Most often when we leave a workamping experience, we head straight home to New Jersey to spend quality time with kids, grandkids, and friends, before heading off to our next adventure. In most cases we talk about taking our time and stopping along the route to see various things; but, inevitably, once actually on the road, we usually disregard those plans and make a beeline for home! Not so on this trip.
With tears in my eyes, we left IndigoBluffs on Sunday morning. As you can tell from my posts, this was truly one of my most enjoyable sum mers and workamping jobs! Heading south, we had decided to stop outside Detroit and spend a day at The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village – and we actually did it! There were several recommended campgrounds in the area, but we chose Detroit/Greenfield Village Campground in Ypsilanti, MI. It was very nice and quiet and was only 30 minutes from the museum and about 40 minutes from downtown Detroit, conveniently located close to I-94.
After a restful night, we were up early and purchased discount tickets to the museum and Greenfield Village in the campground office. We arrived at the Henry Ford around 10:00 and spent the next seven hours there! It was both an amazing day and an exhausting day, but we were so glad we exhaled, stopped, and experienced such a place!
When one thinks of Henry Ford, one immediately connects him to automobiles, and even though this is true, he also had an influence on many other things and was connected to so many people and events. The Henry Ford includes “250 acres of innovation, 300 years of history, and 26 million artifacts.” By immersing yourself in all of this, you can only wonder where we go from here!
Our first stop was, of course, the section of the museum entitled Driving America. I lost Bill here for a while, fuguratively speaking, as he reminisced about the cars he had owned through the years and tested his quite substantial knowlegdge of cars through the ages.There was also a group of Presidential Vehicles on display, including John F. Kennedy’s assassination limo, along with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s touring car and a horse carriage used by Theodore Roosevelt.
Other remarkable sections of the museum included Made in America, Fully Furnished, Heroes of the Sky, and Your Place in Time, where you can relive your baby boomer past, for example, by listening to music of the day, watching television shows of that time, or viewing popular artifacts from those years. Of particular interest to both of us, was the area entitled, With Liberty and Justice For All. Here you can relive Women’s Suffrage, the Civil Rights Movement, and spend a few moments sitting on the same bus where Rosa Parks sat in a front seat! Talk about chills!
After spotting the Oscar Mayer “Weinermobile” and grabbing a bite to eat, we toured a “Dymaxion House,” which was created in the mid-1940’s and was designed to be suitable for any environment and to use resources efficiently. The idea never quite took off; however, one family lived in such a house for over twenty years!
By the time we experienced everything in the museum it was 2p.m., so we had only three hours to spend at Greenfield Village! The village is a living community where the peak moments of history come alive. You can take a ride in a Model T, visit a working farm, walk down Main Street, and experience Thomas Edison’s workplaces. This area, Edison At Work, was especially interesting to me as I grew up in the NJ town right next door to Menlo Park, where Edison had his workshop. Artifacts from this workspace were transported to Greenfield Village and were placed in the facsimile of his NJ lab. Henry Ford also brought Edison’s entire winter lab from Ft. Meyers, FL to become part of the village. I also learned that Edison actually had a large workforce around him, putting his inventions into actions and that he worked more with the phonograph than he did with the light bulb! And here, all these years, I pictured him in his Menlo Park lab working in solitude on his light bulb!
During our three hours in Greenfield Village, we also stopped by Robert Frost’s home and checked out the General Store where the shopkeeper told us that only 10% of the total artifacts owned by the Henry Ford are on display. The others are still in the process of being restored, researched, and catalogued. And then, as the clock counted down to closing, we quickly visited Liberty Craftworks where glass is blown, pottery is thrown, and material woven. After spending seven hours and walking five miles, we had thoroughly experienced the Henry Ford…truly a day well spent!