I don’t know when it happened but one day I woke up 30 years old and with the terrifying realization that I like a lot of old lady things. Long gone were the days of seeing Shaun’s metal shows every weekend, spending time at practices, partying hard, and living a “rock star” lifestyle. I woke up in Silicon Valley with an increased appreciation of champagne, s’mores, and dare I say it – GARDENS. Sweet Jesus what happened to me?!
We pulled up to the Filoli Mansion and Gardens and I found myself giddy, and my camera trigger finger locked and loaded. Over the next hour or two, our docent took us through the mansion and the gardens. Never in my life were so many memories flooding back to me about playing in my bestfriend’s backyard, pretending that we were part of the Secret Garden World. Yet I found myself, 20 years later, in the real thing. Trimmed hedges with passageways, Latin inscribed keystones above doorways, long well-manicured hallways of greenery… I was just looking to find some secret doorway into my dream world.
Filoli, or a shortened version of “Fight. Love. Live.” is a extravagant 364 acre estate in San Mateo county built by Wailliam Bower Bourn II, one of the big wigs of the gold mines back in 1915. Little did he know he would be setting the standard for success in Silicon Valley! I admit, I have some weird longing for these old homes (I’m still holding out on owning a plantation style home one day). But what on earth would I do with 36,000 square feet, 43 rooms, 17 bathrooms, and 17 fireplaces? The thought of cleaning it all sends shivers down my spine. There are over 1000 volunteers at any given time keeping this property in one piece.
But it really is the garden that I oohed and aahed over. I mean, look at it.
The wedding photographer in me just wants to see everything lit up with lights and candles while hosting a rockin’ summer party. The one thing I wish I could have brought to you via smell-o-vision was the deep red Double Delight rose that I was trying very hard not to jump into the bushes and rub my body all over the smelly good stuff (I’m trying to ignore the concept of thorns).
I left with a newfound respect for horticulturists, flower arrangers, gardeners, and landscapers. There is something very special about gardens that are so meticulously put together. What kind of things ooh and aah you when you’re traveling?
Disclosure: I was a guest of the San Mateo County/Silicon Valley CVB, however all opinions are my own.