As summer begins, Florida’s amazing color palette becomes even more resplendent. Nowhere is this explosion of bright hues more easily appreciated than at Historic Bonnet House in Fort Lauderdale, one of our nation’s most popular historic houses and gardens, and perhaps its most beautiful. Located on a 35-acre slice of breathtaking waterfront property, this colorful and airy Caribbean-style house magically transports visitors to the days when Florida was one of the nation’s last frontier outposts.
Bonnet House was built in the 1920’s by artist and art collector Frederic Clay Bartlett and his wife, Helen, and it is embellished with the myriad decorative elements that delight visitors to this day. Bartlett’s vivid artistry is fully reflected throughout the house, as he painted faux marble floors, and murals on walls and wood ceilings in major rooms. Extensive areas of native vegetation including a hardwood hammock were preserved, and a marshy area to the east of the house was transformed into lagoons. The gardens and winding nature trails surrounding the house, and the wildlife inhabiting the grounds, are every bit as colorful, with swans and other water fowl gliding in the ponds, and raccoons and monkeys – yes, South American squirrel monkeys – adding to the vibrant palette.
A visit to South Florida is truly not complete without time spent at beautiful, historic Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and recognized as a historic landmark by the City of Fort Lauderdale. The story told here spans and parallels a wide swath of American history and makes a visit both to these pages and to the estate a uniquely educational, entertaining and truly unforgettable experience. Come share the colors!
Bonnet House is located at 900 North Birch Road, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304. For more information and details, please call (954) 563-5393 or visit BonnetHouse.org.