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Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Archive for December, 2010

New Year’s Eve and Weekend at Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 30th

The Edison & Ford Winter Estates will be open on New Year’s Eve, December 31 and New Years Day, January 1, until 9 PM, for visitors to view the holiday lights and the homes, gardens and museum of the famous inventors.  Live music will be performed in the Edison Caretaker’s House and guided tours will be available at 6:30, 7:00 and 7:30 PM.

Guided tours are available throughout the day as well as self-guided audio tours through the homes and gardens.

Please contact the Estates at 239.334.7419 for additional information and group tour programs.
 
The Estates is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Estates is the winner of the 2009 National Stewardship Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is an official project of “Save America’s Treasures” at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a Florida Historic Landmark and a National Register Historic Site. For additional information call 239-334-7419 or visit the web site at www.efwefla.org.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Programs – January 2011

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 21st

January at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is highlighted with NEW Boat & Cruise Tours, Drawing in the Gardens,  as well as Floorcloth Painting Class and a variety of other special programs and activities throughout the month.  The January schedule of programs and events include:

NEW Boat Cruises & Tours, Wednesdays, 10 AM – 4:30 PM
The Estates and Captiva Cruises will be offering Boat Cruises & Tours from Captiva Island to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.  The NEW cruise tour will provide a unique look at the Caloosahatchee River and its importance ecologically and culturally, a great view of the Estates from the water, lunch at a private club and a tour of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.  Ticket cost is Estates Members $60 adults, $50 children (ages 12 and under); non members $70 adults, $60 children (ages 12 and under) plus tax and includes cruise, lunch and tour of the Estates.  Seating is limited and reservations are suggested by calling 239-472-5300.   Customized private tours can be scheduled for groups, departing from various locations any day of the week.  For more information contact Captiva Cruises (239) 472-5300. 

Behind the Scene Tours, return on Thursdays January  – May at  10:30 AM
Visitors will enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour inside the Edison and Ford homes.  These unique tours are offered at no cost to Estates Members and $40 for non members.  Due to the intimate nature of “Behind the Scene Tours” space is limited and registration is required.

Edison & Ford Holiday Nights, Last night open January 1, 5:30 PM – 9 PM
NEW Guided Tours at 6:30 PM & 7:30 PM
The Estates holiday tradition continues with Edison & Ford Holiday Nights, Southwest Florida’s 35 year annual event.  The winter homes of the Edison and Ford families are seasonally decorated.  NEW Guided Tours at 6:30 PM and 7:30 PM (special ticket) of the homes and gardens including period decorations and Edison and Ford family traditions.  The Estates Museum will be open with special exhibits as well as nightly Edison & Ford era music.  Cost:  Estates members FREE; non members – adults, $15, children (ages 6 – 12) $1; students ages 13 – College $8.  Guided tour cost:  Estates members, FREE, non members – adults $20, children $11.  Group rates are available to groups of 20 or more people with advance reservations.

Drawing in the Gardens:  An Introduction to Botanical Illustrations with artist Megan Kissinger, January 7 (5 PM – 7 PM) and January 8 (9:30 AM – 3 PM)
The two day workshop begins with a guided botanical tour with the Estates Plant Curator to familiarize participants with the Estates blooming fruits and flowers.  Day two is instruction with artist Megan Kissinger in the Estate gardens.  A compliment class, Advanced Botanical Illustration is available January 21 & 22.  Cost: Estates Members $50, non members $60; as well as $10 for essential supplies.  Registration required. 

Etiquette at the Estates:  Mina & Mimi’s Manners, January 8 & February 5, 11 AM Mina Edison, wife of Thomas Edison, was a gracious hostess and interested in the well being of children and the community.  Following in this tradition, Etiquette at the Estates, includes one day (two hour) lessons in etiquette and social skills.  Children will learn proper introductions, handshakes and dining etiquette during a three course meal.  Class will be taught by Suzanne Willis who has been teaching similar classes at the Ritz-Carlton hotels throughout the nation.  Registration required.  Estates Members $40; non members $50. 

New Volunteer Orientation, January 11, 9:30 AM
Join Estates staff to learn about volunteer opportunities, Estates policies and general Museum information.  This is a mandatory training for all new Estates volunteers but potential volunteers are welcome.

Floorcloth Painting Class with Marie Dyer, January 15, 10 AM – 2 PM
Artist Marie Dyer, best known for her vivid floral and still-life paintings, will teach participants how to transform a piece of unfinished floorcloth into a tropical delight.  No prior painting experience is necessary.  Materials included.  Cost:  Estates Members $70; non-members $75.  Registration required.

Edison Ford Winter Estates Foundation 10th Annual Foundation Gala, January 15
The Edison & Ford Winter Estates and Sam Galloway, Jr., President of the Edison Ford Winter Estates Foundation will host the 10th Annual Foundation Gala.  For more information contact the Edison Ford Winter Estates Foundation office at 239-274-2377.  The Edison Ford Winter Estates Foundation provides preservation and restoration support to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Inc.   

Homeschoolers:  Cars & Contraptions, January 20, 1 PM – 3 PM
Inspired by Henry Ford, homeschooled students will learn about engines, simple machines and fantastic contraptions that will inspire students to build their own.  Students and their parents can enroll in a half day of curriculum that follows the Florida Sunshine Objectives for Learning.  The program follows the Lee County mandated program and addresses environmental science, history and reading SOLS.  Pre-visit curriculum materials will be mailed to registered families.  Registration required. Estates Members $5; non members $15 (one adult, one child) additional $5 per child. 

Estates Tropical Florida Bridal Fair, January 23, 1 PM – 5 PM
The third annual Estates Tropical Florida Bridal Fair will be held on the beautiful grounds of the Ford Estate, Southwest Florida’s premier wedding location.  With breathtaking water views, historic gardens and romantic sunsets the Estates is a perfect location for your special day.  Over 40 wedding professionals will be available to assist you as well as a bridal fashion show, dancing demonstrations, catering showcase and much more.  Cost: $5, FREE to brides.  Event is sponsored by Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Creative Events/Taylor Rental in Fort Myers; Key West Express; and Tropical Inn located in Key West.

Florida Trust:  Historic Gardens & Landscapes:  A Mobile Workshop at the Estates, January 28, 8:30 AM – 3:15 PM
The Edison & Ford Winter Estates and the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation are offering a mobile workshop in the newly restored Estates gardens.  Participants will enjoy an in depth tour of the gardens with Estates horticultural staff, learn how to choose appropriate plants for historic garden landscapes, how to catalog plant specimens, and much more.   For more information visit the website:  www.floridatrust.org or call 850-224-8128.

New Holiday Nighttime Tours at the Estates

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 20th

NEW Holiday Tours at Edison & Ford Holiday Nights offer visitors  a look at how the holidays were celebrated in the Edison and Ford era, as well as traditions of their families.  Estates curatorial staff researched historic sites and period materials to offer visitors a traditional holiday evening tour of the era. 

This year for the first time, Estate site historians will lead visitors on a holiday tour offering visitors an intimate look at how the holidays were celebrated in Edisons time.  Feedback from visitors and tour groups has been very positive.  The NEW Holiday Tours are at 6:30 and 7:30 PM during Holiday Nights.  
 “We have been researching materials for the holiday tour for several years and have recreated the traditions of the families reflecting their taste and sophistication while  incorporating historical decorations and information reflective of the period,” says Chris Pendleton, Estates president and CEO.  “In 1891 Mrs. Edison planned a dinner menu that included oysters, consommé, hard shell crab, applesauce, salads, ice cream, and a variety of other holiday treats.  Visitors can see foods of the 1891 menu in the Edison Dining Room, just as it would be served to their friends in Fort Myers.”

Some of the other interesting facts visitors will learn on the NEW holiday tour are:

• Thomas Edison arrived in early December 1929 to spend his first and only Christmas in Fort Myers.
• Edison was flooded with gifts from all over the world. They weren’t just from friends but people he had never met, among them publishers and clothing makers. His favorite gifts were from: Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone and President Herbert Hoover.
• The Fords never actually celebrated Christmas in Fort Myers, but it was one of their favorite holidays. Henry Ford spent generously on lavish gifts for his friends and family; such extravagant gifts included an emerald and diamond necklace for his wife Clara Ford purchased during the Christmas season of 1931.
• Henry Ford’s favorite activity during Christmas was dressing up as Santa Claus and handing out gifts to neighborhood and Greenfield Village school children in Michigan.  The children would be taken by horse and sleigh, or wagon, to Ford’s version of Santa’s workshop filled with toys, candy, and fruit.  The festivities also included a highly decorative tree, reindeer, and of course, Christmas music. 
• Thomas Edison created the first strand of electric light bulbs for use as a Christmas decoration.  In Christmas 1880 he strung a strand around his Menlo Park, NJ complex, including his Menlo Park laboratory.  People riding the nearby Pennsylvania Railroad would have been witnesses to the first Christmas electric light display. 
• Christmas lights really didn’t become popular inside individual households until the early 20th century, due to the fact that electricity was both expensive and mistrusted.  General Electric became the first company to offer Christmas lights for home use in 1903.  The lights were miniature base GE/Edison carbon filament lamps.  (Colors included red, white, blue, and green.)
• Edison invented the phonograph in 1877 and called it his baby. It was his favorite invention.  He filed the patent for it on Christmas Eve 1877.
• In the 1920’s children enjoyed classic toys as gifts such as teddy bears, dolls, books, balls, coloring books, wheeled toys, and crayons remained popular.
• Early gift wrappers had to be especially dexterous; scotch tape wasn’t invented until 1930! And it wasn’t until 1932 that the rolls of adhesive tape were sold in dispensers with cutting blades. 
• The first Christmas cards were more like postcards, which were relatively inexpensive and large enough to allow people to send succinct messages to their loved ones during the holiday season.
Edison & Ford Holiday Nights is a 35 year Southwest Florida tradition. The Estates historical buildings and acres of gardens are decorated with lights, traditional decorations and Edison and Ford inventions.  The Estates is open daily from 9 AM – 5:30 PM.  During Holiday Nights the Estates are open until 10 PM.  Holiday Nights continue through January 1, 2011 (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).

Estates Holiday Hours

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 20th

The Edison & Ford Winter Estates Holiday hours are as follows: 

• Dec 24 – Early closing with tours from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. No nighttime Edison & Ford Holiday Nights

• Dec 25  – Closed all day and no nighttime Edison & Ford Holiday Nights

• Dec 26 – Jan 1 – Daytime tours 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and nighttime Edison & Ford Holiday Nights from 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. last ticket sold at 9 p.m. (Last night of Holiday Nights January 1)

• Dec 31 & Jan 1 – OPEN – Daytime tours 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and nighttime Edison & Ford Holiday Nights from 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. last ticket sold at 9 p.m.

The Estates is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Estates is the winner of the 2009 National Stewardship Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is an official project of “Save America’s Treasures” at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a Florida Historic Landmark and a National Register Historic Site. For additional information call 239-334-7419 or visit the web site at www.efwefla.org.

Nominations for honorees in six categories due March 11

The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) and the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce Inc. will be seeking nominations for the second annual Chrysalis Awards to honor businesses and individuals who have positively impacted the local community.
            Award nominations will be available online beginning Jan. 3, 2011, and are open to any member of the local business community, regardless of whether or not they are directly a part of the tourism industry. Award recipients will be announced at a jointly hosted Celebration of Business & Tourism Awards Luncheon and Trade Show on May 19, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Harborside Event Center in downtown Fort Myers.
The event, co-produced by the VCB and the Greater Fort Myers Chamber and held to commemorate National Travel and Tourism Week, celebrates the value of tourism and the community teamwork involved in maintaining and enhancing tourism as a major economic engine for the county. The event also is part of the VCB’s year-round Team Tourism informational program to strengthen destination teamwork.
            The awards, designed to foster a stronger alliance between the tourism industry and the county’s business community, will honor recipients in the categories: Business Development, Eco-Innovation, Cultural Achievement, Education, Sports and Sales & Marketing. A seventh award category is the VCB’s long-standing Junonia Award, created to recognize those individuals who have positively impacted the local tourism community by demonstrating unique capabilities, leadership, commitment, and dedication.
            A panel of local business community leaders will judge nominations and select one award recipient in each of the six categories; and, as in past years, the Junonia will only be awarded at the sole discretion of the VCB. Business and individual nominees for the six Chrysalis Awards will be judged on their innovation in their respective category, how they have distinguished themselves in the community, the results of their efforts to promote the destination, their contributions to business and tourism partnerships for the overall benefit of the county, and their work to foster growth and sustainability.
            The Celebration of Business & Tourism Awards Luncheon and Trade Show, where the awards will be announced, will feature a trade show from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the awards luncheon will take place from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Costs to attend the event are $35 for a single admission and $300 for a reserved table for eight attendees. Those who wish to exhibit in the trade show will pay $160 for a booth, which includes two admission tickets. The event is projected to attract about 400 attendees.
Those who wish to nominate a business or individual to receive a Chrysalis Award can visit the Upcoming Events section of www.LeeVCB.com, on Jan. 3, 2011, where they also can register for event attendance and trade show participation through a link to the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce website, www.fortmyers.org.
For questions or further event details, contact Christine Davlin at the VCB at cdavlin@leegov.com or (239) 338-3500, Glee Ann Agius at the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce at GleeAnn@fortmyers.org or (239) 332-2930, ext. 211, or Colleen DePasquale, event chairperson, at Colleen.A.Depasquale@marriott.com or (239) 790-3500.

Artists & Authors at the Estates: Saturday, December 18, 2010, 4 – 8 PM

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 13th

Books, paintings, art, craft and other creations that feature the history and interests of the Edison and Ford families and their winter estates in Fort Myers will be personalized by a group of local authors and artists on Saturday, December 18 from 4 – 8 PM. in the Estates Museum and the Edison Creative Cottage.  The creative group of artists and authors work regularly with the Estates and feature the site and its history in their work.  It is a very interesting group.  Admission is free to this event.

     The group of artists and authors who will be available to discuss and personalize their work includes:

  • Leoma Lovegrove, artist, has long been involved with the Edison & Ford Winter Estates creating paintings, unique wearable art and this year she has created a new collection of beautifully painted light bulb ornaments to celebrate the long history of Edison’s incandescent light bulb.  Each bulb is an original work of art and is part of the larger collection of Lovegrove’s paintings (some of the Edison and Ford homes), prints and other items like painted coconuts and wearable art.  She will be leading a class in ‘plein air painting’ in 2011 at the Estates.

 

  • Megan Kissinger, artist, spent the past year capturing the historical plants of the Estates in an historical art form called ‘botanical illustration.’  Each piece includes the plant, flowers, fruit, seeds and sometimes a bit of the landscape of the homes of Edison and Ford.  Featured plants include the Royal Poinciana, Sausage tree, Royal Palms, Banyan with a total of 22 different plants.  Botanical illustration is a historical and scientific art form and has been used through the centuries to record the plant, its flowers and fruit.  One of the paintings on display has been selected to be part of an international exhibition of botanical art.  Estates Plant Curator, Britta Soderqvist finished each piece with a detailed botanical description of the plant.   Kissinger and Soderqvist will offer classes in botanical illustration in early 2011.

 

  • Ellen Sheppard, artist, creates images of ‘old Florida landscapes’ in oil and pastel.  Her work is also featured on the cover of books by her author husband, John Sheppard.  She has contributed the sale of her work to the Education Program at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. 

 

  • Marie Dyer, artist, creates floor cloths, decorative furniture pieces and paintings which feature the flowers and landscapes of tropical Florida.  Marie is also teaching a class in painting floor cloths in early 2011.

 

  • August Crane, potter, has captured the orchids, hibiscus, roses and other plants from the Estates on her beautiful hand built ceramic creations.  Some of the work is built on unique leaf structures from actual sea grape leaves.  Crane has recently been featured in Grandeur Magazine. 

 

  • Manfred Behr, photographer, has been featured in exhibits at the Estates.  His work includes photographs of tropical plants like orchids and bromeliads and breathtaking vistas of the Florida Everglades.  Most recently he photographed the interior of the Edison Botanic Laboratory as a part of restoration of the 1927 building.

 

  • Doug McGregor, editorial cartoonist, writer, illustrator and painter, featured the Edisons and Fords in many of his drawings and most recently included them in a book about Creativity.

 

  • Pat Dunn, artist, creates still life and landscapes of tropical Florida in the impressionist style.  Pat has worked at the Estates and also in Giverny, France.

 

  • Bill North, artist, has been a signature artist at the Estates for many years.  His most popular work includes the Edison Home, Ford Home and Banyan Tree.  He has received many honors and awards for this and other work including beautiful beach and wildlife landscapes.

 

  • Anita Singh, jewelry designer, creates beautiful wearable art using many of the same designs that were popular during the Edison and Ford era and some beautiful contemporary jewelry including earrings, bracelets and necklaces.

 

  • Carlene Brennen, author, has recently written, Ultimate Tarpon Book, with author Randy Wayne Wright.  She will be on hand to personalize the book and talk with guests about this unique collection of stories of famous fish and personalities who are all part of Southwest Florida’s tarpon fishing history.

 

  • Jane Kirschner-Tucillo, author, has written and illustrated a very appropriate book for children of all ages who love this area, called Annabelle from Sanibel.

 

  • Tom Smoot, author, attorney and former board president of the Edison & ford Winter Estates, book, The Edisons of Ford Myers, is the definitive and highly collectible book about the history of Mina and Thomas Edison in Fort Myers.

 

  • John Sheppard, author and retired attorney, has written a very popular historical memoir as a third generation resident which documents the growth and development of Fort Myers and Lee County between 1898 and 1945. 

 

  • Harry Adams, author, presents a fictional but historical story about Fort Myers, named The Dancing Porch.

 

  • Charles Scobczak, author, has captured the natural history, animals, plants of the region in a beautiful nature guide, Living Sanibel, a Nature Guide to Sanibel and Captiva Islands.

 

     Other books and art featuring the Edisons, Fords, and their Winter Estates includes Alan Maltz, Vision of Beauty, and other collector books like Great Houses of Florida and Old Florida.  This is a great opportunity to find unusual gifts and meet the people who created them.  And just for fun, the new Edison Muckers will be on hand to demonstrate the old inventions and give visitors a chance to make a new version of Edison’s polymer rubber.

    The Edison & Ford Winter Estates is open daily 9 – 5:30 during the year and in December in the evenings to celebrate the decorated and lighted estates from 5:30 until 9 PM.  Call 239.334.7419 or check the website at www.efwefla.org

Edison & Ford Holiday Nights opens Thursday, December 9, 2010 at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Spend the holidays with one of Southwest Florida’s holiday traditions that is a “must see” event and fun for the entire family. Discounts to Lee County residents continue throughout opening weekend. Thursday evening, Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Edison will turn on the lights and welcome visitors to officially open the event at 5:30 p.m. Visitors will have the option of a self guided tour or guided tour (6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.). Guided tours include the historic homes, gardens, and museum with a site historian and are available on a first come, first serve basis. This year there will be events including the artist and craftsmen exhibits and appearances in the “Creative Cottage” as well as book signings and demonstrations located in the Edison Caretaker’s House; nightly entertainment by local school and community groups; Horse and Wagon Rides; live Edison era music, and a “Children’s Tree Trail.” The “Trail” will be a veritable forest of lighted trees with handmade ornaments from Lee County students and is FREE to the public. During the holidays the homes of Thomas and Mina Edison and Henry and Clara Ford will be open nightly from 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. The Estates Museum will be open nightly as well as the Estates Banyan Café for refreshments. Tickets for a self guided tour are $15 for adults and $1 for children (ages 6-12); guided tours are $20 for adults and $11 for children (ages 6-12). Groups may schedule guided or unguided tours from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. and will receive discounted group rates. The Estates is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Estates is the winner of the 2009 National Stewardship Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is an official project of “Save America’s Treasures” at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a Florida Historic Landmark and a National Register Historic Site. For additional information call 239-334-7419 or visit the web site at www.efwefla.org.