Local fun with family!

Filoli house entrance

Today was another awesome day!  SMS had made plans for us to hang out with his cousin Jeff and his wife Hope.  I was along for the ride and we all had a great time.  We arrived at Jeff and Hope’s house and after having a quick cup of coffee made with Jeff’s home-roasted beans, we were off to Filoli, a National Trust country estate from the early 20th century.  Hope has volunteered there as a docent for the last 3 years and we had the most incredible small group private tour.

The house call center- because the Bourn’s were involved with energy, there was incredible
circuitry and electricity in the house for its time
Embroidered dining room screen

Ballroom mural

Filoli was built by William and Agnes Bourn between 1915-1917.   The Bourn’s wealth was both inherited and made from the Crystal Spring Water, Napa Vineyard, gold mine and energy holdings he had.  The estate is built on the Southern edge of Crystal Springs Lake.  The house is a modified Georgian English style with 43 rooms and over 36,000 square feet.   We toured the entire first floor to include the kitchen, serving preparation room, formal dining room, drawing room, several parlours and the ballroom.  It was absolutely beautiful and Hope’s guidance really enriched the experience.

Lurilane Roth, from the second family who owned the house

The name Filoli comes from a shortening of Mr. Bourn’s motto: “Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life.”  Unfortunately, the mention of Love made me want to call Hope “Faith” for the rest of the afternoon due to thinking of Faith, Hope and Love.  Oh well.  I suppose there are worse things to want to call someone!

The resident peacock, outside the window at lunch

We took a lunch break and enjoyed salads in the little cafe.  Then it was off to gardens and this was really an incredible experience.  Hope knew the garden styles and plants and it really increased my understanding of how all of the gardens interconnected.  It was really amazing.  Gardens included the marriage garden, a garden modelled on the stained glass windows of Chartes, a Dutch garden,  an English garden and a walled-in secret garden.  I loved it.  It made me want to garden which, knowing my aversion to yard work, meant that I had really drank the kool-aid.  My poor basil plant that I keep forcing to the brink of death before bringing it back will be very happy to hear about my newfound love for horticulture.  (Hang in there, little guy!)

The sunken garden

Sunken garden from a different angle

Gorgeous lavender
Resting in a temporary sculpture

Moroccan blue tree

After the tour, we dropped Hope off at home before heading to Jeff’s community garden plot.  While not quite as impressive as the Filoli gardens, it was still pretty cool to see so much in bloom and ripening produce.  I really wanted to pick from others’ gardens since some heirloom tomatoes were totally ripe for the picking but since that’s a cardinal sin in a community garden, I refrained.  Barely.

Where the internet was born?

After touring the 1%’s home in Hillborough, we headed back to the house where we hung out on the balcony.  We had some drinks, freshly picked tomatoes, homemade paneer, sauteed peppers and polenta slices with tomato sauce.  It was delicious.  Reluctantly, we decided it was time to head home in order to get ready for the upcoming workweek.  I can’t wait until we have Hope and Jeff down here for dinner in Mountain View!

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