A visit to the unbelievably ornate Hearst Castle was our agenda item today. Its construction is one of the most ambitious architectural endeavors in American history. The castle is located at San Simeon, about 25 minutes north of Morro Bay on California Highway 1, Cabrillo Highway. We've allowed four hours for the drive, tour, grounds visit and the movie that's included in the ticket price of $25 per person.
|Entry from Cabrillo Highway (CA 1)|
|Wayne at Casa Grande|
68,500 square feet, 38 bedrooms
|That's me standing outside the main house.|
Pacific Ocean in the far background.
Everything at La Cuesta Encantada, The Ranch, Camp Hill, Hearst Castle, of whatever you call it, was built to the specification of William Randolph Hearst. His goal was to showcase his massive art collection and share his good life with friends, most of whom were Hollywood elite, politicians and sports figures. It is certainly unique, inside and out.
|Wayne just before we went inside for our tour.|
The Hearst Corporation donated La Cuesta Encantada to the State of California in 1957 and it is now a state historical monument with tours available to the general public.
We opted for the "Grand Rooms" tour to see the opulent social rooms used by Hearst and his guests. This was the recommended starting place for "first timers".
|The Assembly Room ceiling and enormous tapestries.|
|Fireplace and social gathering area|
Refectory (Dining Room)
|At Hearst Castle, if it looks lik real gold, it is real gold. If it looks like real silver, it is real silver.|
The huge candle holders are everywhere.
The "head" of the Hearst's dining table was "wherever I (Hearst) sit", according to our tour guide. Hearst typically sat at one of the center places and arranged seating of guests around the table. Those he chose sat close to him, but those he found to be boring were moved farther away. Some of his favorite and most frequent guests included Cary Grant and Charles Chaplin.
Below, a close-up of the typical place settings, complete with mustard and ketchup bottles -- just the way W.R. Hearst liked it. He is said to have liked the "informality" of it. Weird given that he liked living in a castle.
|Welcome to dinner.|
The billiard room is decorated with a 15th century Spanish ceiling. The ceiling tiles are hand painted. The tapestry is from the 1500's.
TheaterAnyone who knows us, knows Wayne and I are fans of old movies so our visit to see the Hearst Castle Theater was especially interesting. This is where W. R. Hearst and his guests gathered after dinner to watch newsreels and movies.
|We watched a home movie of Hearst and his guests.|
We didn't get to sit in the velour seats.
We sat on a vinyl covered bench in back.
Grounds and Gardens
|Wayne at Casa Del Monte|
2,500 square feet, 4 bedrooms
|Casa Del Sol|
3,620 square feet, 8 bedrooms
|Looking down into the empty Neptune pool, the ranch and the Pacific Ocean in the far distance.|
Neptune Pool had been completely drained for plumbing maintenance and statuary work.
|345,000 gallon pool -- empty at this time.|
|Aww, no water in the pool...and Wayne wore his swim suit! Bummer.|
|Wayne stole a kiss from one of the poolside girls.|
|Partial view of Casa Grande from the Neptune pool area.|
|Wayne at Casa Del Mar|
5,350 square foot, 8 bedrooms
|We never learned the name of this gold statue whose pedestal was shrouded for some kind of restoration.|
Roman PoolThis pool was modeled after the baths of ancient Rome. It is completely tiled and is surrounded by statues of gods, goddesses and heroes. The entire facility is under the tennis courts.
|One end of the Roman pool.|
|Looking toward the Pacific Ocean from the bus window.|
|Looking toward the mountain range from the bus window.|
Hearst Castle Lunch
|My Hearst Castle hot dog lunch.|
For more about William Randolph Hearst and visiting Hearst Castle, click here.