Ever since I saw Citizen Kane in college, I’ve wanted to see Hearst Castle. (I’m all about gawking at historic displays of wealth.) For my birthday, the Hus-friend surprised me with a weekend trip down the coast to visit the newspaper magnate’s palatial home overlooking the Pacific.
We went on the night tour on Saturday night, which was super cool and highly recommended. (Group of 16 people, very few kids.) We got to see the sun set behind the fog bank over the ocean.
Obligatory castle selfie?
The tour theme is all about stepping back in time and experiencing the estate as it would have been when Hearst and Marion Davies were inviting big wigs to stay. Our guide made a lot of corny jokes about Mr. Hearst still being around, which the Hus-friend found amusing. Meanwhile, I was on DOCENT WATCH, pointing out all the period costumed volunteers, showing us what it would be like to be an invited guest of William Randolph Hearst in the 1930′s.
The design is a mix of European styles with a lot of Renaissance and Baroque influence. (Full disclosure: This means almost nothing to me because I know nothing about art or architecture.) The house is full of dark wood, tapestries, damask upholstery, and scary statues/paintings of Madonna and child or some religious figure looming over you in the bedrooms.
[I wish that their had been intimidating religious iconography in our thinly walled hotel room last night. It may have prevented the couple next to us from being quite so enthusiastic.]
I definitely encourage you to check it out. We’re basically the least cultured people you know, and we really enjoyed it!
This morning, we drove up Route 1 along the coast, including Big Sur. It was a beautiful (if slow and winding) drive with breathtaking views of the ocean and rocky cliffs.
Best of all, we went by the elephant seal rookery right outside of San Simeon!
Elephant seals might be my new favorite things ever. It’s apparently the season where the females and adolescents undergo “catastrophic molting” and shed their coats. We didn’t see any males with the big proboscises, but there were hundreds of seals lying on the beach, flopping their way into/out of the water or flipping sand onto their backs. They make hilarious noises, ranging from barks to burps. It’s pretty great, and we laughed out loud a lot.
I jokingly said that the elephant seal is my spirit animal, but I think it’s a pretty true.
It was the perfect weekend get-away from the poop-filled concrete jungle of SoMa. In general, I really like getting/giving experiences as gifts. This was our first road trip since moving to California, and we had a lot of fun driving along the beautiful coastline. After driving the course today, we’re both interested in running the Big Sur marathon next year!
(Bodger came too and was a champion traveler!)