The worldly sophistication of Florida's Gilded Age lives on at Whitehall, the plush 55-room "marble palace" Henry Flagler commissioned in 1901 for his third wife, Mary Lily Kenan. Architects John Carrère and Thomas Hastings were instructed to create the finest home imaginable—and they outdid themselves. Whitehall rivals the grandeur of European palaces and has an entrance hall with a baroque ceiling similar to Louis XIV's Versailles. Here you'll see original furnishings;
a hidden staircase Flagler used to sneak from his bedroom to the billiards room; an art collection; a 1,200-pipe organ; and Florida East Coast Railway exhibits, along with Flagler's personal railcar, No. 91, showcased in an 8,000-square-foot beaux arts–style pavilion behind the mansion. Docent-led tours and audio tours are included with admission. The museum's Café des Beaux-Arts, open from Thanksgiving through mid-April, offers a Gilded Age–style early afternoon tea for $40 (11:30 am– 2:30 pm); the price includes museum admission.
Dec 28, 2004
If you have young children and want to visit this museum, I suggest you choose another. No strollers are allowed and no bags are allowed through the entrance. Also, there is a complementary audio tour - if it happens to be a busy day, plan on a wait (anywhere from 5 - 15 minutes) to obtain the audio tour device. I remembered visiting this museum while on our honey moon but there were just the two of us and no children and we enjoyed it. Without
the aid of a stroller and even the ability to carry any baby supplies - only what we could put in our pockets, it was very awkward for us to visit. No so sure it is a must see if you have children, we have 2 along with a 4 week old and it was no fun at all for us. By the way, the rail car and many parts were closed due to construction.