HomeHotspotsEdison & Ford Winter Estates, Ft. Myers

Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Ft. Myers

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Louis Yamonico

This destination was one of our favorite places that we have been so far. Not only was it beautiful, it was educational and the staff was really the friendliest and most accommodating group we have experienced since we started travelling a year ago. Alexandria who serves currently as the Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator met us when we arrived and gave us our tour of the grounds. We were astonished at the level of knowledge she had about two of the greatest minds the world has ever known in Thomas Edison and Henry Ford as well as others who have lived on these premises. The guided tour is really the way to go here as you will learn so much and have someone to answer your questions as well, at least for first time visitors. They also offer and audio tour if you want more privacy you can listen to a tour through their app available on their website. You can also do a membership here and they do events all the time so if you live in the area this really is worth it.

Let me start of by telling you about the wide variety of botany life we experienced here. The grounds contain more than 1,700 plants from more than 400 species and have come from six continents around the world. Edison was a self sustaining man and studied nature to help him create some of his inventions, so he had these plants shipped here so that he could experiment and research about them first hand. His wife Mina was also an avid gardener and lover of plants. The pinnacle of the grounds as far as plant life is concerned is the moonlight garden which is something that can be easily missed without a tour guide as it is hidden behind Edison’s study. The Banyan tree at the entrance of the estates is also a wonder to behold and a great statue of Thomas Edison there is diffidently a picture you will want to have. The tree is one of the biggest banyan trees in the United States and is over 100 years old. There is an on site plant store where you can find some rare plants to accentuate your own garden or landscaping yourself. You will be hard pressed to find the kind of diversity of plant life you can see here anywhere else and it is meticulously maintained and wonderful. That alone is worth the price of admission.

On to the estates. Edison first came to Fort Myers in 1885 looking to escape the harsh winters up North. I never realized how instrumental he was in the growth of the Ft. Myers area. On his first trip down here he purchased more than 13 acres along the Caloosahatchee River. He spent a lot of time down here as he enjoyed the peace of the little populated area while he did his research. The modest homes are filled with items original to the Edison family. Almost all of what you see belonged and was used by Edison and his wife. The Main House includes a library, study, bedrooms and a den. Right next to Edison’s home is what eventually became his guest house. This home is identical to the Edison residence and was once the home of one of his partners. The house was used by many famous people of that period and is also furnished with Antique items belonging to Edison. The caretakers house is also on the premises near one of the very first residential swimming pools. There is a little back story as to why the original Edison study building is not on the grounds and was replaced. Ask your guide to tell you that tale as it is very interesting.

You may have been wondering what about Henry Ford? How does he fit into this story? Well we learned that Mr. Ford and Mr. Edison became best friends despite Edison being the elder by 16 years. Ford was invited to the Edison home in 1914 and enjoyed the visit so much that he purchased the adjacent property. Although none of the Edison and Ford collaborations ever worked out the two remained close friends until Edison passed away in 1931. If you are a lover of cars the estates have a nice little collection to see.

The museum on grounds is amazing. There’s really a lot to see and experience here. We especially enjoyed the phonograph collection and hearing music from these machines that were over 100 years old. You can really spend hours in this 15,000 sq. ft. building which contains stories and timelines of two of the greatest minds in human history. Just off the museum is Edison’s laboratory. Yes he was also a chemist.

Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. We very much appreciated the hospitality of the staff here and really learned a lot. This destination is a must for those travelling around Florida and it is located in one of the nicest cities we have visited here with plenty to do. Here is a link to their website for further information: https://www.edisonfordwinterestates.org/

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Good wifi
Close to hotels