Fight, Love, Live – FiLoLi House and Gardens

Fight for a just cause

Love your fellow man

Live a good life

– William Bourn, 1912

I was looking for something festive to do for the holidays so the GEO and I made the 45 minute drive south to the Filoli Estate in Woodside, CA. If you watched the 1980’s primetime soap Dynasty, you will recognize the main house as the Carrington’s mansion from the tv hit show.   (I was a huge fan.) 

The 54,000+ square foot house originally sat on a whopping 709 acres.  It was built built for William Bowers Bourn II, the owner of the Empire Gold Mine in Grass Valley, CA.  Empire was one of the richest mines in California and is now part of the California State Park system. The estate’s second owner, the Roth family, donated  the Historic House and Garden along with 125 acres to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1975. 

I chose the evening admission in order to see the grounds all decked out with Christmas lights.  Since it was almost dark, the first thing I did upon parking was check if there was an easy cache nearby.  I was in luck because the recently placed virtual cache GC7B680 (Filoli) was in the parking lot on the way in.  I really enjoy virtual caches because they add another dimension to visits to landmark places like this by offering interesting tidbits of history and information. 

The fantastic holiday lights transformed the 16 acre garden into a magical landscape.

Even the pond was spectacularly decorated.  (If I remember correctly, this is where Crystal and Alexis had their infamous cat fight.)

The house was equally impressive. Each room had a different decorative theme and at least one matching Christmas tree.  

The attention to detail was impressive. All I know is I definitely would not want to be the one who has to take all the lights down and pack them up.  

Always looking for the next cool place to go makes it easy to overlook the special places in my own proverbial backyard. Can you believe this bucolic scene exists amidst the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley?

Open throughout the year, it is also worth visiting Filoli in the spring and summer when the estate’s spectacular flowers and fruit trees are in bloom.