San Simeon is kind of in the middle of nowhere, but you can have a great time visiting nearby towns. The charming coastal town of Cambria is just 20 minutes away and there is also the lovely town of San Luis Obispo filled with history about 45 minutes down the road. Big Sur, Monterey, Carmel and Carmel Valley are not too far away and offer some of the best scenery California has to offer. The drive to Hearst Castle from any of these other towns is beautiful and interesting, plus there are also some nice California Wineries in the immediate area.
Fondest memory: Try these websites for more into:
Favorite thing: Hearst Castle easily stands out as my favorite thing in San Simeon. The reflecting Roman Pool was spectacular. Although drained, the Neptune Pool was impressive. Imagining what it must have been like to visit here in the 1930s is breathtaking.
Welcome to the fabulous HEARST CASTLE, the once opulent home belonging to newspaper publisher, Mr William Randolph Hearst. This castle is also known as La Casa Grande in Spanish.
Mr. Hearst's fortune came from the publishing business and with it, he embarked on a mission to create a SPECTACULAR American castle that would rival those found in Europe. Thus, Hearst Castle is now officially known by the State of California as the 'Hearst State Historical Monument at San Simeon'.
Here's a glimpse of the lovely Courtyard. It's getting to be foggy now..... yes, even in the middle of summer! :-)
Just to give you a rough idea of how far (or near?) Hearst Castle is to major Californian towns... Here goes:
31 miles to San Luis Obispo....
138 miles to Santa Barbara...
209 miles to San Francisco...
231 miles to Los Angeles....
254 Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm in Anaheim.
Ah... I don't mind being as rich as the late Mr William Randolph Hearst.
And just to give you a rough idea how HUGE his castle really is... take a look at the photo below! I'm like a tiny little ant next to this magnificent castle!!!
Now, let's spend some time talking about the SHOPPING opportunities here. :-)) (I just know the guys will groan at this recommendation.... But hey, us WOMEN find them important, ya know?).
There's a full range of shops here to entice all visitors... like - retail specialty shops, art galleries, gift and antique shops, clothing stores, novelty and even, mini markets! Oh, and DON'T forget to visit the oldest general store on the west
coast called 'Sebastians'.
Still at HEARST CASTLE....
This is the Refectory - the huge Dining Room where Mr Hearst would hold his many lavish dinners and grand functions. Ah, lifestyles of the Rich and Very Rich!! ;-D
One of Mr Hearst's favorite pastime was to invite his many glittering Hollywood celebrity pals over to this mansion and it is here that the scene of many extravagant gatherings took place. He also wined and dined his many rich and famous friends (from bankers to lawyers) and legendary aristocrats from all over the world... including 'powerful' friends from the National Government besides those that he already know in show business! I wish I were born 50 years earlier... I'm sure Mr Hearst and I would be great friends. Yeah, I wish! ;-))
Inside the HEARST CASTLE....
And this is the beautiful Assembly Room.
Please note that FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY is NOT allowed in here.
Also be careful where you're walking around this area... and DON'T step onto the carpet!!! Why? Because the alarm bell will give a ear-piercing sound, that's why.
How do I know? I stepped on it, you see.... :-(( So embarassing!
check out HEARST CASTLE.
Fondest memory: This is the awesome Roman outdoor pool....
Admission tickets cost: US$10 (for Adults) and US$5 (for children).
The Castle is usually open for tours DAILY, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. You can also choose from FOUR day time tours and one Evening Tour.... The earliest tour starts at 8.20AM in the morning. If my memory didn't fail me, I think we took the 10AM tour (mid-morning).
Oops! Here's a candid shot of me standing just next to the impressive Roman Outdoor Pool.
Noticed the thick fog?? Yes, even in summer, this place can get VERY chilly and foggy. Brrrrr...
This pic was taken in July, just after America's Independence Day.
Favorite thing: Every year about 2000 seals are born at the Piedras Blancas beach. It's fascinating to observe their mating and birth experiences. The male bull seals sometimes have fierce battles to protect their large harems.
Randolph William Hearst. As child he inherated his parents millions from gold- and silvermining and knew well where to invest it. He became the newspaperking of the United States and he who holds the media ... holds a important part of power (namely the possibility to influence public opinion). Slogans like "there's no better news then bad news" showed who the dark side of him, especially when he adds whispering "and if ther's no bad news ... one always can make it!" In connection with this, still there are people that suspect him of setting up the Spain-American war over Cuban independance. Anyway, his place here in the mountains of San Simeon is a beautiful place, with a strange legacy.
Fondest memory: The guide with whome I had the biggest fun during the tour.
visit HEARST CASTLE.
Fondest memory: This was the former Bedroom of Mr Hearst. I love his four-poster bed!!
Fondest memory: Let's go inside for a short while to admire it's splendid Indoor Roman Pool. This is it, folks!
Fondest memory: One last look at the breathtaking Indoor Roman-inspired Pool. Wanna go for a dip? The waters are icy cold though! I checked, ya see. ;-)
Fondest memory: The lovely Fountain found in the Courtyard here at the HEARST CASTLE.