Adding a modern touch to a historic setting, the Gale McBride Pavilion for Character Education and Business Ethics is a new covered, open-air venue on the Caloosahatchee River in downtown Fort Myers, Florida, that provides an outdoor option for large groups. With wood floors and ceiling fans, the structure can accommodate up to 256 people for events ranging from receptions to meetings to meals.
The pavilion opened in September on the grounds of Burroughs Home & Gardens, a 1901 Victorian estate—the last remaining building on a once-grand row of 26 mansions along the river. Living history tours of the home, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, can be a memorable addition to group events.
Since the facility is owned by the city of Fort Myers, rental rates are competitive, notes Roberts. The house doubles as the headquarters for Uncommon Friends Foundation, a nonprofit promoting character education in schools and the workplace. Proceeds from events at Burroughs Home benefit the foundation.
The pavilion is not climate-controlled, so avoid planning a summer event there. But the holidays can be a particularly beautiful time on the property. Christmas decorations at the Burroughs home, including thousands of lights adorning the exterior, are a Fort Myers tradition.
Photo credit: Luminaire Foto