We are currently in Fort Myers, Florida, waiting for our delivery of The Wowee. Between now and then we are out exploring southern Florida. Yesterday we spent the day in Naples and ran over to Marco Island. Perched on the Gulf of Mexico, Naples is well known for its high-end shopping, world-class culture and sophisticated dining. But it’s also an affordable family destination that appeals to nature lovers and beach aficionados. Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South are the focal points for shopping in the historic downtown area, with art galleries, clothing boutiques and home decor shops. When it comes time for lunch or drinks and dinner, you can enjoy your meal with a water view at a swank beachfront resort or a funky bar or cafe just about anywhere in the downtown area.
Wednesday: It’s raining. It has been raining for several days now. We are waiting for a pre-delivery inspection scheduled for tomorrow. It’s about a 6 hour process to make sure all systems in the coach work. From there we’ll spend a week at a RV resort staying close to the dealer should we need help figuring out how something works or doesn’t work. Buying and stocking up on supplies and things we’ll need means a run to Costco, Wally World, and anywhere else that excepts green backs. Based on our consumer spending lately I think you’ll see an improvement in the overall economy here in the sunshine (haven’t seen much lately) state of Florida.
Edison Ford Winter Estates
We set out on a morning trip to Thomas Edison’s and Henry Ford’s winter homes in Fort Myers. We were somewhat skeptical of what to expect but were pleasantly surprised. The estates are located in an older, high end residential area of Fort Myers. A huge banyan tree greeted us as we entered the parking lot.
Edison had his home built in 1886 with lumber for the home’s post-and-beam structure pre-cut in Maine and transported by ship to Ft. Myers. All of the rooms in the homes on the estate are on display with the original furnishings. The dining room table, for example, is completely set with china, crystal, silver and linens. Other really interesting features are the ceiling light fixtures that were beautifully designed by Edison himself.
Henry Ford purchased his home in 1916 on the same property. He and Edison became good friends and their families enjoyed exploring southwest Florida, and fishing, boating, and dancing in Ford’s living room on the weekends. The Caloosahatchee River is at the foot of the estates so fishing, boating and swimming were part of family’s vacationing routine.
In addition to the homes, the estate gardens are magnificent. One of the most fascinating things we saw were mango trees which neither of us had seen before. Mango trees are huge when fully grown and the mangos hang from the trees by the hundreds if not thousands on the larger trees. There were all sorts of trees, bushes and flowers from all over the world and each was clearly identified. There are too many to name but some of the most memorable are the orchids, the ginger bushes, the vanilla trees and a tremendous variety of palm and bamboo trees. Edison researched all different kinds of trees in search for new sources of trees that could product rubber grown here in the U.S.
Of course Ford is noted for his cars and there is a garage that exhibits several in all their former glory. There is the first “camper” designed by Ford as well as a truck and some great model Ts on display.
The adventure of touring these estates was more fun that we envisioned. With the price of admission, a self-guided hand wand recording device is supplied and it is a great way to go around at your own pace and view the points of interest which are numbered and activated when you press the corresponding number on the wand. It was a perfect day after several days of on-and-off rain. The estates are a must-see if you’re in the area.
After leaving we stopped for lunch at McGregor’s, a small café we had seen on our way. We had a delicious lunch of mile-high broccoli and cheese quiche and a grilled mahi-mahi sandwich which we enjoyed outside under umbrellas on a cute patio. What a great day here in Florida!