ASR Destinations ~~ Stunning: The Beauty of Filoli, the Garden of Greenery

ASR Destinations: Focus on Our Bay Area

Visitors pay thousands of dollars to visit Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area, drawn by our remarkable attractions and lifestyles. Do we locals ever visit? Here’s something to consider:

    • Flying has lost its appeal at these prices
    • Hotel rates have soared
    • Gasoline prices will never be the same.

Therefore, consider some special places you can reach and return home on the same day. Or Two.

This latest addition to Aisle Seat Review will spotlight many of the adventures at hand for daytime or weekend activities. When you aren’t going to the theatre, that is. Or the gallery. Or…well, you get the idea.

Thank you for your attention.

— The Editors


Destination: Filoli the Garden of Greenery

by Cari Lynn Pace 


Actually, that’s not the correct description, as Filoli always has something blooming in living colors.

This 654-acre estate encircles a private mansion built for the Bourn family in 1917. William Bourn created the name for his new Shangri-la getaway by combining the first two letters of his three core mantras:

      • Fight for a just cause.
      • Love your fellow man.
      • Live a good life.

Located in Woodside, 30 miles south of San Francisco, Filoli is now part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and open for tours daily.

It’s a double dose of impressive attractions, with gardens to tour outdoors and a 54,000-square foot Georgian-style mansion when the weather brings you inside.

The Bourn home boggles the brain to see the opulence it contained. The lifestyle and entertaining of the family who owned a gold mine was anything but casual.

Photo by Michael Price.

At the imposing entryway, a butler would direct female guests to the powder room on the right and gentlemen to the cloak room on the left. The reception room with walls of silk and soaring windows overlooking the gardens would have been a lovely place to await the host and hostess.

If you were fortunate to be invited to a party in the ballroom, you could warm yourself by the 8-foot fireplace or waltz under crystal chandeliers high above.

…The Bourn home boggles the brain to see the opulence it contained…

The kitchen, with its separate bakery and walk-in pantry room, is spacious enough for seven servants to work at once. And they did. Don’t miss the overlarge dumb waiter or the massive walk-in bank vault where silver serving pieces were locked at night.

When they serve tea at Filoli, you want to be here.

A Tiffany-designed set of flatware for 18 guests is also on display in the opulent dining room. When the 16 acres of lush gardens outside begin to beckon, choose a path and wander at will.

In mid-May the camelias were abundant as were fragrant trees of dogwood and lilac. Paths meander around reflection pools beside towering Japanese maple and sweet magnolia. The rose garden, with over 500 rosebushes, was just starting to burst with color and perfume. Summer is the best time to visit for rose lovers, with many color-laden bushes labelled and ready for their close-ups.

No matter the season, there is always something blooming or budding at Filoli. Also of note, Filoli’s natural attractions will soon be augmented by a music program. Go to for dates and guest artists.

Contact: Filoli Historic House & Garden | 86 Cañada Road, Woodside, CA 94062 | (650) 364-8300   |


ASR Writer & Editor Cari Lynn Pace is a voting member of SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle and writes theatre and lifestyle reviews for the Marinscope Community Newspapers throughout Marin County. Contact: