Filoli. A rare and exceptional estate. Located just off of the 280 freeway near Woodside (about a 30 to 45 minute drive south of San Francisco), this property features 654 acres (it was originally 1,800 acres). Known for its gorgeous formal gardens and a 54,000+ square foot home. Built between 1915 and 1917, this was home to William Bowers Bourn II and his family. Both William and his father left their mark on San Francisco and the mining industry. Bourn I invested heavily into what would become the water supply for San Francisco and also developed the young city’s first water and gas utilities. Bourn II invested in and ultimately became the majority owner of one of the largest and most successful hard rock mines in California, the Empire Mine located in Grass Valley (today the Empire Mine State Historic Park). Between the years of 1850 and when it closed in 1956, remarkably the Empire Mine produced 5.8 million ounces of gold.
One needs several hours to visit the estate – the house features 56 rooms (although only a certain portion is open to the public). And unlike many historical homes which have been converted into museums, a visit to this home is self-guided, at your own pace. However, if you want a more structured tour, 1-hour tours can be booked online and are led by a knowledgeable docent. The gardens feature a reflecting pool, a swimming pool and access to a mile long trail which meanders through the grounds.
And the small Quail’s Nest Café is located within the Visitor’s Center on site with both an indoor and outdoor dining space.
Plenty of parking is available within a short walk of the Visitor Center. Note that the road north of the entrance to Filoli is closed on Sundays – and during good weather, one will often encounter lots of cyclists on both directions on this road. Additional parking is available in the overflow lot. For more information visit: www.filoli.org