Friday, November 24, 2006

Hearst Castle - Tour 2

Well, I toured Hearst Castle the day before Thanksgiving! After TnT (my sons, Travis and Tony) got off work Wednesday morning at 6am, we headed over to the coast. Listening to "Willey's Place" on XM Radio 5 and 50's music all the way over added to the fun day! TnT sang along with every single song. Songs like Ned Miller's "From a Jack to A Queen", Faron Young's "Alone With You", Johnny Cash's " Folsom Prison Blues", Asleep at the Wheel's "Bob Will is Still the King", Paul Anka's "Puppy Love", were just a few of the songs we heard on our 2 1/2 hour drive to San Simeon, CA. I usually sing along, but today I was drinking in the scenes, sounds, and the fact that I had a day of being with my two sons! There was one old cowboy song I never had the pleasure of hearing and that was Tex Ritter's "Just Beyond the Moon".
As Eddy Arnold was singing "Cattle Call", we drove right past the ranch where TnT recently did some "day riding". They told me which fences they had mended, where they drove the cattle from one pasture to the next or up to the ranch house. We drove by "Rancho No Gotto" and a sign that stated "farm eggs" were for sell and saw several dear grazing in the fields along the highway.

We arrived at the visitors center about an hour before our tour bus would leave to amble up the hill to the castle. When Trav picked up our reservation tickets, he found out that there was room on an earlier tour, so we cut looking through the gift shop and museum short to start Tour 2 that included 404 steps!

As we rode in the back of the bus, a piped in tour guide told us the interesting facts about the ranch land that we were driving through. At a time in the past we would have seen the exotic animals that William Randolph Hearst imported to his ranch. He didn't inherit the ranch until he was 56 years old and along with Julia Morgan, the first women architect to enter and graduate from Ecole Nationale et Speciale des Beaux-Arts in Paris, completed the "house" that six-year-old William had dreamed would sit at the top of the mountain where his family would camp to get above the fog line. TnT added that we were going through the weanling pasture.

The tour of the castle's upper bedrooms, ceilings, library, home office, kitchen, and pools took 70 minutes. As we walked through on the designated blue carpet runners, we were able to look into the past of an American Newspaper mogul's life during the roaring 20's!

After the tour, I asked TnT what was their favorite piece of furniture and they both replied that it was the twin writing desks (of which my pictures were blurred...grrr!) that were in the living room outside the Doge's bedroom! I have to agree with them, the desks were ornately carved and had a romantic sounding name that only the tour guide could pronounce. The name meant "writing among the little images". The desk was tall enough to stand at and write! Their favorite room besides the library and home office was accessed by a flight of curved, carved stairs up to the loft bedroom. Mine was the bell tower bedroom that was ornately clad in gold. It was refered to it as "sleeping in a musical jewelry box"! Oh, and we loved the teak wood carvings that ran along under the eaves of the castle!

OH! We saw about 8 head of zebra on the Hearst Ranch as we headed down Highway 1 to Cambria were we grabbed something small to eat, because we were going to meet my brother at "Pier Side" in Pismo Beach. In Cambria, we browsed an old antique store and then headed to Pismo, because Tony had heard there was a shoppe that had a lot of "John Deere" items for sell. We noticed that the waves were larger up the coast at San Simeon.

In Pismo we had an hour to wait for my brother, so we ended up bowling. Well, Travis and Tony did, I didn't think that it was such a good idea with the rods in my back! I wanted to though...really bad...I used to love to bowl. I was doing really good after all the steps that we climbed in the Castle, and I didn't want to press my luck!

My brother called as he passed the bowling alley and we met him down at Pier Side. We were taken upstairs (more steps!) to sit at a table that looked out at the ocean along side the pier! I ordered their famous clam chowder in a bread bowl, while TnT ordered cheeseburgers and garlic fries and my brother ordered their Shrimp Louie Salad with bleu cheese! We enjoyed the view, the company and the food until it was time to head home.

We had two more hours of driving to get home, while listening to the Capris sing "Morse Code of Love" and Percy Faith conduct "A Summer Place" on the XM Radio, feed the horses, check on Katy and the puppies,
tell my parents about our day, watch "Cars" again, this time with my brother, and finally drop into bed! What a wonderful day with my family. Chock full of memories to store!!!


jan said...

Hearst Castle. Before we went there I had heard that it was gaudy and tasteless from some of my so-called sophisticated friends. I was not prepared for what I found there.

It has everything I love, the ocean, mountains, animals, antiques, elaborate and sometimes quirky architecture, and a most informal, comfortable atmosphere. I felt so at home. I wanted to live there. I didn’t want to leave.

Julia Morgan was a most remarkable woman to have degrees in engineering and architecture during that time, She managed to bring together an unplanned hodgepodge of lovely antiques and make it all work together so well. But mostly for me it was that she was able to make it feel so comfortable, a place where I wanted to curl up someplace with an apple and read a book before I walked around the grounds again.

Thanks for reminding me of the days I spent there.

Janey Loree said...

Yes Jan, We felt that ambience too! My guys especially liked the library and the ranch with something like 20,000 acres!

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