Apple for Sarah Winchester?

Winchester Mansion San Jose, CA
Winchester Mansion San Jose, CA

Driving around silicon valley you can see the sites Apple, Ebay, and Google. (which I encourage you to see) However, here are some interesting finds that will make your mouth water and feed your need for a little bit of the modern and a little bit of history.

So, first the history (because I can’t stay away from weird history). Sarah Winchester and her very odd house are smack dab in modern day San Jose, CA. San Jose is third largest city in California and is the self proclaimed “capital of silicon valley”. Back to Sarah.  According to some sources, Sarah Winchester was haunted by spirits.  The spirits that haunted her were from the lives lost by the Winchester Riffles made by the family. As a result, to squash the spirits Sarah Winchester was instructed to move west and build a great house for them. As the story goes as long as construction of the house never ceased, Mrs. Winchester could rest easy that her life was not in danger. So build she did.  Construction did not cease until she did.  There are stairways that go no where. Rooms left unfinished.  A front door that was only used by Sarah, and the 2 carpenters who installed it. The story goes that upon a visit to the mansion, President Roosevelt was even instructed to go around back “like everyone else”.  It goes on and on. It is weird and amazing at the same time.  The gardens are eye candy!  It is pricey to get in but worth every penny!  Winchester mystery house

My next stop on the tour today is almost right across the street and certainly walking distance. This is our taste of modern. There is an open air shopping district called Santana Row. If you like to shop, this is the place in the area without going to San Francisco. So I am taking you here because of Tesla. The high end electric car you see driving all over silicon valley. Unlike other car dealers they have a dealership in the mall. You can also see them charging in the parking garage behind the store.

Tesla - Santana Row San Jose CA
Tesla – Santana Row San Jose CA

If you love good pizza (since we are originally from Chicago this is a must) and I know you do, head over to downtown San Jose to the San Pedro Square market. The pizza is created in a handmade brick oven imported by the owner from Italy! Super Yummy and super size beer too! Friday and Saturday nights during the summer season you can sit outside in the courtyard and listen to some live music and enjoy the beautiful California weather! San Pedro Square Market and Pizza

San Pedro Square San Jose, CA
San Pedro Square San Jose, CA

Let’s go over the RV camping in the area. You do have to drive a little while (as you do in most of California). However, there are a few campgrounds from where you can access a train station, park, hop a train, avoid a ton of traffic, and save some time.  The trains are very good in the area and can take you all the way into San Francisco! If you are thousand trails members, there are two to choose from. Morgan Hill which is south of San Jose (train access to the downtown area and shopping) and encore resort closer to Santa Cruz. If not thousand trails members, there is a really nice park called Coyote Valley RV resort south San Jose area. The Morgan Hill thousand trails is one of the more organic parks we have stayed in. And by organic, I mean mother nature is trying to take it back. A lot of the sites were broken had electric and water only with a dump to vacate your tanks within the park. We found it to be quite dusty and in great need of upgrading. It was not the same standards we have seen in other thousand trails parks. However, it did not prevent us from staying there and would still recommend using the park. Just an FYI on our experience there.

Part of the gritty side…nothing is cheap in this area. Make sure you have a healthy budget. While you can find some interesting things for free like the beach in Santa Cruz you still will need to pay for parking. Camping prices are still hefty and so is eating out. I would be interested to see how the drought is effecting the beauty of this area!

Enjoy and make sure you get into San Francisco!

-Mara

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