When you reach the clearing, look to your left for an iconic view of Bonnet House’s eastern façade. Many newlyweds use this spot as a dramatic background for wedding pictures. The thatched Chickee Bridge was designed to look like a Seminole chickee or house. The Bartlett family had it built to span the slough and reach the beach. It is constructed of cypress wood and thatched palm fronds. The bridge was constructed by a Seminole construction company. Ada Tiger owned the Chickee Construction Company. Ada’s daughter Betty Mae Tiger Jumper was the first—and so far only—female leader of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
The wide, sandy path to the right leads to the Atlantic Ocean and Bonnet House Beach. You can explore this path and view the ocean, but please note there is no direct beach access. Many of the plants along each side are native Florida coastal hammock plants. These plants help keep the sand and soil in place and are salt and wind tolerant. When the property was bought by Mr. Birch the land up to the high tide mark was part of the purchase. Bonnet House Estate still owns 1,500 feet of the beach up to the high tide mark, and the 700 feet in front of Bonnet House is still private beach, though the museum welcomes the public to enjoy it. The beach dune visible across State Road A1A has been planted with sea oats, sea grape and palm trees to preserve the sand dune.
Continue your journey ahead through the coastal hammock. While there is a fork, you may follow either path. The path closest to the Bonnet Slough can occasionally flood in the rainy season. The paths will rejoin and turn to the left following the north bank of the Bonnet Slough. The Island Theater will be on your right.