Filoli at Christmas

The Ruth Bancroft Garden is thinking of making a Christmas light show in the garden, so 15 of us piled into a van and drove to Filoli Mansion on the peninsula to see how the big boys do it.

All these years, and I’d never been there.  Filoli is a massive Georgian style mansion built in 1915 by William Bourn II, a fantastically rich gold mine owner.  Sitting on over a square mile, the stunning house is surrounded by formal gardens put in by the second owner, Lurline Matson Roth of the Matson shipping line fortune.  It’s good to have money.

Gail going up to the entrance.



The name Filoli is a portmanteau of the Mr. Bourns motto “Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life.”

The house has been used in movies and TV, most notably in the opening sequences of Dynasty

Decorating Filoli takes the entire staff of 20 a full week each year.

The interior has a multitude of trees, so beautiful that they are stored from year to year.

Moving outdoors, even the sales areas are visions of delight

The outdoor gardens are lighted in simple white lights, with the occasional blue accent.  Nothing gaudy or garish, which would be horribly inappropriate for such a formal, traditional edifice.

We spent over an hour enjoying the spectacular show. Then on the way out we saw  the most iconic part of the tour.

Christmas is lighted trees, little kids and Santa.


Filoli is open next Friday and Sunday nights, 4-8.  Saturday is already sold out.  The cost is $30, and well worth it.

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