Filoli Gardens

Over our first free weekend since arriving in California, we wanted to do some exploring and sightseeing beyond the sea of suburban sprawl that we seem to live in. I'd seen beautiful photos on fellow Bay Area resident Taylor Sterling's instagram, and did a little research to find out what "Filoli Gardens" was. Turns out it's a beautiful old country estate that now belongs to the National Trust. It is on the Peninsula near Palo Alto. We headed over after grabbing some super yummy doughnuts from Manley's in Willow Glen (highly recommend!).

This is the entrance to the house - probably would be more accurate to call it a castle. I want to come back when that wisteria is blooming!


I only took photos in a few rooms (got really awkward when the docents were there, even though photos were allowed), but the ballroom deserved a photo.


Or two ;) The colors were much brighter and lighter than my phone captured.


You'll have to forgive the terrible lighting on these next two photos of the bathroom near the ballroom, but I was obsessed with the marble floors, and marble sink with brass legs. I told Ryan we will be recreating this someday.


And the flocked wallpaper!


The library. Most of the fireplaces were quite ornate, but I loved the simple marble surround on this one. And yes, there were wheeled ladders.


Gorgeous rug in the reception room.


We headed out the side door to begin our tour of the gardens. I could totally imagine strolling out here with my cup of morning coffee...


The sunken garden is quite the little jewel. The garden house overlooks it (more of that in a second).


Sweet little lily pads.


The path was edged in flower beds.


Inside the garden house. I was ready to move right in.


There were hydrangeas in several spots around the grounds and they had HUGE blooms on them. Almost soccer ball size.


I loved looking up at the trees. Very different foliage than I'm used to seeing!


A lot of the gardens looked like this, though there was also a vegetable garden and a fruit tree orchard.


As well as this half-circle of columns at the highest point of the garden where you can see all the way down the estate. Felt like a set for A Midsummer Night's Dream (which, by the way, is where Thisbe's name comes from).


Heading back down to the house (past the tennis courts that were set up for a wedding!), Ryan was tempted to dip in the pool. Luckily he did not, because I'd like to visit again one day! It was lovely though.



This was a wonderful little outing and it was interesting to hear some of the history of the area through the stories of the two families that lived here. I think next time we'll do the gardens and then move into the house - it got a little hot in the sun for this Seattle girl!

Afterwards we headed down to Stanford to check out their Cantor Art Museum, but we were pretty worn out and on visual overload. I'll share photos from that soon, but we hope to go back and see more of it (we missed several wings).