Monday, November 22, 2010

the castle on the hill

Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity of going on a private Hearst Castle Christmas tour with the Cal Poly chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. Our professor/club advisor is the public relations director for Hearst Castle. He does paid tours for the public, but for us he does it for free. (Thank you so so much Professor Eller!)

For those of you who don't know, William Randolph Hearst was an extremely successful newspaper publisher and politician. When he was a young boy he traveled around Europe with his mother, touring country sides, castles, and dreaming of all the wonderful things he would one day accomplish. Long story short (skipping all the journalism stuff that interests me, but probably won't interest most of the people who read it), once WR Hearst had made millions of dollars, he decided he wanted to build his own castle on a hill - just like the ones he had seen in Europe when he was a boy.

He worked with architect Julia Morgan to build a beautiful castle in San Simeon, California. While Hearst lived there he invited famous writers, actors, and politicians to come stay at the castle and experience all the wonders he had created there. Pools, tennis courts, a zoo, not to mention the wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean are only some of the attractions that made Hearst Castle the amazing place that it is.

I won't tell you too much more about the castle, because really nothing I say or do will do the place justice. You will just have to check it out for yourself - and believe me, it is worth the trip. Until then, however, I will leave you with some pictures to tide you over.

The Neptune Pool - rebuilt three times before Hearst was happy with it

The rooms in the house are each set up as they were seventy years ago. This is a woman's bathroom in one of the guest houses.

La Casa Grande - the main house where they ate dinner, watched movies (in his own private movie theater), played pool, etc. The architecture is based off of that which Hearst saw on his trip to Europe as a young boy. Most of it is based off of Spanish architecture. It kind of made me miss my Spanish home.

Romantic statue in Casa Grande

Table settings in La Casa Grande. When Hearst was a boy he and his family went camping at the exact location where the castle is now located. The china is his mother's "camping china" (funny huh?) and the mustard and ketchup are there because Hearst still loved the camping feel.

The dining room where Hearst would eat dinner with his guests. It is decorated for the holidays. Beautiful huh? (Sorry about the quality - no flashes indoors)

The Roman Pool - indoors and beautiful

Diving platform at the beautiful Roman Pool

The Castle On The Hill

P.S. By no means am I an architect, and although the type of style of architecture might be different, you can definitely see some similarities. Here is an architectural comparison of one of the pictures above to a photo I took in Spain:
Hearst Castle, California

El Escorial, Spain

Note: The pictures aren't my best and I was a little disappointed in them. I haven't quite learned how to take photos indoors - especially when you aren't allowed to use flash inside.

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