I’ve driven through Dunsmuir tons of times on my way to Oregon. Now I know (or at least I think I know) where that name comes from.

Nestled in the urban delights of Oakland, is a plantation-like estate more akin to the humid flats of Savannah: the Dunsmuir house.

Built by none other than Alexander Dunsmuir in honor of his scandalous love for his friend’s wife, this house boasts 37 rooms, 12 fireplaces, and 16,224 square feet of living space. For 2 people. And their guests of course.

Unfortunately, Alexander died while on his New York City honeymoon with his betrothed and really never got a chance to live in his mansion/wedding present. Whatever, enough with the history lesson.

Tired of going to the usual parks and brunch spots, we set out for the Dunsmuir house one sunny Sunday afternoon. Molly found it in a travel book.

The meadows around the house were spotted with picknicking Bay Areans, in a sense, pretending to be billiionaires for the day–seeing as we all had a view of this mansion as a backdrop to our children’s cartwheels and hula-hooping.

Pretty cool. When it came time for the tour, I noticed something: The 12 folks around me, spanning in age from 5 to 65 and smiling, intently but leisurely as the period-costumed guide blathered on about pillar placement, were all women.

“Where are all the dudes?” I whispered to Molly.

“Guys don’t do antique houses,” she said.

So, while the other dads sat (or snoozed) out on their blankets, one hand on an open book, the other on absolutely nothing for a change, I amped up my knowledge base on 17th century cooking appliances and water closet technology (or lack thereof).

Certainly something new. and Interesting. I even asked some questions.

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