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Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Creative Cottage Opens Thanksgiving Weekend

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On November 19th

The Edison Ford Creative Cottage in the Edison Caretaker’s House opens Friday, November 23 and features “Everything Lights” items as well as artwork from Southwest Florida artists including Leoma Lovegrove, Doug MacGregor, Marie Adams and Augusta Crane. Creative Cottage will be open 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily until December 1. During Holiday Nights hours will be extended to 9:00 p.m. A “shoppers pass” may be issued at the main ticket office to visit the Creative Cottage.

Edison Caretaker’s House

September 6, 2012 • 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.

The exhibit features a collection of editorial cartoons of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford from the 20th century into modern times.  At 5:30 p.m. tour the Gallery with Edison Ford Chief Curator, Alison Giesen and Cartoon Illustrator and Author, Doug MacGregor for exhibit insight.

The exhibit will continue through February 2013

Editorial cartooning has been part of journalism for centuries. It has not only become a tradition, but more importantly, has been used to help shape America’s history. Historically the role of cartooning was a way to transfer information with differing viewpoints during a time when the majority of society was unable to read. With visual clues, cartoonists are able to create images to draw attention or to make statements about current events, issues and the people involved.
The first editorial cartoon in America was created by Benjamin Franklin in 1753. Today, even though many more people can read than in years past, the tradition of editorial cartooning has carried on.
No two figures of the 20th century had more of an effect on the daily lives of Americans than Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Between them, they filed a total of 1,254 patents (1,093 for Thomas Edison, 161 for Henry Ford) for inventions ranging from the movie camera and the first incandescent light bulb to the Model T. Because of their fame these two men were very popular among editorial cartoonists for many decades.

The Edison & Ford Winter Estates is celebrating the two famous men in a new exhibit, “Edison & Ford Editorial Cartoons: Then and Now.” It features a collection of editorial cartoons from the 20th century into modern times with works from famous illustrators such as Joseph Keppler, J. N. Ding Darling, and local editorial cartoonist Doug MacGregor, who for 25 years created weekly editorial cartoons for the Fort Myers News-Press.

Edison & Ford Holiday Nights: December 9 – January 1

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 14th

Spend the holidays with one of Southwest Florida’s holiday traditions, the 35th annual Edison & Ford Holiday Nights at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers.  Edison & Ford Holiday Nights attracts visitors from throughout the world annually to view the lights and seasonal decorations that fill 20 acres of gardens, and the recently restored Edison and Ford historic homes. 
 
The theme for Edison & Ford Holiday Nights has always been a combination of historical decorations amidst the orchids, exotic trees and plantings that fill the gardens.  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, lab and museum with an historic site interpreter 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; Santa visits; Horse and Wagon Rides; 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 event also includes special exhibitions, nightly performances of dance, instrumental and choral music (by area groups and schools) and holiday items in the “Creative Cottage”, Museum Store, Garden Shoppe and the historic Ford Cottage Shoppe.  The Estates Museum and Edison’s Lab 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 (6-12); guided tours are $20 for adults and $11 for children (6-12).  Groups may schedule guided or unguided tours from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. and will receive discounted group rates.  In addition, the Estates will be offering Lee County residents special “hometown discounts” on December 9, 10, 11, 12, 2010.

Horse and Wagon Rides with Santa and The Edisons

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 21st


Holiday Wagon Rides at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates depart from the historic Ford Estate and tour the nearby old Edison Park neighborhood during the annual Edison & Ford Holiday Nights event. From December 21 – December 23 visitors can enjoy a wagon ride with Santa Claus and December 26 & 27 guests can ride with Thomas and Mina Edison. The cost is $5 for adults and $3 per children ages 12 and under. Visitors will be delighted with the meandering tour of the old neighborhood with the two stately French horses.

Edison & Ford Holiday Nights is an annual lighted event at the historic Estates of the two inventors. The event continues through January 2, 2010 (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).

Group rates for Edison & Ford Holiday Nights are available in advance by calling 239-334-7419. In addition to touring the 20 acres of beautifully decorated gardens, historic homes, Edison Lab and Museum, food and beverages are available for purchase on the river, there is nightly music in the Estates Heritage Gardens and Creative Cottage is open featuring area artists, authors and craftspeople for one-of-a-kind gifts.

Artists and Authors Night at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 16th

On Sunday, December 20, 2009, 4 PM – 7 PM at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates meet Estates Creative Cottage Artists and Authors for one of-a-kind gifts for the holiday season. The seasonal Creative Cottage is back again this year in the historic Edison Caretaker’s House with a wonderful group of local artists, authors and craftspeople.

Featured artists include:

• Photographer, Manfred Behr with work including hand painted boxes and photographs of the Estates Banyan tree

• Ceramic artist and painter, Augusta Crane featuring handcrafted bowls and sculptures of orchids, hibiscus and other tropical flowers and leaves

• Impressionist painter, Ellen Sheppard who has captured tropical south Florida and forgotten landscapes on canvas

• Painter, Marie Dyer who loves painting on found objects and her work includes furniture, floor cloths and rain barrels

• Metalwork artist, James DiGiorgio with specially designed pieces combining classic lines with modern design

• Jewelry artist, Anita Singh featuring earrings, necklaces and bracelets

Virginia Harper, a self taught artist whose joyful work includes painted garden furniture, posts and other outdoor three dimensional painted creations.

Karen Flanders with dazzling glass work, wearables and colorful three dimensional art in clay and multimedia

• Matlacha artist and gallery owner, Leoma Lovegrove who is known for her colorful iconic depiction of Florida themes and modern impressionism

• Painter, Pat Dunn with Florida landscapes and still life in impressionist style

Norman Love, internationally known, award winning chocolatier who has created a special hand-crafted chocolate in honor of Thomas Edison

Featured authors include:

Tom Smoot, Jr., The Edisons of Fort Myers

John Sheppard, One Man’s Family in Early Fort Myers

Doug MacGregor, Get Creative…Turn on the Bright Side of Your Brain

Estates Creative Cottage Artists and Authors will personalize artwork and books for a one of a kind gift and Estates Members will receive a 10% discount. Shoppers passes will be issued at the Estates ticket counter. Call 239-334-7419 for a list of participating artists.

The Estates is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Estates was awarded the National Trust for Historic Preservation Award in 2008 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 – December 2009

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 1st

December at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is highlighted with Edison & Ford Holiday Nights, the return of Creative Cottage, and Artists and Authors Night as well as a variety of other special programs throughout the month of December.  The December schedule of programs and events include:

Home Schoolers: “Experiments for the Holidays,” December 4, 1 PM – 3 PM

Home schooled students and their parents will study the science of the holidays, learning how a jolly chubby man can fit down a chimney, how reindeer fly and how a spinning dreidel keeps from falling.  The half day curriculum follows the Florida Sunshine objectives for learning.  The programs follow 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. 

Wild Wizard Lab Show, “Experiments for the Holidays,” December 6, 2 PM

The Estates Wild Wizards present a series of lab experiments exploring some of Mr. Edison’s and Mr. Ford’s illuminating inventions.  Join the Wizards and explore how a jolly chubby man can fit down a chimney, how reindeer fly and how a spinning dreidel keeps from falling.  Fun for all ages.  Estates Members are FREE, non members: $10 adults, $5 children and includes Estates Lab and Museum admission.

New Volunteer Orientation, December 8, 10 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.

Edison & Ford Holiday Nights, Holiday Party, December 10, 6 PM                                               

Kick off the holiday season with the first annual holiday party at the gloriously decorated homes and gardens of the Estates.  Guests will enjoy a special preview of the Estates annual event, food and beverages by the river, live music and much more.  Estates members, $50; non members $60.  To RSVP call 239-334-7419.

Edison & Ford Holiday Nights, December 11 – January 2, 5:30 PM – 9 PM

The Estates holiday tradition continues with “Edison & Ford Holiday Nights,” southwest Florida’s 34 year annual event.  The winter homes of the Edison and Ford families will be seasonally decorated with the “favorite things” of the Edison and Ford families.  The Edison Botanic Lab and Estates Museum will be open every evening with special exhibits as well as nightly holiday performances by area students and groups.  Special discount nights available to Lee County Residents opening weekend (December 11 &12).  Group rates are available to groups of 20 or more people with advance reservations.  For more information call 239-334-7419. 

Estates Artists & Authors Night, December 20, 4 PM – 7 PM

Looking for the perfect gift for the person on your list who has everything?  Estates Creative Cottage Artists and Authors will personalize artwork and books for a one of a kind gift. Estates Members are FREE; shoppers passes will be issued at the Estates ticket counter for non-members.

Holiday Schedule

The Estates will close at 2 PM on December 24th and be closed December 25th.   Holiday Nights is open nightly from 5:30 PM- 9 PM thru January 2 (closed December 24 & 25).  The Estates will be open December 31st and January 1 from 9AM – 9PM.

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.

Thanksgiving Weekend Events at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On November 20th

The Edison Garden Market and Creative Cottage are two added activities at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates on Thanksgiving Weekend.  The Estates will be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 AM – 5:30 PM and closed on Thanksgiving Day.

Throughout the weekend more than 30 vendors and the Estates Garden Shoppe will offer a wide variety of unusual plants including heritage plants, orchids, bamboo, bromeliads, fruits, vegetables, roses, edibles and gift items for the garden and home.  Holiday gifts such as the Estates Heritage Herb baskets and other items from the Estates Garden Shoppe will also be available.  The Edison Garden Market is a free event located in the Estates public gardens and the area near the Banyan Tree.  Edison Garden Market hours are Friday, November 27, noon – 5 PM; Saturday, November 28, 9 AM – 5 PM; Sunday, November 29, 9 AM – 3 PM.   

Creative Cottage also opens Thanksgiving weekend in the Edison Caretaker’s House with spectacular work for purchase by regional artists, authors and chefs.  Featured artisan, Norman Love, internationally known award winning chocolatier has created a special “Edison” hand-crafted chocolate in honor of Thomas Edison.  Other artists include:  Leoma Lovegrove, Marie Dyer, Manfred Behr, Karen Flanders, Ellen Sheppard, Virginia Harper, Anita Singh, James DiGiorgio, Lynn Russell, and members of the Southwest Florida Quilter’s Guild.  Creative Cottage will be open 1 PM – 5 PM until December 11.  During the Estates Holiday event, Edison & Ford Holiday Nights, hours will be extended to 9 PM.  Estates members are always admitted free and will receive a 10% discount.  For non members a “shoppers pass” will be issued at the main ticket area.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Programs – November 2009

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 23rd

November at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is highlighted with the return of the Estates Edison Garden Market and Creative Cottage as well as a variety of other special programs throughout the month of November.  The November schedule of programs and events include:

  • FREE Admission to Veterans and their Families, November 11

The Estates is offering free admission to United States Veterans and their families on November 11th.  Free admission includes a tour of the historic homes, botanical gardens, the Estates Museum and the Edison Research Lab.  Veterans must present a VA identification card or their DD214 papers to receive free admission. 

  • Edison Ford Winter Estates Foundation 9th Annual Foundation Gala, November 6

The Edison & Ford Winter Estates and Sam Galloway, Jr., President of the Edison Ford Winter Estates Foundation are celebrating “Moments in Black & White.”  The Gala features a reception and private dinner on the grounds of the Ford Estate including live entertainment, silent and live auctions featuring items that represent a “piece of the past and treasures of today”.  Limited seating!  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.    

  • New Volunteer OrientationNovember 10, 10 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.

  • Docent Training, November 19, 9 AM

New Estates volunteers who are interested in becoming Edison & Ford porch, Lab and Museum docents, or leading a group tour of the Estates grounds must attend this mandatory meeting.

  • Home School:  “Rocks, Minerals & Thomas Edison,” November 20, 1 PM – 3 PM

 Home schooled students and their parents can enroll in a half day of curriculum that follows the Florida Sunshine objectives for learning.  Home schoolers will learn about minerals and rocks including what Edison did with iron ore and Edison’s own concrete mixture.  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 Closed Thanksgiving Day, November 26, Open Friday, November 27
  • Estates “Creative Cottage” Opens, November 27 – mid January

The seasonal Creative Cottage is back again in the historic Edison Caretaker’s House with a wonderful group of local artists, authors, craftspeople and chefs.  The “Creative Cottage” will be open 10 AM – 5 PM daily until December 11.  During the Estates Holiday event, “Edison & Ford Holiday Nights” hours will be extended to 9 PM.  Estates Members are FREE; a “shoppers pass” may be issued at the main ticket office to visit the “Creative Cottage”. Call 239-334-7419 for additional information. 

creative cottage local art

  • Edison Garden Market, November 27, noon – 5 PM; November 28,  9 AM – 5 PM; November 29, 9 AM – 3 PM

The Edison Garden Market attracts plant vendors from throughout the state to sell unique plants, orchids, herbs, trees and garden merchandise.  The event also includes workshops, food sales, music and other activities.  The Market is a great event for family and friends on Thanksgiving weekend. The event is FREE to the public.

edison garden market

  • Edison & Ford Holiday Nights, Holiday Party, December 10, 6 PM                                               

Kick off the holiday season with the first annual holiday party at the gloriously decorated homes and gardens of the Estates.  Guests will enjoy a special preview of the Estates annual event, food and beverages by the river, live music and much more.  Estates members, $50; non members $60.  To RSVP call 239-334-7419.

  • Edison & Ford Holiday Nights, December 11 – January 2, 5:30 PM – 9 PM

The Estates holiday tradition continues with “Edison & Ford Holiday Nights,” southwest Florida’s 34 year annual event.  The winter homes of the Edison and Ford families will be seasonally decorated with the “favorite things” of the Edison and Ford families.  The Edison Botanic Lab and Estates Museum will be open every evening with special exhibits as well as nightly holiday performances by area students and groups.  Special discount nights available to Lee County Residents opening weekend (December 11 &12).  Group rates are available to groups of 20 or more people with advance reservations.  For more information call 239-334-7419.

Edison & Ford Holiday Nights: December 11, 2009 – January 2, 2010

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 30th

With a theme of “Favorite Things,” Edison & Ford Holiday Nights at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is a 34 year tradition attracting visitors from all over the nation to see millions of lights and decorations throughout the riverside homes and gardens of the famous families.

       Holiday Nights 08 092

This year there are many new surprises and the return of the successful favorites making this a ‘must do’ for families, residents, visitors and groups.   The Edison & Ford Winter Estates is a National Register Historic Site and has just completed more than $12 million in award winning restoration to the historic Edison and Ford buildings, and historic gardens.  In fact, the project won the top award for restoration from the National Trust for Historic Preservation this year because of its attention to restoration detail and authenticity. Just recently the Estates is adding a new outdoor lighting system for an additional $500,000.

The historic site prides itself on recreating the holiday tradition in the days of the Edison and Ford families and their hundreds of visitors.  The historic buildings, porches, interior rooms and the gardens are all seasonally decorated.  This year, there is a new spin – the lights will be brilliantly colored which was the fashion and original design of the 1920’s.  The lights are a combination of tiny bright lights, new LED varieties and antique light displays from the collections of the Estates and museums as far away as the Schenectady Museum in upstate New York (home of GE who manufactured the lights).  The site has also added areas with projected laser light star fields (Edison would have enjoyed this contemporary spin!).

 

Some of the old favorites and new additions for December 2009 include:

•           Millions of colored lights throughout the site which includes nine historic buildings and unique structures such as the 1910 above ground swimming pool and teahouse

•           Favorite Things theme for the antique, replica and designer decorations

•           Projected laser light star fields in the trees

•           Live performance holiday music nightly in the Estates Heritage Garden by groups (free to the public)

•           Children’s Holiday Tree Trail created by schools throughout Lee County

•           Holiday music throughout the gardens

•           Riverside Lights Café open nightly offering beverages and light foods for purchase overlooking the beautiful riverside property

•           Estates Museum and the Edison Botanic Research Lab will be open nightly with new exhibits and hundreds of artifacts as well as the Estates Museum Store

•           Historic Edison Creative Cottage open for the holidays with spectacular work for purchase by regional artists, authors and chefs

•           Holiday Cottage Shoppe open on the Ford Estate for wonderful gift items including tree ornaments, cards, books, jams and jellies, clothing and art work – including decorator holiday shirts by Leoma Lovegrove

•           Garden Shoppe open for purchase of Edison heritage plants and trees, flowering plants and new this year, hanging herb baskets which will be featured decorations throughout the historic site as well

•           Special Holiday Party to kick off the season at the gloriously decorated homes and gardens of the Estates on December 10 from 6 PM – 9 PM.  A spectacular evening with food and drinks by the river; live music; Creative Cottage artists and authors available to personalize gifts; photos with Santa, Thomas Edison & Henry Ford; special silent auction of wreaths.  Members $50, non members $60 

•           The Twenty One Wreaths of Holiday Nights, auction featuring designers/artists who will create a holiday wreath reflecting their unique design signature.  Wreaths will be auctioned off to the highest bidder at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Holiday Party on December 10

“In addition to the millions of dollars in improvements to the overall site, the budget for Holiday Nights is always somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000 depending on the theme and other new concepts,” says Estates spokesperson, Lisa Sbuttoni.  “We also rely on the volunteer spirit and creativity of dozens of regional groups, businesses and other volunteers for their decorating skill and contributions.”  This year, the group includes:

Southwest Florida Community Bank; GE; Florida Power and Light; Hilton Garden Inn Fort Myers; Residence Inn by Marriott, Springhill Suites by Marriot; Courtyard by Marriott Gulf Coast Town Center; City of Fort Myers; Sak’s Fifth Avenue; Sondra’s Furniture Consignments;  The Edison Restaurant; Edison Park Neighborhood Association; Edwards family and friends;  Brinson family and friends; Jeanne Dozier; Lee County Convention Bureau; Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce; Greater Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce; Margaret Sirianni; Parker/Mudgett/Smith Architects; Chris-Tel Construction; Edison Ford Winter Estates Foundation;  Goetz & Stropes Landscape Architects; South Florida Water Management District; O’Donnell Landscape Inc.; Society of Florida Landscape Architects of Southwest Florida; Smoot family and friends; Hospice of Southwest Florida, The Institute of Interior Design School, Southwest Florida College at the International Design; Southwest Florida Quilter’s Guild; Royal Palm Yacht Club; WGCU Public Media; Thompson Family; Creative Events/Taylor Rental of Fort Myers Inc.

Spend the holidays with southwest Florida’s first “snowbirds,” the Edison’s and Ford’s, at the 34th annual Edison & Ford Holiday Nights at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers.  Edison & Ford Holiday Nights attracts visitors from throughout the world annually to view the lights and seasonal decorations that fill 20 acres of gardens, and the recently restored Edison and Ford historic homes. 

The theme for Edison & Ford Holiday Nights has always been a combination of historical decorations amidst the orchids, exotic trees and plantings that fill the gardens.

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; Santa visits; and a “Children’s Tree Trail.”  The “Trail” will be a veritable forest of lighted trees with handmade ornaments from Lee County students. 

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 event also includes special exhibitions, nightly performances of dance, instrumental and choral music (by area groups and schools) and holiday items in the “Creative Cottage”, Museum Store, Garden Shoppe and the historic Ford Cottage Shoppe.  The Estates Museum and Edison’s Lab will be open nightly as well as the Estates Banyan Café for refreshments.  Tickets are $15 for adults and $1 for children (6-12).  Groups may schedule special times and group rates.  In addition, the Estates will be offering Lee County residents special “hometown discounts” on December 11 & 12. 

The Estates is open daily 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. For additional information call 239-334-7419 or visit the web site at www.efwefla.org.