Filoli Center: A South Bay Garden Treasure
By Kathy Chin Leong

There is something about a garden that draws out the best from man – tenderness, inspiration, compassion, love. And in the South Bay, the Eden-like respite that lulls me into a state of blissful tranquility is Filoli Center, tucked off of Canada Road in Woodside. Although a private property, it is one of the few remaining historic estates in the west coast that is open to the public. Many who have been there can attest that it is privilege to have access to such a palacial entity.


What makes Filoli such a beloved icon is the fact that the estate sponsors many activities throughout the year so the "ordinary" person can benefit from its aesthetic beauty. You can come for the day on your own or request a two-hour docent tour of the property when you call in advance. The site hosts workshops and classes in botanical drawing, painting, gardening, birding, photography and floral arrangement.

In the spring, visitors can enjoy the vast tulip and daffodil gardens. Summertime yields docent-led family hikes and special brunches and outdoor jazz concerts. The fall harvest season is honored with the Autumn at Filoli Festival where families can enjoy tastings of its orchards and embark on nature hikes and listen to live music.

In the winter, a boatload of holiday activities for young and old include a magnificent dinner party in November, children’s party in December, and special shopping boutiques and lunch buffets.

During the year, visitors can dive into homemade soups, sandwiches, quiches, and desserts in the café overlooking the native garden of 45 species of plants bordered by a stone fence. Outdoor seating during warm weather, in particular, makes this a special place to meet friends for lunch.

Admission for one day is $12, and a basic membership is only $50 for the year.
Closed Mondays and federal holidays.


Filoli Center
86 Canada Road

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