Finishing up our tour on Saturday morning of Hearst Castle ….

As we left we kitchen …. we exited the house (that word is used very loosely) into this little outdoor niche …. with more walls not quite finished …

Julia Morgan‘s little lean-to outside the house where she worked. It was supposed to be temporary … and then something like 20 years later she’s still working out of this little hole.

And then 1 final stop at the indoor pool …

(sad how the ceiling is rotting a bit)

So. How did you like it? Are you going to visit Hearst Castle sometime soon?

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Other than the amazing library, my FAVORITE part of the tour of Hearst Castle was the kitchen. …

Oh the kitchen …. I will never have a kitchen this size…. sad day.

It’s approximately L shaped, and you enter from the very top of the vertical part of the L …

The first room has tons of feet of counter space (and fake beer for effect). ..

Hearst has a Frigidaire … just like us!

And then there was ALL THIS space and appliances for cooking …

look at that stove top!

And that, my friends, is a Kitchen Aid mixer ….

(that vat in the back on the left of the photo? Yea, it’s for SOUP!)

(you like all the little visual cues to tell you what was prepared here?)

So.Much.Fun.

And far superior to my current kitchen, even if I am pretty excited about finally having an oven.

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As part of the Hearst Castle Tour 2, not only did we get a peek at Hearst’s private rooms, we got to go up into one of the tower rooms (the first 3 images below) …

more of the amazing artwork Hearst collected ….

Ceiling :

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In addition to his large, primary library available to his guests, William Randolph Hearst also outfitted his ‘Castle’ with a private study for his own use ….

This is where he read the day’s papers. All of them.

He was a publisher with an empire across the country … and he read every single one. Every single day.

Super star.

I love all the natural light in this room …..

trash can?

fireplace grate …

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As part of the Hearst Castle tour 2, you get to see William Randolph Hearst‘s private suite ….. his bedroom, his private living area and his girlfriend’s bedroom (Marion Davies).

Can you imagine investing in a piece of art like this for your BEDROOM CEILING? Crazy!

I’m sure these aren’t actually Marion Davies’ clothes, but they are probably period-appropriate. …

again with the lamps!

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Not gonna lie : the library was the highlight for me.

My heart starts beating a little faster when I’m around all those books, in this amazing room dedicated to reading and study.

Because I’m a super cool person ….

love love llvoelovelovelovelovelove

Apparently, there were (are?) some very rare pieces in this library …. including a Guttenberg Bible that was sold to the Huntington Library ….

Sigh. Love.

Can’t wait til we have our library …

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A lot of the tour #2 was touring the Castle …. through a lot of the smaller rooms, suites and hallways that you can’t take a big group ….

I kind of loved all the lamps …. all these vintage Asian lamps … love love …

ceiling:

Amazing to think this was all left AFTER Hearst’s whole family picked out the pieces they wanted after his death …

Apparently, there was a rule that there was at least one bathroom per bed. Which means that the room below had 2 bathrooms attached ….

The unfinished stairwell ….. with the steel peeking through the concrete:

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Saturday morning … we were able to wake up at a normal hour, check out of the hotel, head over to the Visitor’s center with enough time to get some coffee and split a danish.

I could have gone for a better breakfast, but the only option was a real restaurant. But I didn’t want to get up early enough to do that …

Our tour Saturday was #2. Included the libraries (!!) and kitchen (!) … be still my heart.

The best part about the tours (other than #1) is the small groups. There was only something like 12 people in this tour. Including 3 little girls (who take up a lot less space) …. nice. Intimate.

And, we went around the other side of the Castle to enter (different than where we entered Friday afternoon) ….

still very overcast ….

love these old trees ….

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The last of the rooms we saw in the Castle on this first tour …. the billiard room (you know, cigars and brandy after dinner) and the movie theater.

They’re doing some restoration to the ceiling in this room …. in the top of the image (below) you can see the bars of the scaffolding. As I took this picture, there was a platform above my head, with a chair on it, where the restorer has been sitting as he meticulously cleans each inch of the painted beams.

Look at this AMAZING tapestry! Just another example of all the art Hearst collected …

The movie theater was large enough to hold …. I don’t know, maybe 40 people? How much fun to view movies here …. especially as Hearst owned a studio, so you KNOW he probably showed movies that weren’t yet available ….

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The dining room at Hearst Castle is … fantastic.

When we have a house – you know, the one big enough for a library like in Beauty and the Beast – I would love to have a dining room like this … with one long table. And big tall candlesticks or vases.

Love.

There are flags lining either side of the room, right near the high windows …. Reminded me of that chapel in Westminster Abbey

Also lining the walls are these… man, I wish I knew what they were called.

They’re from a church, and they are seats for the clergy/etc …

(anyone know?)

And then through the gate to the hallway … and turn the corner to the billiard room ….

(loved it!)

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We didn’t go in the front door …. but this room was the first room we visited when we entered the house. The entry room or study. I believe this is where the guests would congregate for drinks and chatting before dinner. …

a glimpse at the newly restored entry way mosaic. On the floor. Also, the reason guests touring the house no longer enter through the front door. …

the wood beams making up the floor are ever so slightly bowed …. see below? It helps catch the light better …

After this, through a ‘secret passage’ into the dining room …

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love love love the exterior of Hearst Castle.

After seeing the Neptune Pool and walking through one of the guest houses … we walked through the gardens and got a small tour of the exterior of the estate ….

cute little ramp for Hearst’s dog to get out of the pool …

The exterior of the house, with the 2 belltowers, is meant to look a bit like a Catholic church. Like the center of a small town on a Mediterranean …

You can read more about the main building – ‘Casa Grande’ – here on their website. Or just go on the tour with this cute little lady ….

I wish this was my view from my front porch ….

Some of the wings weren’t finished (the brick-look on the left is just a facade. They didn’t make it to the wing on the right)

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As part of our overview tour of Hearst Castle, we got to do a walk through one of William Randolph Hearst’s guest houses. Included on the grounds of Hearst Castle are something like 3 guest houses …  We got to walk through one of the “smaller” ones (only sleeps something like 4 or 5 people) …

The ceiling ! :

All the rooms still had the decor and furniture just like it was when Mr. Hearst died, but they also all have period-outfits laid out on the beds, or hung up nicely. All vintage clothing. There were several I could have happily accepted as a welcome gift or door prize :)

Below, you see the ugly carpet that all of us touring had to walk on, alongside the luxurious carpet that is original to the estate.

Each room had it’s own bathroom!

I think that it took something like 12 hours to get to the Castle from Los Angeles or San Francisco (back in WRH’s day), so guests would stay for a MINIMUM of a weekend, sometimes longer … a week, 2 weeks, a month.

If you got to stay in a place like this, why not!?

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Hearst Castle’s Neptune Pool is one of the most iconic locations of the entire estate.

From the Hearst Castle website:

Construction for the Neptune Pool spanned 1924-1936. Three swimming pools were built on this site, each successively larger. Initial plans for the site called for a “Temple Garden” with an ornamental pool and temple structure. On March 31, 1924, W.R. Hearst wrote in a letter to Julia Morgan, “I am sending back the plan of the temple garden with the suggestion that we make the pool longer than it is, as long as a swimming pool. Mrs. Hearst and the children are extremely anxious to have a swimming pool!” On June 17, 1924, Morgan wrote that the first swimming pool was nearing completion: “Mr. Neptune and the two ladies can be placed but the finished basins will take some time yet.”

The second version of the pool, a substantial enlargement, was created in 1926-1927. This version had a series of concrete steps at the southern side called the Cascade, down which water flowed. The Neptune and Nereid statues, presently in the temple pediment, then stood at the top of the Cascade. The dressing rooms were begun in 1928 and furnished according to Hearst’s instruction.

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.

How can I get myself invited to a summer BBQ/pool party here?

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Friday afternoon we took the main, tour# 1 of Hearst castle.

For those of you who have never been to Hearst Castle … The visitor’s center is just off the highway at the foot of the hills, and the ‘castle’ itself is at the top of the hill, past about 5 miles of winding 2 lane road.

So if you’re touring the grounds, you will be bussed up to the house along with other people in your tour ….

The bus ride up includes a little audio introduction to Hearst Castle … .Did you know William Randolph Hearst used his land as kind of a zoo? Apparently there are still zebras roaming somewhere on the grounds …

We didn’t see any  …

At the top of the hill, when you enter the grounds of the Castle (exiting the grazing area which is still privately owned by the Hearst family), it’s just a beautifully landscaped area. Flowers and citrus and sculptures everywhere you look.

Tour #1 is the main, overview tour. They take maybe 30 or so people on this tour, and have 2 tour guides. One to lead and one to follow up behind (and make sure you’re not touching anything you shouldn’t).

Our guide was this tiny little old woman. Seriously reminded me of my Grandma Jaye (who is 85 years old).

So little and so old!

Oh my goodness, she was so old she had a little speaker attached to her waist to amplify her voice. …

So old that she told us when she was growing up movies cost 10 cents. And then when she was a junior in high school they went to 20 cents.

hahaha!

So cute!

So that’s how we started out our tour …. with the cutest old lady in the whole world. Oh my goodness. And you can just tell that she really loved guiding tours at Hearst Castle and learned as much as she could about the history.

So cute.

Stay tuned for more pics throughout the Castle!

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