Visiting The Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Not to long ago I told ya’ll that my fiancé and I went down to Fort Myers for a day to see what the city had to offer. I already told you about how much I loved spotting manatees at Manatee Park. The other event of the day we both loved was our visit to the Edison and Ford Winter Estates.

Now, first, I want to tell you, in all honesty, I was skeptical of how cool this could really be. I am a big fan of history but I wasn’t sure walking around a couple of old houses would be my type of a good time and I was nervous my fiancé was going to flat-out hate it.

Ford & Edison Winter EstateNearly every guide I looked at about visiting Fort Myers had the Edison and Ford Winter Estates as the number one, best thing to do. I am so glad we gave into the hype because we both had a great time and agreed it was way cooler than we ever imagined it would be!

Ford & Edison Winter EstateWhile the houses were incredible, The Edison and Ford Winter Estates were way more than just the houses. The Estates include 20 acres of historical buildings, historic gardens, the Edison Botanic Research Lab and the Edison/Ford Museum.

Edison & Ford Winter EstatesThomas Edison bought the property in 1885 during a visit to Florida thinking it would be the perfect spot for a vacation home. Later in 1916 Edison’s good friend, Henry Ford, bought the adjoining property. The Edison estate remained in the family until 1947, when Edison’s Wife, Mina Edison, deeded the property to the city of Fort Myers in memory of her husband for the enjoyment of the public. It was opened for public tours soon after. By 1988, the adjacent Henry Ford winter estate was purchased for $1.5 million and opened for public tours in 1990.

Edison & Ford Winter EstatesIn 2003, the governance of the site was transferred from the city of Fort Myers to a new non-profit corporation, whose mission is to protect, preserve the site for future growth and development. After the transfer, the Estates successfully completed a $10 million restoration project in the following years.

Edison & Ford Winter EstatesThe coolest thing for me was how real and life-like the houses were. They were perfectly staged and set up just as if the Edison and Ford families had stepped out for a brief minute and we were nosey neighbors popping our heads into their windows.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates All the furniture, appliances, clothing, bedding, everything was all antique and fit perfectly for the time frame there were trying to showcase. Anyone who is a history fan like me will be floored with how amazingly well these houses have been persevered and restored.

Ford & Edison Winter EstateI loved how thorough our tour was without being boring, which can be a tricky line to walk when it comes to history. I learned so much not only about the history of the houses and the properties, but about both Edison and Ford in their respective career fields, their families, their personalities, and their friendship with one another. It truly was like stepping back in time.

edison-ford-winter-estates.jpgI’m not hugely into plants and flowers, but I have to mention the incredible horticulture throughout the entire property. Even I noticed how gorgeous the trees and gardens surrounding the estates were. I also learned the Edison and Ford Estates are a highly sought after location for everything from weddings to corporate functions.

edison-ford-winter-estates.jpgLike I said above, both me and my fiancé were blown away by how much we enjoyed visiting the Edison and Ford Estates. We learned a valuable lesson in never writing experiences off as “not our style”.

More Things to Know

  • the estates are open daily from 9am to 5:30pm
  • there are many different tour options available for whatever your interests are
  • we took the self-guided audio tour for $20 a person and it was perfect for us
  • budget anywhere from 2-3 hours for your tour and for walking around other areas

The Edison & Ford winter estates are a must-do when visiting Fort Myers, Florida. Find out why!

Have your travel expectations ever been hugely surpassed?

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  • I always love visiting older homes when on vacation because you really do get to know the people that used to live there! That’s great that you and your fiance both loved the time that y’all spent there!

    • It was me and my fiancé and about 150 other 60+ year olds. no shame!!! lol 🙂

  • What a gorgeous place, so nice being allowed to have a nosey around someone else’s house isn’t it? 😀 That tree is incredible! 🙂 #citytripping

    • haha yes it was fun noising around! I felt like the naughty neighbor kid harassing my neighbors! haha 🙂

  • this is awesome, because hearing about it i might think eh, not my style, but seeing as how you thought that as well and it blew you away, that is awesome! i’ll definitely be down for seeing this if we ever head that way, i know my husband would LOVE it.

    also, saw your comment on my goodreads post and i don’t know your email to respond, but seriously wouldn’t it be nice if they allowed half stars?! surely enough people have asked for it?!

    • ahhh I’m a wordpress blog so I have problems with my profile and people not being able to respond. I need to figure out how to change that!
      my e-mail is clippert13@gmail.com

      • oh fabulous! no biggie at all, i just couldn’t find it on your blog lol but yay now i can email you back 🙂

  • Jennifer Howze

    Wow. I had never heard of these estates but you’ve really sold me on them. It looks really interesting.

    • I hadn’t heard of them either, but was stunned and had such a good time! always one of the best things about travel 🙂

  • Wander Mum

    These both look fascinating properties to visit, and like you say, a great way to have a glimpse at life during the lifetimes of these entrepreneurs. Thanks for linking to #citytripping

    • we were the youngest people there by far, but i think we had the most fun out of everyone there! haha. thanks for hosting

  • This sounds fascinating. – especially to find out more about Edison. I know what you mean though, that it could have easily gone the other way and been a whole lot less interesting #citytripping