If you enjoy history and are looking for a family-oriented Springtime getaway, check out Greenfield Village, which reopened for the season on April 15.
Greenfield Village Located at the Henry Ford Museum complex in Dearborn, Michigan, near Detroit, you can travel back in time and witness the past come to life in this historic village. Greenfield Village is comprised of 83 authentic, historic structures, stretched over 80 acres. Among the buildings are Noah Webster’s house where he wrote the first American dictionary, Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratories where he developed the light bulb and the courthouse where Abraham Lincoln practiced law. Also located in the Village is the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop, originally located in Dayton, Ohio.
Historic Districts Greenfield Village is made up of 7 historic districts. In the Main Street District, you can visit a general store Mrs. Cohen’s Millinery (hat shop), a jewelry shop, the courthouse,the Martha Mary Chapel. and you can ride a 1913 elaborately carved carousel with many unique animals. In the Henry Ford District you can visit the first Ford Motor Co, the Ford house, workshop and theatre. At Edison at Work you can see Thomas Edison’s actual workplaces including his Fort Myers laboratory, and Menlo Park laboratory, machine shop, office and library. At Liberty Craftworks you can visit and watch demonstrations at a glass shop, carding mill, grist mill, pottery shop, printing shop, tin shop, machine shop and weaving shop. The Porches and Parlors District offers a covered bridge, several family homes, including the home of poet Robert Frost, a windmill, a Cotswold Cottage stone house, a Connecticut saltbox -style house, a farmhouse and a plantation manor. The Working Farms area has the Firestone Farm, complete with livestock and fields of vegetables, in addition to a cider mill, carriage barn and a wagon shop. At Railroad Junction you can visit an authentic train roundhouse, Edison’s Illuminating Company Station A and the Smith’s Creek Depot.
Transportation If you don’t feel like walking , Greenfield Village offers several options involving historic rides. For a small additional fee, you can ride a vintage Ford Model T car, a 1931 Ford Model AA bus, a horse-drawn Omnibus shuttle or the Weiser Railroad, where a steam or diesel locomotive will take you on a 3 mile route with opportunities to get on and off at key stops throughout the Village. You can also take a ride on an authentic paddlewheeler boat.
Dining The most historic building in which to have a meal is the Eagle Tavern. Built in 1831 in Clinton, Michigan, the tavern served as a stagecoach stop for travelers. Your meals will be presented by servers in period costumes and the menu consists only of food that was commonly served in the 1800’s. Note that that also applies to beverages so don’t expect to see soft drinks on the menu.
Other dining options include Mrs. Fisher’s Southern Cooking, an outdoor seating restaurant, A Taste of History, a cafeteria-style restaurant, and Cotstwold Tea where you can partake of tea and sweets in a garden setting. There are also various snack stands and shops.
Activities and Events Visitors to Greenfield Village can observe and sometimes participate in various demonstrations throughout the Village. Some examples include making your own candlestick, watching cooking on a hearth and sampling some of the actual food, watching dye for wool being made from natural ingredients and soap being made. Activities vary from day to day.
There are also special events offered throughout the year . If you visit Greenfield Village on a weekend during the Summer, you can attend a historic baseball game between the Lah-De-Dahs or the Nationals and other historic clubs from around the Midwest. Dressed in historic uniforms, the games are played by 1897 rules. The games are played at 1:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays (June 12 to August 8 and August 21-22) and are free with admission to Greenfield Village.
Hours and Prices Greenfield Village is open 7 days a week and is open from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. from April 15 until November 1. There are special hours for November and December for the Village’s special “Holiday Nights” event. Admission for Adults is $22 and $21 for Seniors. Children 5 – 12 are $16 and children under 5 are free. You can also purchase an unlimited daily ride pass, allowing you to ride all forms of transportation in the Village for $10. 313-271-1620.