In 1887 inventor Thomas Edison finished construction on his winter home in Southwest Florida. It was dubbed "Seminole Lodge." Edison's longtime friend Henry Ford purchased the adjoining property "The Mangoes" in 1916 from a New York man.
In memory of her husband, Mina Edison deeded the property to the City of Fort Myers nearly 60 years after it was built. By 1988 the adjacent Ford property was purchased and both were open for public tours two years later.
Now the Edison and Ford estates boast more than 20 acres of botanical gardens, nine historic buildings and the Estates Museum, which offers an impressive collection of artifacts, inventions and special exhibits. There are a variety of tour options and things to do at Edison & Ford Winter Estates.
Photo by CAROL ORR HARTMAN
“Thomas and Mina Edison” aboard the Sanitva on Captiva Cruises' River Cruise, which allows passengers to learn about life wintering in Southwest Florida from the perspective of the iconic couple. This educational river cruise, which begins April 25-26, focuses on the ecology and history of the Caloosahatchee River.
While adventure awaits visitors to the estates, Captiva Cruises is adding adventure on the Caloosahatchee River. On Wednesdays and Thursdays beginning April 25-26 Captiva Cruises will offer a boat tour of the river, which includes naturalist commentary.
"The River Cruise will focus on the ecology and history of the Caloosahatchee with Thomas and Mina Edison sharing stories of the winters in Fort Myers, fishing and inventions," said Richard Finkel with Captiva Cruises.
Founded in 1986, Captiva Cruises offers an exciting program of tours and cruises that depart from South Seas Island Resort and McCarthy's Marina. While recognized as a leader in the ecotourism industry, Captiva Cruises is committed to honoring the island's conservation history and legacy of environmental education.
What: Captiva Cruises' Edison & Ford Winter Estate River Cruise
When: Wednesdays and Thursdays beginning April 25-26
Where: Edison & Ford Winter Estates,
"Captiva Cruises has a long tradition of offering cruises, which celebrate the rich history of Southwest Florida," said Paul McCarthy, owner of Captiva Cruises. "Our office is located at the old Andy Rosse homestead on Captiva and site of the original ferry dock to the island."
The Edison & Ford Winter Estates' river cruise is just one of several cruises offered by Captiva Cruises. The seasonal schedule includes the Dolphin Watch & Wildlife Adventure, a 90-minute wildlife cruise along Pine Island Sound; and The Sunset Serenade Cruise, a one-hour cruise featuring live entertainment and a Gulf of Mexico sunset.
"Captiva Cruises has established 'Discover Southwest Florida cruises to Cabbage Key, Useppa Island and Boca Grande," said Finkel. "Recently cruises were added to the indian mounds on Pine Island with lunch at the historic Tarpon Lodge and cruising by historic fish shacks of Pine Island Sound."
The new educational river cruise leaves from Edison & Ford Winter Estates, 2350 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers. Cost is $45 per adult and $35 for children 12 years or younger. Cost includes the river cruise, lunch at Royal Palm Yacht Club and a tour of the estates. Reservations can be made by calling the estates at 239-334-7419.
"We are pleased to expand on our ongoing partnership with the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, and begin offering these natural history boat cruises to Seminole Lodge on the banks of the Caloosahatchee," said McCarthy. "The Edison & Ford Winter Estates are a national treasure and we are honored to be in this partnership with them."