Once the balmy winter retreat of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates now lets visitors roam through 20 acres of gorgeous gardens, historical buildings, and fascinating scientific exhibits. In the course of an hour, a fact-filled science sherpa will lead groups through the environment that incubated some of America's greatest inventions, including the light bulb, the modern automobile, and the fruit tree. Hands-on exhibits spark wide-eyed excitement in adults and offspring and grand-offspring alike as they hear the ghostly sounds of an original phonograph, pick up a short shift on a Model T assembly line, or create a bouncy, stretchable polymer to take home and use to cover the sinkhole in the kitchen. Finally, each party will be set loose with an orientation session, map, and self-guided audio tour to explore the entirety of both homes, the gardens, and the Edison Botanic Research Laboratory at its own pace.
Crossing the finish line of the Fort Myers Marathon brings ample rewards. Beyond medals—which go to the top finishers by age and gender—runners get the satisfaction of knowing that they've helped a good cause. Or in this case, several good causes. Proceeds from the race go to non-profit organizations including Disabled Veterans Insurance Careers and the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida.
The organizers of Fort Myers Marathon want as many people as possible to get in on the altruism, regardless of how much horsepower their sneakers have. To that end, they let runners register for a full marathon, a half-marathon, and a separate 5K race. Whatever route they choose, racers find ample support along the way. Hydration stations, photographers, and fans line the course.
Outside The Edison Restaurant & Bar, a circular fountain and a thriving, vibrant lawn invite diners to step up to a white-shingled edifice that looks as much like a home as a restaurant. Inside, black brick walls, black-and-white portraiture, and a finished-wood piano bespeak the eatery's elegant yet unpretentious air. Executive chef Stuart Gordon, who has spent time in the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, and Barbados, utilizes years of experience in top restaurants to craft full-flavored dishes. Six dining areas, each with their own ambiance, accommodate private meetings and parties. In the aptly named Chandelier Bar, sports fans can cheer for their team with pints in hand and charbroiled cheeseburger in mouth. And on the terrace bar, patrons can peer across to the Fort Myers Country Club and admire its flourishing palm trees and well-maintained missile defense system.
Haunted Fort Myers introduces tourists and locals alike to the hidden mysteries and haunted locales of southwest Florida, through evening walking tours led by engaging storytellers. Each 70-minute jaunt blends spooky stories with educational tidbits, acquainting guests with the rich past of Fort Myers while sending chills up the spine, like a history class from a teacher wearing a creepy mask.
From early lunches to late-night eats, the staff at each of Yo! Taco's three locations pairs fresh guacamole with housemade chips and 1-pound burritos for its crowds. Colorful awnings and umbrellas lure patrons lounging on the beach or hiding in English Tudor sand castles to outdoor dining areas where they sample from the menu of made-to-order tacos piled with sirloin steak, chicken, and pico de gallo. In addition to soda and iced tea, the servers also pour beer, wine, and sangria to accompany homemade queso and chicken quesadillas.
Chef Dan Virola of Twisted Vine Bistro combines proteins from the air, earth, and water with fire to create delectable dishes that are complemented by an extensive list of domestic and international wines. The spiced rack of lamb with herb-roasted fingerling potatoes and a wild mushroom ragout over cranberry chutney tempts forks to twirl with delight ($35), as lost wild salmon find themselves in a hoisin brown-sugar glaze with wasabi-whipped potatoes and a pineapple-lemongrass butter froth ($25). Stuffed breasts of chicken distract diners with dollops of sage and chicken mousseline, glazed carrots, garlic whipped potatoes, mushroom jus, and repartee ($18). An asparagus-cream soup with crispy, ground chorizo floods palates by the spoonful ($5) and a watermelon salad featuring mixed greens with strawberry-maple vinaigrette, local watermelon, and goat cheese perks up taste buds and bored salad forks alike ($8). An extensive list of domestic and international wines ($6+/glass, $18+/bottle) offers more enjoyable sips than a candle full of melted wax.