Monday, March 30, 2015

The Filoli House

The Filoli House Front Entrance
This is part two of my blog on the historic Filoli estate. I covered the gardens and a little bit of its history in part one. This blog will feature photographs of the house. When you visit Filoli, located in Woodside, California, your entry fee includes the house and gardens. Make sure you leave time to tour both. Give yourself three hours to be comfortable, more if you want to have lunch in their charming Café (which is not budget).

Filoli is a 36,000 ft.²,  primarily Georgian, country house built between 1915 and 1917. Much of the furnishings were donated by Mrs. William Roth, the second owner of the House. Friends of Mrs. Roth and other donors such as Southern California collector Melville Martin have also donated many of the furnishings.

View Of The Back

Columns of Tavernelle Marble And A Front Door Of Paneled Oak

Movies That Have Been Filmed At Filoli
The Library: Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Bourn, The First Owners of Filoli, Are Hanging On The Walls
The Library Is Copied From A Library At Denham Place, An English House Built In 1690
The Butler's Pantry: The Linoleum Floor, Dishwasher, And Metal Cabinets Were Installed Around 1961
The Electric Stove Was Installed During The 1940s After The Original Oil Fired Stove Broke Down
The Dining Room
Needlepoint Of Filoli Gardens Created By The Tuesday Stitcher’s Of The Assistance League, San Mateo County
Only Members Are Allowed Upstairs Where Libraries Are Available By Appointment
The Ballroom - I Wish My Photo Did It Justice; It Is Much Prettier Than This.
The Baroque Fireplace
Hercules Graces The Mantel

This is only a sampling of the beautiful rooms on display. There is so much more to see. They also feature temporary art exhibits at Filoli, usually placed in the visitor center where you buy your tickets. When I was there, they were featuring bird prints of drawings by John James Audubon.

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00 am–3:30 pm (last admission 2:30 pm)
Sunday: 11:00 am–3:30 pm (last admission 2:30 pm)

Admission: February 10 - May 31, 2015 Adults $20, seniors $17, students $10, Children four years and younger are free (but I think young children would be very bored).
Admission is two dollars cheaper between June and October 25, Filoli is then closed until Nov 27 - Dec 5, 2015 for their Holiday Tradition Event.
If you plan to visit Filoli three or more times during the year, you might consider buying a membership.

Directions: follow the website's written directions; they warn the GPS is not always accurate.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Historic Filoli Estate- Exploring The Gardens

The Estate Includes a 16 Acre English Renaissance Garden

Filoli is a country estate, built in the early 1900s, by San Franciscans Mr. and Mrs. William Bowers Bourn. They lived there from 1917 to 1936. Mr. Bourn came up with the name Filoli from his personal creed: Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; and Live a good life. In 1937, the estate was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. William P. Roth. During this time, the garden became famous and in 1975, Mrs. Roth donated 125 acres, which included the house and garden, to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
     Mrs. Roth wanted to make sure the public could enjoy her beautiful house and garden. I've walked around enjoying it myself several times now. If you love gardens and architecture, I highly recommend visiting here.
The Entrance to the House (which will be covered in part 2 of this blog)
 Filoli is located in Woodside, California near the Crystal Springs Reservoir. It is surrounded by the beautiful Filoli Nature Preserve, which is only open to the public through a docent lead hike. What this means for visitors is you are away from the noise of the city and can enjoy the peace and tranquility of the gardens.

Daffodil Meadow

The Daffodils Typically Bloom in February

When I Was There in Late Feb. The Yellow Daffodils Were On Their Way Out, But The White Ones Were Still In Bloom

The Knot Garden Is Shown Off To Full Affect In The Summer
Tulips Bloom In March And April

We All Wish, But No, The Pool Is Not Open To The Public.

A View of the Bell Tower From The Sunken Garden
Another View Of The Sunken Gardens
The Reflecting Pool Mirrors The Clock Tower

The Gardens Include Many Containers Of Flowers

A Photographers Delight

Please Don't Pick The Lemons!

The gardens can be enjoyed on so many different levels - photographic opportunities, artistic inspiration, horticultural study, landscape ideas, or a simple stroll to enjoy the peaceful beauty. You can see what's in bloom by checking their Blooming Calendar.
     They also offer many events throughout the year. If you want to bring your children, I recommend visiting during their Spring or Autumn Festival where they offer many activities for children. A few years ago, My kids had a great time at the Spring Festival watching a small dog agility show and playing with huge colorful bubbles. I don't see the Spring Festival on the calendar this year, but the autumn festival is set for Sat. September 26.

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00 am–3:30 pm (last admission 2:30 pm)
Sunday: 11:00 am–3:30 pm (last admission 2:30 pm)

Admission: February 10 - May 31, 2015 Adults $20, seniors $17, students $10, Children four years and younger are free.
Admission is two dollars cheaper between June and October 25, Filoli is then closed until Nov 27 - Dec 5, 2015 for their Holiday Tradition Event.
If you plan to visit Filoli three or more times during the year, you might consider buying a membership.

Directions: follow the website's written directions; they warn the GPS is not always accurate.

If you go: unfortunately, they don't allow picnics, even outside the entrance near the parking lot. Personally, I don't know what harm there could be in having a few picnic tables in the trees that edge the parking lot, but there it is.  I usually eat my lunch in the car or splurge at their very nice café. You are allowed to bring bottles of water and there are a couple of water fountains in the Gardens as well. For more on what is and is not allowed at Filoli, read their etiquette sheet.

Next week I will blog about the house, it is really something to see. BTW General admission includes access to the house and garden. Allow 2 - 3 hours to tour the entire estate. For more information, visit the Filoli website.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Amazing American Girl Store!

There Are 18 American Girl Stores Nationwide

Over 25 million American Girl dolls have been sold since 1986. Their phenomenal popularity can be attributed to the fact that they are not just dolls, they are also a testament to the importance of girls throughout American history and society. They represent girl children at their best - smart, resourceful, and imaginative. American Girl dolls are the anti-thesis to Barbie.

Ironically, American Girl and Barbie are both owned by Mattel; however, Mattel has stayed true to the original vision of founder, Pleasant Rowland, who created the American girl doll brand in 1986. Ms. Rowland worked as a teacher and creator of children's educational materials and was particularly interested in finding new ways of teaching history to children. In contrast to Barbie and the popular Cabbage Patch dolls of that time, Ms. Roland decided to develop something completely different: “a finely made, historically accurate doll that would teach children about history and inspire their imaginations (see link).”

A remake of one of the original American Girl dolls, Samantha, is from the Victorian year of 1904.
Currently, there are eight historical American Girl dolls, dressed in the fashion of the day, and offered with an accompanying book plus detailed accessories. There is also a Girl Of The Year doll; choose your own American Girl doll; Bitty Babies; and Bitty Twins. There is doll clothing, furniture, toys, musical instruments, books, matching children's clothes, and more. All these items are sold through a catalog or through the American Girl store - which brings me back to the original intent of this blog - to show you a bit of this amazing store.

This store is located at the Stanford Shopping Center (see my earlier blog) in Palo Alto, CA
Two Levels, 15,000 ft.²
For Some Girls, This Might Be A Stairway To Heaven!
The Bistro Is Open For Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, And Celebrations. Dolls Welcome Of Course.
The Doll Hair Salon - Hair Styling, Doll Ear Piercings, Spa Packages, And Fitted Doll Hearing Aids!
This Doll Is Being Very Patient While Her Hair Is Styled!
If You Buy The Right Equipment, You Can Pamper Your Doll At Home!
A Doll To Relate To Every Child
Dolls For Younger Children

Bitty Twins
More of Samantha With Her Astonishingly Accurate Accessories
American Girl Doll Books, They Even Have A Magazine
I Love The Luggage Lift!
If you go: obviously this store is not budget minded; in fact, everything in it is very expensive. But looking is free, and they allow you to take pictures as well. I am not going to knock the expense of these dolls ($115 for the standard size), because they are very well-made and I love the whole concept. Yes, I fell for the American Girl doll a few years ago when my daughter decided she wanted one. I told her we couldn't afford a doll that expensive - luckily Santa brought one.

Location: 660 Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, CA 94304 and Directions
Store hours: they really vary! Check out their website or call 877-247-5223.

 Even if you don't buy anything, you can still enjoy the charm of these dolls and their world - our girl's world!

La Patisserie belonging to Grace's Aunt and Uncle in Paris

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Enjoy Stanford Shopping Center Without Spending A Dime

An Entrance To The Center - From The Arboretum Road
Stanford shopping Center is filled with luxury stores for luxury shopping. I cannot afford to shop in many of the stores there, but it is still my favorite mall. Why? Because it is so beautiful. The grounds of this outdoor mall are a destination in itself; it is a favorite for tourists and locals alike.
Let's begin with the flowers . .

Each Walkway Is Landscaped With Containers Of Beautiful Flowers
There Are Numerous Fountains
This Planter Helps Decorate One Of Many Outdoor Seating Areas
The Planter Boxes Are Well Tended - You’ll Never See A Weed!
The Flowers Are Changed Seasonally

Then there are the windows . .

If You Have To Ask, You Can’t Afford To Buy . .

"Hugs Accepted" - Does This Mean You Don’t Have To Tip?

How Do You Type A Wolf Whistle? Cause I’m Whistling . .

Then there's a peek inside the stores . .

There’s An Art To It??
It Does Look Kind Of Nostalgic And Romantic, I Must Admit
This Window Always Grabs My Attention
 These Are Not Chocolates, They Are Just Paper Figures To Get Your Attention
Now These Are Chocolates! And Outrageously Expensive, I’ve Never Bought One.
I Have Browsed But Rarely Bought, Though If Money Was No Object . .

Last but not least, there is the people and dog watching. Yes, well behaved dogs on leashes are very welcome here.

They Have A Brand-New Interactive Directory, It’s Amazing!
This Was The First Time I Had Seen A Security Guard On A Segway!
I Actually Took This Photo To Show The Mural Of The Stanford Hills
I’m Not Sure What The Artist Was Thinking, But Kids Love This Sculptured Fisherman!

Their are many upscale restaurants here, some of them affordable. I enjoyed looking at this outdoor market . .

Other than wandering open mouthed through the American Girl doll store (saved for a another blog), this was how I spent my day at the mall - admiring the flowers and enjoying the window displays. I didn't spend a cent. That doesn't mean you don't have to of course! Either way, if you are in the SF Bay Area, visit the Stanford Shopping Center. It’s worth a visit.

If you go: there is some renovation going on at the El Camino Real end of the mall, but it felt removed to me and did not interfere with my enjoyment of the mall. All the stores are open of course.
Check out the center's website for directions and a list of their stores and restaurants. BTW, in the summer the mall usually hosts free jazz concerts and around Christmas, Santa pays an extended visit.