Fort Myers – A Historic Florida Gulf Coast Community You’ll Love to Visit

I have a dear friend who I’ve been friends with since we met in Atlanta, Georgia in the sixth grade and we graduated high school in 1985, so we’ve been friends a while. Anyway, as life goes, I moved to Florida and she moved elsewhere but we remained in touch then, about 3 years ago, I was thrilled when she told me she was moving to the west coast of Florida. She ended up moving to Fort Myers and loves it there.

There are so many things to do in Fort Myers

Fort Myers Beach, Florida, USA. There are so many things to do in Fort Myers

Photo by dconvertini

She was always the tomboyish, outdoorsy type and one of the things she was pleased to find out about the Fort Myers area is that it is great for fishing. She went out and bought herself a little 16 foot or so boat to tool around the flats in, and every now and then I’m amused to get pictures of her latest catches of snook, redfish and trout. She does well and is able to eat a lot of what she catches.

Fort Myers Beach, dubbed has been 'the world's safest beach' because it has small waves and calm seas.

Photo by aka Kath

We try and get together at least once a year usually during the spring, meet in Orlando to go to a Braves Spring Training Game, but that’s not nearly enough. So I was happy when she ended up buying a house in Fort Myers and was even happier when she invited us over to see it and celebrate with her. I had never been to Fort Myers before and was anxious to see it.

Thomas Edison and Henry Ford fell in love with Fort Myers and Banyan Trees

Banyan Tree Photo by Chang’r

I must say I was pleasantly surprised, when you first drive into the city it doesn’t look like much but then you get into the heart of the city and you realize why Thomas Edison and Henry Ford fell in love with Fort Myers, Thomas Edison even said, “There is only one Fort Myers, and 90 million people are going to find it”, sounds like love to me. The neighborhoods here really have that old time Florida feel from the style of the houses to their tree lined streets, like I said it’s really beautiful.

The first night we were there we decided to go out to dinner with my friend and had a little time to kill before she was available so we went over the bridge to the beach. The water is Emerald green and the beach is made of sugar-white sand and at dusk, when we were there, it’s absolutely breathtaking.

While we were there the sun was setting now, I’ve never just stood and watched the sun actually set so I was amazed but how quickly it went down, it truly was spectacular.

Fort Myers Beach, dubbed has been ‘the world’s safest beach’ because it has small waves and calm seas. It also has gentle slopes and sand bars in the waters near shore which make it a great place to teach a child to snorkel. Ok, in the interest of finishing my story, we did meet up with my friend that night and ended up at a great little neighborhood BBQ place I’d never heard of for a great meal and even better company.

Fort Myers - Thomas Edison's Pier

Fort Myers – Thomas Edison’s Pier Photo by roger4336

The next day we went to visit someone else’s house, two other homes actually, those of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. In 1885 Thomas Edison first visited Florida and as I said he fell in love with the area so much so that in 1886 he built a winter home here called “Seminole Lodge”. The house and surrounding 14 acre estate were used in the winter by Edison until his Death in 1931. In 1947 Mrs. Edison donated the estate to the City of Fort Myers and in November of that year, the estate was opened to the public.

Henry Ford home at the Edison-Ford Winter Estates: Fort Myers, Florida

Henry Ford home at the Edison-Ford Winter Estates: Fort Myers, Florida Photo by State Library and Archives of Florida

In 1915 the Edison’s invited their close friends Mr. & Mrs. Henry Ford, yes the car maker, for a visit and THEY loved it too. They bought the house right next door to the Edison’s and called it “Mangoes”. For the next 15 years the Fords and Edisons spent their winters together welcoming family and friends to their lovely Fort Myers estates. In 1988 the Ford Home was brought by the City of Fort Myers and it too was opened to the public, in 1990.

Fort Myers - Thomas Edison's Winter Home

Fort Myers – Thomas Edison’s Winter Home Photo by roger4336

The grounds really are beautiful, the landscaping and the houses are quite a sight, and they have a rather famous Banyan tree there. The laboratories are fascinating and everything has been left as if Edison or Ford just walked out of the room, at least they tried to keep it as true as possible. It’s wonderful that these joint estates have been opened up to the public they really are something to see.

We had only gone to visit my friend for the weekend so all too quickly it was time to go but I did enjoy my time in Fort Myers, what a nice little place. I was also glad my friend had found a place she felt good living in and am looking forward to an invitation back.

Fort Myers beach photo. Times Square Fort Myers Beach

Photo by aka Kath

If you’re looking for the real Florida you’ll find it. There are so many things to do in Fort Myers and much of it is on the water. Fishing, boating, kayaking or just hanging at the beach makes it the ideal vacation destination. Nearby Sanibel Island is known as the shelling capitol of Florida with many great resorts and hotels.