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Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Archive for the ‘General information’ Category

NEW E-Ticketing and Electronic Registration Options at Edison Ford

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On January 21, 2017

click-to-purchase-e-ticketVisitors to Edison Ford have an exciting and convenient new way to purchase tickets! E-Ticketing is now available online here.

Currently, tickets for Audio Tours, Museum & Lab tours, and Member Guest tickets for these select tours can be purchased. Visitors simply need to present proof of purchase at the Information Booth, and they can bypass the lines entirely.

Electronic registration will soon be available for enrollment to Summer Camp and other programs, offering another convenient and time-saving option for Edison Ford program participants.

Food Truck at Banyan Café Opens in November

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On November 17, 2016

food truckThis month the Banyan Café Food Truck will be serving up a new menu with some great lunch items! The new and improved Banyan Café will open in the historic gardens of Edison Ford this month and will feature fresh “Edison” club sandwiches, “Mina Edison” salads, burgers, wraps, “Patent” dogs and Everglades BBQ. Cold drinks, ice cream and fresh fruit will also be available for purchase.

The new menu will provide visitors with a quick lunch or healthy snack option under the historic Banyan tree. Stop by and enjoy a “Model Tea” or cup of coffee and see what’s brewing at the Banyan Café.

Holiday Parties at Edison Ford

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On November 12, 2016


Food Truck Coming Soon to Edison Ford

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 5, 2016

food truckOpening soon in the historic gardens of Edison Ford is the new and improved Banyan Café.

With the addition of a food truck, the Banyan Café will feature fresh sandwiches, salads, burgers and BBQ. Cold drinks, ice cream and fresh fruit will also be available for purchase.

The new menu will provide visitors with a quick lunch or healthy snack option under the historic Banyan tree. The food truck at the Banyan Café should be open for business by early October.

Edison Ford Volunteer Meeting and Lecture

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 9, 2016
  • September 13, 10:00 a.m. – Butterfly Gardening – Lecture Hall in South Florida Water Management

monarch and duranta        Did you know Edison Ford has a butterfly garden certified by The North American Butterfly Association? Learn about Edison Ford’s participation in the official North American Butterfly Association Fourth of July 2017 butterfly count.

Join us for our September volunteer meeting with Senior Horticulturist, Debbie Hughes as she shares how you can create your own butterfly garden in the ground or in a container.

Butterfly plants will be available to purchase and Edison Ford volunteers and members will receive a 20% discount.

Volunteer Meetings are open to current and potential volunteers. For more information on how to become a volunteer, contact Holly Shaffer or Bobby Feldman, Volunteer Coordinators at 239-334-7419.

Holiday Parties and Other Gatherings – Plan NOW!

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 25, 2016

The Edison Ford River Pavilion will be completed in October 2016 and ready to host a variety of activities during the day and evening.

The River Pavilion is a covered 30×40 foot outdoor room with a hard surface floor, great electrical hook-up, and access to convenient parking. The River Pavilion can also be used with programs at Edison Ford like casual touring, private teas, luncheons and dinners, tours Inside-the-Homes, garden talks and tours and an endless number of classes and specialty programs. Adjacent to The Marina at Edison Ford and reachable on the coconut grove path, it offers great add-ons like restaurant dining, and guided river cruises.

The Annual Member Celebration on November 13, 2016 will be held at the River Pavilion. And, we also have some local businesses and clubs renting it for Holiday Nights Parties and other parties and meetings. But also think of family anniversary parties, birthday parties, scout meetings, and club lectures.

Edison Ford will use it for the same functions including live music, beverages and light foods at sunset several times a month. We will call it Rhythm on the River at Edison Ford.

For additional information, contact Cori Cramsey at Edison Ford who is managing its use in addition to rentals, weddings and special activities throughout the Edison Ford site. Cori can be reached at ccramsey@edisonfordwinterestates.org or 239-334-7419. Cori works flexible hours, so it is best to arrange a face-to-face meeting and tour in advance.

river pavilion events staff

2016 – 2017 Director Tours

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 21, 2016

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 nachter@edisonfordwinterestates.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.

director's tour november 2016 fairchild and vizcaya

  • 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.

director's tour december 2016 flagler and ann norton sculpture gardens palm beach

  • 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. director's tours jan and feb 2017 everglades and miami homesteadWe 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. director's tours march and may 2017 selby and ringlingNext 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.

Edison Ford River Pavilion Progress

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 19, 2016

As you can see from the photographs, the construction of the replica of Edison’s original river pavilion is progressing beautifully.

The project is being overseen by Parker/Mudgett/Smith Architects and our Trustee and Architect Wiley Parker, now retired from Parker/Mudgett/Smith. It combines the wonderful original historical look of the building when it sat on stilts way out in the river with contemporary code decisions and  materials. The work is visible through the work fence, so come and watch as this progresses.

As we know now, the Coconut Grove was a fill area that was created by the City of Fort Myers in the 1950’s to protect the historic estate of Thomas and Mina Edison from tides and storms from the Caloosahatchee River. We have continued to maintain the 1950’s rock seawall and have also beautifully managed a wonderful collection of coconut palms, oaks and bamboo (with plumeria peeking through). It is adjacent to the beautiful rock pond and the historic swimming pool, so the entire landscape is a great incorporation of old and new.

Beginning in the fall, there will be regular events at sunset for music, dancing and watching the sun as it plunges into the river. Pinchers Restaurant is working with us to assemble a great group of different musicians for visitors to enjoy and will also provide beverages and light food to kick off the evening.

river pavilion aug 2016

Lightning Protection System Now Live at Edison Ford

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 15, 2016

thorguard logo     A state of the art ThorGuard lightning protection system is now operational at Edison Ford.

The technology in use is able to detect positive energy and set off an alarm before a lightning strike takes place, making our site safer for visitors and staff alike. This will supplement our existing lightning rods and well-trained security staff.

When lightning is detected, the system produces a 15 second long blast that is audible throughout the site. Once the danger has passed, a series of short blasts indicate the site is safe to re-open. Staff are able to check the current weather conditions at any time using a computer or mobile device.

The system has been fully tested and is enthusiastically supported by the neighboring community of Edison Park.

Petting Zoo at Edison Ford

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 14, 2016
  • August 28, September 25, October 30 – 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

petting zoo girl with goat        We have moved the Petting Zoo to the Banyan Tree and Café area for shade from the trees, seating, and refreshments. There will be a ticket required which can be purchased at the Main Ticket Office.  You can park in the main parking lot off of McGregor Boulevard or the new parking areas on Larchmont Avenue. Cost: Adults free; Children entering the Petting Zoo gate will be $1.00 per child.

Call Leeanne Criswell, Edison Ford Program Registrar for more information at 239-334-7419.