Hearst Castle, in California
The Beautiful Indoor Pool at Hearst Castle
One summer my family went on a trip to Hearst Castle in California. I didn't know what to expect, but it is definitely a place you will want to visit sometime if you ever get the chance. I would love to go back again one day to see more as the tours we took did not begin to completely cover what there is to see. I recall the drive up the hill toward Hearst Castle, and tree lined drive. That was just lovely in itself.
There is one main house or structure, called Casa Grande, and it has three guest houses. They are done in a Mediterranean Revival style. The main house, Casa Grande was inspired by a Spanish Cathedral, and the towers and architecture is just stunning. Not only are the grounds inspiring to see, there is quite the art collection as well. Lord John Julius Norwich was heard to say that "Hearst Castle is a palace in every sense of the word."
There is a total of 56 Bedrooms, 19 Sitting Rooms, 61 Bathrooms, and 41 Fireplaces just to help give you a feel for how vast Hearst Castle is. This doesn't count the gardens, and pools of course.
Brief History of Hearst Castle
When going to a place like Hearst Castle, you will get more enjoyment out of it if you have learned as much as you can beforehand. How it all began was really rather humble, back in 1865. That year George Hearst initially purchased 40,000 acres that was basically ranch land. He was a miner that had done well and become wealthy. The land included the Mexican Ranchos of Piedras Blancas, Santa Rosa and also San Simeon. Over time, the land was passed down from Phoebe Apperson Hearst, to their only son William Randolph Hearst. The land had grown from 40,000 acres to about 250,000 by this time.
The land had been used as a place for camping and "roughing it" originally. Over time, they had elaborate sleeping and dining but still in tents. Hearst thought it was time to consider more comfortable accommodations. He sent word to architect Julia Morgan in 1919 that said, "Miss Morgan we are tired of camping out in the open at the ranch of San Simeon, and I would like to build a little something." This of course makes me grin at what that little something turned out to be. It was referred to as the Enchanted hill later on, or La Cuesta Encantada. It was around 1947 that Hearst and the architect Morgan had come up with an estate of 127 acres of gardens, 165 rooms, and many terraces, walkways and pools as well.
Tours and information and fun
There are at least 5 different tours the last I have checked. Hearst Castle provides for school and group tours as well. If I go back again I would like to see more of the gardens and I would highly recommend the Neptune Pool and the Indoor Roman Pools as spots you don't want to miss.
Many of us can't imagine a life like this one must have afforded the people that lived there. There is such luxury and beauty and it is a true joy to see. The tone is peaceful and serene and just lovely as you walk around and take it all in. On this trip we also stopped along the beaches in California and stayed a couple of places. It makes for a very nice vacation, or as one of many stops for a larger vacation time away.