Today, after breakfast, we headed north on CA-1 to Hearst Castle – the San Simian, CA mansion built by William Randolph Hearst. Since we had toured Biltmore House, located near Asheville, NC, we wanted to see how the other half lived on the West Coast. Our first glimpse of the castle was from the parking lot (15x zoom). Mr. Hearst’s castle is approximately 5 miles from the visitor center – up a winding road to where he had camped in tents as a child. Of course the view of the ocean and mountains is what made him choose this site when he inherited the property in 1919. Ground was broken in 1920, some 25 years after Biltmore House was started.
Hearst Castle is different from other estates of the rich in the US. Its architecture is based on Mediterranean castles of Europe. In fact, Mr Hearst collected art, statues, ceilings etc. from post World War I European art dealers.
Our tour began with a bus ride from the visitor center , narrated by Alex Trebec, up the winding road to where guests of Mr. Hearst would have arrived. These are the first pictures off the bus. We were not allowed in the main door because they did not want us to walk on the inlaid mosaic entryway floor. Walking off the bus gives a view of the mountains. The first view of the ocean from the castle could have been clearer, but it is a long way away – 5 miles. The first room we entered was the Assembly Room. This is where Mr. Hearst’s guests would gather in the afternoon for cocktails and chatting. When dinner was ready, Mr. Hearst or one of his servants would invite everyone in to the dining room. In addition to the tapestry, the ceiling is included because it was several hundred years old and part of Mr. Hearst’s collections of objet d;arte. During the day, guests could swim, play pool, ride horseback, etc. But after dinner, since Mr. Hearst was a movie producer, there were movies to view in his 50 seat theater.
Type at you later.