Henry Ford and Greenfield Village.

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A last-minute offer to my husband for a work trip and a spontaneous gift led us to Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan on Sunday morning. While driving up on Saturday, we explained to the kiddos that Dad and I stopped by the Henry Ford Museum before they were even born (love the reactions to those stories). We landed there by chance and really enjoyed our time then.  In the middle of last week, when Dear Husband mentioned a possibility we could all head to Michigan over the weekend, Henry Ford’s museum immediately came to mind. We agreed to head that way, if said business trip panned out.

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It did. However, oddly enough, we didn’t even get into the museum. As we were walking toward the entrance of the museum, we were near the entrance of Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village. A curious older gentleman started grilling us so we stopped. “Are you going to Greenfield Village?” he asked. Husband and I looked at each other and shrugged. We had plans to go to the museum, not the village, and stated we didn’t honestly know. We pressed him back with a “Should we?” He went on to tell us he lives a few hours away and is a member. He visited the village 58 times last year. No joke! So we pressed further, ” What’s inside, what is it, we were planning on the museum…” and other ramblings. After a little chatting, he handed over free ride passes worth over $60 for us, so we made a right hand turn to pay to enter Ford’s Greenfield Village instead of the museum. Time allowed only one stop and this man’s generosity made our decision for us. We forked over admission, headed in, and wondered what the heck we were going to see.

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We were thrust towards the train, which husband cleverly pointed out would give us an idea of what this place was and where we would want to go. We started the day with that 10:20 train ride and were exhausted by around 3:00 in the afternoon. Our free ride passes got us on the carousel, authentic Model T rides, the afore-mentioned train ride, and two horse carriage trips. (Thank you dear, kind man.) In between we wove in and out of beautiful buildings that were saved and relocated here and/or replicated from originals. They all portrayed American everyday workers at the turn of the century. The actual Wright Brothers Cycle Shop is here, along with Robert Frost’s home (for a year), Henry Ford’s childhood home and one of the first homes in America wired by Thomas Edison. But, there is more, so much more. It’s a mind-boggling array of collected buildings. Upon leaving I absolutely understood this man who visited 58 times last year. There is no way to get to everything in one day, and certainly no way to digest all you’ve seen in a single visit.

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That said, this place is a Disneyland of turn of the century history. My husband said it very well. We have seen blacksmith shops and old pharmacies, we’ve seen weaving machines and drum carders, but we have never seen such an authentic collection all in one place. I enjoyed the craftsman’s shops and the Wright Brother’s Cycle Shop. The boys loved the Model T rides and the carousel. Dad loved the roundhouse and wants to live in one. It was a great deviation from our original plan! Now we just have to get another trip up to see that museum…

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