A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Hearst Castle

After leaving Santa Cruz, we drove to San Simeon to visit Hearst Castle.  We ended up arriving 5 minutes late, so instead of the "accessible" (less stairs) tour I'd booked, we were dumped into the next available tour group.  

The way it works, you park, go through the ticketing area, go to a theater, watch a movie with the history of the castle, wander around a mini museum, and then you take a tour bus up to the actual site.  This is a Good Thing, because it's up a mountain, with narrow, windy roads.  I imagine tourists would crash on the regular.  

I took this picture for Paul, of course.  Old fire engine sitting in the theater lobby.  

Big honkin' candlesticks in the museum area.

And then we're on the bus.  We didn't see any of the zebras, but there's still a wild herd of them on the property, descendants of the ones William Randolph Hurst brought in many years ago.

There were a lot of stairs, but Hannah was a trooper, and never complained.  

The views were incredible.  I think we could see the private airstrip from here.  

This is one of the "guest cottages."  Hearst and his mistress did a lot of entertaining.  There were lots of famous names dropped during the tour, but I've forgotten them at this point.  It was over a month ago now.  I'm not the most prompt blogger.  

Nice little swimming hole.  

They're actually letting people swim in it a couple times this month, which is hugely rare, and hugely expensive.  

I can think of other things I'd rather spend that much money on.  

Another of the guest cottages.  There were several.

Actual ancient Egyptian artifacts, sitting out in the elements.  Mind boggling.  

Lotus blossom tiles

There really isn't a photo that conveys the entire... house? property? folly?  

We saw only a fraction of the main dwelling, plus the outside of some outbuildings.  

I think part of my eyebrow raise is that it felt kind of like when I was at the British Museum.  

He plundered Europe for things to bring here, and then Julia Morgan (his architect) had to design space to accommodate them.  

After a while, it just felt... wrong.  

As it happens, there's a historical fiction series, Her Royal Spyness, by Rhys Bowen, that I've been reading.  Yesterday, I finished book 8, Queen of Hearts.  I'm utterly certain she was inspired by Hearst Castle for the setting of the film mogul's property.  

Everything about this room is designed to make you look up.  The plundered ceiling is carved with the apostles.  

These are specifically NOT stained glass, because it would have made the room too dark.  

Just a little musician's loft where your ensemble can play while your guests dine.  

I'm sure this was incredible in situ, but we'll never know now.  

Tapestry in the game room.  

And the indoor pool

With it's gold leaf tiles

The sun coming through the ceiling is from glass bricks on the tennis court above it.  

I know I sound a little down on it.  It was an incredible place, and I'm glad we went.  


  1. That is a pretty awesome tour. I had to chuckle when you said you aren't a prompt blogger. I have fallen way behind too. We had a fantastic summer that I really need to record.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. I'm looking forward to catching up on your fun summer, too! :)

  2. My husband and I toured Hearst Castle on our honeymoon 25 years ago. I remember the pools best. It seems such a waste to maintain perfect pools that no one can use--except the filthy rich.

    1. Hearst's descendants still use them. And I think they used to have a pool party for the staff once a year, prior to the pandemic.

      For us ordinary folk, all the opulence is a bit overwhelming. And it's kind of sad that it was never finished, and no one even lives there. A reminder that you can't take it with you, I guess.