Visit to Filoli -- April 8, 2000
(Posted April 17, 2000)
|Entrance to Filoli Mansion|
One of the many activities during our stay with Val and Sandy Watson from Friday April 7 to Monday April 10 (see Trip to Watsons ) was a tour of the Filoli Museum on Saturday, April 8. This 654-acre estate is located on Canãda Road just south of route 92 to Half Moon Bay. The photograph above was lifted from the Filoli Web site, which has virtual tours of both the mansion and garden. A visit to the Filoli Web Site is well worthwhile.
Sandy had made arrangements for us to go on the Nature Hike at 10 a.m. Saturday morning. Here we are just after we arrived to go on the hike:
Val, Sandy, Mary, and Herb in front of Filoli Visitor Center
Our guide was a wonderful little wisp of a lady (guess: 80 years old, 5 feet tall, and weighing no more than 80 pounds) who loved the outdoors and knew a bit about the trail. Before we had gone very far she asked if it would be OK if we extended the hike from the nominal two hours to two and a half hours. I knew that my bad ankle wasn't going to like that but wasn't about to spoil the fun of eight other hikers. So off we went. We soon came upon the fenced meadow below:
Passing a lush, fenced meadow.
There were many wild flowers along the way, but my camera gravitated to the wild iris. We actually saw a small field of these but the best picture was of a single bloom:
My favorite again: Wild Iris
Much of the hike was through dense growths of oak, redwood, and madrone trees. Below is a picture of some of this looking back toward a bridge.
Dense woods surround a bridge on the trail.
Although the hike was very interesting and enjoyable, we got back to the visitor center at one o'clock, after three hours of hiking. My bad ankle was complaining with "Go ahead, but now you limp, dummy!" We were almost as hungry as tired, so after buying our tickets for the garden and mansion tour (another $10 apiece) we went directly to the Quail's Nest Cafe in the Visitor Center for a light lunch. At two o'clock we headed out to the gardens. After wandering around for about 15 minutes looking for a way in, we found that everything closed at three o'clock, so what you see below is the result of a 45 minute whirlwind self-guided tour. Most of this time was spent inside the mansion but no picture taking is allowed. For this, see the Filoli Web Site where you will find 360-degree panoramas that let you look up, down, and around each room as you hear narrations about items in the room. Only the largest of the rooms are included, and the site doesn't show the kitchen with its huge electric stove taken from a retired Matson Line ship.
Filoli was built in the period from 1915 and 1917 by William Bowers Bourn II and his wife Agnes. Bourn was an entrepreneur with his fingers in many enterprises, most notably the Empire Mine in Grass Valley, California (and thus our interest in the estate) and a water system using the Crystal Springs Watershed, which Bourn also owned. Bourn later deeded most of the watershed to the water district, but kept 654 acres for his horse farm and mansion. The Bourns died in 1936 and the estate was bought in 1937 by William P. and Lurline B. Roth. All the basic forms and plantings of the 16-acre garden were completed by 1920, but Mrs. Roth carried on the tradition with distinction until she deeded the estate in 1975 to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. During her tenure Mrs. Roth was awarded several honors, including the Distinguished Service Medal of the Garden Club of America. The gardens now bear her name.
Below are several pictures of the sunken garden, on which we concentrated for lack of time.
Sunken Garden viewed from below clock tower
Sunken Garden with clock tower in background
Bed of yellow tulips nested in purple flowers.
Bed of pink tulips nested in blue flowers.
After getting the three o'clock bums' rush, Val and I wandered to the northwest corner of the mansion to photograph these majestic oaks. The trees are several hundred years old and certainly dictated the location of the mansion.
Majestic old oaks at northeast corner of the mansion
After a low-level caretaker shooed us away from this area of the grounds (Lord knows why), Val and I wandered back to the other side of the mansion where the garden building had been converted to a gift shop. This was open and booming until three thirty, and Both Sandy and Mary were busy buying their treasures. Mary spotted three bunnies that she couldn't resist (for thrice the price at Costco, I'm sure).
Mary buys three bunny treasures.
Sandy spotted this five-fingered vase, which was soon in their home to hold all those geraniums that Tommy had picked.
Sandy buys a five-fingered vase.
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