So it's a beautiful day in southern Florida, and you and your brother-in-law are trying to figure out what to do. Both your families are spending the day bopping around town. You've got the day set aside for a "boys' trip." What's the plan?
Well, if you're Jason Norcross and Lawson Aschenbach, the plan is simple—have some fun.
Jason and Lawson represent the new generation of Palm Beach residents, folks who are raising their families here not because of the zip code's reputation, but because the weather, the waves and the water make this place a sportsman's paradise. "Palm Beach is surrounded by ocean, so growing up, everything we did revolved around the water," Jason told us as we loaded his car with fishing gear. "If you come down here you definitely want to get out on a boat and experience the town the right way." Conveniently enough, that had been our plan all along.
But first, a quick pit-stop. "Jason and I have very different passions," Lawson said as we pulled into the Palm Beach International Speedway. "He lives for the water, I live for the track. And even though we're brothers-in-law, he's not really that well-versed in racing, so it's fun to be able to take him out and show him what I actually do for a living."
After Lawson got a chance to show off his talents in a brand new—and very speedy—Mercedes Benz (full disclosure, he races for Mercedes), we headed to the marina. For Jason, spending time on the water isn't just a hobby, it's a livelihood. Now a yacht broker, for years he made his living under the waves. "My best friend and I were really into spearfishing, and after college we started a spearfishing company," he told us. "We traveled the world for four to five years and got seriously into the sport."
As we headed into open water, Jason jumped in, but the waves and the wind and the abundance of bull sharks made it so that most of the fishing we did was from the boat. Almost as soon as we'd dropped our lines, the fish started hitting—mahi, bonita, black-fin tuna and sailfish. Like always, Palm Beach didn't disappoint. This was some serious fishing.
Back at the dock, we reflected on the day as we washed down the boat and cleaned the gear. "That was my first sailfish!" Lawson said with a grin. (Little did he know we were about to embrace nautical tradition and throw him off the dock, a celebration for landing your first sail.) "Lawson is not a big fisherman, but he's trying," Jason said with a laugh. "I've got to say though, I have a lot more respect for what he does now. Driving that race car scared me pretty bad! I could never do what he does, it's very humbling."
As we finished cleaning the boat (and ourselves), Jason reflected on the place he calls home. "The new generation in Palm Beach is changing it quite a bit. The older generation, they were much more exclusive, with the huge hedges and ‘keep out' signs. They really didn't want anyone else coming to the island," Jason told us. "The newer generation seems to be a lot more inclusive. It's a great place to raise a family and a great community."
Lawson agreed. For a guy who lives his life (literally) north of 100 mph, there's no better place to unwind than Palm Beach. "When I'm with my family, we like to be outside—go to the beach, or ride bikes, or go for a walk—and down here you can do that year round," he told us. "So although I might be traveling during the summers for racing, I feel like I get to experience summer 24/7, 365. That allows us to do a lot of fun things together."
We couldn't agree more. There's a good reason we're still coming back to Palm Beach.