One of our favorite programs at Edison Ford is our season of tours to a select group of cities with some very unique museums, gardens and historical sties. For the 2016 – 2017 season we have a very exciting list of destinations! This is a great way to learn about Florida history, science and culture firsthand as we often provide insider and behind the scenes experiences through our staff and colleagues at the sites we visit.
Cost for each trip: Edison Ford Members $105; non-members or the general public $125. To sign up or for more information, please contact Nancy Achter at 239-334-7419 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- November 12, 2016 – Fairchild Botanical Garden and Vizcaya Museum & Gardens – Coral Gables and Miami area
Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone worked closely with David Fairchild, who created the first international seed bank in Miami. Much of their collaboration was focused on finding a source of organic rubber which could be grown in the U.S.A. Today Fairchild’s research gardens are known as Fairchild Botanic Garden and encompasses 80 acres of unusual tropical plantings. This day is also the day they celebrate their Fall Garden Festival which features The “Ramble”, South Florida’s largest event for gardeners and festival-goers. We will experience all that fall has to offer in South Florida with seasonal cooking classes, home gardening demonstrations, autumn beer garden and seasonal vignettes, all mixed with Ramble traditions like: art, antiques, rare books, garden vendors and one of the largest plant sales around. After enjoying the Ramble and lunch at Fairchild, we will visit Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.
Vizcaya is the former villa and estate of businessman James Deering, of the Deering McCormick-International Harvester fortune. The early 20th century estates includes extensive Italian Renaissance gardens. Vizcaya is described as the “finest private house ever built in America.” A true jewel among Miami’s skyscrapers and subdivisions.
- December 10, 2016 – Henry Flagler Museum and Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens – Palm Beach (This will be an afternoon – evening tour.)
This tour will begin in the afternoon for a tour at the famous Henry Flagler Estate. Whitehall, the home of the Flagler Museum was built in 1902 for Henry Flagler, Cofounder of Standard Oil and his third wife Mary Lily Kenan. The mansion is built around a large open-air courtyard and has 75 rooms modeled after palaces in Spain and Italy.
The Festival of Trees at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens is a premier holiday event. This year’s theme Celebrating Design through the Decades will illuminate the importance of design throughout history and the context of the culture and temperament of the times. Each evening there will be choral, instrumental, dancing and theatrical performances offered with a dazzling light music show.
- January 2017 (Date TBA) – Everglades Museum, Historic Rod & Gun Club, Ted Smallwood Store and Private Airboat Ride with Captain Mitch – Everglades City
This tour will begin with a private guided walking tour of Everglades City. We will then visit the Historic Rod & Gun Club which is a living monument to the Gilded Age. It was built in 1864 by the founder of Everglades City. Walking into this club is like entering a time-warp, and was the playground for some of the world’s most wealthy people back in the day. We will also visit the Smallwood Store which served as a trading post to purchase goods such as produce, hides and furs. After we have lunch at Camellias, a casual beach shack known for its fried seafood, we will venture out for a private airboat tour with Captain Mitch. Mitch is part of the oldest family in the industry in Southwest Florida and has been in the business since he was knee-high to a bullfrog.
- February 2017 (Date TBA) – Miami, Montgomery Botanical Garden and Homestead Nurseries (orchids, fruit trees)
Montgomery Botanical Garden is a nonprofit botanic garden that was established in 1959 and keeps living specimens from wild plant populations worldwide. Colonel Robert H. Montgomery was not only a lawyer and accountant but an avid plant lover. He also founded Fairchild Gardens. Upon Robert’s death in 1953, his wife Eleanor “Nell” wanted to continue her late husband’s love of plants so she provided a site for research investigations on the collections. A private educational tour will be provided of this 120 acre collection, which has the largest and finest private collection of palms and cycads in the world. The tropical plant collections are extraordinary in their scientific, educational and conservation value.
We will also visit local nurseries so you may purchase tropical plants, and other items for your personal garden.
- March 2017 (Date TBA) – Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and Historic Spanish Point – Sarasota
On the shores of beautiful Sarasota Bay, Selby Gardens is a tropical oasis with something that everyone will enjoy. In addition to a tour by an experienced docent our own horticulturist, Debbie Hughes will also provide educational information about this beautiful tropical garden. Next we will head south to Historic Spanish Point where we will enjoy this 30 acre outdoor museum. While Spanish Point is a complex museum there are four main elements to the overall story. They refer to them as the 4 “P’s” of Historic Spanish Point, Prehistory, Pioneers, Palmer and Plants. Spanish Point also has one of the largest Butterfly gardens in Florida.
- May (Date TBA) – John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art – Sarasota
We will visit the John Ringling Museum of Art, filled with one of the early 20th century’s most prolific collectors or art. We will also tour the famous home of John and Mable, known as the Ca’ d’Zan which was inspired by the Ringling’s 25 years of travelling in Europe acquiring circus acts and art. Other highlights of the trip will include the Circus Museum, special exhibits, rose garden and the grounds of one of the wealthiest couples in America, at the time.