We have been up through central California many times while we lived there doing wine tasting etc. However one of the more interesting things we did was visiting and touring Hearst Castle. It is right on the central coast along Highway 1. The views are absolutely amazing. Hearst Castle is actually located near the unincorporated community of San Simeon, California, approximately 250 miles from both Los Angeles and San Francisco. The estate itself is five miles inland atop a hill of the Santa Lucia Range at an altitude of 1,600 feet. This is what makes for the incredible views 🙂
The estate was the former home and residence of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who died in 1951. During our tour we learned that Hearst loved to entertain. Sounds like he did it A LOT and had many overnight guests they would stay for days or even weeks at a time. I could see why they would want to stay in such an inviting environment.
We had wanted to see as much as we could, but the Hearst Castle is huge. We took the suggestion of a tour guide and signed up for the Grand Rooms Tour (they have several tours which I will explain more in a min). This tour highlights includes the Assembly Room, Refectory, Billiard Room, Theater, Gardens, Neptune Pool and Roman Pool. If you are a first time visitor, this is the recommended tour, and last about 60 minutes. It also includes a ticket to “Building the Dream” at the Hearst Castle Theater. We were very glad we chose this tour as it gave us a great overview of the castle.
Some of the other tours offered are: Upstairs Suites Tour, Cottages and Kitchen Tour, as well as the Evening Tour. What is cool about the Upstairs Suite Tour is that you get to discover its most private rooms, including William Randolph Hearst’s personal quarters known as the Gothic Suite, and sumptuous bedrooms assigned to special guests. The Cottages and Kitchen Tour sounds interesting too. This tour highlights include the Wine Cellar, House B (Casa del Monte), House A (Casa del Mar), the Kitchen, Gardens, Neptune Pool and Roman Pool I would love to go back sometime and take the Evening Tour. This tour allows you to view this historic California mansion in the twilight hours—just as Mr. Hearst’s own guests did in the 1930s. Highlights of this tour include House A (Casa del Mar), Assembly Room, Refectory, Kitchen, Library, Gothic Suite, Billiard Room, Theater, Gardens, Neptune Pool and Roman Pool. Sounds like it would be amazing. Hopefully we will make it back to this one day. Just an FYI, this tour is only available in the spring and fall.
Like I said earlier we took the Grand Room Tours and really enjoyed our visit. The tour guide was very informative and really seemed to enjoy her job. Through the years I have found that if you are lucky enough to find someone who really enjoys their job and what they are doing, it makes for a much better tour and experience. We were lucky that day! After our tour we checked out the visitor center for a few, the walked around and checked out the gorgeous gardens, as well as the Neptune and Roman Pools. It was a really warm day when we visited and I was so ready to jump into the water, lol. Seriously though, it was a great tour and the views were phenomenal. For more info and pricing, here is a link to their website
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