Revisiting Stuart, Florida

I’ve driven up from Miami airport on the Florida Turnpike to this small town north of Palm Beach to visit family. It’s a hot-bed of visual arts and I’m staying with brother-in-law, Bob. His wife Lisa is a painter of flamingos – it’s her speciality and she’s part of the vibrant art scene here.

Norton Gallery

We go to a gallery which is selling some of her work and meet the owners. It’s the off season now – too hot – and all the snow birds have flown or driven back to their northern summer so business is slow. We travel south to Palm Beach to visit the Norton Gallery, currently being expanded, but not with federal funding.

Norton Gallery

Once again this is a very well curated art collection with a small collection of very significant artists. Renoir, Matise, Degas, Monet, Pissaro, Picasso and Miro are here along with American Artists, Georgia O’Keef, Edward Hopper and the New York realists. There’s a fine courtyard exuding peace but not cool at this time of year.

I’ve found the YMCA in Stuart and manage to catch up on swimming in their open air pool which confusingly turns out to be 25 yards long. Still it’s too warm both in the water and out to do my usual distance. Re-visiting Stuart beach after 7 years in interesting; it’s quite busy with bathers and sun-baskers. The same Snack Shack is there and the turtles are still laying their eggs. Their nests are marked of with orange tape so we can avoid trampling on the buried eggs.


What wasn’t here all those years ago was the newly built Elliot Museum of art, history and technology. The temporary art exhibition is ‘The History of Quilting’. Originally quilts were made with any old scraps of fabric and filled likewise.


From its humble beginnings as the bed covering of the poor, it has evolved into an art form with intricate designs and stitching.

Elliot Museum Quilting



Stirling Elliot was an inventor and made many improvements to early bicycles, steering and gears on the first motor cars. There is a huge collection of early vehicles and an extensive collection of vintage and classic cars. Many are stored on a racking system and can be brought down for close inspection. There’s his personal collection of baseball memorabilia and local history exhibits. If you are into model ships, you will be in heaven but the connection between a group of Evenrude out-board-motors and photographs of Hollywood stars, is not immediately apparent. Mr Evenrude married a starlet.

Rolls Royce
Car rack

It’s time to move on – returning to Miami and then to London to find the temperatures about the same in both cities, possibly hotter in the later.