Friday, June 6, 2014

Bonnet House is peaceful oasis in the center of bustling Fort Lauderdale


Artist Frederic Clay Bartlett designed  the unique home which he and
his wives decorated with treasures from Europe and their own artwork.


AT THE historic Bonnet House in Fort Lauderdale, manatees swim, frolic and even give birth in the waters below the boat house! Bonnet House is situated on a coastal barrier island -- with a walkway to the Atlantic Ocean on the east of the property, and the Intracoastal Waterway bracketing the West.
SO WHILE manatees lead their life of leisure, a full fledged tourist town is booming all around the refuge. For Lauderdale is a unique blend of town and country.
Fort Lauderdale's unique waterways nurture tourism and a special home.
During our visit, we hopped out of a taxi in busy traffic and stepped into the peace and tranquility of the Bonnet gardens, where we saw heron and many other showy birds. No wonder that in 1984 the home was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Bonnet House is nestled in the middle of Fort Lauderdale.

NAMED AFTER the lovely bonnet lily, the land on which the home stands was a wedding gift to artist Frederic Clay Bartlett and his wife Helen, from her Chicago father, Hugh Taylor Birch. After Helen died, Frederic married Evelyn Lilly, and they continued collecting, traveling and painting.  Frederic died in 1953, but Evelyn lived many more years, gifting the estate to the state in 1983.  Their art studios, antiques and collectibles provide an intimate look at their eclectic and whimsical artistic life, their travels, friendships and energy.
THE BONNET HOUSE is far more than a home.
Fort Lauderdale at night:  lively city with a country estate within.
It is a living, lively testimony to lives well lived, in harmony with the natural world and art both collected and painted themselves.  The home's treasures include a gorgeous two-story painting studio and many original works, with approaching walkways decorated with carousel animals.
The artistic gifts of designer Frederic Clay Bartlett, and the artful wife he led with both his first wife, Helen, and his long lived wife, Evelyn, are testimony to the artistic taste they nurtured.
We walked the family's beloved Nature Trail, which took us back in time to a rare piece of old South Florida.   Imagining a time long before the Birch and Bartletts communed with nature here, we pictured the  Indians fishing and harvesting crops as they did from 2,000 B.C.  Europeans came later, exploring from 1,500 A.D. and eventually building beach shelters in the 1870s.
Keller arrives via water taxi to the Bonnet House and more.

A well versed docent at Bonnet House, Frank Schmidt, regaled Cookie and 
Keller with stories about the home. He is one of  many proud volunteer 
docents, who shares his love of the Bonnet House and Fort Lauderdale.

NEXT UP:  Ephesus and its wonders.
  We're all about adventure, excitement, and exploring, always with a sense of fun.
We'll go next to the amazing Ephesus, on the Turkish coast. Remember to explore, learn and live.
Visit us Wednesdays and weekends at:
Ephesus beckons -- and we answer the call.  Come with us to explore
this ancient, wonderful ruin in Turkey, with its fascinating past.

 Slowly the pace of  settlement accelerated, until today's Fort Lauderdale, a bustling city.

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