Monday, April 16, 2012

One for the Bucket List, Part 3: Outside Hearst's Castle

I think every Bucket List needs a castle.

This is the legendary Hearst Castle, in the San Simeon hills of California.  It's about half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles.  My sister and I visited there in December on our Bucket List worthy trip down Highway 1 (see part 1 here, part 2 here, and part 4 here).

Have you heard of Hearst Castle?  It is the dream of William Randolph Hearst.  He spent time camping and picnicking in the San Simeon hills as a child, and between 1919 and 1947 built what he called "La Cuesta Encantada" with architect Julia Morgan.  The site alone is stunningly beautiful.

Combined with Mr. Hearst's castle ... the place is genuinely magical.

 As a child, Mr. Hearst traveled in Europe with his mother, and that trip significantly influenced his passion for architecture and art.  The castle is full of ancient artwork, sculpture, and furniture.  Everything has historical value.

Hearst Castle is now a California State Park and National Monument.  Three tours are available, each highlighting a different part of the castle, and the tour guides are deeply knowledgeable.  In fact, I had the distinct impression we could have asked, "could you please tell me something about the fourth tile from the right in the top northwest corner?" and they would happily have waxed eloquent on it with an interesting story.

There is unique detailing everywhere ... 

The exterior of the castle is bordered with intricate teakwood carving ...

And then there are the babies holding up the walls ...

In addition to the main house, there are guest houses... 

Mr. Hearst enjoyed entertaining and it was common for movie stars to spend weekends at the castle ... the likes of Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Harpo Marx, Joan Crawford, and Charlie Chaplin to name just a few.  Other notable guests were Howard Hughes, Winston Churchill, Calvin Coolidge and Charles Lindbergh.  

There are two beautiful swimming pools at the castle.  The outdoor pool is fashioned after a Greek temple.  And those pillars are authentic, in case you were wondering ... 

There's also an indoor pool, if you'd rather ...

This pool has real gold  in the detailing.  On a strictly personal note, although it's so very beautiful, this pool gives me the willys and makes me breathless.  It's too quiet ... and deep ... and dark.  No where else on earth does this to me.  I think I had bad dreams about it as a child.  So I had to get out of there and I only took one picture :o)

The indoor pool is built under the tennis courts ...

because what castle is complete without tennis courts?

Let's just make ourselves at home ...  

and take in the view before we go inside, shall we? 

This One for the Bucket List California Road Trip is a Six Part Series.  
Click below for:
( You just read Part 3 )

I'm linking this post to Amanda's Weekend Bloggy Reading Party at Serenity Now!

Shared joy is doubled joy ... let's double the joy for both of us - what are you most grateful for today? Click below to leave your comment. I'll go first :

  1. I would love to visit Hearst's Castle one of these days. It's gorgeous!

  2. it IS gorgeous! it's one of those places that you could go back to a zillion times and still not see everything.