Spring in SJ, and the Winchester Mystery House

Well, it’s officially shorts and tshirt weather!!

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This also means it’s beer-on-the-back patio weather (Happy St Paddy’s Day!):

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And primo bike ride and hiking weather (not that the weather has been stopping us or anything anyway, but I needed a third thing):

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Oh yeah! And surfing weather! Surf’s up! Look at them all!

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But what this post is mainly about, is our visit to the Winchester Mystery House. There are billboards advertising this place all over San Jose. The billboards make it seem like a haunted house, but it doesn’t seem haunted…it just has a weird past.

In 1884, Sarah Winchester, the widow of the treasurer of the Winchester Arms Company, bought a house in San Jose. For some reason, either because she thought that the spirits of people who had been killed by Winchester guns were out to get her, or because she had been told by a medium to do so, she began construction on this house, and never allowed it to cease. Construction continued night and day until her death in 1922. There were no blueprints and no building plan, so there are many strange features to the house like a staircase that leads to a wall, a door to nowhere on the second floor of the house, rooms without windows, or with beautiful stained-glass Tiffany windows looking out onto nothing but a brick wall, etc.

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Also, the number 13, as well as the spiderweb shape, prominently feature in a number of places in the house. Oh, and all but one of the pillars (like the ones holding up the porch roof) are upside-down. Oh yes, and she had a room with a secret exit just for holding seances.

Sarah Winchester might have been a little bit of an odd duck.Still, she had some pretty nice digs.

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Here’s another cool thing we saw during our tour:

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Yep, that’s a gingerbread replica of the Winchester Mansion. Apparently it took 400 hours to build, 84 cups of gingerbread dough, 34 cups of icing, and was baked in 242 individual pieces. It was also baked in like 1960, but I bet it would still be DELICIOUS!!

The Winchester House tour was interesting, but at $40 per person, not sure it was totally worth it, or if it would be worth it for a big group of people. We would go back for a fright night experience though, which run in October for Hallowe’en. Also, so much depends on your tour guide. We did our tour in two parts and the tour guide for the first part was clearly reading from a script. The second tour guide was passionate and knowledgeable and funny.

Oh yeah, and here’s a little piece of home:

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