Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California


Can it really be almost two years ago that I began chronicling a trip my husband and I made driving along the California coast from San Diego to San Francisco along the Pacific Coastal Highway?  If you click on this label link it will take you back to the ten posts that began that memorable journey. Unfortunately, as I was in the middle of blogging about this trip, my Mother passed away, and my life became complicated as we had to empty and sell her house. We were also preparing for our daughter's wedding, then a move west from New York City to Colorado, and the birth of my grand daughter, so many life events prevented me from continuing to journal about this trip. 

So, now I've decided to go back every Thursday for The Tabelescapers blog's new event called "Oh, the Places I've Been!" and continue where I left off. We saw such wonderful sights on our drive, and I hope you will also enjoy seeing them with me on my blog each Thursday, even if they are from the past.


Can you see the Hearst Castle high up on the hill? Hearst Castle is a National and California Historical Landmark mansion located on the Central Coast of California. It was designed by architect Julia Morgan between 1919 and 1947 for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who died in 1951. In 1957, the Hearst Corporation donated the property to the state of California. Since that time it has been maintained as a state historic park where the estate, and its considerable collection of art and antiques, is open for public tours. Despite its location far from any urban center, the site attracts about one million visitors per year!


Hearst Castle, one of California’s top vacation attractions, is located on Highway 1 along the majestic Central Coast of California. Nestled in the hills at San Simeon, the Castle sits halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles and is approximately a five hour drive from either of these metropolitan areas. Admission tickets are purchased at the visitors center for the type of tour you would like to go on--there are several options. A bus then takes you up the long and winding road to the castle.


In 1865, George Hearst purchased 40,000-acres of ranchland that included the Mexican Ranchos of Piedras Blancas, San Simeon and Santa Rosa. In 1919, his only son, William Randolph Hearst, inherited the land from his mother, Phoebe Apperson Hearst. By then the ranch had grown to encompass 250,000 acres.


The main house is enormous, and is a combination of historic architectural styles that its owner admired in his travels around Europe.


Hearst Castle featured 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres of gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, a movie theater, an airfield and at one time, the world's largest private zoo.


William Randolph was an avid collector of art and antiques from all around the world. He had warehouses full of items ready to be incorporated into the house design. One could literally take many trips to what he formally called "La Cuesta Encantada" ("The Enchanted Hill"), and not see all its details.



The rooms were large and cavernous and filled with "objets d'art" from around the globe.



Just look at the size of the dining room, and all the architectural details of it's walls...


...and ceilings!  


Did you notice Hearts large silver collection on display on the table and sideboard?

According to the Wikipedia information about Hearst Castle, the floor plan of the main building is chaotic due to his habit of buying centuries-old ceilings, which dictated the proportions and decor of various rooms. The ceiling above was in the game room


The full size movie screen in his cinema room usually screened films from Hearst's own movie studio, Cosmopolitan Productions.  Hearst was known to entertain the Hollywood and political elite of the 1920's and 30's. Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, the Marx Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, James Stewart, Bob Hope, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, Dolores Del Rio, and Winston Churchill were among Hearst's A-list guests.



The outside grounds are also full of statuary that Hearst purchased from around the world.


The grounds are so wonderfully decorated and maintained that one could, again, spend many days walking around to see everything.

It was hard to narrow down the garden and ground views to just a few photos, but I'll show you some of my favorites:




It is said that Hearst wanted a garden that displayed a profusion of blooms throughout the year. So, hundreds of thousands of annuals, bulbs and perennials were planted to provide the displays he enjoyed.







I loved all the beautiful roses that were blooming when we visited!


The "pièce de résistance" of the Hearst property, and probably the most photographed portion, is the Neptune Pool which is located near the edge of the hilltop, which offers an expansive vista of the mountains, ocean and the main house. The Neptune Pool patio features an ancient Roman temple front, transported wholesale from Europe and reconstructed at the site


Hearst had the Neptune Pool rebuilt numerous times, and the final version of the pool, as it stands at the Castle today, is 104 feet long, 58 feet wide and 95 feet wide at the alcove. It is 3.5 feet deep at the west end, 10 feet at drains, and holds 345,000 gallons of water.





Almost as impressive to me was the massive indoor Roman Pool!


The tiled indoor pool is decorated with eight statues of Roman gods, goddesses and heroes. The pool appears to be styled after an ancient Roman bath such as the Baths of Caracalla in Rome.


The Roman Pool is decorated from ceiling to floor with 1″ square mosaic tiles. These glass tiles, called "smalti," are either colored (mainly blue or orange) or are clear with fused gold inside. The intense colors and shimmering gold of the tiles combine to create a breathtaking effect!


A close up of a portion of the tile floor.
The Hearst Castle is truly remarkable in many ways, and definitely worth seeing if you visit the central coast of California.


Out tour ended and we began the bus ride back to the visitor center.


We passed zebras, the last remnants of what was once the private zoo of exotic animals that Hearst maintained on the extensive grounds.


One last look at the castle on the hill before we drove away.
Next Thursday I'll show the Elephant seals we saw on the beach at San Simeon State Park on the Pacific coast!

I'm also adding this post to the following blog events:

Pink Saturday
Mosaic Monday
Blue Monday
Our World Tuesday

Many thanks to all the blog hosts!



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63 comments:

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Pat, this was so neat! What a great trip to such a fascinating place. In addition to the castle, I loved seeing the zebras. Can't wait to see the seals. They are such fascinating animals to me.

I got your question about what program I'm using with IPAD. I'm really not. I have had a great deal of difficulty posting with an IPAD, and I have to borrow Mr. Magpie's computer to get a post together. That's why the pickings are slim. The last post I did, I had in draft for two years. But if I try and do a new post, I either have to wait for Mr. Magpie to loan me his work computer or I have to go into that thing that says html and fool with codes, etc. Rhoda taught me how to do that years ago, but it has gotten SO complex now it's scary. But I try to do it there if necessary. I write it in compose, and then tweak it in that other category.

As far as pictures, I can't figure out how to download them from this IPAD (I think you have to have an app), and the IPAD takes pictures that aren't very clear. I tend to use my old pics or go through an elaborate dance of borrowing Mr. Magpie's work computer and doing it there. So I'm not much help.

Someone told me that the app for blogging with IPAD is just not all that and a bag of chips. SO I haven't done anything about it. The big thing now is what we're all going to do when Google Reader goes the way of the dinosaur. I still haven't decided.

Sorry I'm not much help, my friend, but I did try!

XO,

Sheila

Betsy Adams said...

Hi Pat, This is FABULOUS. I love traveling with you. AND--if we ever get to CA, I will visit the Hearst Castle for sure. WOW--what a place. It makes the Biltmore Estate look like a tiny house!!!!! ha

One thing I don't like about Biltmore is that they won't allow photos inside the house. That is one reason we haven't visited it very much... We are photographers --and I don't enjoy visiting places when I can't take pictures...

You got some fabulous pictures from that castle --both inside and outside. I'm just blown away by the beauty... AND that view is tremendous...

Thanks for sharing. I'll look forward to these posts on Thursdays.
Hugs,
Betsy

Sarah said...

Pat, your past two years have been full ones! Glad you are sharing this again. Wonderful trip, and I always love viewing your images.

Willow said...

Hearst Castle really is an amazing place and you almost need to visit more than once to take it all in.

Linda said...

WOW!!! I've been there and I LOVE this post! My daughter, Summer, is here with me tonight and she flew out to meet us on that trip! Talk about walking down Memory Lane! Thank you for the perfect ending to our cozy day!!!

eileeninmd said...

Pat, wonderful photos from your visit to the Hearst Castle. The grounds and pool are gorgeous. It is an amazing place or should I say palace. Thanks for sharing, have a happy weekend!

La Petite Gallery said...

I have been to Calif. several times, never got to see the Hearst
place. Gosh! I had no idea you couldn't drive up in a car.
They really lived like Royals didn't they. Why don't they turn it into a hotel? Looks like there are not any hotels for miles. A
five hour drive is worth staying the night. Oh well, guess Calif.
has plenty of money to maintain
that. I loved the post.
yvonne

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Oh, my goodness!! Opulent is the word that comes to mind!!! Beyond imagination. Whew! Thanks for the great tour, Pat! Are you in the snow? Such a roller coaster of weather! blessings ~ tanna

Tracy said...

STUNNING! But you know, the grandeur is almost too much to take in... LOL! To think, people live that way... I like the idea someone had above of making the place into a hotel! Fun to see... Happy Days, Pat ((HUGS))

pam said...

I remember thinking as you moved through the castle and the grounds that not an inch was spared something to stop and take in. I was last there in high school but I remember how stunning it all was. You did a great job highlighting all the wonders of Hearst Castle.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a spectacular place. A modern version of the Biltmore Estate. The dining room looks a lot like the Biltmore's formal dining room.

I cannot imagine 61 bathrooms. You did a fantastic job of this.
Sam

Ann said...

Oh what a fabulous castle, if seen pics of my sisters and yours are so beautiful. I really want to go there and travel on the famous Highway. Oppulance sure wasn't a problem with the Hurst family. The Neptune Pool has got to be the most beautiful created anywhere.
Ann

Sandra said...

Dear Pat
What a fantastic trip. This is a destination that I want to put on my bucket list. Thanks for opening new doors!!1

Riet said...

Hi Pat, sorry I am late on commenting but every time I was going to something else was going on. I have seen this castle several times today and I must tell you I have never seen anything like it. So stunningly beautiful. WOw, I kept saying.The interiors, the gardens, the pools, unbelievable.I haven´t seen the Louvre but I don´t think there is anything like it. I was going to tell you also that I am going to send your package next MOnday. My DIl had a little box for me to put your gift in for sending but something came between it. I hope to get it by tomorrow, sorry about that.
How nice that you can now babysit for your grandchildren. What a blessing that is now that you live so near.
I hope you have a nice weekend.
Hugs from Riet

Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

The house/castle is very surprising with its interesting mix of architecture from different eras. But the view is just breathtaking: I could look at it all day! Thanks for the tour.

Paula's Postings said...

What stunning pictures Pat thanks for sharing your trip memories looking forward to the next episode.

RobinfromCA said...

I love Hearst Castle and your beautiful photos took me right back there again! Somehow I've missed the "Oh, the Places I've Been!" event! I need to check that out - loving travel as much as I do a.n.d. needing to scan photos from past travels before the non-digital era!
Once again - gorgeous photos! Love the Neptune Pool - the indoor one has always creeped me out a bit but I have no idea why.
Have a lovely weekend!
Robin

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

What a gorgeous estate! I love the surrounding views too and I ♥ California.

Botanic Bleu said...

Beautiful photos made feel as if I were right there with you. I am your latest follower.

Judith

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Pat - Your photos and descriptions are terrific. I know it took a lot of work to put this together and decide which photos to eliminate. Hearst Castle is really a magnificent place. I was there two years ago and would happily return to take one of the other tours they offer. When we went in, we had to turn off our cell phones. One of the two friends who went with me knew that her daughter in NJ was set to give birth soon. She still hadn't when we entered, but by the time we came out, she had become a grandma.

GratefulPrayerThankfulHeart said...

Beauty beyond imagination here! I have really enjoyed touring through your photos!

Roz Corieri Paige said...

Pat, I remember when I was in my 20's back in the 1980's and we drove up PCH-1 past the Hearst Castle. Tickets were sold out so we just saw the place from down below as shown in one of your photos. You shot some excellent pictures of a beautiful place from days long gone by. I love California, miss so much of it (my son was born in L.A.), but don't miss the cost of living which was the only reason why we left.

Keep up the great life experiences!

And thanks for sharing and bringing back so many western USA memories for me,

Hugs,
Roz

Pondside said...

It's a place I've always wished to visit, and when we ever get down that way it will be on my list. The gardens alone would make it worthwhile, but the fact that you can tour inside makes it a 'must see'.

Micupoftea~ said...

Love Hearst Castle, been there many times. My fav trip was in December and it was an evening tour. The bus ride up to the house was a little scary- so dark, no street lights! However, we enjoyed the carolers and all the Christmas trees throughout the home. HAPPY May~

Carol said...

Wow, fabulous tour of Hearst Castle, I almost feel like I' m there, the pictures are gorgeous! Busy year for you, best wishes in your new home.

Ann said...

wow, that's some place. I can't imagine living like that. It would feel like I had died and gone to heaven...lol

Viki said...

We drove to California for our honeymoon. I loved seeing the castle again. It is truly opulence at its best, ha!!

Sippity Sup said...

I've made that trip myself a time or two. Your gorgeous photos were a nice remembrance for me. GREG

Jeanne said...

Hello Pat, I have been to the Hearst Castle several years ago with my sisters. We drove to San Francisco to decorate my niece's baby room when she was pregnant with her first baby. We had so much fun. We drove down the coast of CA and spent the day at the Castle. You totally captured the wonderful castle with your photos. I felt like I was there once again. This post is awesome.

Have a wonderful weekend.
xo, Jeanne

Vee said...

Oh the wealth that such a home represents!

Margaret said...

Hi Pat, I've never been to Hearst Castle, thank-you so much for such a delightful tour and the label link to go back :)Your photos are exquisite!!! I especially loved those of the pools, gardens, the spectacular views, I loved them all!!! (((Pat))) thinking of you...your many tears of sadness and joy over the past two years; how wonderful your new home in Colorado must feel, the peace and serenity amongst Colorados beautiful vistas, time to reflect and savor your many lifes events, adding new tears of joy and happiness now living near family.
I'm looking forward to your Thursday blogs! Margaret from B.C.

The Tablescaper said...

it's been many years since I've been there. Thanks so much for bringing back so many wonderful memories. It is truly an amazing place.

Great to have you be a part of "Oh, the PLACES I have been!"

- The Tablescaper

Susie said...

Pat, I would love to see all of this in person. I think one could live there and not see it all. I love it. Hope you and your husband are getting adjusted to Colorado. xoxo,Susie

Entertaining Women said...

I was thrilled to check the Hearst Castle off of my bucket list last summer. It is such a treasure....down to the ketchup bottles on the dining table. Thanks for the memories. Cherry Kay

A Creative Harbor said...

Magnificent mosaic photography for MM ~ and what a trip! Wow!

Debra @ Homespun said...

Absolutely fascinating...can you even remotely imagine having money like that ? Oh I think my favorite is that Roman pool! :)

Lavender Cottage said...

A magnificent place, thanks for sharing your photos. I must put this on my bucket list.
Judith

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

How amazing! When we think of castles, we don't think of the US, do we? Wonderful photos! A treat to see these fabulous castle!

Lorrie said...

What an amazing place, Pat. I've heard so much about Hearst Castle, and if we are ever in the area, it's definitely someplace I want to visit. The coastline scenery is stunning too.

podso said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the photos of your visit! A very nice and detailed post!

Cathy Keller said...

You have shared some wonderful pictures. It's almost like being there! Thanx!! Cathy

Sheila said...

Your photo journal is just amazing. The castle and surrounding countryside must have been fascinating to see. i'll look forward to reading your other travel stories Pat.

Yvette said...

An incredible place. Staggering to think that this was one man's vision. Not crazy about all those nondescript statues, but everything else is very pleasing to the eye. If not always in a rational way. Know what I mean?

Instant history.

In the 1960's I worked for a short times with Joanne Hearst who was either a granddaughter or great-granddauther of William Hearst.

She spoke fluent Spanish and occasionally we had conversations which the rest of our co-workers didn't understand. She did mention playing at Heart Castle when she was a child, but that's about all I remember. She was a very unpretentious person and I enjoyed working with her.

SwedishCorner ~ DownUnder...Pernilla said...

HBM! Beautiful photos - great photo journal :) ~Pernilla

Rhonda H said...

What wonderful photos! I haven't been to Hearst Castle for probably 30 years but your photos brought it right back! Lovely! Happy linky parties!!

Sue McPeak said...

Thanks so much for this amazing tour. Your photos as always are spectular...they should be in featured in Travel Magazine. You've certainly had a couple of very busy years. I'm glad you are back to sharing your trip.

Sue CollectInTexasGal
Blue Monday~Texas Chicken Farm Photography

HOOTIN ANNI said...

One word....GLORIOUS!

SmilingSally said...

Life does takes us off our intended track, doesn't it?

Hearst had a spectacular place. I enjoyed seeing his blue and white dinnerware and of course, that blue pool. Oh my, what a pool! Thanks for sharing.

Happy Blue Monday, Pat.

edenhills said...

What an amazing place! I think I need to go on vacation now. :-)

AdriBarr said...

I love the concept of the Tabelescapers. What a fab idea.

My, but you have some really spectacular shots of San Simeon. I visited there in the late sixties, and I was bowled over by the grandeur. There is nothing even close in California. We have no Vanderbilt "summer cottages," thus it was building on a scale so grand that it was utterly foreign to me.

I recall that as we drove by bus up the mountain the castle was at first shrouded in fog. As we approached, it loomed out of the mist. The castle revealed its wonders to us one by one, room by room. We all shook our heads in amazement as the tour guide explained how, as you noted, Mr. Hearst purchased, say a ceiling in Spain and directed Ms. Morgan to design a room around it.


Thanks for the great tour and wonderful photographs, and for bringing back memories of my own visit.

Cafe au lait said...

Lovely captures. Thanks for the tour. Happy Blue Monday. I played too. Mine are here and here.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Now that brought back memories! We have so enjoyed our visits to Hearst Castle...we have been there twice over the years. You are a great tour guide...and have great photos. Beautiful architecture...beautiful location...but hard to imagine that people lived in such grandeur.

Joy H said...

What beautiful scenery! Very pretty photos too. Have a great week. ;)

bettyl said...

What lovely over-indulgence that I will never see! Thanks for the virtual tour.

Gardening in a Sandbox said...

What a magnificent estate. He had great taste. Can you image asking to pass the salt at the dining room table. :} Valerie

ladyfi said...

Wow - gorgeous photos, architecture and scenery!

LOLfromPasa said...

I think this may be the first time I have visited your blog. It is lovely. I have always wanted to go to go to Hearst Castle (and now even more). Enjoyed the comprehensive tour. Greetings from Coventry, England.

Claudia said...

Can you imagine???? This was a private home???? I love the Neptune pool - and oh my - the indoor Roman pool... and the vista... and oh - cannot imagine! But would love to see it.

Gary said...

Incredible!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

myletterstoemily said...

what a spectacular display of a splendid
palace! thank you for sharing!!!!!

Pamela Gordon said...

WOW!!! I have heard of Hearst Castle and seen photos but seeing it through your eyes really shows off the beauty and riches of this castle. It's hard to believe someone lived like that. Reminds me of King Solomon in the Bible. Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing them with us. Pam

Cheryl @ TFD said...

I loved this tour! It's hard to imagine being that wealthy to have built this magnificent place. I can't imagine how many people it takes to take care of it. It is so beautiful and well worth a trip to CA just to see this! Thanks for sharing.

Mary said...

Oh my...the indoor Roman pool and those tiles! Definitely on the "must visit" list if I'm on the west coast again! Thanks for taking me along Pat!