Around nine years ago, I visited California for the very first time. We headed up to San Francisco and as you can see, it was a very cloudy day. Despite the weather, I still had to get a shot of the “Painted Ladies.”
Don’t worry…this isn’t a “vacation” post. 🙂 We did it all during the 2-3 days we were there. We walked across “the” bridge, visited Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square…pigged out on yummy chocolate.
It’s really breezy on the Golden Gate bridge. Wasn’t I styling in my RL houndstooth jacket? (LOL) Ok, not the greatest look for me…but I’ve always had this thing for houndstooth jackets.
Took the tour of Alcatraz…
My first trolley ride…
We visited Yosemite and the great Sequoias. Words can not describe. Awe, just pure awe!
Wonder how many people have had their picture taken in this spot? Hard to explain what it’s like to walk among these majestic giants…but I’m pretty sure I know how an ant feels now.
Now we get to what this post is really about. 🙂
A few weeks before I took this trip, I was watching HGTV and they were talking about this crazy, crazy house in San Jose. I couldn’t believe it when we were zooming up the interstate and I saw a sign for it. What? How often do you watch something on HGTV and then get to experience it in real life? I had to go. Have you ever been to the Winchester Mystery House?
You know how sometimes you hear about a place, then you go and it turns out it’s really not worth the trip? Turns out to be all hype? Well, the Winchester Mystery House is totally worth the trip! I’d love to go back and do the “flashlight tour.”
This house was originally built by Sarah Winchester, the widow of the founder of Winchester Repeating Arms.
It all started with two awful tragedies. First Sarah lost her only child, Annie, just a few weeks after her birth. Then, a few short years later, her husband, William Winchester died. As you might imagine, she was inconsolable.
She eventually sought the advice of a spiritual medium who told her the tragedies in her life were caused by all the folks who had lost their lives at the hand of a Winchester rifle. She told Sarah she needed to move way out west, build a home, and never stop building it. No kidding. Weird, huh? The spiritual medium told Sarah as long as she kept building and adding to her home, the bad spirits would stay away and she would be safe. Sarah apparently took this advice to heart.
She bought an 8 room farmhouse in 1884 and added room after room after room…for 38 years. At her death, the 8 room farmhouse had become 160 rooms! She employed 13 carpenters full time and they labored day and night.
I remember seeing lots of beautiful stained glass and gorgeous moldings. Sarah must have really loved daisies because a lot of the stained glass depicted daisies, as did much of the beautiful molding. A lot of the stained glass was Tiffany and she hired some of the most amazing artisans to create the moldings and woodwork throughout the home.
One of the shocking things I heard on the tour was that the house consumed the barn on the property. They just built and built and built…and when they reached the barn, it was absorbed right into the home. The day we took the tour, they had many of the doors and windows Sarah had purchased for future additions stored in this room we were told was once the barn.
Some stats: The house is 24,000 square feet and contains 160 rooms, 40 bedrooms, 13 baths, 6 kitchens, 10,000 windows, 2,000 stairs, 47 fireplaces and 17 chimneys.
Before the huge earthquake in 1906 , it stood 7 stories high. Today, it is 4 stories.
There are many, many wild stories about this home…you get to hear all of them on the tour. There was no master plan. There are doorways that oddly open to the outside like the one below…do you see it in the pic?
There are doors that when opened, have nothing but a blank wall on the other side. Some stairways lead nowhere. It’s been said, Sarah created the crazy stairways and the trick doors to fool the spirits.
The Winchester Mystery House is said to be one of the top 10 most haunted places in America. I read this evening at the Winchester Mystery House website, they are getting ready to shoot a movie about this house. I don’t plan to go see it because it’s supposed to be scary and I don’t like scary movies.
Here’s a video with some additional information…
Visit the Winchester Mystery House website to learn more about the home and the upcoming movie.