Gourmet Girl Gail here. Recently, I took my Roadtrek 190 Versatile (“Gone with the Wind”) up to San Simeon State Park. She was swaying on the road quite a bit, and I’m not sure why. I’m having new shocks put in next week, so hopefully that’ll help. In the meantime, I’m holed up in Paso Robles with my Toyota RAV4 crammed full of tent camping gear. Tomorrow, I’ll be heading to Big Sur to meet up with Gourmet Girl Wendy and her husband Larry for a three-day campout at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. And, I’ll be driving up the iconic Highway 1, now that it’s open from the south! I’m really looking forward to that. It’s been a year and half since I’ve made the drive.
I’ll be passing by San Simeon once again and will stop to revisit some of its wildness. There is a path to the beach from the state park that is really lovely to walk.
There were hardly any people on the beach the day we were there. My RV camping pal, Kathy Moran, had scouted the beach on her bike earlier in the day.
We played tourists one morning and took a tour of Hearst Castle . . . the Upstairs Suites Tour. (I had taken the Grand Rooms Tour a couple of decades ago.) Climbing the 322 or so steps of winding staircases (up and down) was a good workout. We got to see William Hearst’s bedroom pictured below.
The views were spectacular.
The pièce de résistance for me was the library, which holds 4000 books and one of the most treasured collection of 150 ancient Greek vases that are more than 2,000 years old.
Construction of “La Cuesta Encantada” (the Enchanted Hill), as it’s called, began in 1919 and continued non-stop for another 28 years. It was all designed by architect Julia Morgan, the first female graduate of the prestigious Ecole Des Beaux Arts in Paris. And she thought it was going to be a two-year stint!
Here’s a shot of the windows of some of the guest bedrooms. There are 38 bedrooms in Casa Grande, the main house, and Cary Grant, a frequent guest, is said to have slept in many of them.
On our way out, we got to see the Roman pool. A real treat! I had images of Marion Davies, and many of the Hollywood stars who were invited to the castle, slipping into the divine waters of this pool! I felt like jumping in myself, but feared being arrested. LOL!
There’s much to see on all of the tours, but one of the new “rules” is that after you’ve finished your tour, you are allowed to stay on the grounds and walk around, eyeing all the intricacies of the gardens and architecture, for as long as you want or until the last bus leaves, carrying tourists down the hill. One word of caution, for those who are squeamish about heights as I am, don’t sit in a window seat. It’s a 15-minute uphill (and down) cliffhanger, which eerily felt like my “Gone with the Wind” trip to San Simeon, in that the tour bus swayed considerably. I wonder what Clark Gable, another renowned guest of the castle, would have to say about that!
What are you doing for the rest of the summer to get out and stay out? Have you been to Hearst Castle before? What was your experience? Leave your comment here. We’d love to hear from you!
Gail, Denise and Lindsey