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The Best of Fort Myers: From Edison’s Lab to the History of Pine Island

Program Number: 20395RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/9/2014 - 2/14/2014;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Fort Myers, Florida
Price starting at: $1,199.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: History & Culture Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Experience the best that the “City of Palms” has to offer as you immerse yourself in its historic sites and natural vistas. Go behind the scenes at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates and enjoy an exclusive exploration of the Edison Botanic Research Laboratory. Delve into the archaeology of Pine Island during a visit to the Randell Research Center, and hear about the Calusa people who once inhabited the region. Learn about Florida’s fascinating past at the Southwest Florida Museum of History, from Seminole culture to the influence of “cracker” pioneers.


• Spend a morning at ECHO’s Global Farm to delve into its role in innovating world farming techniques.
• Enjoy an Eco-Heritage boat ride around Pine Island Sound and learn about the evolution of the area’s fishing industry during an excursion to Pineland.
• Enjoy an expert-led exploration of historic Fort Myers.

Activity Particulars

Walking 1-2 miles over some uneven terrain; getting on/off a coach bus each day.

Date Specific Information


Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.

Fort Myers

The city of Fort Myers boasts beautiful beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, but it is more than a seaside resort. It is the site of a Civil War battle and was chosen by both Thomas Edison and Henry Ford as a location for winter estates. In late winter, Fort Myers welcomes baseball’s Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox, who hold spring training here.

Centrally located, state-of-the-art hotel featuring a roof-deck pool.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Indigo Fort Myers
  Fort Myers 5 nights
 Hotel Indigo Fort Myers
Type: Hotel
  Description: This boutique hotel in Fort Myers is located in the Ft. Myers' River District, with close proximity to shopping and attractions such as the historic Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Sanibel & Captiva's beaches, Space 39 Art Gallery and the Edison Mall. While staying at Hotel Indigo you can take a dip in the rooftop pool, exercise at the 24-hour Phitness Studio, enjoy a cup of gourmet coffee or have an Italian meal from the onsite restaurant. The boutique hotel is connected to the historic Post Office Arcade, providing access to a hair salon, a bank, and additional dining options.
  Contact info: 1520 Broadway, Suite 104
Ft. Myers, FL 33901 USA
phone: 877-270-1392
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: $157 plus tax The group rate will be honored up until 30 days before the program, after that we cannot guarantee any discount.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $157 plus tax The group rate will be honored up until 30 days before the program, after that we cannot guarantee any discount.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
5:00 pm You will be staying at Hotel Indigo Fort Myers that night.
  End of Program:
11:00 am You will be staying at Hotel Indigo Fort Myers the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
$5-$14 per day
To Start of Program
  Location:  Fort Myers
  From End of Program
  Location: Fort Myers
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

From Southwest Florida Airport


From Airport






Per Person/One Way:


Approximately $30
Prices are subject to change.


Taxi cabs can be found at Ground Transportation at the airport.

Driving Directions
  From FL-80 W Turn left onto Broadway, hotel will be on the right.
  From I-75 Take exit 136 toward Ft. Myers/FL-884 W. Turn Left onto Colonial Blvd. Turn Right onto Ortiz Ave. Turn left onto FL-82 W/Dr Marin Luther King Jr Drive. Turn Right onto Broadway. Hotel will be on your left.
  From the Southwest Florida Airport Departing airport go north on Treeline Blvd to Daniels Pkwy. Turn Left (West) on Daniels Pkwy to US 41 (Cleveland Ave) Turn right (North). Go approximately 7 miles. Follow signs to Downtown Historic/River District. Turn left on Broadway. Hotel on left
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival and Check-in, Program Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
(Sunday, February 9)
 Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar desk in the lobby to pick up your arrival packet containing your name tag, the up-to-date schedule, and to confirm the time of the orientation session.

Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant is a 3-course meal with salad, entrée, and dessert.
 Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.

Take the rest of the evening to settle in, relax, and prepare for the full day ahead.

Accommodations: Hotel Indigo Fort Myers
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Evening at Leisure
(Monday, February 10)
 Breakfast: Our breakfast at the hotel includes hot and cold items including fresh fruit plus coffee and tea.
 Morning: We board our motorcoach for a day on site at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. After a presentation about Thomas Edison, we explore his laboratory.
 Lunch: At the Edison Caretaker's House.
 Afternoon: Learn about Henry Ford then go behind the scenes to explore the Edison and Ford homes and gardens with a presentation tracing past to present including restoration of the properties.
 Dinner: Dinner this evening is on your own to enjoy the cuisine of your choice. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Hotel Indigo Fort Myers
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3: Pine Island, Calusa Heritage Trail, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Evening at Leisure
(Tuesday, February 11)

Note: Participants will be getting on and off a boat and walking up to 1 mile on the un-paved Calusa Heritage Trail.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Led by an expert, explore the Calusa Heritage Trail at Randell Research Center. The Center features the archaeology of the Pineland, the site of a Calusa Indian village.

Then, enjoy a narrated sightseeing boat excursion on beautiful Pine Island Sound viewing six island locations of authenticated Calusa mounds and middens.

 Lunch: Enjoy a salad and sandwich buffet at Tarpon Lodge, an "Old Florida" mainstay from 1926.
 Afternoon: J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Led by an expert, explore areas of this 6,300 acre nature preserve that is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the U.S. In addition to other wildlife, the refuge is renowned for its spectacular migratory bird populations. The refuge is named for Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Jay Norwood Darling -- nicknamed Ding -- who was an important figure in the conservation movement and instrumental in founding the National Wildlife Federation under the leadership of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936. During a tram ride, an experienced naturalist will help you spot wildlife most visitors would never see.
 Dinner: We will eat out this evening at a local restaurant.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Hotel Indigo Fort Myers
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Historic Fort Myers Walk, Southwest Florida Museum of History, ECHO Global Farm, Evening at Leisure, Florida Repertory Theater
(Wednesday, February 12)

Note: We will walk up to 3 miles on paved sidewalks in downtown Fort Meyers and on unpaved private roads at the ECHO Farm. (A golf cart may be available at ECHO upon request.)

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Led by a docent from the Southwest Florida Museum of History, stroll through historic downtown Fort Myers to discover stories of the people who built the town and hear tales of the city.

Southwest Florida Museum of History. Housed in the former Atlantic Coastline Railroad depot, the museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and interpretation of history and traditions, with particular emphasis on Fort Myers and Southwest Florida. Paleo Indians, the Calusa, the Seminoles, Spanish explorers, and early settlers are just a few of those you will “meet” as a docent leads you through exhibits including an authentic replica of a pioneer "cracker" house, a 1926 La France fire pumper, and a 1929 private Pullman rail car.

 Lunch: At a popular local restaurant, choose from a variety of salads and sandwiches plus soda, coffee or tea, topped off with a slice of pie.
 Afternoon: ECHO Global Farm. For more than 30 years, ECHO has been helping to provide thousands of development workers and organizations around the world with better access to vital information and other resources needed to improve food production and security for small farmers and gardeners. For 90 minutes explore the most creative working farm you have ever experienced. You will find demonstrations, plants, and techniques useful to farmers and urban gardeners in developing countries. Experience six settings of the Global Farm and taste leaves and berries while you explore rain-forest habitats, visit farm animals, stop at a simulated Haitian school, witness urban gardening techniques that allow gardens on rooftops, and learn all about ECHO's mission of helping the poor help themselves. Continue the afternoon with exploration of the sights and sounds that are most interesting to you personally. Program staff will be happy to offer suggestions.

At the conclusion of the field trip, we will return to the hotel via motorcoach.

 Dinner: Enjoy dinner at the hotel this evening.
 Evening: Meet and Greet with a company member at the Florida Repertory Theater. A fully professional company The Wall Street Journal called "one of America's top repertory companies" the Florida Rep performs in the historic Arcade Theatre.

Florida Rep produces a wide variety of comedies, dramas and musicals throughout its October to May season. Performance: Florida Repertory Theater. Playing in the Historic Arcade Theatre, Florida Rep produces a wide variety of comedies, dramas and musicals. The show we will see tonight is The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Accommodations: Hotel Indigo Fort Myers
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Downtown River District Walk, Arts League of Fort Myers
(Thursday, February 13)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Enjoy free time for independant exploration for Ft. Myers.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: We will take a gallery walk in the Downtown River District including a visit to the Arts League of Fort Myers.
 Dinner: Enjoy good company and good food at our last dinner together of the program.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Hotel Indigo Fort Myers
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Program Conclusion
(Friday, February 14)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Rescues and Releases: A History of CROW’s Patients. CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife) operates a veterinary hospital and public visitor education center at its 12.5-acre campus on Sanibel Island, Florida. The organization’s main mission is the rescue, care, rehabilitation, and eventual release back into the wild of sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife. CROW staff will provide insider perspectives on their efforts.

The program concludes with this final presentation.

We hope you have enjoyed this encounter with the best of Fort Myers, and will join us for other rewarding Road Scholar programs in the future. Please stay in touch and share your memories, pictures, and comments via the Road Scholar Social Network. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Fort Myers Art of the Olympians
Located directly on the waterfront in the historic River District, the Art of the Olympians Al Oerter Center for Excellence is a popular destination for art lovers, sports enthusiasts and people of all ages. Legendary four time consecutive Olympic gold medal in discus, Al Oerter envisioned a modern day arena that would be home to physical, educational and artistic excellence. Featuring the art of such celebrated Olympians as ice skating champion Peggy Fleming, javelin thrower Roald Bradstock, sprinter Florence Griffith-Joyner and more. Art of the Olympians is a memorable experience for visitors to Southwest Florida. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to visit the global headquarter of Art of the Olympians. For additional information, visit
  Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center
The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center offers a spectacular cultural experience in the historic River District of downtown Fort Myers with its wide array of dance, theater, music performances, film and art exhibitions, as well as guest lectures, workshops and educational arts programs. Please visit their website at for information on exhibits and performances. For additional information, visit
  The Butterfly Estates
The Butterfly Estates is an Eco-Attraction in the Downtown Fort Myers River District. Enjoy Caterpillars Ice Cream & Fudge Factory, Gift Shop, Cafe & glass butterfly conservatory. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Remembering Fort Myers: The City of Palms

Author: Prudy Taylor Board

Description: Known for its palm-lined boulevards and famous residents, Fort Myers is arguably the quintessential Florida destination. And although many people know the city was a winter getaway for the likes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, few know the story of “Wild Bill” Belvin who lived a year in the wilds of North Fort Myers, but was immediately arrested upon his return to civilization. Nor do they know that when Lee Memorial Hospital first opened in 1916, its surgical patients were as concerned about the agility of their stretcher-bearers as they were about their surgeons’ skills. In Remembering Fort Myers: The City of Palms, author Prudy Taylor Board has compiled a collection of historical articles about the intriguing, but little known, people and events in the city’s history. Board traces the development of the city’s prestigious neighborhoods and parks, while introducing readers to some of the most captivating and eccentric characters.

The Edisons Of Fort Myers: Discoveries of the Heart

Author: Tom Smoot

Description: In 1885, Thomas Edison, age thirty-nine and already a world-famous inventor, met the two great loves of his life: Mina Miller and Fort Myers, Florida. Mina soon became his second wife, and Fort Myers - a remote, almost inaccessible, village on Florida's southwest coast - became their winter home. Other tomes tell the global account of Thomas Edison, the American icon named by Life magazine as the Man of the Millennium. This book offers a look at his life in his tropical retreat, his jungle, where for forty-six years he and his bride sought refuge from the cold winters and the demanding lifestyle of his New Jersey home, laboratory, and business complex. While in Fort Myers he watched over his extensive botanical gardens, fished from both his boat and his long dock, interacted with the locals, and labored for many hours in his laboratory. Henry Ford and his family lived next door and many dignitaries came to visit, including President-elect Hoover and Harvey Firestone. The Edisons became an essential part of the Fort Myers story. They made lifelong friendships with townsfolk and joined in local activities until the love affair of the Edisons was cut short by the death of Thomas in 1931. Mina continued to live out her love for Fort Myers and its people until her death in 1947. She gave their winter estate, Seminole Lodge, to the grateful citizens of Fort Myers.

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