March 2, 2013

Hearst Castle: Trip Report

Location: near San Simeon, CA (on the coast halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles)
Time of Year Best to Visit: November thru May, summers can get very hot

Hearst Castle sits among and atop the dramatic Santa Lucia Range looking 1,600 feet down to the Pacific Ocean.  The castle has been donated by the Hearst family to the state of California.  Different tours are now conducted of the estate.  The tours explain the history.  The tours explain the buildings, rooms, statues, surrounding hills, pools and what it all is.  The tours are not for everybody.  

Due to the sensitive nature of the furniture and decor inside the buildings, and most tours run through the buildings, little kids, especially toddlers, do not do well. While in a building with a crazed and restless two year old, I was escorted outside.  They were so nice about it, I was actually smiling and agreeable, not realizing what was happening until I found myself on the porch, alone with my kid, door slamming behind me.  Also, being on these grounds is what I would imagine a Scientology compound to be like.  There was a gang of guards (employees) walking around smiling and joking, but quick to correct a wayward tourist, which I was on three or four occasions.

Overall, the tour is good, but expensive.  Summary: a really rich guy spent a lot of money to build a really nice castle and now people pay money to the government to go look at it.