Edison & Ford Winter Estates
Fort Myers Art Walk
Although you may not want your kids running into all of the galleries, these walks, held on first-Friday evenings, are laidback enough...
Southwest Florida Museum of History
Crammed with cool artifacts, this museum leapfrogs from the giant sloths and woolly mammoths of the Pleistocene Era to the twisted props...
Boston Red Sox
Baseball's hallowed Boxton Red Sox do spring-training at City of Palms Park (2201 Edison Ave).
Bennett's Fresh Roast
The best coffee around is served at this cute cafe owned by a former Fort Myers radio personality. Do not miss the donuts! They’re...
Lonely Planet review
Florida's snowbirds can be easy to mock, but not this pair. Thomas Edison built his winter home in 1885 and lived in Florida seasonally until his death in 1931. Edison's friend Henry Ford built his adjacent bungalow in 1916. Together, and sometimes side by side in Edison's lab , these two inventors, businessmen and neighbors changed our world.
The museum does a good job of presenting the overwhelming scope of Edison's achievements, which included 1093 patents for things like the lightbulb, the phonograph, wafflemakers, talking dolls, concrete and sprocketed celluloid film. Edison, Ford and Harvey Firestone were dedicated 'tin-can tourists' who enjoyed driving and camping across America together, and exhibits chronicle their journeys and how these fed their refinements of the automobile. Indeed, the main purpose of Edison's Fort Myers lab was to develop a domestic source of rubber (primarily using goldenrod plants) for auto manufacturing.
While it's possible to buy discounted tickets only for the museum and lab, don't forgo a self-guided audio tour of the estates, which won a 2008 national preservation award (guided tours are $5 extra). The rich botanical gardens and genteel homes very nearly glow, and are decked out with more historical goodies and period furniture. Grounds also include one of the largest banyan trees in the US.