If you are on of the 40 million persons who has visited Hearst Castle then this blog is not for you. If you have not visited Hearst Castle and are in Central California, Stop and Visit, then make you plans for your second visit.
The most commonly asked question is , “Where is Hearst Castle“? Located half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco on Highway 1, Hearst Castle is located in the San Simeon Hills and was the work of William Randolph Hearst and famed architect Julia Morgan. (Google Map Location Here). If you are going to spend the day and need overnight accommodations, Paso Robles, Cambria, Pismo Beach, Sam Luis Obispo and Morro Bay are within an hour’s drive of Hearst Castle.
For the unknowing, the big question is “What is there to see at Hearst Castle”? The short answer is ” More than you can see in one day”. The long answer is Art, Architecture, Nature and a rich mans vision of utopia. William Randolph Hearst made a fortune, Lost a fortune and made another fortune in his lifetime. He was an avid collector of art and antiquities. Over his lifetime he bought and displayed thousands of European and Mediterranean art pieces, some worth millions of dollars. Essentially he built the house to house the art he bought. and as he collected more, he instructed Julia Morgan to build more. The house, Casa Grande, and the 3 guest houses are built in the Mediterranean Revival style while the 2 towers of the main house were inspired by a Spanish Cathedral. Besides art and architecture, the surrounding land is home to native and imported wildlife. I truly is a preserve.
When you visit you can choose between 4 different tours. The Grande Rooms Museum Tour is recommended for first time visitors and highlights the main rooms downstairs where Hearst met and entertained his guest. The Upstairs Suites Museum Tour highlights the personal aspects of the castle including W.R. Hearst’s bedroom and library. This tour has a few steps but is worth it. The Cottages and Kitchen Tour shows off the guest houses and the Kitchen and Wine Cellar. If you are lucky enough to be there during the spring and fall make sure you take advantage of the Evening Museum Tour. This tour take you back in time and gives one a glimpse of what it was like to be a guest of Hearst during one of his famous weekends with the stars of the day. Guest and Staff dress up in 1930’s attire and you get to see the grounds at night.
I made the mistake of driving by Hearst Castle the first time I was on Highway 1. I had no idea what was on the hill and how much there was to see. Because you really can’t see it all in one trip do not pass up any opportunity to visit Hearst Castle. It truly is a National Treasure.