The Valley of Heart's Delight

Santa Cruz Mountains Resort Owner
Les Granda Bois

One of the most enterprising and optimistic resort owners in the Santa Cruz mountain region is Ferdinand Boussy, proprietor of the Big Woods (Les Granda Bois) Tavern, as well as the soda Springs Hotel. He was born at Annecy, near Aiz-les-Bains, Haute Savoic, France, September 27, 1884, a son of Cesar and Mary Boussy, farmers in their native France, who came to California and now reside with their son Ferdinand, who was the youngest of their two children, the other being Marius, who resides in San Francisco.

Ferdinand Boussy received a good education in the public schools at Annecy, after which he was apprenticed and learned the cabinet maker's trade. In 1904 he immigrated to Montreal, Canada, where he was employed for a while in a restaurant and there he spent two years as a cabinet maker in the Pullman car shops of the Canadian Pacific RAilroad. In 1907 he came to San Francisco, where for a year he was employed at his trade. In that city he was married to Miss Julia Gilly, born in the department of Lozere, France, who studied domestic science and became an excellent chef and for five years was chef at the "Montmartre", Paris, after which she came to San Francisco where she met Mr. Boussy, the acquaintance resulting in their marriage. Mr. Boussy had always been interested in restaurants and hotels and had a desire to follow it as a business and this gave him and opportunity, as Mrs. Boussy was one of the most excellent chefs on the Coast. Even before his marriage, he had been looking around for a location in the Santa Cruz Mountains, accessible to the city, as a resort, so he purchased seventy-two acres on the Soda Springs Road above alma, and after his marriage he located there. He planned the ground and levelled it suitable for a site and then built the Soda Spring Hotel with water piped for domestic use from the spring. There are also small soda and iron springs. His French dinners became popular and he had a large number of guests from the Bay Region as well as Santa Clara County and Mr. and Mr. Boussy became celebrated for their cuisine.

However, Mr. Boussy received a sad blow in 1919, when he was bereaved of his faithful wife and devoted companion, who died from the influenza. Though it was a great sorrow come into his life, he rose to the occasion, and with the same old energy, he continued the managment and building up of his business. Wishing to enlarge his operations, in 1922 he purchased the old Valley of the Moon property near the summit of the Santa Cruz Mountains, naming it the Big Woods (Les Grands Bois) Tavern, situated in the beautiful valley surrounded by giant redwoods. One of the largest springs in the mountains is located on the ranch, from which he obtains ample water for domestic use and the concrete swimming pool for the use of the guests; from this pool the water flows into a natural lake where boating can be enjoyed. Mr. Boussy in his energetic way, is arapidly improving the place and besides the hotel, he has ten cottages, all modern and furnished to rent to families. At the Tavern he continues the same execellent cuisine and courteous attention and his French dinners are as popular as ever. His union resulted in the birth of one child, a boy, Henry, now four and a half years of age. Mr. Boussy is a member of the Odd Fellows lodge in San Jose and California Automobile Association, being a great advocate of good roads.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1688