Edsel and Eleanor Ford House

This estate in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan, tied to America’s most famous automotive family offers a trip back in time. 

Taking a tour of the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House on the scenic shores of Lake Saint Clair just north of Detroit, it’s easy to envision the first family of the American automotive industry as they lived here in the 1920s and 1930s. The preserved estate was officially recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1978, but 2021 marked the property’s first major expansion in more than nine decades with the opening of a newly reimagined visitor center and administration building. 

The 40,000-square-foot facility now houses three interactive displays: a permanent installation that tells the “Ford Family Story”; “Driven by Design,” a rotating display of rare vehicles; and a space dedicated to hosting traveling exhibitions. Aesthetically, the reinvigorated visitors center blends right in with the existing Cotswolds-style architecture on display throughout the rest of the estate while still holding firmly on to contemporary sustainable design principles. 

A stroll through the two-story visitor center proves the perfect complement to leisurely explorations of the grounds and a walking tour of the storied home itself, designed in the 1920s by renowned Detroit architect Albert Kahn. If these walls could talk, they’d surely recount family meals shared in the elegant dining room and quality time spent amid the refined collection of thoughtfully appointed art and furnishings. Don’t miss the chance to admire the rose garden and duck into the adorable stand-alone playhouse built for the Fords’ beloved daughter Josephine in 1930.

The waterfront Continental restaurant at the visitor center serves lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Longtime Detroiters will be happy to find the iconic Hudson’s department store’s Maurice Salad on the menu. 1100 Lake Shore Rd., Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan 48236, 313/884-4222, fordhouse.org