Abacoa Greenway, Jupiter
||Palm Beach, FL|
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Inside Abacoa, an upscale master-planned community in Jupiter, there are nature greenways reserved to protect endangered gopher tortoises. These have shady walking trails amid beautiful areas of sunlit forest. Light filters through typical Florida pines with their cute twirly branches. On the forest floor are blue and green palmettos that catch the light. Gopher tortoises peek out of large holes in the ground and move their mouths at primordial speeds. The forest is fenced in and you can enter through gates in the low wire fences and walk along dirt paths under the trees (one of these areas is at Frederick Small and Mallory Blvd). You pass large ponds, some with fountains, all with lovely cooling breezes soaring over their surfaces (one is at Promenade Way and Newcastle Dr). If you don't wish to walk directly in nature, you can walk on the sidewalks beside the nature areas, still enjoying the trees and shade. Be careful and don't allow children near the water as alligators are sometimes spotted in the wetland areas.
When you tire of the forest you can duck into one of the neighborhood areas. Although the cookie-cutter style of them can be boring, they are built in happy Caribbean colors with decorative balconies and pretty window shutters. Most of the neighborhoods have two and three-storey townhouses and plenty of royal palms (my favorite). One of the nicest is Mallory Creek, at Jeaga Dr and Duval St, where there is a regal palm-lined pond and white stone bridge.
If your kids need a playground, there's a popular one in the Cambridge neighborhood on Promenade Way and Waterford Drive. Here, tons of kids scooter around in the late afternoon during the cooler months and all the moms gather to chat.
Starting in May, it is too hot to walk in the Greenway and there are snakes. This lasts until the end of October. You can still walk on the sidewalk if you catch a time that's early in the morning but not too early (mosquitoes are out at sunrise and sunset, and the bites are huge and super itchy)- summer ain't fun in Florida. Also if you have open-toed shoes, keep your eyes open for fire ants because their bite is extremely itchy and longlasting. As long as you keep moving and don't stop, you usually don't get bit.
After your walk, head over to Starbucks at the Sea Plum Plaza, where you can sit outside with a lovely view of the Caribbean architecture, royal palms, and dark green forest beyond. Or have lunch at one of the sports grills or sidewalk cafes at Abacoa Town Center.
For a wonderful thesis with much information about the Greenway, check out this thesis by Carmen Blubaugh, where it is concluded that the Greenway exposes "residents to aspects of nature that can get lost in an urban landscape" and harnesses "respect and appreciation for natural systems." So true! I love the Abacoa Greenway and I'm so glad to be able to stroll along beside it, appreciating nature.
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Exit Highway 95 at Donald Ross Rd and head toward the ocean. Turn left on Central Blvd and you are in the Abacoa community. Turn left on Jeaga Dr to get to the palm-lined pond. You can park in that neighborhood and walk to the greenway on Frederick Small Rd. Or from Central Blvd, turn right on Promenade Way and you can park in that neighborhood and walk on a bridge over a lake (see gopher tortoises by the bridge), and walk to Andover Drive where there is a greenway entrance.
Starbucks, Sea Plum Plaza, 2525 Military Trail, Jupiter FL 33458, call (561) 746-4831.
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|I love my home town- baseball games at Abacoa!|