This holiday season at Ford House, visitors will step back in time and learn how the historic home came alive during grand parties at the estate of Edsel and Eleanor Ford in Grosse Pointe Shores.
On a guided Holiday Belles House Tour– offered Nov. 29 through Jan. 5 – guests discover stories of the Fords’ Christmastime celebrations while taking in the sights and sounds of the 1969 reception Mrs. Ford hosted in honor of her granddaughters, Lynn and Sheila.
With new decorations re-creating the scene of the December 1969 party 50 years later, the house will look just as Eleanor had it. The occasion was a celebration of teen-aged Lynn and Sheila Ford’s debutante seasons. Eleanor made them the guests of honor and hired florists and decorators to adorn her home with unusual garlands and topiaries of flowers and fruits in orange, pink and white. More than 600 guests attended.
Tour-goers will stand in the same rooms where the Fords entertained, and also get a glimpse behind the scenes in the staff kitchen and butler’s pantry.
“Our grandmother, Eleanor, made it a very special evening,” recalled Lynn Ford Alandt, granddaughter of Eleanor Ford, and current chairwoman of the Ford House board of trustees. “She loved to entertain in her home. She was a remarkable woman, and a warm, welcoming and truly gracious hostess.”
Inspired by Holiday Belles, a special pop-up shop will feature Detroit boutique the Peacock Room, Thursday Dec. 5 through Saturday Dec. 7. The pop-up will offer a selection of Holiday Belles-inspired accessories, jewelry, handbags, capes and more – an array of authentic vintage and vintage-inspired pieces. Thursday evening’s preview night invites visitors to get an early look at the pop-up and browse a sampling of dresses featured in the Peacock Room shop. Throughout the weekend, shoppers may choose to reserve a Holiday Belles tour, or simply stop in the Visitor Center to browse. There is no admission charge to shop.
“As a historical institution, we are proud to do something really unique with our Holiday Belles House Tours. We are telling authentic stories and decorating the home just as it was at a specific moment in Ford House’s past, so our guests get to see and hear firsthand what it was like when the Ford family lived here. They had fun here and made memories. They toasted the holidays and celebrated with friends,” said Mark Heppner, president and CEO of Ford House.
Tickets for Holiday Belles House Tours are sold in advance at fordhouse.org or by calling 313-884-4222. Tickets are $12 for adults, $11 for seniors, $8 for children 6-12, and free for children 5 and younger. Holiday Belles will be offered from Nov. 29 through Jan. 5, Wednesdays through Saturdays, noon-7:30 p.m.; and Sundays, noon-4 p.m. Ford House will also be open for tours 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
About Ford House
Ford House is located at 1100 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Shores. The historic lakeside estate was the family home of Edsel Ford – Henry and Clara Ford’s only son – where he lived with his wife Eleanor and their children beginning in 1928. Since 1978, Ford House has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors to share in Eleanor Ford’s vision of preserving the estate for future generations to enjoy through interpretive tours, family activities, lectures, exhibits, and gardens and grounds events. Ford House was named a National Historic Landmark in 2017, a prestigious honor from the Secretary of the Interior or Federal government. For more information, visit fordhouse.org or call 313-884-4222. Connect with Ford House on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.