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Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Archive for March, 2013

Emerging Inventors/Early Learners Classes

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 30th

● April 4 – Bouncing Bubbles, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.

● April 18 – Fun Flowers, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.

      Edison Ford Emerging Inventors/Early Learners class for one – three year old children and their parents, grandparents or other family members. The program includes socializing with others, education activities, story time, singing, crafts and exploring the homes, gardens and museum at Edison Ford. Each session introduces science through activities and time to tend the Emerging Inventor’s Vegetable Garden! Cost:  Edison Ford Members $5; non-members $15 (one adult, one child), additional $5 per child.


Visit Edison Ford in April

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 29th

Daily Tours

      Springtime is a great time of year to visit the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. The gardens are in full bloom, the weather is sunny and breezy and the historic buildings are dazzling. Every day of the week visitors have the option of an Historian Led Tour, Audio Tour in English, German, Spanish or French, or a Lab and Museum Tour.

      Throughout the week, there are also specialty tours including:

 • Saturdays  – 11:00 a.m.  Edison Ford Mucker/Young Inventor’s Tourapril update young inventors kids tour

     Children of all ages will have fun while participating in hands-on science activities based on the inventions of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Activities include an assembly line, phonograph demonstrations and much more. Cost: Edison Ford Members FREE, non-members Adults $12, Children (ages 6-12) $5.

• Tuesdays  – 10:30 a.m.   Garden & Estates Tour

      This tour is led by the Historic Garden Manager and includes the historic gardens as well as a behind-the-scenes tour of the greenhouse and propagating nursery. Tour includes history of the estates, admission into the Lab and Museum and audio tour. Cost: Edison Ford Members FREE, non-members $40.

 • Wednesdays – Noon and 1:00 p.m.  River Cruise, Tour and Lunch

      Participants will  enjoy a boat cruise, lunch and audio tour of the homes and gardens, lunch at the Royal Palm Yacht Club as well as the guided tour of the Caloosahatchee River. Ticket cost: $45 non-members, $30 Edison Ford members.

• Wednesdays – 10:30 a.m.   Historian-Led German Language Tour

     Historian led tour of homes, gardens, lab and museum in German. Cost: Adults $25, Children (ages 6-12) $15.  Tours in French and Spanish are available for groups of 15 or more with advance reservations.

• Thursdays – 11:00 a.m.  Behind-the-Scenes Tourbehind the scenes1

      A Behind-the-Scenes Tour takes you inside and up close in the Edison and Ford homes led by curatorial  staff, it  includes the homes, gardens, lab and museum.  Cost: Edison Ford Members FREE; non-members $40. Space is limited and reservations are suggested by calling 239-334-7419.

      Groups can schedule specialty tours or customize their visit to fit the needs and interests of the group by calling 239-334-7419 for reservations and group rates.


President’s Update ~ Chris Pendleton, President & CEO

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 28th

president report      It takes many people at Edison Ford to remain one of the top ten most visited historic home sites in the nation, and to continue to grow as we have in the past few years since becoming a non-profit corporation.presidents update April 2013 volunteer docent

      A great deal of our success is due to the support of our large volunteer group. We rely on our volunteers for support in all areas of managing Edison Ford. We have grown to 260 volunteers who add their donated hours for a staggering total contribution of $347,417 this fiscal year to date. Last year, they worked a total of 24,050 hours ($517,452 contribution value) which is the equivalent of 11.5 full-time positions. This year, there was not a day that went by that we did not have volunteers working throughout the site and in the office. In addition volunteers support nighttime activities such as Holiday Nights in December, special events, and weddings.

      In return for contributed work, our volunteers receive a free membership after they reach 100 hours to Edison Ford and participate in a variety of programs including the monthly Volunteer Lecture Series and Meeting and the Annual Volunteer Appreciation Ceremony.

      To manage all  of this activity and large workforce, there are two full-time Volunteer Coordinators, Holly Shaffer and Bobby Feldman, who create the work placements and oversee training and meetings.presidents update april 2013 volunteer info booth

      For Edison Ford, the rewards of our vibrant volunteer program are many. We often are told by our volunteers, that they enjoy the benefits of a wonderful work environment, learning new skills, on-going training and social opportunities.

      For information on how to become an Edison Ford volunteer, call the Volunteer Department at 239-334-7419 and ask to speak with Holly or Bobby, or attend one of the upcoming monthly Volunteer meetings.


Road Scholar Elderhostel Program at Edison Ford

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 26th

     With more than 250 participants from around the world, Edison Ford was a featured site for the weeklong lifelong learning Elderhostel Road Scholar program this pastroad scholar month.  Scholars enjoyed a Southwest Florida experience that included stops on Sanibel Island and Downtown Fort Myers.

      Participants spent a full day at Edison Ford enjoying a Behind-the-Scenes tour inside the historic homes and laboratory with curatorial staff, learning about unique interior architecture and award winning restoration, as well as how the Edison and Ford families experienced Southwest Florida.

      Edison Ford education and historian staff presented two historic presentations “Edison at Work: Laboratories and Innovation” and “Henry Ford and Industrialization” which offered insight into the two great inventors. While at Edison Ford participants enjoyed a breakfast, lunch and refreshments as well as a tour.




Register Now for Edison Ford Inventor’s Summer Camp

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 23rd

     Registration is now open for Edison Ford Inventor’s Summer Camp beginning May 28 through August 2 in science, art and nature. Camps are separated by grade levels, 1st – 3rd and 4th – 6th. Camp Counselors can be 7th – College. Cost: Edison Ford Members $200; non-members $230. To register or for more information call the Edison Ford Education Department at 239-334-7419, or visit our Web site for forms, schedule, and information.


Gators in the Garden Ahead

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 18th

• April 7 – May 25, 2013

      “Gators in the Garden” is the theme for the annual Art in the Garden outdoor sculpture installation which is a project of the Lee County Art Educators and Edison Ford.gators in the garden

      This year, 25 schools are participating from throughout Lee County and entering their giant gators to roam through the Edison Truck Garden area near the Museum. Teachers are awarded funds to assemble the recycled and weather-proof materials and then the art is up to the students to complete.

      Mark your calendars for the reception on Sunday, April 7 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. for students, teachers, families and school officials to see the student sculptures as well as refreshments, live baby gators, and a few other surprises.

      Support provided by the George M. Cox Trust and cookies from Costco.


Director’s Tours – Coming in April

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 16th

Gasparilla Island, Boca Grande – April 6

Miami, Vizcaya and Fairchild Botanical Garden – April 13

      We are traveling near and far on the two remaining Director’s Tours for our Spring 2013 series.  Both tours include behind-the-scenes and lectures with curators and historians, some very unique spots for lunch and refreshments, and excellent travel tour arrangements by our staff and our travel company.

      The community of Boca Grande on Gasparilla was once a deep water port and shipping community anddirectors tour boca grande very important in the Edison and Ford era. We will learn about this firsthand from Robert Johnson, Historian, Author, member of the Boca Grande Preservation Society, and Board Member of their History Museum. Mr. Johnson’s family came to Boca Grande in 1885 and has been an integral part of the island’s history and shipping activities. He will present his lecture in the historic Gasparilla Inn where we will also have a gourmet lunch and tour the hotel. The day also includes a tour of Johnson’s original 1892 Quarantine Station and Doctor House which has been his family home since the 1940’s. It was recently restored and enlarged by noted architect Wiley Parker who will also join us on the tour. And of course, there will be time to visit the historic Boca Grande Lighthouse, to tour the History Museum or for shopping in the Historic Village. Space is limited – call soon!


directors tour miami2      Back by popular demand we have scheduled an additional Director’s Tour to historic Vizcaya Estate and also Fairchild Botanical Garden on April 13, 2013. The full day tour includes lectures by staff and curators, lunch at Vizcaya in the historic café and tram tours in the historic Fairchild Garden.

      Registration is filling up and space is limited. Contact Cori Cramsey directly at 239-335-3678 or via email at ccramsey@edisonfordwinterestates.org.


Calamondin Citrus Day

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 11th

• March 21

      The Edisons and Fords really loved their citrus, just like we do today. Calamondin was one of their favorites.

      At the turn of the last century, citrus in pots outdoors and indoors was “the rage.” Both Mrs. Edison and Mrs. Ford had areas at their northern estates called orangeries, where they cultivated the plants in pots. They had a wide variety of citrus outdoors year-round at their estates in Fort Myers, Florida. Today there are dozens of varieties in their gardens including the popular calamondin.

calamondin      To celebrate this favorite fruit, join the horticulturalists and the chefs who will present food tastings and plant tips on March 21. There will be jams and pastries for sale by the extraordinary new Calamondin Café.

      Edison Ford Historic Garden Manager, Steve Hottovy, Horticulturalist Debbie Hughes, and a University of Florida Citrus Expert will give tips on growing and caring for citrus in the ground and as container trees (like in Mrs. Edison’s orangery). Citrus of varying sizes will be for sale. For more information call 239-334-7419.


Edison Ford at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 8th

● March 16, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Harborside Event Center and Centennial Park in the River District        reading festival books

      Join the Edison Wild Wizard at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival for hands-on science at the Edison Ford Education Booth. There will also be a performance during the day of Wild Wizard Science. And inside, shop for books for all ages at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates booth.

      This is a great annual event and you will not want to miss all of the Edison and Ford activity.







Edison Ford Monthly Volunteer Meeting and Program

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 7th

• March 12, 9:30 a.m. – South Florida Water Management Lecture Hall, 2301 McGregor Boulevard, parking available across Larchmont Avenue.

      Join Linda Taylor, naturalist and author of Great Women Exploring Nature: How Wild Florida Influenced Their Lives and Christine Lemon, Sanibel author of numerous books including Whisper From the Ocean for a presentation and book signing.

volunteer meeting book great women exploring nature      Linda, an experienced outdoor guide will present a program discussing the ties of great women in Florida’s past to nature including Mina Miller Edison and Marjorie Stoneman Douglas. Christine, a Sanibel Island resident will discuss her books.

      Copies of both authors’ books will be available for purchase and signing.

      Meetings and lectures are open to current Edison Ford volunteers as well as prospective volunteers and public. For additional information contact the Volunteer Department at 239-334-7419.



 Save the Date – April 9, 1:00 p.m.

      Annual Volunteer Appreciation Celebration” at the Royal Palm Yacht Club. R.S.V.P. to 239-334-7419.