Bonnet House Reopens: Self Guided Tours Of House & Grounds

By Bonnet House Blog No Comments

While it’s felt like a long couple of months, we are so excited to announce that Bonnet House Museum & Gardens is officially open to the public in its entirety for self guided tours! We couldn’t be more happy to begin getting things back to normal around our estate, while maintaining social distancing requirements and complying with additional CDC recommendations.

To ensure the health and safety of our guests, we made the decision to close the main house during the height of the pandemic. However, as of June 2nd, guests are welcome to tour the main house in addition to the beautiful gardens throughout the tropical estate. To keep our guests safe while they visit, we have marked a one way route through the museum that highlights all areas of the main house.

To enhance the experience of our self-guided tours, we encourage guests to use our new mobile app on their cellphones, which features recorded information about the BirchBartlett family, the unique art collection, and many interesting stops along the tour, including the Bridge/Boat House, studio, courtyard, butler’s pantry, kitchen, Shell Museum/Orchid House/Bamboo Bar and more.

“We are pleased to welcome guests back for self-guided house and grounds tours, offering an enjoyable way to experience the historic estate, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary,” said Patrick Shavloske, CEO of Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. “What better way is there to emerge from the seclusion resulting from COVID19 than a visit to this magical property that has served as an outdoor paradise for 100 years?”

Admission costs $20 for the house and grounds tours, $10 for the grounds only tour, and is free for our members. Daily visits will occur Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, with early access for members and visitors with health vulnerabilities from 9:00 am. to 10:00 am.

Guests will be required to maintain the social distance of six feet between visitors at all times, except for families that are currently residing in the same dwelling. Also, to comply with the CDC’s recommendations, guests must wear masks/face coverings at all times. Face coverings and refreshments will be available for purchase in the Welcome Center or Museum Shop.

We hope that you and your family will join us as we reopen our estate. Tickets can be purchased onsite at the Welcome Center, or you can purchase tickets ahead of time, here.

Bonnet House Reveals Truth About Florida’s Past

By Bonnet House Blog No Comments

Here at Bonnet House, one of the most important parts of our mission involves preserving our history and educating the public about South Florida’s unique and fascinating role in the discovery and colonization of North America. While there is quite a bit we already know about the early Spanish and European settlers,  there is still so much that is being learned and uncovered to this day. Bonnet House is proud to play a pivotal role in some of the more recent discoveries that have led experts to believe that the history of Florida we previously understood is not what it seems.

Most have been taught that Florida was discovered in 1513 by Ponce De Leon on his quest to find the famous Fountain of Youth. However, authors Todd Turrell and Brian Schmitt recently published a book titled “The Florida Keys – A History Through Maps,” presenting compelling evidence suggesting that European explorers arrived in Florida before Ponce De Leon. The authors presented two lines of evidence, consisting of three European made maps that predate Ponce de Leon’s landing, and a significant archaeological discovery uncovered right here at the Bonnet House estate.

The first and earliest of the maps was created by Juan de La Cosa in the year 1500 (thirteen years before Ponce de Leon is recorded to have discovered and named Florida) that depicts vast lands north of Cuba and is acknowledged as the earliest undisputed representation of the Americas. The second map, created in 1502 and called the ‘Cantino Planisphere,’ depicts in detail the peninsula of Florida eleven years prior to the 1513 landing of Ponce de Leon. The third, a 1511 Peter Martyr map, is the first printed map devoted to the New World depicting the lands north of the Bahamas and Cuba, and also demonstrates that Europeans had explored and mapped Florida before Ponce de Leon.

The archaeological evidence of the pre Ponce de Leon discovery of Florida was discovered in 1984 at our very own Bonnet House Estate by archaeologist and coauthor Robert Carr of the Archaeological and Historical Conservancy. The conch shells unearthed on our estate were a mystery because rather than piercing the shell with a small hole at the crown in the manner used by the indigenous people and the Spanish, who were well acquainted with indigenous practices, they had been opened by breaking large holes into the shell wall. One shell had been pierced by a metal sword or knife, tools used by Europeans (see photo above of a conch shell with a non-Indian break).

“Radiocarbon dates of the shell indicated that the mollusk meal had been consumed in the fifteen century,” says Carr. “The evidence indicates they were opened by people who were not Spanish, but who likely arrived in South Florida from the north along the Atlantic coast or had sailed directly from Europe. This could be evidence of explorer and navigator John Cabot ‘s voyage of 1497 which reportedly sailed from Canada to as far south as the Florida Keys.”

Here at Bonnet House, we couldn’t be more proud to have played a role in this important discovery. We have these now famous conch shells on display in the Caretakers Cottage with an explanatory label and others can be viewed in the antique cabinet in our Studio. If you’re interested in viewing these conchs and experiencing all that our beautiful estate has to offer, you can purchase discounted admission tickets to use when we reopen with this link by using the coupon code “Covid19.”

To take a virtual tour of our grounds, including the shell midden, watch this video.

Beach Front/Ocean Front Wedding Venue In Fort Lauderdale

By Bonnet House Blog No Comments

Here at Bonnet House we love love! Wedding ceremonies and receptions are among our favorite events that are hosted here at the Bonnet House historic estate.  Our venue is perfect for couples interested in celebrating their love and commitment to each other in a warm, outdoor setting. Spanning 35 acres, Bonnet House offers a variety of exquisite settings, each uniquely beautiful in its own way. Whether you are planning a close, intimate gathering or a grand and lavish affair, Bonnet House sets the scene for romance and timeless memories. With its beautiful tropical and subtropical plants and its proximity to downtown Fort  Lauderdale, Bonnet House has become a favorite destination for couples across the world.

Often referred to as “Fort Lauderdale’s Best Kept Secret,” Bonnet House offers an incredibly unique environment to celebrate your big day. Not only do we have a beautiful historic estate, we also have the ability to host beach front ceremonies. Getting married on the beach is truly a memorable experience for both the happy couple and their guests. Our ocean front estate has everything you will need for your perfect private wedding location.

Our estate offers a variety of services and amenities to help our guests make the most of their special day. The use of photography is permitted two hours before the wedding ceremony begins. Brides also have the ability to use the private upstairs bridal suite, and will have access to a personal bridal assistant. Bonnet House will even provide a ceremony and front door hostess, as well as complimentary tram service for guests to be escorted from the free parking lot to the main house.

If you are interested in hosting a water front wedding that will create lasting memories for you and your guests, consider hosting your wedding ceremony and reception at Bonnet House’s beautiful historic estate. For more information about your wedding or  reception, contact David Woodin at [email protected] or call at (954) 703-2608.

You can also take a virtual tour of our various wedding locations with special appearances from Events Manager, David Wooden. Click on links below to enjoy virtual wedding tours of the estate.

Wedding Tour Intro

Tour of  the Allee/Ceremony Site

Tour of the Courtyard

Tour of the Veranda

 

Virtual and Vintage Tours of Bonnet House

By Bonnet House Blog No Comments

With the truly unprecedented events unfolding around us involving the coronavirus, Bonnet House is proud to present you with a virtual—and vintage—visit to the museum.

For those who have visited Bonnet House, you will recall that there is a video shown in the Carl Weinhardt Gallery that provides a broad history of the property and a visit to the upstairs.  That video is actually part of a much longer production that takes viewers through the first floor and presents much more oral history by Evelyn Bartlett and Irene Hart.  It also contains extended clips from the Bartletts’ home movies.  Joanne Leathe is the volunteer tour guide, Mike Green is the narrator, and the man in brown with the walking stick is Frank Lloyd Wright.

During these trying times, we hope you enjoy this four part virtual and vintage tour of Bonnet House!  Click on Links Below to View Vintage Videos.

Part 1                  Part 2                  Part 3                        Part 4               ___________________________________________________________

Below are a few virtual visits and vintage videos.  Visit our Facebook page for the latest Bonnet House news.

Click here to view a vintage interview with Evelyn Bartlett.

 

 

 

 

Learn about the Boathouse.  Click here to to view the Video. 

 

 

 

Learn about the Top of Fort Lauderdale Beach.  Click here to view the video.

 

 

 

 

 

Learn about Hugh, our resident swan, and the Slough.  Click here to view the video.

 

 

 

 

 

House of Refuge

Learn about the House of Refuge and Barefoot Mailman.  Click here to view the video.

 

 

 

Learn about the Barrier Island.  Click here to view the video.

 

 

 

Learn about brackish water. Click here to view the latest video.

________________________________________________________________
View this slideshow of the construction of Bonnet House in the 1920s.

Bonnet House Construction

For additional content and updates be sure to visit our Facebook page.

Live Classical Music In Fort Lauderdale: Outdoor Concert At Bonnet House

By Bonnet House Blog No Comments

In order to kick off 2020 and our 100th anniversary, Bonnet House Museum & Gardens has been hosting its annual event series, Concerts Under The Stars. This concert series has always been extremely popular, as we offer an incredibly unique opportunity to enjoy live classical music in an outdoor setting on our beautiful historic estate. These events continue through March featuring Lynn University’s String Quartet performing a broad and diverse range of repertoire that mixes contemporary music with the traditional.

Classical music has been an important part of Fort Lauderdale’s community. Evelyn and Frederic Bartlett would have surely enjoyed listening to classical music frequently when they lived in the estate. While it is not difficult to find live classical music in Fort Lauderdale, Bonnet House is offering a one-of-a-kind opportunity to enjoy an outdoor concert at our historic estate.

Lynn University’s String Quartet is a very popular local group, performing on March 12th at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens as part of our Concerts Under The Stars series. Guests can enjoy sipping craft cocktails, including old fashions, and wine on the veranda while they listen to lovely music. A wide selection of cheese will also be available to anyone who might be hungry.

On the evening of the event, our parking lot will open at 6:00pm, and the doors will open at 6:30pm. Signature cocktails, as well as wine and cheese services will then be available from 6:30pm to 7:00pm. The concert will follow from 7:00pm to 8:00pm. There are three seating options available to our guests. General seating (rows 18-32) is available for $45.00 for non-members and $40 for members. We are also offering Premium seating (rows 9-17) for $55 for nonmembers and $50 for members. VIP seating will also be available (rows 1-8) for $85 for nonmembers and $80 for members. Tickets are available at the door, but they will be sold with a $5 additional charge.

We hope that you join us for our Concerts Under The Stars series. We are confident that this experience will delight guests of all ages and backgrounds. If you are interested in attending this event, or learning more, click here!

Live Opera In Fort Lauderdale: Outdoor Concert At Bonnet House

By Bonnet House Blog No Comments

Here at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, we are passionate about local arts of all kinds, especially of the musical variety. We work hard to provide opportunities for our guests to experience a diverse array of musical stylings throughout the year. Because of this passion, Bonnett House will once again host our popular event series, Concerts Under The Stars. This February, our series will feature performers from the University of Miami Frost Opera Theatre . These students will perform a broad array of programming that will be sure to delight everyone in attendance!

The Fort Lauderdale community has a rich cultural background, with exceptional talent around every corner. It may surprise you to know, however, that Opera is actually among one of the most popular types of musical entertainment that can be enjoyed in South Florida. While there are many ways to hear live opera in Fort Lauderdale, Bonnet House’s Concert Under The Stars series will offer a fun opportunity to experience this beautiful genre of music in a unique setting.

On Thursday, February 13th, Bonnet House’s Concerts Under The Stars series will continue with a live outdoor performance by the Opera singers at UM Frost Opera Theatre. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy live performances on the beautiful Bonnet House tent-covered veranda with signature cocktails, wine and cheese. The Frost Opera Theater  performances will reflect a broad range of programming in the twenty-first century, from Baroque opera to the most classic works of our time.

On the evening of the event, our parking lot will open at 6:00pm, and the doors will open at 6:30pm. Signature cocktails, as well as wine and cheese services will then be available from 6:30pm to 7:00pm. The concert will follow from 7:00pm to 8:00pm. There are three seating options available to our guests. General seating (rows 18-32) is available for $45.00 for non-members and $40 for members. We are also offering Premium seating (rows 9-17) for $55 for nonmembers and $50 for members. VIP seating will also be available (rows 1-8) for $85 for nonmembers and $80 for members. Tickets are available at the door, but they will be sold with a $5 additional charge.

Sweet, balmy starlit nights, and the setting of Bonnet House combine for a truly unique experience. We are confident that this concert will leave our guests feeling delighted and inspired by these beautiful artistic and cultural expressions. If you are interested in attending this event, or learning more, click here!

Live Music In Fort Lauderdale: Concert Under The Stars Series

By Bonnet House Blog One Comment

Here in Fort Lauderdale, we are fortunate enough to have an abundance of talented performers throughout the community. Due to our culturally-rich history in Fort Lauderdale, a variety of musical stylings can be heard around every corner, including here at Bonnet House! In fact, to kick off the new year, Bonnet House is excited to host our annual Concert Under The Stars series, featuring a diverse array of musical performances.

This magical outdoor concert series will begin on Thursday, January 23rd from 6:30pm-8:00pm. Guests who are 18+ will have the opportunity to enjoy live performances at the beautiful Bonnet House Estate on our tent-covered veranda. We will even be featuring signature cocktails at the bar, as well as a selection of fine wine and cheese. Each night in the series will include a musical concert by a different performer or band from right here in Fort Lauderdale.

The series will begin on January 23rd with the Michael Masci Quartet with Danny Bacher . They will be performing popular selections from The Great American Songbook starting at 7:00pm. For more information, or to purchase tickets for the first night in our series, click here or call (954) 703-2614.

On February 13th, Bonnet House will welcome students from the University of Miami Frost Opera Theater . Their performances will reflect the broad range of programming in the twenty-first century, including Baroque opera, as well as some of the most progressive works of our time. For additional information, or to purchase tickets, click here or call (954) 703-2614.

This outdoor concert series will continue with two performances in March. The first will take place on March 12th with a performance by the Lynn University String Quartet . They will be playing a broad and diverse range of repertoire that mixes contemporary music with traditional styles. To learn more, or to purchase tickets, click here , or call (954) 703-2614.

On March 26th, our series will conclude with the acoustic band, SOSOS . Their music is based around root instruments such as upright bass, pump organ, banjo, mandolin, djembe, acoustic guitars, drums, melodica, and even a box of rocks. To learn more, or to purchase tickets for the final concert in our series, click here , or call (954) 703-2614.

We hope to see you and your friends at Bonnet House for an evening of sweet music and beautiful starlight. All concerts will be held, rain or shine. Tickets are available at the general, premium and VIP levels. If you are interested in purchasing tickets for all four concerts, please consider becoming a sponsor for $500 and receive two VIP tickets to all four concerts! For sponsorship information, click here or contact Darla L. Stanton at (954) 653-1557 or [email protected]

Historic Fort Lauderdale Tour: Bonnet House Upstairs/Downstairs Tour

By Bonnet House Blog, Uncategorized No Comments

While South Florida has become popular in recent decades for its thriving nightlife and entertainment scene, beautiful beaches, and unique wildlife, the South Florida community also contains tremendous historic significance that’s just waiting to be explored and enjoyed. Here in Fort Lauderdale, for example, there are many historic tours throughout the city, including right here at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. In fact, Bonnet House is currently offering guided Upstairs/Downstairs tours, as well as other group and specialty tours throughout the estate.

On the second and fourth Wednesday of every month from January through April, Bonnet House will be hosting guided Upstairs/Downstairs tours from 2pm-4pm. Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in a VIP tour of the main house that includes a sneak peek inside areas that are typically closed, including Evelyn and Frederic Bartlett’s private living quarters. These tours are led in groups of ten by our seasoned docents and will be offered for $35 per person. Limited reservations are available, and pre-registration is required.

On the second Tuesday of each month from January through April, Bonnet House will also offer guided tours of our Orchid Greenhouse from 11am-12pm. Guests on these group tours will have the chance to participate in a VIP experience of the Orchid Greenhouses and Orchid Display House. This tour will also feature areas that are closed to the general public. These tours are offered for $20 per person, and are led in groups of 15 to allow for questions and discussion. Limited reservations are available, and pre registration is required.

Bonnet House also offers guided group tours of the Main House and gardens throughout the entire year. Tours of the Main House and specialized tours of the grounds are available to groups of 15 or more Tuesday-Sunday throughout the year. Guests will have the opportunity to tour the historic home and learn about the significance of the Birch/Bartlett family, and discover the charm and whimsy of this beautiful beachfront estate. Tours are also available to experience our expansive gardens and nature trail. On these tours, docents will describe the various species of native and landscaped plants, and highlight the many ecosystems featured in this 35-acre coastal wilderness.

We hope that you will join us at Bonnet House for one of our many group tour opportunities. The South Florida community has a fascinating history, and we could not be more proud to share the legacy of the Bartlett’s with our guests. To learn more, or book your tour, click here , or call (954) 703-2606 to reserve your space.

History of Fort Lauderdale: Speaker Series In The Gardens

By Bonnet House Blog No Comments

LectureBonnet House has been a fundamental part of Fort Lauderdale’s unique history since 1920. In the last century, Bonnet House and the Fort Lauderdale community have seen tremendous cultural and environmental change. As we celebrate our 100th anniversary in 2020, we want to provide the South Florida community with opportunities to learn about our fascinating history. Starting in January, Bonnet House will be hosting a monthly lecture series featuring expert historians including Susan Gillis, Cynthia Strachan, Denyse Cunningham and Patrick Scott.

Susan Gillis is a local historian and has written several books on Fort Lauderdale’s history featuring collections of old photographs and postcards, as well as information on Fort Lauderdale during the prohibition era. She will be speaking about the Fort Lauderdale Boom & Bust on Monday, January 13th, 2020.

On February 10th, 2020, historian and entertainer Cynthia Strachan and Bonnet House Curator Denyse Cunningham will give a presentation honoring Black History Month. Cynthia Strachan is a talented vocalist, songwriter, actress and author. She currently owns and maintains the first Broward County Designated Historical Site, her family home of Bowles-Strachan House, and she even operates the associated museum on site. Her lecture with our curator will highlight 100 years of Black History in Fort Lauderdale, and will surely be fascinating for all in attendance.

Our lecture series continues on March 9th, 2020 with local historian Patrick Scott as he describes ‘A Walk Through Fort Lauderdale.’ Patrick Scott was born and raised right here in Fort Lauderdale, and his Cuban grandmother moved to the community as a newlywed in 1927. He is now a lawyer, and has studied, written and lectured on local history history for nearly 30 years. His specific specialty covers early settlements in the South Florida region.

Each lecture is free for members and $5 for nonmembers and will last from 10:00am-11:30am. We hope you’ll join us for these unique opportunities to learn more about Fort Lauderdale’s unique history. If you have any questions, or would like to register in advance for any or all of these events, visit our events calendar.

Fort Lauderdale Adult Art Classes In The Gardens

By Bonnet House Blog No Comments

When Evelyn Bartlett occupied the Bonnet House historic estate, she made it a priority to ensure that her home was always filled with beautiful artwork and decorative elements. She saw the importance of celebrating local and international artists, and featuring their work in her home for her many guests to enjoy. Today, we continue to celebrate Evelyn’s legacy by featuring a variety of artwork throughout the museum and hosting artistic workshops for all skill levels. To kick off 2020, Bonnet House will be hosting calligraphy, watercolor, acrylic and basket weaving classes for all skill levels.

We will be starting our beginner level calligraphy workshops on January 7th. They will continue weekly on Tuesdays through February 4th from 9:30-11:30am. These courses are meant to show how the art of calligraphy, or “beautiful writing,” can be learned and enjoyed by almost anyone. For those who are a bit more advanced in skill, our intermediate calligraphy classes will begin on February 11th, and continue on Tuesdays through March 10th from 9:30-11:30am.

These hands-on learning opportunities will teach participants about the history of pen lettering, and the importance of the hand-copying of great works of antiquity, including the Bible. Our watercolor workshops will begin on Wednesday, January 8th and will be taught weekly by fine artist and watercolorist Karen Eskesen in the historic Bonnet House gardens. These sessions will be held each Wednesday from January 8th – February 12th, 2020 from 9:30am-12:30pm. Each class will include lessons about traditional techniques of realism in watercolor, as well as line drawing. If the weather permits, each class will also include time to paint in our beautiful gardens at our art tables located in shaded areas.

On January 9th, 2020 we will begin hosting our acrylic workshops with Jane Riles. These classes will explore a variety of methods to achieve personal expression with acrylic painting, and are great for students of any skill level. Each class will include time to paint in our beautiful gardens, and will teach the basic principles of acrylic painting. Classes are held weekly on Thursdays from January 9th through February 13th.

Bonnet House is also proud to announce that we will be hosting two basket weaving classes in 2020. The first will occur on Wednesday, January 29th from 10:00am-2:00pm, and the second will take place on Saturday, March 7th from 10:00am-2:00pm. These classes will give guests the opportunity to create an artistic basket from locally-found, natural materials. These days will include an introduction to basketry as well as a walk throughout the property to identify the materials used.

We hope to see you at one or several of our workshops next year! We couldn’t be more excited to offer these exciting learning opportunities for our guests. For more information on any or all of these events, visit our class list.