The striking thing about the Thomas Edison NHP is that it has two locations that reflect two different aspects of Edison’s life. The first is at Edison’s lab/factory complex where he worked after he moved his operations from Menlo Park. The second is a couple miles away at Glenmont, the sprawling country estate he bought as a wedding gift for his second wife Mina which coincided with the move in 1886.
The visitor should begin a tour at the Visitor Center to buy an admission ticket that covers both locations. The ticket is valid for seven days. The bookstore, restrooms, theater, and the National Parks Passport Cancellation Station are there. There is no food for sale. There are no restaurants nearby. There are no picnic facilities at either of the two sites. It’s advisable to visit after having breakfast or lunch.
The theater in the Visitor Center shows an orientation film that covers Edison’s career. It shows his early work with the phonograph and motion picture camera as well as other pioneering work. There is actual footage of Edison and his staff.
Next, one should take advantage of a ranger talk which frequently leads into a tour of the chemistry labs which are fascinating because they are still stocked with original equipment and original bottles of chemicals. One can imagine Edison and his scientists at work here.
Next, visitors can take a self-guided tour of other buildings. Not all are open to visitors.
Then, Friday to Sunday, one can take a tour of Glenmont, his country estate which is a short drive away. Ticketing includes a parking pass that one must show to the guard stationed at the entrance to Llewellyn Park, the gated community of 175 homes in West Orange where Glenmont is located.
At this second site, there is small Visitor Center/bookstore with a small parking lot. Nearby are a barn, garden, and greenhouse.
Glenmont is a 29-room Victorian mansion on 13+ acres where Thomas Edison lived for 44 years. Edison said that the mansion was “a great deal too nice for me, but it isn’t half nice enough for my little wife.” The Entrance Parlor and Guest Reception Area are elegant with lots of mahogany and tufted velvet chairs and settees. There are stained glass windows and several animal skin rugs on the floors---popular at the time.
The ranger who led our tour was very knowledgeable.
In the rear of the backyard, one will find the graves of Thomas and Mina Edison. The setting is quite simple, considering that Edison was a wealthy man.
We enjoyed our visit here.
I suggest leaving extra time to explore the grounds.
As one can see from the photo above, the front of the house is very photogenic.
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