Monday, May 12, 2014

A Step Back in Time

Located east of downtown Detroit, along the shores of Lake St. Clair in Grosse Pointe stands a glorious home where Edsel and Eleanor Ford and their family once lived.  Edsel was the only child of Henry Ford and succeeded his father in serving as the president of The Ford Motor Company from 1919 until his death in 1943.         

The Edsel and Eleanor Ford home - view facing Lake St. Clair
I first heard about the estate a few years ago and have wanted to visit ever since.  With a non-committed vacation day and the fact that it was my birthday, it seemed like the perfect time for a road trip.

The right side of the front circle drive

Construction of 20,000 square foot Ford House began in 1926 and became the family’s home in 1929.  Complete with stone roofs, lead-paned windows and vine-covered walls, the home was designed to resemble row homes in Cotswold Village in England.

All of the Ford meals were served in this dining room

This was quite different from what we were expecting - maybe something that aligned more with Victorian architecture.  Rather it is a home filled with an eclectic mix of art and antiques.  Part of it feels somewhat castle-like with its limestone walls, wood paneling and imposing fireplaces that were brought from old English Manor houses. 

The grand entrance to the Ford Home

Other areas of the home include a spacious butler’s pantry with 23 sets of china to choose from, a kitchen with sterling silver countertops, and a flower room used to prepare the fresh arrangements that were placed around the home each day.

Daffodils in bloom

After our home tour, we strolled the grounds, took in the lake views and visited other buildings on the property including the playhouse built for the Ford’s daughter, Josephine.

Josephine's playhouse

Before departing for home, I was treated to a birthday lunch at the quaint Cotswold café, just a short walk from the main house.  My husband and I were pleasantly surprised by the exceptional service and quality of food.

View of Lake St. Clair

Along with a glass of Pinot Noir, my lunch included a petite Sonoma salad with fresh strawberries, feta cheese and tangy vinaigrette and a Monte Cristo sandwich served with a raspberry dipping sauce.  All guests are treated to the café’s signature popovers - light and fluffy rolls served warm with butter.

A section of the entrance to the estate

The Ford House experience makes for a lovely day – a true gem in Detroit.  It’s beautiful in the spring but perhaps even more so at Christmas time.  Looks like we are going to need a return visit…

The home was built to resemble the row homes in Cotswold England

Have a wonderful week!


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