Thursday, July 23, 2009


My third celebration of this week, another birthday celebration, was with Debbie...a day at Filoli, the Mansion and Gardens in Woodside, California, 30 miles south of San Francisco.

Filoli was the private residence, originally of William Bowers Bourn II and his wife, Agnes Moody Bourn (1917 – 1936). In 1937, the property was sold to Mr. and Mrs. William P. Roth. In 1975, Mrs. Roth donated Filoli to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It is open daily to the public from mid-February through late October (Adult admission: $12; Student admission: $5). It was built between 1915 and 1917 and is the last and longest surviving of California estates built in the early 20th century.

The estate includes 16-acres of English Renaissance style gardens and the 36,000 square-foot Georgian residence, both of which can be explored by visitors on a self-guided tour. Other trails and orchards on the property can be visited by reservation, in the company of a docent. For those doing the self-guided tour, there are well-informed docents in the house and gardens (in gardens only on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons).

We spent most of the day here, arriving at about 10:30 a.m. and leaving at 3:30 p.m.

Since it was a bit cool when we arrived, we decided to tour the house first and then, after lunch in their café, to tour the gardens when it was warmer outside. We had a perfect day.

These photos are highlights from our day.

The Entry:

We wandered from room to room within the house. Some of the furnishings belonged to the original owners and some have been donated.

Since Debbie and I are girls who just want to have fun, Debbie could not resist posing in the Silver storage room and I had to jump into the Wine Closet.

The Café offers tasty salads, sandwiches, and pastries. It has indoor and outdoor seating.

My Tuna Melt, served with a green salad and chips, was just the kind of lunch I wanted.

We sat on the outdoor patio. I was impressed with the floral design on the patio chairs...keeping with the spirit of the estate's magnificent gardens.

After lunch, we explored the gardens.

Our final stop was in the Garden Shop, a beautiful gift shop, and the Nursery, where many of the plants that are in the gardens are for sale.

A bit more information/trivia:

• The chief source of wealth of the Bourn family, the original owners, was the Empire Gold Mine in Grass Valley, California . Mr. Bourn also owned and was president of the Spring Valley Water Company whose holdings included Crystal Springs Lake which is on the southern end of the Filoli estate.

• The name "Filoli" comes from Mr. Bourn's credo: "Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life."

• The Roth family, the second and last owners, owned the Matson Navigation Company. Mrs. Roth's maiden name was Matson.

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