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Travelblog Gone with the Wine

Travelblog and lifestyleblog. Life under the Californian sun - Gone with the Wine. Trips, food and wine from all over the world. Solo and family adventures.

Filtering by Tag: Filoli Gardens

10 Pictures that Will Inspire You to Visit San Francisco

Paula Gaston

San Francisco is much more than just city life. Close by, in San Francisco Bay Area, there are many beautiful beaches, parks and trails. The giant red woods are amazing and the sun set over the ocean wont leave anyone cold. If you don't believe me, juts see for yourself!


The Golden Gate Bridge is the mark of San Francisco and its most famous sight. If you want to see it from somewhere else than from the city, you hike up the hills on the opposite side of the bridge and enjoy some fresh ocean breeze. 



The world's biggest China Town outside of China is colorful and full of life. It's a great place to just walk around, eat or stop in the many little stores they have. 



In the middle of the city there is a huge park called Golden Gate Park. It hides inside so many beautiful places but one of the most beautiful one is the Japanese Tea Garden. It is definitely at its best during spring with the cherry blossoms. 



In the 18th century the Sutro Baths used to be sort of a spa and its remains are right next to the famous Cliff House restaurant. It used to be the world's biggest indoor swimming facility but none of the buildings exist anymore. The pools now get filled by the ocean's crashing waves and there are great hiking trails in the area. Sutro Baths is part of the Golden Gate Recreational Area so it is protected and part of the national parks.  



One of the most beautiful places in the San Francisco Bay Area is for sure the Filoli Gardens. It is great all year round but especially gorgeous during the spring time. If you get bored of the flowers, you can also visit the mansion which was used in the Dynasty TV show. 



A little bit north from San Francisco lies the Point Reyes National Seashore. They have excellent beaches, forests and great hiking trails. One of the most visited places at Point Reyes is its old lighthouse. 



This well known ship wreck at the Point Reyes National Seashore is hidden behind a restaurant building, so most times you will be the only one visiting it. Unfortunately, some time ago someone set it on fire, so I am not sure how much is left of it anymore. 



In San Francisco and close by it, you can find many beaches where you can go horse back riding. This picture is from Drake's Beach. 



Muir Woods National Monument is north of the city of San Francisco. The rare coastal red woods grow on this protected area. After a twisty mountain road you will forget city life by walking into a whole different world. The oldest tree in Muir Woods is over 1200 years old.



Nothing is better than sun sets in California. And you will have plenty of places in San Francisco to see them. The city is surrounded by water, which makes it a special place to watch the sun go down on summer evenings. 


Everyone should experience San Francisco once in a lifetime!

10 Travel Pictures from My Past

Paula Gaston

We just finished a road trip in California, but before sharing those stories, I decided to participate in a blog challenge which I have seen in several Finnish travel blogs. I got the picture themes from Ne Tammelat -blog (which is in Finnish) and anyone who has a blog is welcome to join.

So here are my 10 (and even few extra) travel photos:


I love Filoli Gardens in the San Franciscon Bay Area. You can find many hidden spots in the garden and they have also filmed the television show Dynasty over there. Both spring and summer time are the best times to visit Filoli, and I did write about our visit there about a year ago.


Is there anything more traditional than this? I think everyone who has ever visited Paris has posed in front of the Eiffel Tower. This picture is from 2008.


When looking for this picture I was first trying to figure out if I should use a picture that was taken far away from my home country Finland, or my current home in California. I think Japan is pretty far from both of those places, so I chose a picture from our trip to Kyoto to see Fushimi-Inari-Taisha. 


Even though I have seen several big cities, I think Tokyo is the winner here. It was just so hectic and crowded, but also cool at the same time. 


You can't get anymore tired than this! I was traveling from Finland via Sweden to Chicago when my flight was delayed over six hours due to thunder storms. Then they added an extra flight on my route so I flew to Philadelphia first. I finally made it to Chicago, but my luggage didn't. Oh well, that happens! 


I can't really use a sunset picture from anywhere else than California. California sunsets are the best! 


I have always liked Mexican food but who ordered all this? Ooops! There is no way two girls can eat all this! 

We like to treat ourselves with some good food and wine on our trips. This picture is from San Diego.


I had to really think about this since I usually always find something interesting in each place. I chose this picture from Jerusalem since I mostly just remember chaos and queues from this place. We did a day trip from Eilat to Jerusalem and we only had limited time to explore the place. Maybe if I had more time there I would have been able to see all the beautiful places in the city. 


It seems like I have a lot of these pictures.. ha ha. The two first ones are from Lake Tahoe, California and the last one is from Yosemite National Park.


On our road trip in Northern California we drove thru this redwood tree. It was such a fun trip! If you want to hear about our newest road trip and where we went... stay tuned! More about it on my blog soon! 


If you want to participate in the blog challenge, here is the list of themes for photos. Please link my blog (Gone with the Wine) in your post and I would love to read your stories, so if you have time to leave a link to your on a comment, that would be great. Have fun!

1. A Perfect Moment
2. The Traditional Tourist pose
3. From as Far Away as You Have Been
4. In the Heart of the Big City
5. Zzz – Tired of Traveling
6. Sunset
7. Treats on Trips
8. A Famous Place Which Was a Disappointment
9. I Would Do Anything for a Good Photo
10. A Picture from a Road Trip

The Best of California's Pacific Coast Highway

Paula Gaston

All these pictures are from my Instagram account. You can follow me @paulagaston

So many travellers have a dream to drive down the California Pacific Coast Highway or State Route 1. Many drive only a part of it, but you can also do a longer version. While living in California, we drove parts of PCH from time to time, and I have written articles about each place we visited. Now it is time to wrap them all up into one post which tells you everything you need to know about California Pacific Coast Highway.

Most of my travels in Southern California happened when I didn't have a blog yet. But in recent years, we have driven the northern parts a few times, so here is some information about them. I added the San Francisco Bay Area as a separate section since so many people stay here for a few days. Once I get down to Southern California again, I will add more articles on the list. And please, post some questions and wishes about what I should cover!


Many people start their drive on Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco or they end their trip there. Don't under estimate the north parts of PCH though. There is still plenty to see if you drive up north from San Francisco. Enjoy the redwood forests, national parks or Glass Beach in Fort Bragg. State Route 1 merges into 101 in Leggett, but if you continue your drive it will follow the coastline soon again, and you can drive all the way up to the Oregon border. The views are great! Along the way is the Avenue of GiantsRedwood National Park, and right after the city of Eureka, a place that was disturbed by many tsunamis, Crescent city.

Glass beach in Fort Bragg

Glass beach in Fort Bragg

Drive Thru Tree in Leggett.

Drive Thru Tree in Leggett.


For a visit to the San Francisco Bay Area you want to reserve multiple days. Like any big city, there is plenty to see. There are of course the most known sights that everyone should see, but there are also many other places worth a visit. Because San Francisco is located right by the bay, you can hike along the coastline with amazing views, or rent bicycles and ride along the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Headlands. All this is part of the national park system, Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Sunset in Sutro Baths

Sunset in Sutro Baths


Many start their drive on Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco. Even though you will be able to drive all the way to Los Angeles in one day, I recommend reserving at least one or two nights on the way. There are vista points and other stops all along the road, and so many things to see or do from nature activities to historic sites. Route 1 merges with I-5 in Dana Point in Orange County. 

Morro Rock

Morro Rock

Inside pool area in Hearst Castle

Inside pool area in Hearst Castle

Have you driven Pacific Coast Highway? How was your experience?

This is Where They Filmed Dynasty - Filoli Gardens in California

Paula Gaston

This weekend we finally visited magnificent Filoli Gardens in Woodside, California. For a while now, I have wanted to see this gorgeous mansion, which is about 30 minutes drive from San Francisco. We drove between the Santa Cruz Mountains until suddenly we saw the Filoli sign on the side of the road. After towards to a small road surrounded by some fields, we saw some wild turkeys and deer before we he hit the parking lot of Filoli Gardens. 


We headed to the visitor center to get our tickets ($20 adults/2016) and to get our brochure of the place. The self-guided tour starts with a 15 minute video in the visitor center, which talks about the history and the two families who lived in the mansion. Next we decided to see the gardens but we accidentally ended up in front of the mansion. Some of you might recognise this building from the hit TV-series of the 80s, Dynasty. This mansion was featured in the opening scene, and it was the home of the Carrington family. The show was mainly filmed in other locations, but some scenes were filmed inside of the mansion. Also many other shows and movies have been filmed here such as Heaven Can Wait with Warren Beatty, Dying Young with Julia Roberts, The Game with Michael Douglas, The Wedding Planner with Jennifer Lopez, George of the Jungle, Rent and many others.

Originally this mansion was built between 1915 and 1917 to be a home for the Bourn family. William Bowers Bourn II spent a lot of time in Europe and was fascinated by the architecture over there. He brought his ideas with him and used them on this mansion. The name Filoli comes from the motto of Mr Bourn, and from the first letters of "Fight for a cause, Love your fellow man, Live a good life". After the passing of William and his wife, the mansion was sold to the Roth family, who kept growing the gardens and added a pool to it. In 1975 Mrs. Roth donated the place to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and it was opened to the public. Today, the staff and some 1200 volunteers are taking care of this beautiful place. 

We started our garden tour from the Sunken Garden, which in my opinion, was one of the most beautiful parts of the whole place. Flowers were blooming everywhere, even in the pond, and little dragon flies were flying around it. We saw several artists concentrating on their colourful paintings. We walked thru the Rose Garden all the way to the Fruit Garden. We stopped at the Daffodil Meadow and in a corner that was full of blooming hydrangeas. In between the gardens there was Yew Allee. The magnificent garden ended at the Wedding Place and the tennis court, from where we headed back to the mansion. I absolutely loved this garden, and if you like flowers you should visit this place for sure. In my opinion, the garden is the main attraction here, and as a plus you will get to visit the mansion too. 

The gate to the garden

The gate to the garden

The Sunken Garden

The Sunken Garden

Oh, I could stay here forever!

Oh, I could stay here forever!

From the garden we returned to the mansion where we met a very friendly volunteer. She told us what we would see inside, and what to look for. On this day they had an exhibition of 1920's clothes which could be found from almost every room. Beautiful flower arrangements were situated all over the house and of course, the flowers were from the Filoli Gardens. We got a tip to look down while walking, since each room had a different floor pattern. Only the first floor is open to the public, the second floor has a research library that can be used by the members of Filoli. 

This stare case has been seen in Dynasty, but for practicality reasons, it was shown on the other side of the hallway.

This stare case has been seen in Dynasty, but for practicality reasons, it was shown on the other side of the hallway.

Also this dining room was featured during Dynasty's opening music. On that day they show cased the Drunk's dinner organised after prohibition was abolished.

Also this dining room was featured during Dynasty's opening music. On that day they show cased the Drunk's dinner organised after prohibition was abolished.

Here is one of the first bars that was built in a private home. It was featured in Life Magazine in 1947 as how the rich and famous lived in California.

Here is one of the first bars that was built in a private home. It was featured in Life Magazine in 1947 as how the rich and famous lived in California.

The kitchen with the silver safe. On the upper left corner you can see the switch board used to call servants from different rooms. 

The ballroom has been seen in Dynasty as well as some movies.

After touring the mansion we got hungry and we had lunch in the Filoli Cafe. The food and coffee was very nice, and we enjoyed the outside patio on a sunny summer day. Even a peacock came to say hello to us. 

I had heard many good comments about the Filoli Gardens, and now I know why people like it so much. It is magnificent! Even the entrance fee, that first felt a little high, started to feel reasonable since it helps to preserve all these beautiful plants and the place that is mostly maintained by volunteers. Before you go to Filoli, check out their website. They are only open a short time of the day, closed on Mondays and they have many interesting events that could be fun. At least we plan to go back, maybe around Christmas or to the roaring 20's costume party. 

For those, who are interested in the movie locations, or what the inside of the mansion looks like, I recommend this Bobbing Along video. And for those who want to refresh their memories of Dynasty, here comes the theme music with the Filoli mansion: