Edison and Ford Winter Estates
Two hours away from the Tampa Bay area ( and 40 minutes south of Port Charlotte, spring training site to the Tampa Bay Rays) is a
historical attraction that is very important to the Fort Myers area. During December the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers, Florida are decorated for Christmas, making December the best time to visit these estates. The estates are opened daily (except for Thanksgiving and Christmas) from 9:00 am to 5:30 PM. I arrived at the estates at 1 pm on a Sunday in mid-December. There are several tours available; I went on the Historian Tour because it is led by a tour guide of the Edison and Ford Estates and includes an optional audio tour of the estates and admission to the museum and laboratory. It is $25.00 but there are several discounts available (I used AAA). Since the tour began at the museum, I explored the museum for about 30 minutes. The museum contains photographs and artifacts from Edison’s time in Florida, such as photos of Edison and Ford driving Ford Model Ts.
After the introduction at the museum, the group followed the guide across the street to the estates. The estates contain over 1,700 plants and are on the Caloosahatchee River, making it one of the most beautiful yards I have ever seen. The best object on the grounds was the swimming pool, the third pool built in the area. The group was not allowed to enter the houses because of damage caused by water and bugs, but all the entrances and windows are opened to allow guests to see the inside of the houses. After seeing Edison’s house and guest house, the group was led next door to Henry Ford’s house. The tour ends in a garage that now serves as a gift shop. There are a total of two gift shops at the attraction (prices were not bad). The estates also sell vegetables, fruits, herbs, and local Florida plants. After the tour ended, the group was free to roam the estates with the audio tour, though the guide said nearly the exact same thing as the audio did. The attraction takes about three hours to view all together.
On December nights the public is allowed to view the estates in Christmas lights from 5:30 to 9:30 pm. pm. I received free admission with my receipt from earlier in the day. At the Edison and Ford Holiday Nights there are local artists, cooks, and authors selling their items plus a local band playing Christmas music. There are also tours offered at night and the museum and laboratory are opened. The Edison and Ford Winter Home are best viewed in December when the houses are decorated for Christmas and the weather is cooler since the tour takes place outside. It is a great attraction for anyone who loves history or is visiting Florida.