Home Blog

Busy Parks

0
Arches National Park, Utah. Credit: NPS/Veronica Verdin

Groups thinking about putting a national park on their itinerary will want to be aware of timed reservations that several of the parks are reintroducing this year. 

Arches National Park, located in east-central Utah and which had a pilot vehicle registration system last year, will again initiate the program on April 1.

“We received many positive comments from people who enjoyed the guaranteed arrival time and reduced congestion they experienced during the 2023 vehicle reservation pilot,” says Arches National Park Acting Superintendent Brendan Bray. “A repeat pilot program in 2024 will help us learn more about how such systems can provide visitors with the opportunity for enjoyable experiences while protecting the extraordinary landscapes they come to see.”

Program parameters will be the same as the 2023 pilot, according to information from the park. Visitors can book reservations on a first-come, first-served basis through recreation.gov. Reservations will be released three months in advance in monthly blocks. As an example, reservations that opened in January are for the month of April. On Feb. 1, reservations will open for the month of May, and unreserved times in April will remain open. Additional months will continue the same pattern.

According to the National Park Service, the other national parks that will have timed reservations include: 

  • Glacier National Park, beginning May 24 for the west side of Going-to-the-Sun Road and North Fork, and on July 1 for Many Glacier. 
  • Rocky Mountain National Park, beginning May 24. 
  • Yosemite National Park will have a “Peak Hours Plus” vehicle reservation pilot system for park entry on the following dates: On weekends from April 13 to June 30; every day from July 1 to Aug. 16; and on weekends from Aug. 17 to Oct. 27. 
  • Zion National Park will require reservations to visit and hike the popular Angels Landing.

The aim of the timed entries is to help overcrowding at the parks. As an example, Arches National Park saw a 73% visitation growth rate—or an additional 2 million people annually—between 2011-2021, according to the NPS.

“This increase was concentrated during certain hours, causing congestion at key park destinations, reduced visitor enjoyment, and increased resource damage,” according to the agency. “During times of peak congestion prior to implementing the vehicle reservation pilots, the park had to temporarily close its gates until crowding lessened, resulting in many visitors being unable to enter the park at their preferred time or at all.”

It says the vehicle reservation pilots the previous two years “were successful in reducing congestion, improving visitor experiences, providing reliable access, and distributing visitation throughout the day.”

Main Image: Arches National Park, Utah, Credit: NPS/Veronica Verdin

Groups Find Riverside Recreation in Winona, Minnesota

0

Scenic and historic Winona, Minnesota, is a great destination for group tours. Brimming with history, music, art, and outdoor recreation, this charming city has a wide array of activities to ensure an exciting travel experience for all visitors. Contact Visit Winona to start planning your tour today. 

History

Not sure where to start on your Winona travel experience? The Winona County Historical Society and Visit Winona can coordinate step-on guides for bus tours to get an overview of the city. Based on your group’s interests, you can see Winona’s top attractions, view the river valley from atop the bluffs, tour museums, and more. 

Groups can also explore Winona’s Windom Park Historic District with the help of local guides. This architecture and history tour sheds light on Winona in the late 1800’s, when the city allegedly had the most millionaires per capita in the United States. Tour highlights include a stop by the statue of the legendary figure We-no-nah, the namesake of the city. 

Boats and Bluegrass Festival
Boats and Bluegrass Festival
Credit: Visit Winona

Arts

Winona is an artistic city with plenty of creative activities and events. In addition to its own plentiful art galleries and local performance venues, Winona plays host to popular live music events, including Minnesota Beethoven Festival, the Boats and Bluegrass Festival, the Mid West Music Festival. 

From June through the end of July, groups can take in performances at The Great River Shakespeare Festival (GRSF). Each year, the talented company performs multiple works by the Bard, in what Talkin’ Broadway calls “an essential part of summer in Minnesota.” In addition to attending the play, the audience can participate in behind-the-scenes tours, workshops, and panel discussions with the cast and crew. 

The Minnesota Marine Art Museum’s (MMAM) education programs and art exhibitions explore mankind’s relationship with water. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, the museum’s six galleries contain contemporary exhibitions and historic artworks. Schedule a guided tour focused on three specific galleries, then wander the MMAM’s 3.5 acres of gardens with over 60,000 native plants. 

Outdoors

Winona is in the gorgeous bluff region, a unique geographic area that offers myriad hiking and biking trails. Sugar Loaf Bluff might be Winona’s most famous landmark, offering excellent views of the surrounding area. The hike up to this nearly 85-foot bluff is only 20 minutes long, making it easy to incorporate into a busy day of exploring. 

The National Eagle Center has two floors of exhibits on regional history of the Dakota peoples and other residents, the environment of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge, and the history of eagles in the U.S. Book a tour with a live eagle ambassador and follow local experts to observe nest sites, Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, and other wildlife. Group discounts are available.


Get out on the water with the Winona Tour Boat. This narrated boat tour covers the history of Winona and its relationship to the mighty Mississippi River as it floats by the commercial port, barge systems, and famous boat house community. Not only will your group get a unique perspective on the city’s history, but it’s a great opportunity to spot eagles, turtles, deer, and more of Winona’s native wildlife.

Lead Image:
Winona’s river valley from atop the bluffs
Credit: Visit Winona

A Ride Through History

0
Harley-Davidson Museum exterior
Hill Climber monument at Harley-Davidson Museum Hill Climber monument at Harley-Davidson Museum Photo courtesy of Harley-Davidson Museum

A walk through the Harley-Davidson (H-D) Museum is like taking a walk through the history of America. With an unrivaled collection of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and memorabilia, a park-like campus, two retail stores, an amazing restaurant, and a calendar full of activities, the H-D Museum is one of Milwaukee’s top tourist destinations for visitors from around the globe. 

More than just a motorcycle museum, the H-D Museum is a celebration of freedom and passion for the open road. Visitors are welcome to discover culture and history through stories and interactive exhibits that celebrate expression, camaraderie, and love for the sport. With a selection of rotating exhibits, there is always something new to experience. Two new exhibits will open in 2024, including one that focuses on how art and design play together to create the world’s most iconic motorcycles.

Tank Wall Exhibit at Harley-Davidson Museum
Tank Wall Exhibit at Harley-Davidson
Museum Photo by Brad Chaney

For groups seeking more personalized experiences, various enhancements are available. Audio tours can be arranged in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish. Guided tours are another option: “The Spotlight Tour” (one hour) is an ideal walkthrough and introduction to the story of Harley-Davidson. The “Beyond the Gate Tour” (one and a half hours) is perfect for enthusiasts and guests who want to delve deeper into the experience. Lastly, the “VIP Tour” (two hours) includes a walkthrough of the exhibits, a visit to the Motorcycle Vault, special time with a curator or archivist on staff, and a commemorative coin. Youth group programs are available as well, including Engineering Merit Badge and STEM experiences.

Harley-Davidson Museum
877-436-8738
h-dmuseum.com

Lead image:
Hill Climber monument at Harley-Davidson Museum
Photo courtesy of Harley-Davidson Museum 

Itinerary: Frankenmuth, Michigan

0

SHOP

Nicknamed “Michigan’s Little Bavaria,” Frankenmuth, located an hour and a half from Detroit, looks just like an actual German town. Find German-inspired buildings and shops throughout the town, like the Frankenmuth Clock & German Gift Co. that looks as if it has been transported from Europe. Here, your group can stock up on authentic German wares, like cuckoo clocks. For more shopping, go to the Frankenmuth River Place Shops, found right on the Cass River and filled with delightful retail shops and eateries. To experience the holidays year-round, look no further than Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the world’s largest Christmas store.


LEARN

One local must-see museum is the Michigan Heroes Museum. It honors Michiganians who hold notable military and space accomplishments, with collections that feature more than 900 veterans and their achievements, from the Civil War to space missions. Among all of the museum institutions in the United States, this museum has more medals of honor than any other.


EXPLORE

One of the very best ways to see Frankenmuth in all its glory is from the water—namely, through a tour on the Bavarian Belle Riverboat, which looks like a paddlewheel riverboat from the 1800s. Your group will board the 150-passenger boat via a handicap-accessible dock to glide along the Cass River. From early May to mid-October, set sail for a one-hour narrated tour where you can learn about the area’s history and see the sights. To take a look at one of the most notable landmarks in the region, visit the Holz Brücke Covered Bridge, which (appropriately!) is German for “wooden bridge.” The bridge was constructed in 1980, but it looks like the real deal from times gone by, stretching across the Cass River and offering ideal opportunities to snap pictures.


LEARN MORE

Visit Frankenmuth

frankenmuth.org


Main Image: Bavarian Belle Riverboat; Credit: Frankenmuth Convention & Visitors Bureau

Little Rock Welcomes Hundreds for Domestic Showcase 

0

This year’s Domestic Showcase, hosted by Southeast Tourism Society (STS), was held March 20-22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. People from across the country—346 in total—attended the three-day event, which comprised group tour planners, sales and marketing professionals, public relations representatives, and journalists.  

“Attendance was down slightly due to it being over spring break,” says STS President and CEO Monica Smith, “but the feedback we’ve received so far was that the quality of appointments was high, and attendees enjoyed the tours and off-site events.” 

Smith says she and her team were excited to be in Little Rock and the experiences they had there were memorable ones.  

“We were so grateful to the Little Rock CVB and Arkansas Tourism for hosting the event,” she tells Group Tour. “It’s been amazing to see the growth of Little Rock and the addition of new attractions and tourism assets to the destination. … Every time I visit Little Rock, I discover something new, and this visit was no exception.  The Little Rock CVB did a great job in hosting STS Domestic Showcase.” 

Likewise, Little Rock was happy to play host to Domestic Showcase, says Jeff Chastain, director of communications with Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau. “It’s always a privilege to welcome so many industry professionals to our home, as it allows us to do more than tell you about our city—we get to show it to you,” he tells Group Tour. “Our partner attractions, hotels, and restaurants were also delighted to showcase what makes Little Rock special.”  

The event kicked off Wednesday, March 20, with tours around the host city, including media tours for journalists. That evening, an opening reception was held at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum, where, besides tasty eats, guests had the chance to self-guide parts of the center to see historical documents and memorabilia from President Bill Clinton’s time in office at the nation’s capital. 

William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum;
Credit: Andrew Weeks

The main event of the Showcase was held Thursday and Friday at the Statehouse Convention Center at the Little Rock Marriott Hotel, where representatives from the tourism departments of the Southern states and some of their cities shared information with members of the media and others about their destinations. The format was much like speed-dating, where a journalist, for instance, would spend 12 minutes with a marketing organization before moving on to the next appointment.  

One highlight for journalists was dinner at Brave New World, a gourmet restaurant that overlooks the Arkansas River and is known for its goat cheese mousse, walleye, and chocolate crème brulé. Its menu has many other options as well.  

When the event ended on Friday, another group of tours started the following day for those media types who had signed up to visit other areas of Arkansas. These post-event familiarity trips returned on Monday, March 25.   

“We hope our guests left with a picture of how much Little Rock has to offer,” Chastain says. “From the world-class Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts to the only purse museum in the country and the historic Central High School, we have so much culture to observe. Our dining scene is vibrant and diverse, and our outdoor activities start right here in town.” 

Typically, the location for the following year’s Domestic Showcase is announced on the final day of the event, but that didn’t happen this time. Instead, officials say they want time to evaluate this year’s gathering to see what modifications, if any, they may incorporate into planning next year’s event before announcing the next host city. They expect to make an announcement later this spring or early summer.  

Little Rock hosted Domestic Showcase about 10 years ago, a span of time that is “too long between visits,” Chastain says. “So much has changed in Little Rock [since then], and we are enjoying a forward momentum. There will be more to see in the future, and we will definitely want to host again!” 


By Andrew Weeks

Main Image: Visitor Center at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, near Little Rock, Arkansas; Credit: Andrew Weeks

Reviving the Past

0

Massachusetts offers many attractions that allow visitors to step back in time and experience the past in an immersive way. In fact, Boston-based groups can begin their visit with an outing at the newly reimagined View Boston atop the Prudential Center. An entire floor of View Boston is dedicated to interactive exhibits like Explore Boston, a discovery tool that helps visitors build a personalized itinerary for their Boston city stay.

The Freedom Trail Foundation offers costumed guides who share highlights of the revolutionary history that took place at historic sites right in the heart of Boston, but day trips beyond the capital can also put visitors face to face with history through period interpreters and architecture.

From March through November, Plimoth Patuxet Museums transports visitors back in time to the Pilgrims’ arrival on the storied Mayflower in 1620. “From a recreation of the small farming and maritime community built by the Pilgrims to the Historic Patuxet Homesite where guests learn about the Native peoples who have lived here for over 12,000 years to Mayflower II, Plimoth Patuxet Museums brings the 17th century vividly to life to guests of all ages,” says Janet Young, group sales manager. “This museum has its home in one of the oldest historical and faith destinations in the United States.”

Groups can engage with costumed interpreters at the different homes in the settlement as those actors demonstrate daily tasks, from cooking over an open hearth to farming. Groups are often invited into the story by having a turn at a period game or mustering with the colonial militia. An exhibit on the Indigenous peoples celebrates their culture and history.

“Plimoth Patuxet Museums is a welcoming place where thought-stirring conversations and experiences reveal ways that the 17th century can touch our lives today,” says Christina Coleman, director of public programs and hospitality. Groups often arrange to cap their outing with conversations over a Thanksgiving feast in the Visitors’ Center.

Historic Deerfield provides an immersive window into life a little later in history, with a focus on the late 17th and 18th centuries. It offers meticulously restored historic buildings and furnishings, costumed interpreters, and a vast collection of American decorative arts. The village’s authentic architecture showcases colonial homes, while interpreters in period attire engage with guests. Amidst this rural landscape, the Deerfield Inn offers a wonderful option for group meals to reflect on the visit.

Asa Knight Store, Old Sturbridge Village;
Credit: Old Sturbridge Village

Continuing this march through history, in western Massachusetts, Old Sturbridge Village focuses on the early 19th century. “Group tours are a fantastic way to explore the village and get the most from your visit,” says Emily Hamill, hospitality coordinator. “As the largest living history museum in New England, visitors can step back in time and immerse themselves in the 1830s.”

Groups encounter a bustling rural community through 200 acres of historical buildings, farms, and trade shops. Costumed historians provide insights into the daily lives of early New Englanders and their trades. From blacksmithing and pottery making to period cooking demonstrations, every corner of this living history museum offers a glimpse into the past.

“There’s so much to see and do, [so] a visit can make a great full-day event,” Hamill adds. “We offer plenty of parking, a welcoming staff, an on-site cafe, and we can arrange for customized group experiences, including behind-the-scenes tours, lectures, craft demonstrations, and workshops.”

Whether group members are history buffs or simply curious about the past, these day trips offer a fun way to connect with Massachusetts’ rich history and encourage visitors to think about today by being immersed in the world of yesterday.


By Michael McLaughlin

Main Image: The Mayflower II, Plimoth Patuxet Museums, Plymouth; Credit: Plimoth Patuxet Museums

Quintana Roo Destination of Choice for Travelers

0

Heading to Quintana Roo—or any of its nearby destinations such as Cancún, Cozumel, Holbox, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum—anytime soon? Apparently, you’re in good company.

Quintana Roo continues to be a destination of choice for travelers around the globe and across the U.S., according to recent findings by TravMedia. The report states that during the first half of last year, Quintana Roo received more than 3.1 million U.S. tourists who arrived through all airports in the state—an increase of nearly 40% compared to the same period in 2019.

This behavior confirms the relevance of this market for tourism in Quintana Roo since, between January and June 2023, the United States represented 37.8% of the total number of travelers, being the primary market for the state.

The total percentage of international visitors was 67.3%, representing more than 5.4 million people. Meanwhile, the total number of domestic and foreign tourists was close to 8.3 million.

travmedia.com


Main Image: Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico: Credit: Unsplash/Gerson Repreza

Itinerary: Albuquerque, New Mexico

0

APPRECIATE

Downtown Albuquerque is an artistic and cultural experience meant to be shared. Whether your group is independently exploring the adobe architecture or taking a guided tour of public artworks, there is beauty to be found all around. Eclectic art galleries and lauded museums, including the Albuquerque Museum (formerly named the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History) in historic Old Town, offer plenty of activities and shopping opportunities for groups wanting to appreciate New Mexico’s distinctive Southwestern heritage and culture.


FLY

Albuquerque is famous for hosting the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, powered by ExxonMobil, each October. But even if your group doesn’t tour at that time, you can still get in on the ballooning fun! The Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum showcases the achievements of individual balloonists, including several Albuquerque residents. The balloon museum is named after two Albuquerque pilots, Ben Abruzzo and Maxie Anderson, who were part of the crews who first successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a balloon in 1978 and the Pacific Ocean in 1981.


VIEW

The sky’s the limit in Albuquerque! Schedule a group visit to the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway, where travelers can gaze across 11,000 square miles of scenic views from atop the Sandia Mountains. Each tramcar can carry up to 50 passengers and educational programming is available to supplement the group experience. Be sure to stop by the Sandia Tram Gift Shop after your ride!


LEARN MORE

Visit Albuquerque

visitalbuquerque.org


Main Image: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta; Credit: Unsplash/Raychel Sanner

Daytona Beach Area CVB

0
Daytona Beach Area CVB

HAAA dba Daytona Beach Area CVB
140 S Atlantic Ave, 5th Floor
Ormond Beach, Florida 32174
Phone: 386-255-0415
Fax: 386-255-5478
Email: kgalloway@daytonabeach.com
Web: daytonabeach.com

A1171  

A Simpler Way of Life

0

Pennsylvania’s Amish Country—which encompasses Lancaster County and its hub city by the same name just a little more than an hour’s drive west of Philadelphia—is earmarked by cultural and religious history that stretches back more than 200 years. It’s a history that sparks the interest of thousands of people every year to visit, including tour groups.

German immigrants, known as the Pennsylvania Dutch—thus, “Dutch Country,” one of the area’s nicknames—were the first to settle in what is known today as Lancaster, which was called “Hickory Town” in 1709. Later, British colonist William Penn embarked on his “holy experiment” to establish a religiously tolerant community here, a place where people of faith could worship as they pleased while also participating in government—what for many during the ensuing decades became the American ideal. Penn, a Quaker, set the model and soon those of other faiths arrived, principally, the Amish and Mennonites, both offshoots, like the Quakers, of the Anabaptists. As a new century approached, Lancaster served as a munitions center during the Revolutionary War, National Capital of the American colonies for a period in 1777, and was the capital of Pennsylvania from 1799 to 1812.

Known for their simpler way of life by shunning—at least to a degree—modern conveniences and technology, the Amish have left a legacy that put Pennsylvania on the map. People from across the country and around the globe come here every year—all year long—to catch a glimpse of their unique way of living in the modern world. These trips allow visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in living history, letting them experience, at least for a time, that simpler way of life.

But don’t be fooled. As lowkey as Lancaster might sound, there’s another side to it. There is plenty to experience here for tour groups—a vibrant arts scene, living history, modern shopping, and breathtaking views. In fact, according to Joel Cliff, director of communications and advocacy for Discover Lancaster, people might be surprised to learn just how much there is to experience in Lancaster. “There are numerous group experiences in Lancaster County, and the variety is tremendous in terms of both subject matter and activity level,” he says. “And our traditions of warm hospitality and good value make our area a natural choice for new and returning groups alike.”

Living History

One of the best ways to experience Amish life is to forgo the modern vehicle and try riding by horse and buggy. Several businesses in Lancaster offer horse and buggy rides, such as Abe’s Buggy Rides, which has 2-, 4- and 5-mile ride options from spring through the holiday season, weather permitting. The ride takes visitors through Amish farmland, including stops at a real homestead, an Amish schoolhouse, and other sites dating back to the 1700s. Additional ride options include AAA Buggy Rides and Aaron and Jessica’s Buggy Rides.

At the center of The Amish Village, located in Ronks about 9 miles east of Lancaster City, is an authentic Amish farmhouse that dates to 1840. Here, groups can explore the farmland, spend time with the animals, and visit the site’s one-room schoolhouse.

According to Cliff, the Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum, which reopened its 1815 Jacob Landis Farmhouse for self-guided tours, is a good stop, adding to its living history interpretations of Pennsylvania German life. Last year, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania unveiled the 1838 “Rocket”—the oldest surviving Reading Railroad steam locomotive—in its world-class collection in the Rolling Stock Hall.

“Our three main Amish interpretive attractions—The Amish Experience, The Amish Farm & House, and The Amish Village—all do a very nice job of introducing guests to the customs and culture of our Plain community,” Cliff says. Two additional heritage attractions in Lancaster City are Wheatland—the home of 15th U.S. President James Buchanan—and Historic Rock Ford, the home of George Washington’s adjutant general, Edward Hand.

The Amish Village, Ronks, Pennsylvania;
Credit: Discover Lancaster
Modern Experiences

Of course, even in Amish Country there is the “air of modernity. Lancaster is a place that juxtaposes its rich past with contemporary offerings, creating opportunities for people of various ages to experience the area and all it has to offer. Visitors will find a slice of present-day living in many places such as Lancaster’s thriving art scene, which, among all its varieties, includes paint galleries, live plays, pottery shops, and opportunities for hands-on quilting.

“Lancaster County features group offerings all year ‘round,” Cliff says. “Our robust theater scene and historic attractions are great wintertime options, while our Amish tours and outdoor recreation activities are particularly inviting in the summer.” His favorite stops: “I love the Fulton Theatre for the amazing Broadway-level quality of its in-house productions, the beautifully restored heritage of the property itself, and the creative vibrancy it contributes to our community.”

Visitors also will find modernity at the area’s inns and motels, some of which include swimming pools, while other places, such as the Beacon Hollow Farm Amish Guest House, offer all the amenities of staying on a working dairy farm. Overall, Lancaster has plenty of places to stay the night or for several nights on end. There also is no dearth of places to eat, some that offer a taste of the past as well as contemporary cuisines.

“The beloved Hershey Farm Restaurant is slated to return in May, following a complete rebuild that features a central lobby with retail and bakery, a 300-seat smorgasbord space, and a section that connects to the hotel and offers a 100-seat family-style dining area and 50-seat cafe,” Cliff says. He notes that equally worth celebrating this year is the 95th anniversary of Miller’s Smorgasbord—“the oldest one in the county.”

The residents of Pennsylvania’s Amish Country are an industrious group, and visitors can see some of that industry at the Lancaster Central Market. At Penn Square in the heart of Lancaster City is where the area’s farmers still bring their foodstuffs and other home goods to market—something they’ve been doing for a long time. The Central Market, which dates to the 1730s, is in America’s oldest farmers market building. Here for nearly two centuries, farmers have been bringing their products, such as meat and vegetables, to sell to residents. Today, the market is open year-round, and visitors will find fresh baked bread and desserts, cheeses, flowers, and an assortment of crafts.

There is yet another way to experience Lancaster County. Among the rich and varied sites to see and explore, visitors not afraid of heights might like the opportunity to view Lancaster from a bird’s perspective. Lancaster Balloon Rides, located in Bird-in-Hand about 7 miles directly east of Lancaster City, offers visitors just that—an elevated view of the county and its wide-open spaces. In short, it’s picture perfect.

Whether viewing this neck of Pennsylvania by hot-air balloon or horse and buggy, don’t forget to bring your camera. “Our area is filled with fantastic vistas for picture-taking,”Cliff says, “from sweeping Amish farmlands to historic architecture in Lancaster City to varied topography along our western border—the mighty Susquehanna River.”


By Andrew Weeks

Main Image: Aaron and Jessica’s Buggy Rides, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Credit: Discover Lancaster

Immersive Innovation

0
Thomas Edison’s winter home
Thomas Edison’s winter home in Fort Myers, Florida. Photo courtesy of Edison and Ford Winter Estates

Nestled in the heart of Fort Myers, Florida, the Edison and Ford Winter Estates stand as a testament to the ingenuity and legacy of two of America’s most prolific inventors, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. This historic site, encompassing over 20 acres of botanical gardens and meticulously preserved historic homes, offers visitors a unique glimpse into the lives and achievements of these iconic figures.

The estate boasts myriad attractions and activities tailored to suit the interests of diverse group tours. From leisurely strolls through the lush botanical gardens featuring flora from around the globe to immersive explorations of the 15,000-square-foot inventions museum and the renowned botanic research laboratory, there’s something to captivate every visitor.

Timeline of Innovation at Edison and Ford Winter Estates
The Timeline of Innovation, representing Edison’s and Ford’s inventions over several decades of American history.
Photo courtesy of Edison and Ford Winter Estates

For those fascinated by the intricate workings of innovation, the museum provides a comprehensive overview of Thomas Edison’s staggering 1,093 patents, as well as his collaboration with Henry Ford on a groundbreaking rubber research project. Antique car enthusiasts will delight in the collection of 10 vintage automobiles from the early 20th century, offering a glimpse into the dawn of the automobile era.

Whether opting for a self-guided exploration at their own pace or embarking on a guided tour led by knowledgeable docents, groups are sure to find an experience tailored to their preferences. Specialty tours, including garden tours and automotive-themed explorations, can be arranged with advance booking, offering deeper insights into specific aspects of the estate’s rich history.

The Mysore Fig at Edison and Ford Winter Estates
The Mysore Fig (planted around 1927) with the Henry Ford home in the background.
Photo courtesy of Edison and Ford Winter Estates

The overarching goal of the Edison and Ford Winter Estates is to provide visitors with a memorable and enriching experience that honors the legacies of these pioneering innovators. Through engaging exhibits, immersive tours, and meticulously curated gardens, guests are invited to reflect on the profound impact of these visionaries on modern society.

Looking ahead, the estate continues to evolve with the addition of new exhibits, such as the baseball spring training exhibit, offering fresh perspectives on the intersection of history, innovation, and culture.

Groups of all sizes are welcome to explore the estate, with guided tours typically accommodating up to 25 individuals. Advance booking is recommended, particularly for larger groups, to ensure availability and optimal scheduling. Visitors are encouraged to allocate at least 1.5 hours to fully immerse themselves in the estate’s attractions.

Ford House
Ford House surrounded by flowers.
Photo courtesy of Edison and Ford Winter Estates

For dining options, groups can opt for the convenient lunch and tour package or explore nearby dining establishments such as Pinchers, a casual seafood restaurant located adjacent to the estate.

Motorcoach parking is readily available on-site, although overnight parking is not permitted. Additionally, the estate is fully accessible and ADA compliant, ensuring that all visitors can enjoy its offerings to the fullest extent.

A visit to the Edison and Ford Winter Estates promises an enriching journey through history, innovation, and natural beauty. From the carefully preserved homes of two iconic visionaries to the breathtaking botanical gardens, this historic site offers a multifaceted experience that appeals to visitors of all ages and interests.

Edison and Ford Winter Estates
edisonfordwinterestates.org
239-335-3670

Lead image:
Thomas Edison’s winter home in Fort Myers, Florida.
Photo courtesy of Edison and Ford Winter Estates

Visit Williamsburg

0
Visit Williamsburg
Visit Williamsburg

Visit Williamsburg
421 N Boundary St
Williamsburg, Virginia 23187-3495
Phone: (757) 345-2565
Fax: (757) 253-1397
Email: julia.smyth-young@VisitWilliamsburg.com
Web: visitwilliamsburg.com

A20817  

RECENT POSTS

TRENDING NOW