Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument Things to Do

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Most Recent Things to Do in Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument

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    Roman Pool (part 1)

    by machomikemd Written Aug 9, 2011

    This will be a two part tip, so that I can upload more pictures of the Roman Pool.

    The Roman Pool is one of the two outdoor Pools located at the Enchanted Hill Portion of the Hearst Castle and is at the back part of the estate. Again, all the tours pass by here as this is the end part of any tour you choose of Hearst castle and where the shuttle buses will pick you up and drop you off at the Visitor's Center. The Roman Pool is way more opulent than the Neptune Pool outside as it has very expensive tiles and some of them are gold trimmed and as patterned after the ancient Roman Baths in the 5th century. The visitors would really feel like king when taking a dip at the roman pool during those halycon days of the 30's and were very privileged to be Hearst's Guests.

    according to their website:

    The Roman Pool at Hearst castle is a tiled indoor pool decorated with eight statues of Roman gods, goddesses and heroes. The pool appears to be styled after an ancient Roman bath such as the Baths of Caracalla in Rome c. 211-17 CE. The mosaic tiled patterns were inspired by mosaics found in the 5th Century Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna, Italy. They are also representative of traditional marine monster themes that can be found in ancient Roman baths. The statues are rough copies of ancient Greek and Roman statues. One such copy represents the "Apoxyomenos." Statuary was used on a considerable scale in the Baths of Caracalla.

    The pool and surrounding room, which were built from 1927-1934, can be compared to an ancient Roman bath. The pool, like the baths, is located indoors. Its water was heated as in a tepidarium. However, in Hearst's complex there were no hot or cold baths as there were in the ancient complex. The Roman Pool complex was designed to contain an exercise room, sweat baths, a handball court and dressing rooms.

    The Roman Pool is decorated from ceiling to floor with 1" square mosaic tiles. These glass tiles, called smalti, are either colored (mainly blue or orange) or are clear with fused gold inside. The intense colors and shimmering gold of the tiles combine to create a breathtaking effect. The designs created by the tiles were developed by muralist Camille Solon. The inspiration for some of these designs came from the 5th Century Mausoleum of Galla Placidia.

    Hearst was affected by the beauty of the mosaics in the mausoleum and incorporated similar styles into his Roman Pool. The walls of the mausoleum are marble but the vaulted arches are composed of blue and gold smalti. The roofs and dome are covered with mosaics of night blue, powdered with stars. The Roman Pool is similar to the mausoleum with its blue and gold color scheme and stylized star patterns. It differs because marble was only used in the statues, not on the walls, and there are no religious murals.

    Decorating the Roman Pool are eight marble statues. These statues were carved starting in 1930 by Carlo Freter working in Pietrasanta, Italy. They are rough copies of ancient Greek and Roman statues. The statue of "Apoxyomenos" is found near the east side of the building. "Apoxyomenos," also known as "The Scraper," is a statue of an athlete scraping dirt and moisture off the underside of his right arm. The original bronze statue was created by the Greek sculptor Lysippos c. 320 B.C.E. Because Lysippos' work does not survive, Freter worked from an ancient Roman copy of "The Scraper" found in the Vatican museum in Rome. Freter faithfully copied the Roman copy but also completes the statue with the addition of the missing strigil (scraper) and the missing fingers of the outstretched hand.

    the oplulent roman pool going to the pool wow more me
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    Neptune Pool (Part 2) Sculptures

    by machomikemd Updated Aug 9, 2011

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    part two of my Neptune Pool tips at Hearst Castle San Simeon State Park with more pictures of the assorted sculptures around the Neptune Pool.

    The Neptune pool outside the Hearst Castle in Enchanted Hill is the most photographed section of the Hearst Castle due to it's sheer beauty and extravagance. It was 12 years in the making and was started by the famous architect at that time, Julia Morgan in 1924 and finished in 1936 and around the pool is the Patio where Roman inspired scultpures are made (will do separate pictures of them) and within the pool complex, you can see the Casa Grande Main House and the other side Houses and the panoramic Views of the Santa lucia Mountain Range, the hearst ranch and airfield, The Pacific Ocean and San Simeon and beyond. All the four tours of the Hearst Castle makes a stop at the Neptune Pool and Ends at the Roman Pool at the Backside.

    according to their website:

    The present version of the pool was under construction from 1934-1936. It is unlikely that the enlargement was done to make it closer to Olympic size, as has sometimes been conjectured; Olympic pools are 165 feet long. It is more likely that the colonnades and Cassou statues, which were planned from the late 1920's, required an enlarged treatment. Morgan anticipated further modifications of the pool for Cassou's Neptune statuary group to be placed in the small upper pool. On July 27, 1936, Morgan wrote in a letter to Charles Cassou, "enclosed is a plan and some photographs of the 'Neptune Pool' in its present (uncompleted) state. The recess of the main pool and the small pool above to receive your 'Neptune' group I have not touched since my visit with you last year - so please do not think of them except as something yet to be done to form a proper background and sitting for your 'Venus' as well as your 'Neptune' statuary." The "Neptune" sculpture group by Cassou intended for the small upper pool was never installed.

    The final version of the pool as it stands at the Castle today is 104 feet long, 58 feet wide and 95 feet wide at alcove. It is 3.5 feet deep at the west end, 10 feet at drains and holds 345,000 gallons of water. Other unique aspects of the Neptune Pool include the oil burning heating system, the light-veined Vermont marble decorating the pools and colonnades, and four 17-century Italian bas-reliefs on the sides of the colonnades.

    the sculptures more amazing with my uncle
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    Neptune Pool (Part 1)

    by machomikemd Updated Aug 9, 2011

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    part one of my Neptune Pool tips at Hearst Castle San Simeon State Park

    The Neptune pool outside the Hearst Castle in Enchanted Hill is the most photographed section of the Hearst Castle due to it's sheer beauty and extravagance. It was 12 years in the making and was started by the famous architect at that time, Julia Morgan in 1924 and finished in 1936 and around the pool is the Patio where Roman inspired scultpures are made (will do separate pictures of them) and within the pool complex, you can see the Casa Grande Main House and the other side Houses and the panoramic Views of the Santa lucia Mountain Range, the hearst ranch and airfield, The Pacific Ocean and San Simeon and beyond. All the four tours of the Hearst Castle makes a stop at the Neptune Pool and Ends at the Roman Pool at the Backside.

    according to their website:

    The present version of the pool was under construction from 1934-1936. It is unlikely that the enlargement was done to make it closer to Olympic size, as has sometimes been conjectured; Olympic pools are 165 feet long. It is more likely that the colonnades and Cassou statues, which were planned from the late 1920's, required an enlarged treatment. Morgan anticipated further modifications of the pool for Cassou's Neptune statuary group to be placed in the small upper pool. On July 27, 1936, Morgan wrote in a letter to Charles Cassou, "enclosed is a plan and some photographs of the 'Neptune Pool' in its present (uncompleted) state. The recess of the main pool and the small pool above to receive your 'Neptune' group I have not touched since my visit with you last year - so please do not think of them except as something yet to be done to form a proper background and sitting for your 'Venus' as well as your 'Neptune' statuary." The "Neptune" sculpture group by Cassou intended for the small upper pool was never installed.

    The final version of the pool as it stands at the Castle today is 104 feet long, 58 feet wide and 95 feet wide at alcove. It is 3.5 feet deep at the west end, 10 feet at drains and holds 345,000 gallons of water. Other unique aspects of the Neptune Pool include the oil burning heating system, the light-veined Vermont marble decorating the pools and colonnades, and four 17-century Italian bas-reliefs on the sides of the colonnades.

    the Neptune Pool panoramic me ok the panoramic view around the pool
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    Esplanade and Gardens

    by machomikemd Written Aug 6, 2011

    once you approached the top of Enchanted hill and the Shuttle Bus will drop you off the Main Esplanade to the Entrance of the Hearst Castle, you will see assorted exquisite sculptured statues and well manicured gardens and concrete foothpaths and walkways around the complex. It is also where the world famous Neptune Pool is located but I will do a separate things to do tip for it. In and Around the gardens and esplanade are many postcard perfect vistas for you to take pictures or videos of the view or yourself within the view. You will have ample time of 15 minutes to savor the surroundings and have pictures and videos taken before the actual tour starts.

    the esplanade well manicured view from the top me well sculpted
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    Casa Grande (front view)

    by machomikemd Written Aug 6, 2011

    you could only have a pose in the front of the Main Entrance of Casa Grande if you take the Tour 1 (the experience tour) and I could not find my old analog pictures taken there 21 years ago hence I took these shots of the Front View of Casa Grande via my ultra powerful 20x optical zoom lens on my sony camera hehehe. Casa Grande (his formal name for the twin-towered building, or main house) is the most prominent part of the sprawling hearst Castle Complex atop the Enchanted Hill. This time I took tour 2 so we took a side entrance to Casa Grande. The front of the Casa Grande evokes opulence and Grandeur. The Casa Grande took it's inspiration from the Spanish Revival of which William Randoph Hearst is fond of hence he said to the architect Julia Morgan to design it as a Spanich Revivalist Style in 1915.

    front me pose again grandeur side entrance
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    The Hearst Castle Visitor Center Theater

    by machomikemd Written Aug 6, 2011

    once you booked on a Hearst Castle tour (any of the four tours available) there is a free 45 minute screening of William Randoph Hearst "Building the Dream" experience. This original 40-minute movie begins every 45 minutes; first showing at 8:15 am. The last show of the day is usually at 5:15 pm in the off-season and 6:45 pm in the peak season with later show times for later tour schedules. Hearst Castle Theater at the Hearst Castle Visitor Center is a 5-Story screen theater showing the resident film “Hearst Castle, Building the Dream” as the companion film to Castle Tours. Guest films may be included in the Hearst Castle Theater schedule. These giant screen films, such as Everest, Whales, Grand Canyon, or Dolphins, are just a few of the films that have been part of our educational and interpretive programs.

    the theater the dream showtimes included in the ticket to the tour
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    Panoramic Postcard Perfect Vistas

    by machomikemd Written Aug 6, 2011

    since the Hearst Castle Complex sits on a 1,400 feet flattened part of the Santa Lucia Mountain Range in the Central Coast of California called "La Cuesta Encantada" ("The Enchanted Hill"), One can see wide and sweeping views of the Santa Lucia Mountains, The Huge Ranch and estate around the Hearst Castle Complex and the Pacific Ocean beyond and taking pictures and videos around the various Vistas around Hearst Castle is a must of which I myself is guilty of taking lots of pictures and videos hehehe. feel free to take as many pictures and videos of the sweeping vistas as you want with the opulent backdrop of the Hearst Castle Estate.

    the view from the top postcard perfect sweeping vistas what a view again
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    San Simeon

    by machomikemd Written Aug 6, 2011

    Although the Hearst Castle State Monument is located within the limits of San Simeon Township, the center of the township is located about 10 miles south from the huge estate and the township is the nearest hamlet where you can spend the night and eat at the local restaurants and get supplies at the 3 convenience stores in the hamlet. If you want no frills and nearest to the Hearst Castle, then this is you best bet but if you want more good accomodations, I would recommend you stay at Cambria or at San Luis Obispo or Pismo Beach since they have more options like more restaurants or more beach activities and some shopping or even further away at Paso Robles so that you can savor the Fine wines of the Central Coast of California.

    San Simeon Motels have a drink restaurants to san simeon
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    The William Randolph Hearst exhibit

    by machomikemd Written Aug 6, 2011

    The William Randolph Hearst exhibit is a large area located inside the visitor's center where Some of the Priceless artifacts of various Hearst Castle items are routinely displayed and are periodically changed several times a year and among the various items on display are the following: Family histories, vintage photographs, and historical documents provide a more intimate look at Mr. Hearst’s personal life. Beautiful works of art from his collection give a glimpse of the treasures seen on tour. A display dedicated to Mr. Hearst’s career in media, publishing, and politics features an audio recording of a political address he made. There is also a touch gallery – a display of tiles, marble, textiles, and other materials used in the art and architecture of the Castle that allows guests to experience the collection in a tactile way not allowed on tour.

    pictures fire truck more huge welcome
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    Big Sur and Highway 1

    by machomikemd Written Aug 5, 2011

    if you are visiting the Hearst Castle Historical State Park coming from the Southern California Area or from the Northern California Area with lost of spare time or having 2 to 3 day extra time, I would suggest a timely stop along Big Sur and the historic Highway 1 that straddles the Santa Lucia Mountain range and the Pacific Ocean for spectacular panoramic vistas for a picture perfect view and if you still have more spare time, then go to Monterey and Carmel and Pebble Beach and don't forget the 17 mile drive too. They are located about 65 and 90 miles respectively north of Hearst Castle If not, then just travel via the US 101 South from North California or Highway 1 North from Cambria or San Luis Obispo.

    what a view at big sur wow drive the bridge
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    The Hearst Castle Visitor Center

    by machomikemd Updated Aug 3, 2011

    the huge Hearst Castle Visitors Center is located below the sprawling hearst castle main area and is the starting point of a Hearst Castle tour. The area has a large parking area for tour buses and cars and vans of local and foreign tourists going to and from Hearst Castle and houses the ticket booths for the assorted hearst castle tours, two gift shops (one for regular souvenirs and one of art pieces and reproductions), a theater, loading and off loading bays for the Shuttle Buses going to and from the Estate 1600 feet above the visitors center. The Center also houses an espresso center and a snack center and also have various Hearst Castle exhibits of various Hearst castle artifacts which changes in motif every quarter, heck, the visitor center is an attraction in itself!

    Hours:

    8:00 am to 5:00 pm everyday

    front inside steaks the theater coffee anyone?
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    Tennis Courts and Swimming Pool

    by atufft Updated Jan 10, 2011

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    Northeast of Casa Grande is a building that includes a swimming pool and roof top tennis court. The tennis courts are concrete with lighting, but no audience seats. Several tennis stars of Heart's day played the court on occasion. Below, Hearst had an indoor swimming pool built with a uniform 10 foot depth. Hearst wanted the pool filled with sea water, but when this damaged the pool, the entire pool had to be reconstructed. Hearst himself apparently enjoyed swimming laps, but neither guests nor even castle employees like using the pool. The tile work and statues are certainly worth a gaze though, if nothing else. This is a fully heated pool with ladders, diving board, and diving platform.

    Hearst Castle Swimming Pool Diving Platform Tennis Courts at Hearst Castle Hearst Castle Swimming Pool Diving Board Hearst Castle Swimming Pool Diving Platform Hearst Castle Swimming Pool Ladder
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    Hearst's Animal Collection Roamed the Estate

    by atufft Updated Jan 10, 2011

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    Hearst's parents bought a 40,000 acre (160 km²) ranch in 1865, but by in 1919 when he had inherited it, it had grown to 250,000 acres (1000 km²). Some acreage had been purchased for as little as 70 cents per acre, yet during the Great Depression, Hearst sold acreage to retain his wealth.

    Besides camping and horseback riding on the huge estate, Hearst founded a private zoo known as the Hearst Garden of Comparative Zoology. Fifty specieis of herbivores roamed the landscape, including American Bison, Rocky Mountain elk, European white fallow deer, several species of African and Asian antelope, zebras, both Bactrian (two-humped) and dromedary (one-humped) camels, sambar deer from India, red deer from Europe, axis deer from Asia, llamas, kangaroos, ostriches, emus, Barbary sheep, Alaskan big horned sheep, musk oxen, and yaks. As many as four giraffes were kept in a small pen located next to the road. Penned in state of the art cages designed for their needs were carnivores, and other animals not allowed to roam wild, including black bears, grizzly bears, sun bears, lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, cougars, chimpanzees, orangutans, monkeys, macaws, kinkajous, coati mundis, swans, storks, a tapir, and an elephant. Diet and exercise were carefully controlled and a veterinarian was on the staff during the 1930s; however, by 1937 financial constraints required that Hearst abandon the zoo program, and eventually animals were donated to the zoos in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Hearst was an early advocate of animal rights. Tour guides told us that zebras can still be seen on parts of the ranch, but we didn't see any.

    Another feature of the larger estate was the pier built by Hearst's parents in the 19th century. This deep water port was important for unloading many crates of artwork, as well as construction materials, animals, and full sized trees imported to fill out the landscape.

    View from Bus of the Coast and Pier Feeding House for Herbivores Another View of the Coast from The Bus
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    Tour 3: Esplande and Casa del Monte Exterior

    by atufft Updated Jan 10, 2011

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    The North Terrace Entrance had been constructed and reconstructed due to the changing needs of the arrival entrance to the castle proper. Originally, formality ruled but apparently that became inconvenient later. However, the Esplanade of tile and mature plants that provided the walk between the guest houses and Casa Grande was an uninterrupted effort of Julia Morgan. The esplanade includes several notable statues, and the well tended gardens are quite beautiful. Casa del Monte (B House) is a separate guest quarter house from Casa Grande, and includes some great views of the property as well as extraordinary interior design and artwork. As it's name suggests, it views northeast toward the Santa Lucia Mountains.

    Marble Stature in North Esplanade Garden Casa del Monte Exterior South Esplanade Tour Group 3 at Casa del Monte Tour Group 3 at Casa del Monte
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    Tour 3: Casa Grande North Wing Guest Rooms

    by atufft Updated Jan 10, 2011

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    The guest rooms in the north wing were reportedly the last that architect Julia Morgan saw fully finished and decorated. These rooms include wonderful ceilings and art, but they also have an art deco style about them. There's more open space and modern feeling, and the result is actually a less cramped and a better display of the individual paintings, sculptures, rugs, and antiques. Here also is a more confident native California worker reproductions of ceilings and other woodwork, suggesting that over time the talent, particularly from a few craftsmen living in Berkeley, could rival the best of 16th and 17th century Europe.

    Ceiling Detail in North Wing Room at Casa Grande Authentic Spanish Painting and Recreated Ceiling Chinese Rug and Mantle Authentic Doors and Recreated Beams Detail of Ceiling Craftsmanship
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