caryn hewlett

adventuress. photographer. writer.

Exploring Filoli House & Gardens, California

There is a beautiful, historic home settled on a sprawling estate, surrounded by gardens and forest. The majestic Filoli House & Gardens is a sight to behold in Woodside, California – just 30 minutes south of San Francisco in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Filoli, which stands for Fight Love Live, began as the Bourn-Roth Estate. It was built in 1915, and boasts more than 50 rooms in the 54,256 square foot home. It was designed by an architect named Willis Polk, and was built in just three years.

My favorite part of the house was the grand entrance, with its columns and trailing jasmine, which sweetened the warm spring air. Inside, there were several grand fireplaces that I really loved, but the part that I liked most was how the house included historical information about the people who lived and worked there. The added information was a walk through time that told the story of the house more than any of the beautiful items inside.

Even more grand than the home are the gardens, all 16 acres of them.

The Gardens of the Filoli Estate were by far my favorite part of our visit. There were separated sections of garden with their own themes, such as the rose garden, an orchard, a pool pavilion, multiple terraces, interesting statues hidden amongst the plants, gates, a pond, and more. There is even a greenhouse with peacock chairs inside. I mean, is this heaven?

While we visited, so many things were in bloom: from wisteria and foxgloves to klematis and roses, to irises and sweet peas. There were so many beautiful flowers to take in and enjoy, and we spent hours exploring the gardens. The garden blooms all year long – what will you find in bloom during your visit?

Our trip to Filoli was an amazing experience, and I’m thinking I’ll have to make another trip in December to see the mansion decorated for Christmastime. The whole place feels magical, and made me feel so inspired. It gave me some Downton-Abbey-meets-Secret-Garden vibes and I was totally in my element.

Practical Information:

The Filoli Estate is located at 86 Cañada Road, Woodside, California. Tickets are $25 per adult, $20 for Students/Teachers/Military, and $15 for Children 5-17 years old (Children under 5 are FREE!).

I hope you visit one day and enjoy this magical place as much as I did. Let me know if you do!


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