Only about a twenty-minute drive from San Francisco, Filoli is one of the best places for a second or third date. It’s the kind of place for people who like the outdoors, history and flowers–and it’s generally much less crowded than places north of the bay, such as Muir Woods.
Out in the lush hills surrounding San Mateo, the weather tends to be excellent most of the year, even as early as March as in these photos.
History-wise, the lands and houses were owned by relatives to the Chase family in the early days of California. Eventually, they donated them to the State to preserve the history of the gardens. The tour guides there have abundant stories about the erstwhile inhabitants and their dramatic lives.
Out in the gardens, you can spend hours wandering around. If you’re so inclined, bring a book and relax: there’s no time limit, no one to hurry you along and generally lots of nooks to read in either sun or shade.
There is something anachronistic about the whole place in the busy modern Bay Area. We don’t have a lot of man-made, “old” sites, so it’s a pleasant break from both the sublime mountains as well as the bustling cities. My recommendation: get there early, talk to the tour guides (even if it’s against your natural inclination), and, of course, bring your loved one.