Wednesday (8/19/14) A Visit to the Edison and Ford Winter Estates
Perhaps the most important and interesting historical site in the Fort Myers area is the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Thomas Edison was told by his physician that he should head south for warmer weather for his health. He decided to go to St. Augustine, the then playground of the rich and famous. Unfortunately, St. Augustine had one of its colder winters on record, so he decided to go further south, settling in the Fort Myers Area. His good friend, Henry Ford, decided to join him and they built winter homes next door to each other. Edison would spend 4-6 months out of the year hear, while, Ford would come down for a much shorter time-period, mainly to spend time with Edison
The Historical Site contains a museum and the winter homes of these two great inventors and entrepreneurs. The grounds (22 acres or so) are covered with exotic plants and trees from all over the world. It was a wonderful experience. We saw the Model-T that Ford gave to Edison. We saw and actually listened to one of Edison’s early phonographs, nearly 100 years old. To think how revolutionary these inventions were at the time. When Edison took his phonograph to show it in Europe, a couple of men in the crown leaped up and shouted that this was some American hoax. There had to be a person beneath the box speaking.
This trip occupied almost our entire day, although we were only there for a couple of hours. We spent three hours on public transportation getting there and three hours back. And the museum was probably only 15-20 miles away! We spent these six hours either on buses or waiting on buses. This was our first significant experience anywhere with riding buses, although we’ve ridden an occasional bus. We have, over the past several years, gotten quite comfortable with subway systems (in London, Paris, New York, among other places). The buses today were quite comfortable and wonderfully air-conditioned. Overall, Cindy and I didn’t mind the amount of time spent going to and fro for this reason. But, the schedules are much too infrequent. We had to change buses three times (four buses total) and at least once each way, we had to wait almost an hour between buses. I wouldn’t want to do this everyday, but, again, we really didn’t mind today and had a wonderful time spending the day with each other. Carson and Hope, our friends from Regatta Pointe now in the area, have offered us use of their car which we’ll probably taken them up on in order to do a little shopping in the next day or two.
Returning back to Ft. Myers Beach around 6:30, we had pizza at Petey’s again before dinghying back to Beatitude. We then sat on the foredeck watching the sun set below the Matanzas Pass Bridge in front of us. I am still sitting there now, in the dark, typing this blog post, with the cool evening breeze blowing in my face, surrounded by other sailboats with their anchor lights glowing brightly atop their masts.