Sometimes, You Just Gotta Drop Everything and Get Yourself to a Castle.
I love spontaneous getaways. Well, really I don’t. I am married to Mr. Spontaneous and it makes for interesting challenges. But then again, sometimes, it’s good to bust out of your “discomfort zone” and get away for a weekend to visit a big fairy tale castle with your best friend from college and your lovely girls to reconnect with the fabulous part of life.
I am so blessed to live in the gorgeous Golden State of California. One of its crown jewels is the 110 room seaside vacation home of William Randolph Hearst, publishing magnate and early 20th century rich dude who built the famed Hearst Castle.
The palace is perched high atop a hillside that sweeps down to the majestic waters of the Pacific Ocean. Someone on the tour wanted to know how long it would take to drive around “the lake.”
The mansion took 28 years to complete and really wasn’t finished when he passed away. (This is just the guest house). Through his trust, he gifted this property to the state, so technically, as a California resident, I evidently own 1/38 millionth of the estate. Sweet!
I could give you the complete history, but let’s just let the photos do the talking. If you want more information, you can Google it, or visit the Hearst Castle website.
This is my 4th or 5th visit to the castle, but I just never get tired of it. How could you? It’s a fantasy land. This time, we took the Experience Tour which is aptly named. It is quite an experience, beginning with a peek at the inside of the guest home. I forget how many umpteen rooms it has, but this is a typical “guest room”…
With separate baths for the ladies…
And the gents…
The pool is indescribable.
Mr. Hearst imported authentic Greek ruins to construct this masterpiece. The girls didn’t care about the ancient Greek stuff. They just wanted to jump in.
That Hearst was a planner. He thought of everything, including where to swim when the weather was anything but sunny and 72. For less than perfect days, he built an indoor pool made of 24 carat gold tiles.
From the pool, we strolled (that’s what you do at a castle) through the impeccable gardens past lounging naked guys where I snapped a picture. I might lose my G-rating over this one. If you are with small children, cover their eyes.
I encountered perfectly coiffed gardens, where I found my new “happy place”.
Even the koi fish are happy at the Hearst.
The main house is overwhelming… It’s just too large to fit in the frame of my camera.
We enter through a miniature side door with a secret passage to the bell tower.
I could only imagine how the bells must sound as they ring through the hills and valleys when they strike the hour.
The dining room seats 48. (I am thinking about remodeling my own in this image).
And inspires what I call “the dumb tourist look”–chin pointing to the heavens, mouth agape.
They were staring at the ceiling where Mr. Hearst hung international banners to make his guests feel closer to home.
My daughter was dumbfounded and inspired. I could see the wheels turning.
I think she was wondering if we could pick up a new door like this from the local Home Depot.
Mr. Hearst loved movies, and the screening room filled us with celebrity images—ghosts from the past. I can only imagine how people’s lives must have changed after staying at the estate. What a legacy he left us.
If you have a chance…
Get yourself to a castle.