And Grato, a modern Italian, trattoria-inspired concept is opening in West Palm Beach Fall 2015.

Chef Clay and his restaurants have been recognized in national and international publications including Travel + Leisure, NY Post, Robb Report, Conde Nast Traveler, Miami Herald, Complot, USA Today, Fodors, Boston Globe, and Wall Street Journal. Buccan is listed as Forbes Travel Guide’s “hottest spot” in Palm Beach and as Esquire’s “Where to Eat in South FL Now,” and has received “Best Restaurant” honors from all area publications. Clay has also cooked on Emeril’s Florida, featured on both Food Network and Cooking Channel, The Today Show and Fox and Friends.

Tony Plakas

Expertise • LGBTQI Community

Tony Plakas has nearly 20 years of experience providing community organizing, advocacy, and public health & education related to social justice. Through strategic planning, motivational practices and experienced leadership. Tony works with others to rally communities to action in the interest of building knowledgeable, active, inclusive environments where everyone can reach their full potential.

Tony's specialties include nonprofit management and consulting; HIV/AIDS education, prevention, and treatment; advocacy and education for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth and adults.

Steev Rullman

Expertise • Music and Culture

Steev Rullman has quite the hat rack; when he’s not out promoting, producing concerts and shows, or making music, he’s masterminding things behind PureHoney, Palm Beach County’s only free newspaper (which has a particular knack for highlighting all things local music). It’s an impressive list, to be sure. And considering he has a few decades’ worth of experience, we’re pretty stoked he’s our guy in the know about Palm Beach County’s music scene.

And with all of that experience, it’s no wonder that he’s the go-to guy for anything going on in the music world of Palm Beach County. His love of the music scene here is renowned and unparalleled—and pretty infectious, too. And you might just be his next target.

Rena Blades

Expertise • Art & Culture

Rena Blades has served as the President and CEO for the Palm Beach County Cultural Council since 2004 where she has overseen the creation of two Strategic Plans with the Board of Directors, resulting in impressive growth. The Council has granted more than $70 million in its 38 year history, enjoys the membership of 130+ cultural organizations and the support 600+ individual annual donors. Its programs serve more than 1 million people annually. Palm Beach County is one of the largest cultural industries in the nation generating $250 million in economic activity each year through the spending related to 3.3 million in audiences. Rena’s leadership at the Council has resulted in the expansion and addition of many programs including:

the expansion of grant-making from four grant programs to eleven that now include privately funded grant programs as well as government funded grant programs;
an award winning magazine called art&culture;
arts education initiatives including a comprehensive annual guide for teachers, training, and summer camp promotions;
the largest fundraising campaign in the Council’s history generating more than $4.2 million that funded the renovation of an historic building now functioning as its headquarters;
advocacy efforts with local government that resulted in retention of a general revenue grant program, even through the recession, and an increase in bed tax revenues for cultural tourism of $1 million+ annually;
artist-related programs that connect artists to the art-buying public and train artists in business skills;
annual art and culture awards event, the Muse Awards.
Rena Blades was born in Houston, Texas and spent her childhood years in Bellville, Texas. She holds a B.A. from Connecticut College where she graduated with honors with a major in Art History and a minor in Fine Art, and an M.A. from Rice University in art history with a focus on contemporary art and work by self-taught artists.

She worked as Assistant Curator of Education and Public Relations at the University of Houston’s Blaffer Gallery, taught art history at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts as well as at Rice University’s Continuing Studies program, served as Alumni Director at St. John’s School, owned and directed RM Gallery that focused on the promotion of self-taught artists from the southeast. Before coming to the Cultural Council, she was the founding Executive Director for the Brogan Museum of Art and Science in Tallahassee, FL for ten years where she managed the campaign and building of that institution. Rena has curated numerous art exhibitions, consults with cultural organizations on issues such as governance and planning, speaks to audiences on art and other topics, and regularly serves as a consultant or juror for cultural groups. She has extensive professional development training in governance and organizational planning, through Boardsource. She attended the prestigious the Getty’s Museum Leadership Institute, and is an active member of the Americans for the Arts and other organizations. She serves as a Treasurer on the Board of the Florida Cultural Alliance, Vice Chair for the South Florida Cultural Consortium, and received the Women in Leadership Award in 2013 from the Executive Women of the Palm Beaches.

Rena is married to John Blades and has one son, Gabriel, two stepchildren, Martin and Erin, and two grandsons, Mason and Logan.

Stephanie Hill

Expertise • Fashion

Our Fashion Expert, Stephanie Hill, is the founder of The Style Bungalow, a fashion blog which follows style trends and gives fashion advice. Putting her PR skills to good use, Stephanie started The Style Bungalow in March 2014, to share her love of fashion and inspire others to use their outfits to make a statement. As she is constantly searching Palm Beach County's shopping scene for the most on-trend pieces, Stephanie is the perfect Expert to help you discover the fashionable side of the Palm Beaches.

Michelle Olson-Rogers

Expertise • Family-Fun

A go-getting mom who’s as stylish as she is fun-loving, Michelle Olson-Rogers has become Palm Beach County’s authority on all things fun and family friendly. She’s the archetype MOMpreneur (as she puts it), and isn’t afraid to do things her way—and have a great time along the way.

Her passion for her family—and the stresses of a full time job—eventually led her to launch Modern Boca Mom, a brand/website that focuses on finding the best activities, restaurants, and other local businesses for families in Palm Beach County. They even spotlight a local MOMpreneur every week, which we think is pretty cool. Having run the gamut of careers, Michelle is very excited to share her passion and knowhow with local and traveling parents to the area, and her knowledge and passion have given her a reputation that she certainly deserves.

George Linley

Expertise • Sports & Recreation

George Linley has been a member of the Palm Beach County Sports Commission for nearly 14 years and it’s Executive Director for nearly 7 years.

Under his leadership as Executive Director, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission has reached new heights. This past year, the Sports Commission hosted or supported 152 sports events, which generated over 203,000 hotel room nights for Palm Beach County. This represents the largest collection of events and hotel room nights reported by the PBCSC since its inception. Palm Beach County is a home to an array of world class sporting events on both a national and global stage. In 2014, George Linley received the Florida Sports Foundation’s leadership award for his efforts to grow sports tourism in Palm Beach County and the state of Florida.

Palm Beach County is one of the leading sports destinations in Florida. The PBCSC has been nationally recognized for its recent accomplishments. Sport events are contributing to the overall success of Palm Beach County’s tourism industry, which has seen record growths in hotel occupancy and bed tax collections.

George is committed to making Palm Beach County one of the premier sports destinations in the United States. He is honored to be part of such a great organization.

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