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Step Back In Time & Into Nature At Bonnet House

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Here at Bonnet House, we understand that life can sometimes feel mundane, and it’s easy to feel disconnected and discouraged while stuck in the basic routines of day-to-day life. Work and family life can be all-consuming at times, and it’s only natural to crave new experiences. Fortunately, however, there are a variety of ways to step back from the monotony of your daily routines and experience something truly unique and magical.

The Bonnet House estate is special in that it provides guests the opportunity to step back in time, while also connecting with the beauty and solitude of nature. Though the Bonnet House property was purchased in 1895, the grounds had already witnessed over 4,000 years of human activity, remnants of which can still be seen on the property today. Bonnet House’s modern history, however, began in 1919, when Hugh Taylor Birch gave the property to his daughter. Since then, the estate has served as a cultural and artistic landmark, taking guests back through time to an exciting, bygone era.

Bonnet House Museum & Gardens is also one of the few places in downtown Fort Lauderdale where guests can truly get lost in nature. In addition to their historic significance, the Bonnet House grounds encompass one of the last examples in South Florida of a native barrier island habitat. Five distinct ecosystems can be found on the property including the Atlantic Ocean beach and primary dune, a freshwater slough, the secondary dune which includes the house site, mangrove wetlands, and a maritime forest.

Bonnet House is also a haven for migratory birds, year-round birds indigenous to Florida wetland and coastal areas, and manatees that occasionally seek refuge in the estate’s Boathouse Canal. The natural beauty, and fascinating wildlife makes Bonnet House the perfect place to step back and reconnect with nature.

If you are looking for a way to switch up your routine, be sure to visit Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. Our vast property provides the perfect opportunity to step back in time and into nature. Plan your trip to Bonnet House and purchase your tickets here.

Experience The Tranquility Of Forest Bathing

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It goes without saying that life can sometimes be stressful and that we all, at times, experience feelings of anxiety, sadness, and uncertainty about the future. These feelings are normal in the fast-paced world we live in, but, if prolonged, these f eelings can have very negative effects on both your mental and physical health. In the 1980s, t his realization popularized a new form of ecotherapy called ‘Forest Bathing,’ which involves individuals spending time immersed in nature in order to become more mindful, and connected to the natural world.

Forest Bathing initially had a two-fold purpose: to offer an antidote to work-related burnout, and inspire people to reconnect with the natural world. But since then, Forest Bathing has been scientifically proven to be beneficial for our overall health and wellness. These results have prompted people of all backgrounds to take up the practices, and incorporate them into their routines.

Here at Bonnet House, we recognize that many living in, and visiting our community are experiencing high levels of stress, and anxiety. This is why we have started offering guided Forest Bathing classes in our beautiful gardens. These classes give you the opportunity to join our experienced guide, Don Oprea, in the Bonnet House Hammock and relax among the trees while listening to the sights and sounds of nature around you.

Forest Bathing classes at Bonnet House will take place on the fourth Sunday of each month from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. These classes are $20 for members and $25 for non-members. Pre-registration is also required, and our next class will take place on October 24th, 2021. For more information, feel free to call (954) 703-2606.

If you are interested in slowing down and enjoying two special hours of relaxation with nature, be sure to join us for our Forest Bathing classes. Experience the health benefits of Forest Bathing, and register for classes here!

Preserving Bonnet House For The Future

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For the last few decades, Bonnet House has served as a fascinating cultural landmark and has opened its doors to thousands of curious visitors from across the globe. But the fact that Bonnet House is now one of the most beautiful, unique, and fascinating historic homes in the state of Florida was no mistake. Had it not been for Evelyn Bartlett’s determination to preserve the estate and artistic legacy of her family, Bonnet House Museum & Gardens would surely not exist as it does today.

The 1970s and 1980s were challenging times in the history of the Bonnet House estate. As Frederic died, and Evelyn aged into her eighties, upkeep of the property became increasingly challenging, and offers to purchase and develop the property came pouring in. However, Evelyn was uncompromising in her desire to ensure that the magical estate created by her artistic husband be somehow preserved and returned to its former glory. Throughout a more than ten-year preservation effort, Evelyn remained steadfast that, not only must the property be protected from commercial developers but also that any organization granted ownership and responsibility for preserving it must be forever prevented from making commercial additions incompatible with running the estate as a museum, cultural center or nature preserve.

Evelyn’s many requirements and restrictions were challenging at times and made the task of restoring the estate seem nearly impossible. However, eventually, in 1984, the estate was finally added to the National Register of Historic Places. In her zeal to protect Bonnet House, Evelyn Bartlett may have at first seemed to endanger its long-term preservation by the numerous and seemingly “deal-breaking restrictions” she required of any agreement. In the end, however, she appears to have been vindicated in her approach. Now, the Bonnet House property is preserved intact, just as Evelyn and Frederic had known it in their days together.

But as one chapter in the history of Bonnet House came to a close, another new and exciting chapter was about to begin. After the 1980s, Bonnet House would no longer be a residential home, but instead a cultural and educational center where visitors from around the world could come to enjoy the artwork and take in the unique history and environment of South Florida. But creating and maintaining this property has been no small feat over the years, and upkeep continues to be a challenge as hurricanes and coastal conditions take a toll on the estate.

This is why we have developed a five-year comprehensive strategic plan that includes estate preservation, as well as advanced marketing efforts to attract tourists and broaden engagement with the local community. We are hoping to raise money for these efforts through our ‘ Revitalize Bonnet House’ campaign. By donating to our campaign, you can help us with necessary electrical, irrigation, and plumbing repairs, and so much more.

For a gift of $5,000, supporters will have the opportunity to participate in one of two luxurious “Night at the Museum” experiences. Donors may select between one experience that offers dinner for two, an overnight stay in Bonnet House’s newly renovated suite, and breakfast the next morning. Alternatively, donors can forgo the overnight stay and host an outdoor dinner on the veranda for eight guests, entertaining friends, and family members just as the Bartletts once did.

The history of the Bonnet House estate is truly fascinating, and we are thrilled to showcase this unique history to our guests. If you’d like to learn more or donate to our campaign, you can click here, or contact our Director of Development, Darla L. Stanton at 954-653-1557 or [email protected].

Upcoming Classes At Bonnet House

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It may not feel like it here in sunny Fort Lauderdale, but Fall is right around the corner, and that means that we will be kicking off some exciting new classes here at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens! This fall we will begin hosting our popular Birding Classes, in addition to a Watercolor Workshop, and even a series of Forest Bathing classes. These courses are sure to be not only interesting and educational but fun and enjoyable.

Beginning on October 3rd, Bonnet House will host a Bird class for both adults and children. These 3-hour courses will help you become a better Bird Sleuth and help you discover the wonderful world of birds! You’ll get to learn the basics of how to identify common birds through a variety of strategies while you explore our vast gardens. Classes for adults will take place on Sunday, October 3rd, January 9th, and March 6th. Children between the ages of 8 and 12 will also have the opportunity to improve their birding skills on Saturday, February 12th. Courses are $20 for our members and $25 for non-members. You can register for these exciting classes by calling 954-703-2606, or clicking here!

At the end of October, Bonnet House will also host our extremely popular Watercolor Mini-Workshop. This workshop will be themed around ‘ Tropical Leaves,’ and will help advance your skills in various techniques such as wet-on-wet painting, glazing, direct painting, and masking fluid. As the famous art historian and art critic, John Ruskin once said, “If you can paint a leaf, you can paint the world.” This fascinating workshop will take place on October 23rd from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm. Registration is $70 for our members and $80 for non-members. You can register for this workshop by calling 954-703-2606, or clicking here!

Bonnet House is also extremely excited to announce that we will once again be hosting Forest Bathing classes with Don Oprea. Due to the immense popularity of these classes, we will be offering them again on Sunday, October 24th, November 28th, December 19th, January 23rd, and February 27th. These classes will allow you to listen to the sounds and enjoy the sights of nature around you. You’ll have the opportunity to tune out the world for two special hours while you relax with nature. These classes will take place from 10 am to 12 pm and are $20 for our members and $25 for non-members. You can register for these classes by calling 954-703-2606, or clicking here!

Fall in South Florida is truly one of our most beautiful seasons. We hope that you will consider welcoming autumn here at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens with one or more of our fun and educational courses. To learn more about our events this fall you can call 954-703-2606 or view our full event calendar, here.

Plan Your Next Special Event At Bonnet House

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Ever since its inception, the Bonnet House property was designed to be enjoyed. With its perfect beach-front location, its spacious tropical gardens, and its ornate Main House, the Bonnet House property was made for people to enjoy themselves and create special memories. This is why we take great care to provide our guests with the ability to host their special events in our historic estate. From weddings to dinner parties, and all the celebrations in between, Bonnet House is well-equipped to host your next event in style.

When it comes to weddings, Bonnet House has become the premier destination for romance and timeless memories in South Florida by embodying old-world charm and understated elegance. Spanning 35 acres, Bonnet House offers a variety of exquisite settings, each uniquely beautiful in its own way. Whether you are planning a close and intimate gathering or a grand and lavish affair, Bonnet House can offer the perfect accommodations.

But you don’t have to be planning a wedding to make the most of the Bonnet House property. Guests have the exclusive use of the tree-lined alee, garden courtyard, waterfront veranda, hibiscus garden, or the Bonnet House Beach for whatever kind of event they desire. Birthdays, anniversaries, and holiday gatherings can all be made even more special when spent here at Bonnet House. Alexander Event Catering has partnered with Bonnet House to serve all of your event and catering needs. A more extensive list of pre-approved vendors that have experience on the property is also available.

Bonnet House is also offering guests the opportunity of a lifetime as part of our Re-Vitalize Campaign. For a donation of $5,000, Bonnet House will be offering a unique experience that includes a luxurious dinner for two and an overnight stay in the newly renovated guest suite. The curated experience will immerse participants in the leisurely life enjoyed at a 1930s era beachfront estate including the rare opportunity to t our the property like never before with accommodations for two in a newly refurbished second-floor suite, dinner for two on the veranda with an exquisitely designed personalized menu, and breakfast in the morning with Bloody Mary’s and mimosas.

As you plan your next event, we hope that you will consider Bonnet House Museum & Gardens for your rental space. Your event will be truly unique and will offer your guests unforgettable memories. C lick here to view available dates for rentals.

Upcoming Class At Bonnet House: Intro to Colored Pencil Drawing & Painting

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Like the previous owners of the Bonnet House estate, our team is extremely passionate about creating art and teaching others about art. This is why we often host classes and programs geared towards helping students learn particular techniques and styles for creating works of art. Our watercolor and calligraphy workshops, for example, are some of our most popular and beloved classes that we host here at Bonnet House.

In addition to watercolor and calligraphy, Bonnet House also hosts classes for those interested in mastering colored pencil drawing and painting. In fact, we are just beginning our six-week workshop for colored pencil drawing and painting.

In this six-week workshop, you will learn colored pencil techniques that will help you create gorgeous and unique artwork without years of experience. These classes will be taught by our new drawing instructor, Galal Ramadan. Galal has written many articles published in Colored Pencil Art Magazines and has been in solo national and international exhibitions. He was born in Alexandria, Egypt, but now resides and teaches right here in Florida.

You can find the list of materials you will need, here. Classes are $140 f for our Members and $160 for non-members. These classes will take place each Saturday from September 11th through October 16th, 2021. Each class will take place between 10:00 am and 12:30 pm. We hope that you will join us for these interesting classes that will be sure to expand your artistic horizons. Click here to learn more about these classes, and sign up!

Bonnet House Presents: A Night At The Museum

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Here at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, we are always looking for new ways to provide unique experiences for our guests. Finding new ways to connect visitors with the fascinating history of South Florida is a huge part of our mission and enables us to preserve and maintain our estate. This is why we are so excited to announce that we will be continuing our 100th-anniversary celebration by offering a new, once-in-a-lifetime experience that will pamper and educate our guests.

For a gift of $5,000, donors will have the opportunity to participate in one of two luxurious “Night at the Museum” experiences. Donors may select between one experience that offers dinner for two, an overnight stay in Bonnet House’s newly renovated suite, and breakfast the next morning.  Alternatively, donors can forgo the overnight stay and host an outdoor dinner on the veranda for eight guests, entertaining friends, and family members just as the Bartletts once did.

Both of these curated experiences will immerse participants in the leisurely life once enjoyed at a 1930s beachfront estate. They both include a private, docent-guided t our of the property as well as the rare opportunity to enjoy moonlit palms and watch the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. Guests will also be immersed in the elegant entertaining traditions of the Bonnet House estate and will get a glimpse into the leisurely lifestyles of Floridians in the early 20th century.

The “Night at the Museum” program is being offered to complete our museum’s $275,000 Re-vitalize Campaign that seeks to raise funds to support Bonnet House during a period of decreased visitation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, we have raised $181,000 towards our goal. In addition to a truly memorable evening, “Night at the Museum” program participants will have the satisfaction of knowing that they have helped revitalize Bonnet House.

We hope that you consider joining us for an authentic “Night At The Museum” experience. Your gift to us will not only provide you with lasting memories but will also help us continue providing unique and educational experiences for years to come. For more information about this program, click here.

Beautiful Shell Work On-Site At Bonnet House

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For much of his life, Frederick Bartlett was an avid art collector and artist, purchasing and creating unique pieces for his tropical South Florida estate. He even passed his passion for art along to his third wife, Evelyn, who became a prolific painter and talented art collector herself. Today, most of t his artwork is still on display at the Bonnet House estate for guests to enjoy as they visit the museum. But it isn’t just paintings and two-dimensional artwork that are on display throughout the estate – Bonnet House also displays quite a bit of shell art from the Bartlett’s original collection.

If you’ve toured Bonnet House in the past, you likely noticed that the Bartlett family had an affinity for shells and shell-themed artwork. In fact, eleven of Evelyn’s original paintings, and eight of Frederick’s paintings contain shells. Evelyn also purchased f our small shell assemblages that are in the shape of a bride’s basket in Nassau, which are still on display in our Music Room. As these intricate shell assemblages are very difficult to dust, we have them displayed under glass domes.

Another clear example of the Bartletts’ love for shells can be seen in the intricate shell designs in the Haitian Loggia. When the building was created, the designs were even more impressive, but a shadow of these details can still be seen today. Also featured at Bonnet House are the two shell flower arrangements in the white marble urns at the base of the pier mirrors.

Today, Bonnet House pays homage to the original owners of Bonnet House by continuing to display their shell art pieces throughout the estate. You can learn more about these pieces and other artistic elements shown throughout the museum on our guided tours available Tuesday through Friday from 9:30 am-4:00 pm, and Saturdays from 9:30 am-11:00 am. This is the perfect opportunity to see how many different pieces of shell art you can find throughout the property.

We hope that you and your family join us for a guided tour of Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. You’ll get to enjoy the natural beauty of our gardens, and learn about the artwork and design elements that make the property so unique. Click here to plan your next visit to Bonnet House Museum & Gardens.

Orchid Display House

August Orchid Care Classes At Bonnet House

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Are you new to growing or caring for orchids? Or are you an experienced grower looking to hone your skills? Either way, Bonnet House offers a variety of interesting classes that cover both the basics of orchid care and more advanced techniques. These classes will be taught by our Orchid Curator, Jose Exposito, and his fantastic team of orchid care experts on staff at Bonnet House. These classes are extremely popular here at Bonnet House, and they even include guided tours of our Orchid Display House and Greenhouses.

Our Orchid Care Basics class will take place on Tuesday, August 10th, 2021 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, and again from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. In this class, students will be introduced to the various types of
orchids and will learn how to select the best locations for growing. Students will also be given instructions regarding basic cultivation techniques, including watering and fertilization techniques. For more information about this class, and to register, click here.

To learn about more advanced orchid care techniques, our more intermediate classes will take place on Tuesday, August 17th, 2021 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, and again from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. These classes will cover all aspects of transplanting orchids, with a special emphasis on the techniques and uses of different materials including cork, driftwood, plaques, baskets, and more. Proper sterilization of tools will also be discussed in order to limit the spread of potential viruses to your collection. To learn more about this class, and to register, click here.

Regardless of your knowledge of orchid care techniques, we hope to see you at our upcoming orchid classes this August. These classes are very popular and will fill up quickly, so be sure to reserve your spot today!

Bonnet House’s 4th of July Special

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Summer is in full swing here in South Florida, and we couldn’t be more thrilled for the exciting summer events and specials that we have planned here at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. This year, we have many exciting opportunities available for our guests to stay cool, while exploring our historic property and vast gardens. This 4th of July is just one of the days on which we will be offering discounted admission rates for adults and kids alike.

Here in Fort Lauderdale, the summer heat and humidity can be almost unbearable at times. But at Bonnet House, we do our best to ensure that our guests can stay cool and comfortable as they explore the air-conditioned Main House, and walk along our shady nature trails. Not only is Bonnet House a great place to stay cool, but it is also a great place to take your family and loved ones for a fun and educational experience.

This 4th of July, Bonnet House will be offering $10.00 admission for adults, and free admission for children 12 and under from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Tickets can be purchased at the door upon
your entry. Join us for this special holiday celebration, and get a first-hand glimpse of the unique history of Fort Lauderdale, and our South Florida Community.

We hope that you and your family take the time to visit our historic estate on Sunday, July 4th, 2021. It truly is a special holiday, and we encourage you to take advantage of our annual 4th of
July special. To learn more about our 4th of July special, and to plan your next trip, visit our Events Calendar.