If there is dish in South Florida, Jose Lambiet is your best server. The founder of GossipExtra.com has been covering all things juicy and scandalous in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami and beyond for the better part of a decade. Armed with a baldhead full of stories about everything from Trump's high-profile divorces to P. Diddy's public romps, Lambiet is now taking his gossip show on the road.
Partnering with Palm Beach Bus Tours, Lambiet has put together an hourlong excursion around the ritz of Palm Beach. He has made a point to set up a fun and informal environment that appeals to locals and tourists alike. For tourists, it's nice to have a productive, culturally enriching experience in a new city that does not involve looking at art framed on a wall. But this excursion is a real blast for locals who can chime in with their own stories or ask bona fide expert the burning questions they have always had.
Lambiet puts it simply: "I try to pepper the tour with stories that hopefully they haven't heard about, like who lives in some these mansions and little quirks about Palm Beach and things that even people that live here wouldn't know."
As a downtown West Palm Beacher, I always enjoy a trip to the island of Palm Beach. But they don't really take kindly to my 1997 Honda Accord in those parts, so riding over in the bus with Lambiet at the helm felt like I was tricking them into letting me in. I soaked up an hour's worth of new knowledge, but here are the top five things I learned on the Gossip Extra Palm Beach Bus Tour:
5. The massive hedges surrounding the mansions I will never afford are an interesting loophole. The island laws say you cannot have walls around your property higher than five feet, but nobody said anything about the hedges!
4. One of the highlights of the tour was getting out of the bus and walking around Whitehall. The view of West Palm was amazing, but the Kapok tree stole the show. The tree has been there for basically ever; Henry Flagler has pictures in front of it. The best tidbit was that often Palm Beachers like to have their ashes strewn by the tree to try to live the high life for all eternity. Kind of cool, kind of gross.
3. The island is pretty GOP-heavy, including the Koch brothers, the main financiers of the Tea Party; and Rush Limbaugh. The radio personality had his fourth wedding on the island and basically took over the Breakers Resort. The matrimony cost an astounding $5 million.
2. Cops fiercely protect Palm Beach from out-of-towners but act almost like concierges to the locals. It's not uncommon to hear stories of cops giving residents rides or being at their beck and call. One big reason is that every year, there is a giant party on the island that raises about $1 million (1/5 of a Limbaugh wedding) for scholarships for the families of the police.
1. When Donald Trump's daughter Tiffany was 6 years old, she lost a ring in the Olympic-sized pool on the Mar-a-Lago. It took three days to empty the pool and an additional three days to fill it up again. All for a little ring.
With sources like gardeners and limo drivers, getting in the same room as Lambiet always leads to a wealth of information. When that room is on wheels, the stories come flying. The tour is a sweet escape that takes only an hour, but you will find yourself daydreaming all day about which house the future you will come back and purchase.
The Gossip Extra Palm Beach Bus Tour leaves from CityPlace every Saturday at noon and 2 p.m. Cost is $20.
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