Florida on a Tankful: Holidays at the Edison and Ford estates

By Virginia Johnson , Spectrum Bay News 9 Entertainment Host/Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, December 15, 2017

The light ebbs.

And the sun sets on the Caloosahatchee River in Ft. Myers, just as the warm glow of other shapes illuminate the twilight hour.

It's only fitting it's Thomas Edison's Winter Estate bathed in the glow of twinkling lights-- Edison was creator of the very first strand of electrical lights. 

"We have hundreds of thousands of lights throughout our homes and our gardens on the site," said Lisa Sbuttoni, Vice President of the Estate’s Community and Visitor Relations.

His next door neighbor Henry Ford’s house is decked out too.

It's the Edison and Ford Holiday Nights event where the former snowbird homes are decorated in all their 1920's regalia-- Victorian, natural and authentic.

"The first set of lights actually were red, white and blue and we have star spangled holiday theme this year," said Sbuttoni. 

Edison's living room is filled with the family's original furnishings and belongings.

"It's so cool to see they kind of enjoyed doing the same things we enjoy today," said Sbuttoni.

And they enjoyed it under the light of Edison's invention the Electrolier - an electric chandelier.

"At the time these industrialists were building these massive homes that were pretty much dipped in gold, and then you come here and it's just a very casual, a very quaint, a very charming place," said Sbuttoni.

Same goes for their guest house-- named the Mango, and the Henry Ford home, which Ford purchased to be close to his longtime friend.

You can experience this patriotic Christmas of old throughout the 20 acres of grounds, and of course a garage filled with antique cars-- it is Henry Ford's house after all.

And even their dancing fountain offers a taste of Edison's genius—it’s lighted.