I wore this floral maxi dress when I visited the Hearst Castle a few weeks ago. This was part of our Summer Road Trip and definitely my favorite place that we visited. We were under the impression that we could just drive up to the castle, park, hop out of the car to take some photos and be on our merry way. That was anything but the case. Good thing we checked the website because we would have been in for a big surprise.
Upon arriving we learned that Hearst Castle is more than just a very big house in central California. It is a massive tourist attraction and museum. It was originally built as a summer home of newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst who built the nation’s largest newspaper chain. He began building this house in the 1920’s and continue adding to it until his death almost 20 years later. The estate now belongs to the State of California and is a museum filled with vintage artifacts and loads of art work that William collected over the years.
Tickets start around $30 for a one hour tour. They take you up to the Castle in a massive tour bus around winding roads for 15 minutes or so. Once you arrive at the Castle you are greeted by your tourist guide where you walk around the property. We got there for the last tour around 5:30. It was perfect timing for us since the crowds of people had dwindled down and the golden hour was approaching.
I am a bit of a history nerd so this was a fun stop for me. I wish I could have gone on a few more tours to see different parts of the castle. We experienced the “Upstairs Suites Tour” and it was really neat seeing all the old bedrooms, especially how they changed over the years to fit different trends of the era. This tour also takes you around a portion of the grounds including the indoor swimming pool (pictured above.) Descendants of William Hearst are still allowed to swim in the pool after tourist hours…and with special permission from the state of course. I could rattle off a million things I learned while on this tour, but then this post would be a mile long. I recommend you just go see the Castle for yourself 😉
Too bad we did not get to see any actors dressed up in 1930’s attire frolicking around the grounds as they would have years go. That would have really been a site to see and taken me back in time to get a glimpse of the castle as it once was. I would definitely go again and just might make a point to include it in my next road trip up the California coast!
Photos by Danny Fung