Was Thomas Edison a Florida snowbird?

Was Thomas Edison a Florida snowbird? Absolutely. I did not know that and had no idea he and Henry Ford built and maintained large winter estates in Fort Myers, Florida.

Was Thomas Edison a Florida snowbird?

Thomas Edison’s winter home in Fort Myers.

Was Thomas Edison a Florida snowbird?

Henry Ford’s winter home in Fort Myers.

Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were pals and built winter homes next door to each other in the heart of Fort Myers, Florida. They both spent their winters in this tropical paradise with their families and famous friends, escaping the north’s cold winters.

Was Thomas Edison a Florida snowbird?

Moonlight Garden
designed in 1929 by landscape artist Ellen Biddle Shipman

The best attraction in Fort Myers – The Edison and Ford Winter Estates

Was Thomas Edison a Florida snowbird?

Banyan tree planted by Thomas Edison

Edison, the most prolific inventor in our U.S. history, was self-taught and earned the first of his 1,093 patents when he was only 21.

His inventions include the practical light bulb, the telegraph, the telephone, the phonograph, the x-ray machine. As you can imagine, there is a lot to see and learn at these museums.

Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company, built the first Model T automobile and introduced radical mass-production methods. The Model T was one of the best-selling vehicles of all time—over 15 million Model T vehicles between 1908 and 1927 when its production ceased.

Was Thomas Edison a Florida snowbird?

Wow! This glimpse into the lives of these two iconic entrepreneurs was a fantastic experience. We spent hours and hours here, and we both would enjoy a return visit even. Our first attempt to visit didn’t work out because we were in the Jeep with our dogs, and this place is not dog friendly.

We returned the following day in the RV. We left Tank and Lilly inside it in the parking lot with open windows, fans, food, and water before taking our tour and visiting the museums. It was a beautiful but warm sunny day, and we did check on them frequently to be sure they were alright.

Was Thomas Edison a Florida snowbird?

We always have to consider Tank and Lilly’s comfort and safety when we travel. This sign on the RV door gives us an added feeling of comfort.

Fords’ home.

The Edison and Ford Winter Estates include Thomas Edison and Henry Ford’s winter homes, magnificent gardens, a historical museum, and a botanical laboratory. You will also find a museum store and garden shop where you can purchase great souvenirs and plants and flowers grown on the property.

The estate still today boasts an extensive and beautiful garden with over 1,700 plants. The star of the show for me in this garden was the banyan tree planted by Thomas Edison himself.

Was Thomas Edison a Florida snowbird?

There are several tour choices here. Each day the estates provide a self-guided and a guided tour. An automotive tour and tour of inside the homes are also available. We chose the 90 minutes guided tour, which includes admission to the museum and the Edison Botanic Research Laboratory.

Our guide, Ryan, was entertaining, enthusiastic, very knowledgeable, and able to answer all of our questions. We very much recommend a guided tour here. Ryan told us many remarkable stories about the lives of Edison and Ford.

How did Edison and Ford end up in Florida?

In 1885, Thomas Edison traveled to Florida looking for warmer weather. He fell in love with the tiny community of Fort Myers.

He purchased 13 acres on the Caloosahatchee riverfront, known at that time as the Summerlin tract. Edison built a large winter retreat on his property that was eventually named Seminole Lodge.

Thomas Edison passed away in 1931. His second wife, Mina Edison, was a great philanthropist and gifted the Edison estate to Fort Myers to honor her husband’s memory.

The Edison and Ford families spent winters together, and Edison convinced Ford to buy the property adjoining his estate. Ford constructed his own winter home in 1911 and called it The Mangos.

Ford passed away in 1947, and his estate was privately sold. In 1988, the Henry Ford winter estate was purchased by the City of Fort Myers and opened for public tours a few years later.

Edisons’ home.

The Edison family spent winters here enjoying all the outdoor activities Fort Myers had to offer. Edison was an avid fisherman and spent many hours tarpon fishing.

Was Thomas Edison a Florida snowbird?

Great fishing story!

Was Thomas Edison a Florida snowbird?

Fort Myers – the City of Palms! Thomas Edison began planting these palm trees in 1907.

Sanibel Island

Was Thomas Edison a Florida snowbird?

This particular beach received Tank’s hearty approval.
Lilly — not so much.

A trip to Fort Myers must always include a visit to beautiful Sanibel Island. We didn’t make it as far as Captiva Island. Sanibel, however, is a lovely vacation beach paradise.

I thought it was interesting that Sanibel and Captiva, believed to have been discovered by Ponce de Leon, were split into two islands during a 1921 hurricane.

Was Thomas Edison a Florida snowbird?

Pirate tales abound around these barrier islands. Yes, as is the case for any self-respecting island, a pirate treasure is believed to be buried on Sanibel. All islands need a lighthouse. The Sanibel lighthouse, established in 1884, is still a working lighthouse today.

In 1963 Sanibel was connected to the mainland of Florida by a causeway bridge. Today Sanibel is a popular vacation destination for families and couples looking for beach fun. It is not surprising that Sanibel is a sheller’s paradise, although removal of live seashells is not allowed.

Was Thomas Edison a Florida snowbird?

There are excellent public beaches in Sanibel. Parking costs $5, and you will find showers, picnic tables, and shelters near the parking area. Boardwalks from the parking areas will lead you straight to the beach and all those shells!

Boondocking in Fort Myers

Our Fort Myers visit was eight days into our 20 day Florida trip, and we had managed to boondock every night except one. We spent that one night at Rodman State Park in Palatka because we had a little Jeep hiccup.

See Alluring Apalachicola. Not only is this an incredibly frugal way to travel, but each boondocking location is a complete escape and adventure all by itself.

We reserved our two-night stay in Fort Myers through the subscription service Boondockers Welcome that I have described several times. Camping is not available to the public here, only through the paid subscription service and the property owner’s approval and agreement.

Was Thomas Edison a Florida snowbird?

So far, we have had spectacular experiences with great hosts at every BoondockersWelcome property we have stayed at. These property owners/hosts are also RV owners and have made their space available to fellow RVers. We are always so amazed and grateful for this generosity and fantastic hospitality.

The couple in Fort Myers who graciously shared their property with us was the most fantastic couple we have encountered so far. I believe five or six other rigs were parked here in this enormous space, and all of us were spaced far apart, in our own individual areas.

We did meet some of the other RVers but spent more time visiting with our hosts. We heard the most entertaining stories from their lifetime of RV travels. This couple, a former special needs teacher and motorcycle racer are retired now but are still living a great life!

We will forever be grateful for the time we spent at this unique boondocking spot and hope our paths cross again someday along the road. Thank you so much, Linda and Marion.

Was Thomas Edison a Florida snowbird?

4 thoughts on “Was Thomas Edison a Florida snowbird?

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