What's an Ohio Buckeye doing going to visit Michigan during football season? Why exploring The Henry Ford, of course!
I know. We just finished a long road trip but there were a couple of weeks between our return home from out west and our mini road trip to Dearborn. The leaves were just starting to turn and the weather was predicted to be warm and sunny--at least for a few days. After a short stop to visit my brother and his family at Put In Bay, Ohio, for the Oktoberfest, we drove another couple of hours up to Dearborn.
Entering the Dearborn area is like entering the Seattle area and seeing Microsoft all over the place only here it is Ford. The Henry Ford is the complex of Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum along with several other attractions including the Ford Rouge Factory Tour which was on our list to see.
My first visit to Greenfield Village was when I was about eight years old. Then Bob and I spent our tenth anniversary there and later we took our kids. It has changed tremendously over the years. The museum and village were a passion for Henry Ford who felt the need to preserve history and inspire genius. He began actually with a school in 1929 and from there the project blossomed into a museum and a village full of historical buildings including the Menlo Park complex of Edison's and the Wright Brothers Cycle Shop as well as several types of farms, industrial sites and homes or replicas of homes of famous Americans who contributed to industry and/or farming.
There are almost 100 structures to see, most of which you can enter and see furnishings or machines of the era. Old vintage powered and horse drawn buses can alleviate some of the walking over the 200 acre spread (for an additional cost of course). There are also a dozen or more vintage Fords that are available to ride and even if you choose to walk as we did, they lend to the atmosphere of the historic village.
Around the perimeter is, as we were told, is the oldest regularly scheduled train pulled by a steam engine. Powered by steam, there is a huge coal tower that is filled with the coal used to fire the boilers in the steam engine. The roundhouse held several other engines that are also used for the scenic train ride.
The day was gorgeous and the colors of autumn radiant. Several of the houses had people in interpretive costume who explained some of the history behind the homes. Other places held more guides who provided stories and explanations for things we were seeing. Weaving, pottery making and glass blowing demonstrations are always interesting but we also found that that for $5 you could make a small brass candlestick in one of the buildings.
The highlight of the day was having lunch in the Eagle Tavern. The tavern was brought to Greenfield Village from Clinton, MI, where it was originally built in 1831. In keeping with the time period, the tables are all large and seat eight to ten people. We were told as we were seated that others might be joining us. Back in nineteenth century tavern life, dining was communal. In keeping with the historic aspects, the tavern offers seasonal and locally grown food products. I ordered squash soup and Bob got the corn chowder. Both were delicious and came with muffins, cornbread and rolls and the best blueberry jam I've had in a long time.
I will highlight some of the things we enjoyed the most and piqued our interest in the next couple of posts.