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Friday, July 13, 2012

Mystery at Every Turn

The earthquake was in 1906

In a continuation of my birthday weekend that occurred this past weekend, starting with a tea party thrown by my middle daughter, then the next day a daycation to many tourist points of interest in San Jose California, the last and final stop on that "tour' was the Winchester Mystery Mansion. This amazing example of architecture of the 1800's through the very early 20's is smack dab in the middle of a busy part of town, with a big shopping district to one side, a movie theater, a throw back diner with the biggest serving sizes of everything, and known for killer desserts and parking lots sits this beautiful home on manicured grounds of a beautiful garden. I have visited many times and always notice something new and learn something new as well. It is not a cheap place to visit, but save your pennies and go if you get a chance and visit the house that Sarah built.

Sarah Winchester
born app. 1840 died in 1922 in
her bed. 

There is a lot to do and see, and well buy at the mansion grounds. They do a fine job of capitalizing on the excited and unsuspecting consumer, but then who can blame them, it can not be easy to afford the constant upkeep and re-hab of this amazing home. Nearly like when Sarah was alive, I imagine there is always work happening on the home and grounds. Once you walk through the gates and enter the doors to the gift shop you are overwhelmed by the amount of stuff to buy. Everything you can imagine and some things you can not are in the gift shop. You can also indulge in a glass of wine and a bite to eat in the cafe, be prepared tho as a bottle of water is nearly 3.00! Once you buy your tickets, and the tour is about to begin, you can also have your photo taken in front of a green screen with a mock Winchester rifle or two (yes, you are in a form of Disneyland it would seem) and buy a copy later. There are two tours, one of the home in which you are lead by a guide walking through over 60 rooms and just over 1 mile within the four stories of the mansion and then if you are so inclined you may also take a behind the scenes and underground tour... worth doing at least one time. There are no photo's allowed inside the mansion, this is supposedly to keep the tour moving along and for the safety of the tourists so they do not get left behind, yes, you can get very lost in this house of doors and stair cases to nowhere, filled with twists and turns, ups and downs and ins and outs, there is no telling where you might end up on your own. There are photos on the web site and a few on google images.. I did not risk taking any, thought I was very tempted. Good to know as a side note, water bottles are allowed, but food is not, just in case you need to survive. Anyway, I did snap a few photos off outside on the grounds... so hope you enjoy! 

As you walk in.

The side and to the right, with the windows
is where the
carriage used to be brought though 

One of the few outbuildings you are
allowed to tour.

Looking at all the odd windows lined
up is a clue as to what to expect

One of the carriages used
during that era, but not for
Sarah. Sadly most of the
furniture and many "artifacts"
are not original as she left them
to a niece who sold off what she
did not want with no name on them,
so there has been no way to tack them down.

You can see there is work needing to
be done on this grand dame.

The section of a tower that fell in the 1906 earthquake
growing over the never re-constructed tower is a vine to
cover the black paper. 

The door to nowhere. Watch your first step
out of that one, it's a doozy! 

A statue of one of the many Indians
that Sarah thought the ghosts of were
after her, having been killed by Winchester rifles.
Here the Indian is hunting a large buck deer also
depicted in the garden.

The front doors... never used
by Sarah or the guests.. being
that she never had any, it was
not a big deal, but a proper house
must have an entrance. 

Wish this came out better.. it was one
of the many Tiffany stained glass windows
in the mansion, including a back stock
in a storage room in the house. Average cost
was $1500.00 at the time, about a day and
a half of her "wages" she gained from the trusts
from her inheritances. 

The stunning entrance! 

The buck forever awaiting the Indian
to shoot his arrow.

Standing as still as the statue. Touring
all the places we did, and in heels have
my feet throbbing at this point, so poses
were not happening! 

The day the building stopped, all was
left as it was at the moment Sarah died.

A departing shot. 

I hope that you enjoyed what photos I was able to take, I left some to the imagination and for you to see on your own journey to see this incredible mansion, but if you know it will be awhile and simply just can not wait, click here and explore to your hearts content. 


  1. I've heard about the mysterious mansion and the woman behind it, but I didnt realise the architecture was soo beautiful! Also, I love your outfit!!!

  2. Did you try to call the Fun Tour Guru to meet you for a coke while you were in San Jose? Sad in Silicon Valley. My tip (for repeat visitors) is skip to the Mansion tour as I love taking the Behind the Scenes tour now!

  3. @Donna W... so very sorry... we were with friends the whole day so the day was up to them. I have been on both tours, I enjoy them both.

  4. Accepted, and you have to return for another daycation soon. Or perhaps a Sacremento-Daycation for the fun tour guru. Its great to read how other people experience our local communities through their eyes. Fun.

  5. Ruby this mansion looks and sounds fascinating! Imagine living in that house! If I lived near this place I would definitely want to visit. Loved the photos and as always loved your outfit.
    Thanks for sharing
    Dee xx


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