Tour Filoli – Immerse Yourself in History, Nature, and Art

Filoli, a California State Historic Landmark in Woodside, CA, is equally enticing to hikers, gardeners, artists, and history buffs. Tour the magnificent house, stroll through the gardens, or take hikes in the Nature Preserve. 바카라사이트

This hidden gem tucked into the oak-studded hills near Crystal Springs Reservoir was built in the early 20th century by a wealthy mining magnate, and later donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Filoli Trust. Portions of the estate are open to the public most of the year. You can tour the antique-filled first floor of the house at your own pace. Knowledgeable docents answer questions and add interesting tidbits of information. For example, on one of my visits, a docent told me the chandeliers in the ballroom are made of Baccarat crystal and once hung in the palace at Versailles. The ballroom also has numerous floor-to-ceiling windows that look out at the spectacular gardens, which supply the cut flowers for all the floral arrangements in the house.

I especially like to wander through the gardens in the early summer when the roses and lavender plants are in full bloom. The fragrances and colorful blossoms are refreshing and relaxing. The plants are labeled and additional information about each plant is available on the Filoli web site. The garden is great for photography, and provides inspiration for painters as well. The shady orchards are great when the temperature starts to climb and benches are placed intermittently throughout the gardens so you can simply sit and soak up the ambiance. Wear comfortable shoes, since the parking lot and many of the garden paths are not paved.

Athletic people who prefer not to sit can enjoy a 2½ hour docent-led hike through the Filoli Nature Preserve. The preserve comprises several different ecosystems and offers a lovely display of wildflowers in the spring. I advise taking some bottled water, since it can warm up quickly on summer days. Reservations are required for the hike, which is offered only on Saturday.

When you need a break from touring and hiking, try the Filoli cafe. The food is tasty (if a little pricey) and you can eat outside on the patio or inside surrounded by lots of windows that look out at the woods. Picnicking is not allowed on the grounds, in the house, or in the visitor center, so if you bring your own food you’ll have to eat it in your car.

Filoli also hosts seasonal events with music, food, and activities. In the summer I like to attend their annual botanical art exhibition, which is held in the ballroom. Exhibiting artists sometimes staff the sales table and you can discuss their work with them. Many of the exhibitors also teach classes in botanical art at Filoli, which offers a certificate in Botanical Illustration for serious artists.

Although Filoli does offer some activities for families and schoolchildren, in my opinion, touring the estate is best done without young children, most of whom would not be interested in 20th century art or architecture. If you have children, wait until they are old enough to appreciate the history and culture of this place and share the experience with you in a meaningful way.

 

 

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