April 12, 1998: A Visit to the Dallas Arboretum
Return to the Index for 1998

February 18-24, 1998
Our Winter Trip to Florida


This year, we decided to make a trip to Florida, since I had the time off and Fred could use one of his vacation weeks. We left on Saturday the 17th, and came back on Sunday the 24th, so we spent a full week at the Fort Lauderdale condo.

Flying to Fort Lauderdale is something we have done fairly frequently. So long as we can get a fare of somewhere around $200pp round trip, it is cheaper than driving, even counting the rental car in Fort Lauderdale, considering that it shaves two full days of the trip. It takes every bit of an eighteen-hour day to drive, which is exhausting, considering that we only have a week.

So we got a morning flight on Saturday and by mid-afternoon had arrived in Fort Lauderdale, rented our car, and arrived at the condo.

As usual, we found everything in the condo just as we had left it. Our friend Jack checks on it occasionally, and, in any event, when it is left closed up, about the only thing we have to do, depending on how long we have been away, is air it out and dust.

I am going to simply organize the pictures on this page according to outings we made or to subject, when the pictures about something were taken throughout our stay.  

Monday at the Beach (2/19)

Our first long outing at the beach was on Monday, when we drove the car over and parked at Sebastian Street to walk over to it.

Fort Lauderdale Beach Aerial View

The beach is only a mile and a half from the condo, so I suppose we could have walked, but carrying towels and beach stuff it was a bit more convenient to drive. Near Sebastian Street beach we took our first few photographs of the trip; you can click on the thumbnail images below to have a look at them:

On weekends, the beach is usually a real zoo, and even during the week, in season, it can be quite crowded. But on this Monday morning, there were stretches of the beach that were almost deserted.

We spent a pleasant morning walking all the way down the beach past the intersection of Las Olas and A1A; it is nice to walk along the beach on days when it is not crowded.

Fred at Sebastian Beach

The day was just warm, I'd say about eighty degrees, which is pretty normal for Fort Lauderdale in mid-February, so in the shade it could be a little cool if you had your shirt off. Most people at the beach were sitting in the sun.

We took some other pictures during our walk- nothing of particular note, though. You can click on the thumbnail images below to see the pictures we took:


We Visit the Bonnet House (2/20)

Today, we are going to visit the Bonnet House, an historic mansion on the beach near Sunrise Boulevard. Getting there is a simple matter of driving over to the beach and heading north on A1A to Sunrise.

Aerial View of Bonnet Estate

One can either turn in a block south of Sunrise or go to Sunrise and come south a block.

It may interest you to know that one season of the Amazing Race ended on the same street we turned into- right at the entrance to Bonnet House.

The Bonnet House and Pond

By the time early settler Hugh Taylor Birch purchased the Bonnet House site in 1895, the grounds had already witnessed 4,000 years of Florida history. A shell midden left by the Tequesta people indicates that human activity on the site dates back to 2,000 B.C. while further archaeological evidence suggests that the grounds saw one of the first sites of Spanish contact with the New World.

Bonnet House’s modern history began when Birch gave the Bonnet House property as a wedding gift to his daughter Helen and her husband, Chicago artist Frederic Clay Bartlett in 1919. The newlyweds began construction of Bonnet House in 1920, eager for a winter retreat where Frederic could pursue his artwork and Helen could compose music and poetry. Tragedy struck in 1925 when Helen died from breast cancer. Frederic’s visits to Bonnet House then became sporadic until 1931 when he married Evelyn Fortune Lilly. With this marriage, a renaissance occurred on the site as Frederic and Evelyn entered a prolific period of embellishing Bonnet House with the decorative elements that delight visitors to this day.

Frederic died in 1953, but Evelyn continued to return each winter. In 1983, Evelyn Fortune Bartlett gave Bonnet House to the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. Her contribution—at the time, the largest charitable gift in Florida history—ensured that the site would be preserved for the enjoyment and education of future generations.

The Pond at Bonnet House

We found wandering through the gardens and the tree-shaded grounds very relaxing, and we took a number of candid pictures along the way. I apologize that the lighting is not so good on some of them; I should have been using a flash routinely. In any event, you can click on the thumbnail images below to see some of the pictures we took:

Bonnet House Museum & Gardens is accredited by the American Association of Museums. The site was listed on the National Register of Historic places in 1984. You might also be interested to know that since our visit, Bonnet House has been declared a historic landmark by the City of Fort Lauderdale in 2002. Also, in 2004, the National Trust for Historic Preservation included Bonnet House in its Save America’s Treasures program. Due to the threat posed by inappropriately massive nearby development, the National Trust and the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation listed Bonnet House as one of America’s 11 most endangered sites in 2008.

I can report that from subsequent visits over the years, the House and Gardens have remained relatively untouched by development. Not so by Mother Nature, however, as the grounds were severely damaged and foliage denuded in Hurricanes Wilma and Rita. Only recently have the grounds returned to the lushness we saw during our visit.


Wednesday at the Beach (2/21)

We walked over to the beach again on Wednesday, when it had gotten quite a bit warmer.

The Crowd at Fort Lauderdale Beach

We didn't take many pictures during this walk, although I did photograph a paraglider and Fred did take one picture of me.


On the Riverwalk (2/22)

On Thursday, we took a walk along Fort Lauderdale's relatively new Riverwalk, and took some pictures as we went.

The Riverwalk has been built in stages over the last five or six years. At the moment, it runs from just west of Federal Highway (actually, the street just above and west of where Federal Highway goes through the Kinney Tunnel under the New River, westward past the Riverfront Center complex, across the Florida East Coast Railway and around between Old Fort Lauderdale (some historic buildings) and the river (yellow portion). It will eventually be extended around the north side of Sailboat Bend (the name given to the 270° bend in the New River near the SW 4th Street Bridge) and past the lawn in front of the Science Museum. It will continue past the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (built in 1991). This portion is marked in red on the aerial view below:

We took a number of pictures while we were out for our walk. The best way to tell you what each shows is to indicate on the aerial view where each picture was taken. There were eight of them, and if you click on the eight marked circles on the aerial view above, you can see the picture taken at that spot.

You can see in the aerial view that some new condominiums will be built just south of the Performing Arts Center; eventually, the Riverwalk was extended south past them and under the 4th Avenue bridge. But they, and the Riverwalk extension, won't be finished for some years yet.

You've heard of "cheaper by the dozen"? Well, on our way back home, Fred took a picture of a mother with a dozen children!


Another Trip to the Beach (2/22)

The afternoon of the same day we went for a walk along the Riverwalk, we went to the beach again. We walked along the seawall to see some of the decorative pillars they've put up at each of entry points to the beach.

It was kind of cloudy when we first got to the beach, but as we walked along, the sun came out, so we went out and laid on the beach for a while. Here is a picture I took of Fred on the beach.


Ty and Scott's Boat

I have mentioned our friends Ty and Scott before; they have lived here in Fort Lauderdale for ten years now, and it is largely because they moved down here from Dallas in 1987 that Grant and I ended up with the condo at all.

When the two of them first moved down here, they bought a 40-foot cabin cruiser and they lived aboard that while they were getting their design business off the ground. Later on, when Grant started coming down to Fort Lauderdale, but before we bought the little condo, he stayed with them on that boat. Eventually they sold the boat, bought a condo to fix up and moved into it. A short while ago though, the urge to have a boat again got too strong, and they bought this one (although it is not a live-aboard). Today, they've invited Fred and I to come see the boat and go for a little cruise.

I did take one picture of Ty and Scott and their boat, and also a couple of other pictures- one while we were out on the Intracoastal. You can click on the thumbnail images below to see those pictures:

That was about it for our picture-taking on this trip to Florida. We did walk to Shirttail Charlie's (on the New River across from Old Florida) for lunch one day. They have seating out on a dock right by the river, so when we go there, we like to get one of those tables so we can watch boats, like the Jungle Queen go by. I also took a picture of Fred on Shirttail Charlie's dock.

And on our last day here, we went down to Jack Fontaine's condo (two doors down from my own) for a visit, and Jack took this picture of Fred and I in his living room.

It was a nice, relaxing trip down here, but we had to catch a 6PM flight home so Fred could get enough sleep to prepare for work on Monday morning.

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.

April 12, 1998: A Visit to the Dallas Arboretum
Return to the Index for 1998