Have you ever noticed the castle up on the hills in Pacifica? It has a fantastic history and lots of stories and artifacts. They open the doors to Sam’s Castle once a month for a tour. I was very happy when I got invited by the Mazza Foundation to see the castle. The Mazza Foundation is a private philanthropic foundation established by the estate of our founder and last owner of Sam’s Castle, Sam Mazza.
The castle was built by Henry Harrison McCloskey in 1908, as an earthquake/fireproof home. Pete McCloskey, former California congressman, learned about his grandfather’s former home while canvassing in Pacifica with his dad. But the true king of the castle was Italian immigrant Sam Mazza. Sam acquired the castle in 1958 and was also the main decorator who had a reputation for collecting eccentric pieces.
Our hosts Jeannette, CEO of the Mazza Foundation and Bridget, author of the book ‘Sam’s Castle’ welcomed us. After a short movie of Sam Mazza’s life as a castle owner we learned a myriad of stories, from ghost stories to historical tidbits and tales from contemporary witnesses while inspecting some of the rooms. The tour ended with a light snack in the dining room overlooking the ocean.
A perfect outing for history buffs and location junkies like me. The place is full of Interesting nicknacks – and to preserve these, no one under 18 is allowed inside. I loved the opportunity to see the interior of this unusual place and enjoyed the history.
Have you been inside Sam’s castle?
Disclosure: I was invited to see this place. My review is an honest recapture.
Last weekend we tried to escape the smoke by going to Pacifica. Of course everywhere in the Bay Area the air was considered unhealthy to hazardous. My heart goes out to the people in Paradise and the neighboring cities who have lost everything! For us the ocean was a relief. Some salty air, waves crashing.
I also was glad that we took the steep road to the Shelldance Orchid Gardens. Only open on Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am – 5 pm. When you enter you will be transported into a different world. I was reminded of the Botanical Garden in Berlin where the tropical plants are. I started my wandering about in the Northwing and was greeted by Spanish Moss. I found a lot of air plants. Immediately calmed, it was quite a magical moment.
I followed the house cat to her claimed water dish, which also was a ikebana arrangement from last week’s class. They have a beautiful reception room for weddings and other parties and of course there are orchids. I was told people even board their orchids here. In the Conservatory you can admire all different kinds of orchids, but if you find a price tag it means it could be yours.
The owners, Nancy Victoria Davis and Michael Rothenberg are both artists. Committed in helping local artists, they offer an exhibit space in the art gallery room. Davis and Rothenberg have created a lovely place for the community to get together.
There is plenty of history surrounding the site of the Sanchez Adobe in Pacifica. An important site for the Costanoan Indians, a supplemental mission farm for Mission Dolores, the home of Don Francisco Sanchez (former mayor of San Francisco), residence of General Kirkpatrick, a hotel, a speakeasy, an artichoke storage facility and finally a museum.
At the Adobe house kids can learn a great deal about the first inhabitant Don Francisco Sanchez and his living conditions around 1845. A school group will rope a ‘cow’, make adobe bricks, or grind some corn.
Remains of the agricultural outpost for the Mission Dolores can be seen next to the house. They are the only known remains of the many outpost that once thrived in the area.
Every third Saturday in September is Rancho Day Fiesta, a celebration of early California living.
General admission is free with an option to donate. Opening hours are Tuesday-Thursday 10 am – 4 pm, Saturday and Sunday 1 pm – 5 pm.
April 22nd 2017 is Earth Day and you can support your scientist by marching. Many of the marches end with an Earth Day celebration, or with activities for kids. A great way to introduce the importance of marching for democratic rights to your children.
Like the Women’s March on January 21st, the March for Science’s biggest crowds are expected in Washington D.C. But there are eight satellite marches in the Bay Area where you can show your support:
San Francisco Start: Justin Herman Plaza, 11:00 AM; End: Civic Center Plaza
San Jose Start: San Jose City Hall, 11:00 AM; End: Plaza de Cesar Chavez
Santa Cruz Start: Santa Cruz City Hall, 10:00 AM; End: San Lorenzo Park
Pacifica Start: 2:30 PM, from Linda Mar Beach to Rockaway Beach and back