Monday, January 19, 2015

Oct. 14 - Winchester Mystery House in San Jose

Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Deetjen's Inn!

We drove 35 miles north to Monterey for lunch and a bit of sightseeing. When I was planning our trip, I thought the two hour drive from Monterey to San Francisco was too long for Scott and I to be in the car. San Jose caught my eye to split up the trip. And who wouldn't want to visit Sarah Winchester's house and Santana Row for lodging, eating and shopping? ♥

This is the table we ended up having at lunch! LOVE!

View from our table

Scrimshaw Pilsner (Northern CA coast!), grilled cheese and tomato soup.
I have been getting allergy shots every week to reverse my allergy to yeast, mold, grass, trees, weeds, mold, etc...I put my allergy to the test with my lunch! Result - no allergic reaction. ♥

Winchester Mystery House:
After lunch, I drove us the hour and twenty minutes north to San Jose for Sarah Winchester's house.

Sarah Winchester, heir to the Winchester rifle fortune, had two big tragedies in her life in the late 1800s – her daughter died a month after being born and her husband died at age 44 of tuberculosis.

It is said that Sarah visited a medium in Boston and the medium said she was cursed by all the people killed by the Winchester rifle and that she should move out west and build a home for herself and the spirits—and to never stop building or she will die. (The clatter would ward off the troubled souls.)
Pic taken by unknown photographer around 1890.

For 38 years workers never stopped building. With 160 rooms, including 40 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, 950 doors, 47 fireplaces, 40 staircases and three elevators, the Winchester Mystery House is a Victorian mansion filled with unexplained oddities. Click here for an unfinished chimney. :) One room had one entrance with three ways to get out, including a door that drops to a kitchen, another door to a cupboard and a secret room behind it. 

Rare photograph of Sarah herself. It is thought that one of her gardeners was an early paparazzo and hid in the bush to take it!

One of four fountains on the property -- Cupid fountain with the water coming out of a swan's mouth and the mouths of three frogs.

 Photography not allowed inside. :( On January 6th, I filled out a permissions form on the Winchester Mystery House's website to seek permission on using a few of their press photos. I got a reply the same day with the green light for their select images. 

Stairway to Nowhere:
Copyright Winchester Mystery House
Flight of stairs leading straight into the ceiling. There are 40 staircases with a total of 376 steps; one staircase features 2-inch steps, to accommodate Sarah's painful arthritis. 

Copyright Winchester Mystery House
The image above shows "The $25,000 Store room." It's off the carriage room in the house, used to hold components and pieces for rooms under construction. At the time of Sarah's death, in 1922, the contents of this room were valued at $25,000 worth of Tiffany windows waiting to be installed into rooms in the house. 

Copyright Winchester Mystery House
Spiderweb Tiffany window in the "25k Store room"
Sarah designed many of the windows herself. She made sure the house was filled with hidden webs, daisies, moons and rainbows — and many details in groups of 13. Click here for the most expensive window in the house (Purchased through Tiffany's) It cost $1500 in 1900 and is now priceless. It was supposed to create 13 rainbows when the light would shine through it. Unfortuantely she placed it on a north wall where the sun would never hit it. Then she proceeded to make another addition with a wall right behind the window.

Leaded Stained Glass Quotes from Shakespeare in the Grand Ballroom:
Copyright Winchester Mystery House
Troilus and Cressida - Lines spoken by Ulysses, and refer to Cressida's sometimes flirting nature.

Copyright Winchester Mystery House
Richard II quote

 Copyright Winchester Mystery House
View into the Central Gardens from the 13th bathroom!

Click here for window in the floor (railings on the long sides each have 13 rails)

Click here for the Italian porcelain sink with 13 drain holes.

 Copyright Winchester Mystery House
This is not the original furniture in the Venetian Dining Room. Sarah's niece took whatever furniture she wanted and auctioned off everything else when Sarah passed away.

Door to Nowhere!!!
Door open!

Door closed!

Click here for the Swinging Chandelier video taken in the summer of 2013. Chris Turner, a staff member who was the only eyewitness, said the incident occurred before closing time. He recorded 18 seconds of video of the chandelier from behind a glass door.

Behind the Scenes Tour:
After our mansion tour, we took the "Behind the Scenes Tour." Scott lit up -- he got to wear a safety hat! :) 

We needed the hats when we toured the basement because of the low ceilings.

3-story Water Tower
(First floor was the plumbers work shop and 2nd & 3rd floors were servants quarters)

Sarah's foreman, John Hansen, and his wife and two sons, lived here for many years. 

Most of the dried fruit was sold at the market to supplement Sarah's income. 
(The estate had over 160 acres of farm and orchard land)

Sarah's Car Wash! It had two ingenious adaptations for the time. Not only was the water heated, but the hose was attached to a 360-degree rotating pipe in the ceiling, in order to spray all parts of the car. Sarah owned a 1909 French Renault with a battery-operated starter -- quite a luxury back then. She also owned a 1917 Pierce Arrow limousine and a Buick truck for inspecting her estate.

We also saw Sarah's Aviary which I enjoyed very much. Proper temperature was maintained by using heat produced by the steam furnace in the basement. I didn't take pics, but click here are a few pics on Flickr.

I couldn't resist buying the cheesy print!

Last, but not least for my Sarah Winchester section, Sarah's will had 13 parts and was signed by her 13 times. ♥

Santana Row:
After the tours, we drove across the street to Santana Row, where we would be spending the night. Santana Row had everything for us in one spot - our hotel, shopping and restaurants.

We enjoyed the modernness of Hotel Valencia
But don't get me wrong, I'll go back to Deetjen's any day!

View from the pool

Our favorite meal was our lunch at Pizza Antica after checking out of the hotel.

Open air chess :)

*Stay tuned for my final posting of our road trip - SAN FRANCISCO ♥


  1. This was super cool! Love the Corbis link :). The Tiffany windows are my favorite. SO PRETTY!

  2. Thank you, Rachel! :) Yeah, I LOVE the Corbis image so much! Such a hoot. Thanks for enjoying my posting! You rock!

  3. Wow you all ways find the coolest things Tricia! The Sarah Winchester house looks amazing! <3