see + do
Fort Lauderdale , Florida
Tel: 954 563 5393
Concierge.com's insider take:
Undoubtedly one of the city's biggest draws, the Bonnet House is a pioneer oddity among the beachside high rises. Built by two wealthy settlers, artist Frederic Bartlett and his wife Evelyn (whose own massive fortune derived from her first marriage to prescriptions pasha Eli Lilly), the attraction is a pioneer-style bungalow set around a courtyard and populated with a vast collection of trinkets, from whimsical carved animals to merry-go-round menageries. Almost every surface was decorated, whether with a wooden trunk or a stucco ceiling, often by Bartlett himself. The house is stashed at the center of sprawling gardens that are filled with random amenities also built by the Bartletts to while away the time—the thatched tiki-style Island Theater was a private movie house, for instance. If it's hot, don't bother walking through the mangrove thickets, as there's a tram chugging through the park for only $1 per person. As for the name, it's flora-related rather than fashion-inspired: The bonnet is a yellow water lily that grows everywhere on the estate.
Closed Monday and all of September.
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