Tucked away in the hills south of San Francisco you'll find Filoli—16 acres of English Renaissance gardens, nature preserves and a fabulous mansion—a true hidden gem. The hundred-year-old property takes on new life with each season and a stroll through their country estate or meticulously kept grounds will literally make you stop and smell the roses.
As a kid I remember thinking I had been transported into Alice in Wonderland, but no, I was not allowed to paint the roses red. Now I take comfort in the relaxing atmosphere, pick up some tips for my own garden and treat myself to their English tea service!
Free tours of both the grounds and home make it worth the trip anytime of year. I recently learned that Filoli is a lovely acronym from the estates founder, William Bourn's, credo: "Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life."