Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Left Coast Ambitions: The Castle on the Hill

On Thursday, Mr. Goodlaff and I visited the place that inspired the plan for our entire Mini-Moon:  Hearst Castle.  I have wanted to go there for years, and a while back, Mr. Goodlaff and I found ourselves in the vicinity and popped in the visitor center to see how much it would be and when it was open.  We didn't have time to do a tour that day (they were pretty much sold out anyway), so we put it on our "places to see" list, and moved along. When discussing what we should do on our Mini-Moon, Hearst Castle came up, and we literally built our entire trip around this one thing. 

Who is this Hearst fellow and what was he doing with a castle in California?  Well, it turns out that William Randolph Hearst, of newspaper fame, was one wealthy dude.  He wanted a little ranch house, so he hired architect Julia Morgan to build a little something for him.  Here's what she came up with:

Like I said, he had some money. 

The whole, dare I say--"house,"  was magnificent.  It will literally blow you away how incredible this architecture is, and add to that the artifacts that are still on display--this is an amazing, must-see piece of history. 

The view's not bad either:

Oh, and by the way, Hearst only considered it half-finished.

We took the guided tour and got to see the guest house:

I'll come over anytime...

The Neptune Pool:

You can swim in it, but it will seriously cost you...

The "Ranch" grounds:
I would not want to be head gardener here, that's for sure...

And once we were thoroughly awed by the outside, our tour went inside the house.  We checked out the living room:

The fireplace was brought over from Europe, because hey, why not?

We saw the dining room:

I think this one's the "formal" dining room...

Then we headed into the theater, watched a short movie, and our tour concluded in the Roman Pool.  There's something to be said for going out with a bang, you know?

Those underwater tiles are gold leaf.  Really.

Hearst Castle was probably the coolest thing we saw and did on our trip.  I would go back in a heartbeat.  There were so many awesome tours to choose from, and I don't think you could ever see enough of the castle and the grounds.  The hills surrounding the "ranch house" are still used for cattle grazing (those are some damn lucky cows), and a few descendants of Mr. Hearst's animal zoos can still be found roaming the hills. I think I saw a zebra there--no joke. 

After our tour, Mr. Goodlaff and I stopped for lunch in Cambria at Las Cambritas.  I may not have tossed back a pitcher of margaritas and danced on a bar top, but it was Cinco de Mayo, and I ate tacos, which I considered a festive, tasty lunch choice.

Due to torrential rain-caused mudslides in March and April, Highway 1 along the coast was closed, and the Goodlaffs had to double back and take the 101 to our next destination:  Monterey!

There's still room in the car! Ride along with us:

Chapter 1: We Mini-Moon!
Chapter 2: Mission Possible


  1. That castle is amazing!!!... did you catch the zebra in any pic?

  2. Wow can you say AMAZING..and yes that pool looks very refreshing!! :)