My sister and I spent three perfect days in California last December.
We flew into San Francisco and drove down Highway One to Cambria (see that post here),
took an impromptu trip from Cambria to
Walmart Paso Robles (see that post here),
and visited the astoundingly beautiful Hearst Castle (see part 1 of our Hearst Castle tour here
and part 2 of our Hearst Castle tour here).
In 1957, it was donated (!) to the State of California and it is now a historical monument.
Three different tours of the castle are offered. The Grand Rooms Museum Tour offers the social rooms of the main house (this is the tour recommended for first time visitors). The Upstairs Suites Tour includes the private rooms of Mr. Hearst, including his study and his library, and several guest rooms. The Cottages and Kitchen Tour include the wine cellar, tours of two guest cottages and, of course, the kitchen. All tours include time outside in the gardens and both amazing swimming pools, as well as a 40 minute movie
(on a 5-story screen!) giving the history of building the castle.
Every time this magical trip to California starts to seem like a dream, I do a blog post and viola!
December seems just like yesterday.
Sandy and I took the Grand Rooms and the Upstairs Suites tours.
Each tour is about 40 minutes, and is guided by extremely knowledgeable tour guides.
Mr. Hearst was quite the entertainer and his many and frequent house guests
were accommodated in extreme luxury.
Naturally, a winding staircase is a must in any castle ...
Many - probably most - of the architectural features came from authentic and
(obviously) old castles from around the world.
These two carvings were on bedroom doors ...
The corridor was dark, and I wasn't able to get a clear photo of the woman above ...
but she clearly did not want you knocking at that door ...
and she really looked as though she were going to step right out of that wood work
and give you a piece of her mind!
The clothes that you see laid out are period appropriate,
and could have been worn at the castle back in its hey day when Mr. Hearst
was entertaining movie stars and socialites.
Mr. Hearst considered the ability to stay connected of great importance.
There are many telephones in the castle, which for the time was unusual.
And if you didn't want to make a phone call,
perhaps dashing off a quick letter about your visit on a typewriter would suffice?
This is Mr. Hearst's bedroom ...
and the painting on the right is his beloved mother. She took him for picnics on this site when he was a boy, and then made a grand tour of Europe with him that obviously influenced his tastes.
Adjoining Mr. Hearst's suite of rooms is the suite of rooms designated for his long time companion,
actress Marion Davies.
Evening tours are also offered in the fall and spring on weekends. It's truly enchanting to look up and see the lights of the castle twinkling on top of the hill.
But then, Hearst Castle in any light is a magical sight.
For more information about Hearst Castle, see http://www.hearstcastle.org/
and by all means ...
if you go ...
take me with you!