A Mansion from 1872
In October, Don and I spent 1 night in a lovely Victorian mansion in San Francisco's Mission District. The mansion, once home to the English family, is now an inn with 20 guest rooms. There were no cars in 1872, so I'm not sure what the garage area was for. But we were the lucky guests who got to use it! It wasn't an easy task pulling into the crowded space.
Office Under the Stairs
After arriving, we climbed the porch stairs and found the "office" in a cute little nook under the stairway. Our host was very welcoming as we checked in. Before taking us to our room, she gave us a tour, starting with the main drawing room.
Flowers and Food
The dark green room felt very Victorian with Oriental carpets, velvet, fringe and lace. I especially liked the marble fireplace with fresh flowers and fruits. There were cookies and candies and drinks available as well. There was also a little fall decor, which took away from the authentic feel. I don't believe they decorated with fake cob webs and hay bales in the Victorian era.
Outside there was seating in the garden with fig, avocado and California walnut trees. There was also a redwood hot tub tucked into a gazebo, but we didn't have time to make use.
On the Roof
There were a couple lounge chairs and table for 6 on the roof terrace. A family, enjoying happy hour, introduced themselves. "We're from Colorado!" They announced, as if they had just moved there and were waiting for someone to ask where they were from. They offered us some of their Doritoes, but not any of their wine. They did however, offer to take our photo.
The 360-degree view was even more dramatic before daylight. Early morning, I crept out of the room to catch a peek before the sun came up. I passed a few men in robes with coffee mugs. Luckily the robed men stayed downstairs and I had the roof and view to myself. I could see the lights on the hills, as well as the Bay Bridge and colorful surrounding neighborhoods.
Usually we go for the bargain rooms, but we ended up getting one of the "Spacious Rooms" which was a treat. The space had once been the formal dining room, when the English family lived here in the late 1800's.
The marble bathroom was especially nice, with welcoming robes and a yellow rose! The ornate carved fireplace was quite a sight. Evidently, the 7 English children were not allowed to dine with the adults this room.
In the evening I was pretty excited about the festive touch of lit candles. After we returned from an evening in Chinatown and the Fairmont Hotel's Tiki Bar, we tiptoed into the parlor to make some hot chocolate and grab some cookies. They even had whipped cream in the fridge.
Hiding in the Mirror
In the morning, the candles were lit again and the marble mantle was covered with quiche and cereals. The fake cobwebs allowed me to take a photo without being too revealed in the mirror.
On the round table in the center, there were platters of meat and dishes of fresh fruit. There were muffins and assorted breads and china plates, instead of disposable! There were also bottles of sherry and bourbon that we could have enjoyed while studying the portraits. But we couldn't see the images through the cobwebs!
Another Drawing Room
Our sofa spot was perfect for eavesdropping on the table gang. I held up my paper and peered over it, like Harriet the Spy. These were much more interesting people than the Colorado folks.
This was definitely a "better than I expected" stay!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!