In 1880, a California pioneer by the name of Pierre Cornwall and his wife Sada hiked from Glenwood, a small Santa Cruz Mountain retreat, over the southern slope of Mt Roberta and looked out over a vast, rugged mountainside that stretched out under a redwood blanket until it vanished into the Monterey Bay. The acreage on and around Mt Roberta's southern slope had it all: a view of the bay, cooling fog, seclusion, and unmatched natural beauty. In 1881 they purchased the property and named it Heart O' The Mountain. According to county records, they paid $500 for the 85 acre parcel. By 1887, Mr. Cornwall had established the vineyard and Santa Sada winery on the property, where the family produced wine until prohibition.
In 1881 a redwood and manzanita covered piece of mountainous land, eighty-five acres in size, was acquired by my father in the Santa Cruz mountains. A cottage was built and regularly during the succeeding years Mr Cornwall, his wife and the writer sought this haven of rest and quiet, at first interested in clearing the land, then in planting the seeds and cuttings, and finally in gathering the fruit, crushing the grapes and making the wines from the same seeds and cuttings. Many and happy were the weekends there, enjoyed alone and with friends and relatives. Years of city business worry were thus relieved of their severity and their natural ravages assuaged.--Bruce Cornwall, from Life Sketch of Pierre Barlow Cornwall, San Francisco, 1906
In 1940 Heart O' The Mountain was purchased by renowned director Alfred Hitchcock. The Hitchcock family used the property as their second home, and entertained Hollywood's elite at the mountain estate. Mr. Hitchcock had a long-standing relationship with the Santa Cruz area, much of which is documented in the wonderful book, Footsteps in the Fog. The Brassfields have taken great care to preserve the historic estate much as it was during Hitchcock's era and before-- so much so that going there can sometimes feel like a trip back in time.
The Hitchcock family continues to have a connection to the Santa Cruz area, as one of Alfred's granddaughters lives only a few miles away in Aptos. Today the entire Hitchcock family is very active in fund raising to benefit the Cystic Fybrosis Foundation.