Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California
9 May - 11 May 2008
photos by G.P. Jones using Nikon Coolpix 4300 digital
camera, except where noted
The visitor's first view of the Castle on La Cuesta Encantada (the
Enchanted Hill) is from about 5 miles away at the Visitor's Center
just off California Highway 1 across from San Simeon Harbor.
Once you get to the top, you can look back at where you entered
All the tours begin and end at one of the swimming pools. This is the
famous "Neptune Pool". Apparently, Hearst was fond of casually
mentioning that the last visible ridge to the South was the limit
of his property.
Most of this portion of the "Neptune Pool" was added on, after
the first two "versions" proved inadequate!
Walking up from the first pool, you see one of the guest "cottages"
(15 rooms, 3 floors, that sort of "cottage"!)
This window screen, seen at a distance in the previous photo, provided madame (or
whomever) with the privacy of being able to look out from the bathroom, but not
be seen from the outside.
La Casa Grande at sunset. The brown eaves, offically referred to as a
"cornice", which can be seen around 3/4 of the entire structure, are carved
This view of the teak cornice (at sunset) shows the detail.
Another view of the teak cornice.
The grounds have many white marble sculptures -- bas reliefs . . .
boys . . .
girls (feeding goats) . . .
and wrestlers, among many others.
Also, there are several bronze statues inside and out . . .
and even a pair of golden maidens facing the sea, contemplating lost loves
or something -- this one framed by part of the lush garden that is everywhere.
The well-planned, and very well-maintained gardens are a tour in themselves
Going inside the house, we see the view a guest would have had from one
of the bedrooms on the North side.
Yes, this headboard on the so-called "Richelieu bed" is solid wood.
In fact, the whole bed, legs and everything but the mattress is similar wood.
This wall decoration is in one of the guest "cottages". While flash
photography is forbidden, my flash fired by mistake (oops!) for this picture.
As noted above, all the tours begin and end at one of the swimming pools.
This stunning indoor pool is perhaps the only thing that could top what's
seen on the hill above it.
The lamps shown here are identical to the outdoor lamps all around the
property, except that everywhere else the original alabaster shades have been
replaced with synthetic copies to protect them from the elements.
Here, they're still the original alabaster!
On the evening tour (highly recommended) you get to see stuff like this.
In the Visitor's Center at the bottom of the hill, there's an exhibit outlining
William Randolph Hearst, his family, and his Castle. This picture shows Hearst
perhaps telling his son, "Someday all of this will be yours . . ."
San Luis Obispo County is not all Castles. This sign is just a few miles from
San Simeon on California Highway 1.
After visiting Hearst Castle, if you have the time, you might take some of the
roads less traveled to return to the Big City. This and the rest of the
pictures show vistas seen along California Highway 58 between Santa Margarita
(on U.S. 101) and Buttonwillow (at Interstate 5).
SCROLL TO THE RIGHT to see this panorama of the terrain along Highway 58.