2 On The Road Blog

After 12 years of full-time rving, we've sold our truck and trailer but we're still traveling. Email us at wowpegasus@hotmail.com if you would like to contact us.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle as seen from the Visitor Center. You can read about William Randolph Hearst, creator of this mansion, in the last few photos of this post. The Castle is 5 miles from the Visitor Center and we were taken there on a bus. There are five or six different tours to pick from, We did the Experience Tour, which is recommended for first-time visitors. The Castle has been owed by the state and open to tours for over 50 years.

While at the Visitor Center we watched a film that told us how William Hearst's (WRH) father made his money. He discovered the Comstock Lode. Silver. It was a good movie with some filming that made us feel like we were flying around the castle and along the shoreline.
The bus let us out here. We were led up to the first steps and give an introductory speech and a list of rules. Just for some reference.. there is an outdoor pool, an indoor pool and three guest houses besides just the main house, Casa Grande.
Light columns

Sculpture at the first landing.
Looking back at the road we rode up to the castle.
The first terrace is below one of the guest houses. I believe this house is 3700 sq foot. Notice the stairs leading up to it on both sides of the fountain.
There were supposed to be two fountains on this terrace but they weren't put in before WRH's death.
The Neptune pool is, if I remember right, 244,000 gallons. The water for the whole complex comes from springs on the mountains to the east of the castle.
In this shot, you can see the stairs leading up to the next terrace, a bit of the smallest guest house to the left and a bit of the medium sized guest house to the right. Just peeking over the trees on the middle right, are the bell towers on the Casa Grande.

We went up to the next terrace and looked back at the Neptune pool.
Next we went into the medium sized guest house that had four bedrooms and four baths.

Most of the interior photos didn't come out because we couldn't use flash.
This is the ceiling.
Back outside of the house, we saw this.
WRH spent decades collecting artifacts and they are spread throughout the buildings. These Egyptian statues are 3200 to 3500 years old.
Here we are starting to see Casa Grande.
Double-click on the photo to look at some of the details. Notice the pillars, the bell towers and the gargoyles.

There are unfinished wings shown here that are not covered in tile. The castle is constructed of reinforced concrete covered by tile. The architect, Julia Morgan, built the castle this way so it would survive earthquakes. Unbeknownst to her at the time, the San Simeon fault lies but five miles from the castle.
Don't ya just love the little cherubs holding up the balcony?

The brown stuff is teak that is intricately carved. This teak covered balcony and the other two balconies with grillwork enter into WRH's bedroom.
Another view of the bell towers. I believe they said that each tower holds 19 bells. They were being tuned while we were there so sometimes it was hard to hear the tour guide.
The darker sculptures are antique artifacts.
Up close of the front doors.
The reflecting pool on the terrace in front of the Casa Grande.
Who are those people?
One of the wildman antiques beside the front doors.
The photos taken inside the house did not come out well. I am posting a few blurry photos so you can have some idea of what we saw. This is the dining hall. WRH would sit just on front of where the tour guide is standing. The longer you were a visitor in the house, the further you sat from WRH.
In back of the house was the tennis courts.
Under the tennis courts was the Roman pool. Most guests used the Neptune pool because it started and 3' deep and gradually went to 10'. This one is 10' deep its entire length. On the right at the top you can see the diving platform.

The walls, floor and ceiling are done in 22 carat gold leaf.

Even the bottom of the pool had gold-leaf.
The section of the pool behind the diving platform is only 3' deep.
From the pool we boarded the bus back to the Visitor Center.
There was a museum at the Visitor Center where we learned about WRH and the building of the castle.

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