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Palm Coast, Florida
February 28, 2004
The unique plantation style of the house and the beautiful, natural surroundings are a welcome change from the Fort Lauderdale hustle and bustle just outside the gates.
The estate was name for the bonnet lily that grew along the marshland between the house and the ocean.
I can certainly see why Evelyn Bartlett (the last owner and benefactress) stated, “I want it to stay like it was in the old days. . . I don't want it to change.”
From journal Where the boys were
by Mary Dickinson
December 23, 2003
The property had been a wedding gift to her husband, Frederic Clay Bartlett and his first wife, Helen. Helen was the daughter of Hugh Taylor Birch. He gave his 180-acre estate to the State of Florida. It is now Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. The Bonnet House property was part of his estate before the gift. Helen died 6 years after she married. Evelyn was Bartlett's second wife.
There is a high cinder block wall on the north side of the property. We were staying on the 7th floor of Sunterra Resort Fort Lauderdale and it is located next to that wall. From our balcony we could see a lot of old tropical trees belonging to the Bonnet House. Although there are twelve monkeys still living on the grounds we didn't see any until we toured the house.
At the end of Birch Street, behind our resort, is a big beautiful black gate in the cinder block wall. Looking through that gate we could see a long drive lined with old giant Millalucca trees. It was locked so we had to go to the gate near the Intracoastal. Inside that gate is a big parking lot and the welcome center. Admission to the house tour is $10 for adults; $9 for Seniors. It is open Tu-Sat 10-4, Sun 12-4 in winter months.
We then crossed a bridge next to the boat house and followed the trail leading to the house. We waited for the docent under a huge Banion tree that had limbs with a spread of over fifty feet. Once inside the front door we were in the courtyard. The Bartletts had collected treasures while travelling and displayed them near the walls of the courtyard where there is an overhead roof.
Frederic was an artist. His studio is off the courtyard. It is huge with a very ornate fireplace. The drawing room has a mahogany ceiling made from a log he found floating in the ocean. They liked to entertain on a small scale and there are only four chairs at the dinning room table. The music room is formal and has a beautiful Steinway piano. The bedrooms are upstairs and not opened to the public. There is a big veranda on the eastside of the house. Nearby is a fresh water pond with two magnificent swans. We sat out on the veranda and watched a video. More elaborate out buildings are around the house. A gift shop is located in the caretaker's cottage
From journal Sea Forever