Winchester Mystery House

Worth the Drive is NBCLA's twice weekly look at nearby getaways

Your job: Decide to get out of town and fast. Our job: Help you find where you're headed. This week, NBCLA's Worth the Drive takes us to...

The Winchester Mystery House: You know it. Everyone in California knows it. Everyone practically everywhere knows it. But have you been? It's time to see one of our state's most surreal and spectacular homes. Maybe the most surreal and spectacular.

Location: San Jose

Driving time: It should be a do-it-one-weekend kind of thing. The trip's maybe six or seven hours on the 5? 

Sarah Winchester's spirits: The story of the woman who built the rambling Victorian mansion is a complicated and fascinating one. A medium told the heiress to start adding rooms on her home to lift a shadow cast upon the family. The lady of the house followed that advice, and continued to follow it for nearly four decades after. Building on the enormous home went on and on and on and on...

Staircases to nowhere: The Winchester Mystery House is synonymous with them. And doors that open onto walls. These architectural anomalies were constructed to send roaming wraiths in circles. We were also intrigued by the wing that still showed damage from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and the Victorian-y woodwork and velvet touches throughout the rest of the mansion. It's a true time machine.

An anytime visit: We're writing this just ahead of Halloween, which puts places like the Winchester Mystery House in our head. But this is a beautiful museum, rife with mystery and sorrow and intrigue, and it is very much worth a visit not just in October but during April, June, August, too. We suspect you might have the house a bit more to yourself when it is not Halloween.

If you're brave enough to have it a bit more to yourself.

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