Illustrious Hearst Castle

Illustrious Hearst Castle

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Category : Lifestyle

 

Where is it?

The Hearst Castle Estate, a popular tourist site, is located along California Coastal Route 1 halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco (about a 4-hour drive from either city). It is high up in the hills overlooking the village of San Simeon and has a commanding view of the ocean as well.

Who Was William Randolph Hearst?

William Randolph Hearst was the only child of George and Pheobe Hearst, millionaire parents from the gold mining industry. William was raised primarily by his mother since his father was often away on mining business (he was a mining prospector and rancher). His father, George, was described as uncouth, preferring to hang around his mining buddies and dressing shabbily, despite his great wealth. As a child, Wiliam was overly protected by his mother and lived a very sheltered life. William is described as being a bit of a mischevious child who often pulled pranks around the house. He is described as being “difficult to discipline”.

When he was 10 years old, his mother took him on an 18-month tour of Europe. Even at this young age, Hearst was greatly impressed by what he saw in the culture, architecture, and art of Europe.

A lot can be said about William Randolph Hearst – that he was this and he was that,  that he had opportunities handed to him etc. etc. All the things that were written about him (and his character) may be legitimate, but let’s keep the focus on what he accomplished with a dream.  He was a man who appreciated art and was an eager student, despite not being a fan of formal education.

From Camping to Castle

The original plan was to build a bungalow (a family retreat) on ” Camp Hill” at the top of the family ranch. He wanted to build the main house and some guest houses to have something “more comfortable” than the platform tents they had. That is what he told architect Julia Morgan, with whom he would collaborate for 28 years building the castle. The family would regularly go “camping” at the ranch (probably more like “glamping” than camping) and he wanted to have a regular place to go to get away.

After the death of his mother, Pheobe Hearst (influenza epidemic), Willam Hearst became the inheritor of the family estate, including 250,000 acres of land.

Right from the beginning, William Hearst commissioned Julia Morgan (graduate of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts) to start working with him on the project. They would work together over the next 28 years on what would become “La Cuesta Encantada” or The Enchanted Hill. The project evolved into a collection of luxurious buildings, the main one being Hearst Castle, inspired by European architecture and art.

The Main Building

The main building, Hearst Castle, was built in the Mediterranean – Moorish style. It resembles a Spanish cathedral complete with bell towers. There are 115 rooms including 38 bedrooms, about 40 bathrooms, a theatre, and a beauty salon. The main dining room served as an inspiration for the dining room hall in Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series.

Guest Houses

There are three guests houses as well: Casa Del Mar, Casa Del Sol and Casa Del Montes. Below is one of them, though I do not know which of them it is.

The Indoor Pool

The indoor pool is a beautiful creation inspired by the ancient Roman baths. It is made from blue and gold colored tiles inside the pool as well as the walls and ceiling.

The Neptune Pool

The outdoor Neptune pool is surrounded by sculptures and collonades and has the facade of a Roman Temple at one end.

credit: Hearst Castle / California State Park/ V. Garagliano

The Gardens

All around the main building and guest houses are magnificent European and Californian inspired gardens,

William Randolph Hearst: Citizen Kane?

Much has been written about William Randolph Hearst possibly being the inspiration behind the 1941 movie “Citizen Kane“(Orson Wells). One thing is very clear, William Hearst did everything he could to prevent the movie from being released, from refusing to have it advertised in his newspapers, to using his Hollywood connections as leverage. Despite his efforts, he was unable to prevent the release of Citizen Kane.

There certainly were some striking similarities between the two men (Kane being fictional). Both built publishing empires, both built extravagant mansions, and both had relationship voids despite being surround by and entertaining many people. In contrast to William Hearst, who was born into wealth, Citizen Kane rose from a life of poverty to a life of wealth.

Whether or not he is Charles Foster Kane, many people associated William Randolph Hearst with the character in Citizen Kane and imagined him wandering throughout his massive estate alone, surrounded by opulence, driven by power, but starving for deep human relationships.

A National Treasure

Today The Hearst Castle Estate is now Hearst San Simeon Historical Monument and registered with California State Parks. There are daily tours to tour the premises.

Conclusion: Hearst Castle is definitely a worthwhile stop if you happen to be visiting South California. Despite the colorful history of its builder and owner, it remains, as well a testimony to the power of a dream. You will definitely be inspired as you travel throughout the buildings and the grounds.

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, living a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca

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The Unforgettable Route 66

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Category : Lifestyle

Unforgettable and Fun Things to See on Route 66

Traveling along Route 66 is quite the experience. I really had no idea what to expect from this adventure or what we were in for. I hope that you will enjoy this post as we explore some of the fun and curious things we saw along the way.

The Beginning

It begins in Chicago, Illinois. This city is well known for many reasons, not the least of them is Al Capone (Scarface), notorious gangster and businessman during the Prohibition era.  Chicago has many beautiful treasures, one of them being its beautiful lakeside front and downtown water canals.

  

So, We Begin Our Journey

Illinois

Traveling through the cornfields of Illinois, we saw these – Follow the yellow – no, red, I mean the red brick road –

and visit the  Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois  Don’t forget to visit the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site – the final resting place of the 16th president.

Missouri

A stop in St Louis to get some perspective:

The Gateway Arch reflects the role of St. Louis in the opening up of the West (Thomas Jefferson). St. Louis is also famous for the Dred Scott Trial (Dred and Hariette Dred) where the Dred couple filed in court for their freedom.

and a bite to eat at Angelo’s taverna

Then we headed on our way toward, Missouri (Cuba) and stayed in this quaint hotel (The Wagon Wheel Hotel

And ate at this wonderful country restaurant Missouri Hick Bar-B-Q right beside the Wagon Wheel hotel.

Don’t miss this little outpost store, not far from the Wagon Wheel hotel and the “biggest Rocking Chair in the world.”

Kansas

Look at this cute little fire hydrant we spotted in a small Kansas town on our way as well as the cars that inspired the movie by the same name: Cars

Sometimes we hit a few obstacles:

But we were soon back on the road again.-

Oklahoma

And onwards toward Oklahoma

Stop in and visit the Will Rogers Memorial & Museum (Claremore). Will Rogers was an Oklahoma country boy (of partly Cherokee heritage) who began actin in Wild West shows and then later, Vaudeville and ultimately Broadway. Rogers was also a nationally known writer (social moral issues of the day).

Texas

Here is another quaint restaurant: Pedro’s Bar and Grill

on our way into Texas

They say everything is big in Texas – this is the biggest cross I have ever seen –

In Groom, Texas, you will find this gem measuring 190 feet and reputed to be the tallest cross in the Northern Hemisphere.

And there are wide open spaces for growing anything (Cadillac Ranch)

Cadillac Ranch is a living, dynamic artwork /sculpture that invites participation (bring your spray paint). It has a bit of a quirky past, but essentially represents the “Golden Age” of the American automobile. You can find this gem just west of Amarillo, Texas on Old Route 66.

The Leaning Tower of – Texas?

Also in Groom, Texas

New Mexico

And we are off.. again.. en route for New Mexico…

And Albuquerque

Albuquerque is located on the upper edges of the Chihuahuan Desert in one of the highest elevated regions in the United States. The Old Historic Town was founded in 1706 by Spanish families. The brown adobe architecture is a Pueblo-Spanish style.

Arizona

Now to cross the Continental Divide…. on the way to Arizona

Sometimes you can be on the wrong side, but don’t worry, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel –  on our way to Arizona.

Take a step back in time as you drive into Oatman, Arizona, an old mining ghost town that still continues to thrive. Come to walk among the donkeys that are regulars around town.

  

Here is what we encountered on our way into Oatman

Meteor Crater

This meteor crater is the world’s best-preserved meteor impact site. It is located along Route 66 in Northern Arizona, near Winslow. The crater is nearly one mile wide and 550 feet deep.

Grand Canyon –

No need for a bio on the Grand Canyon. It is simply massive and very beautiful.

California

Along Route 66, don’t miss the Bagdad Café – made famous by the movie of the same name.

In Newberry Springs, California, on Old Route 66, you will find the Bagdad Café – in the middle of nowhere, but somewhere in the Mojave Desert. There is not much of anything for miles around – just sand and heat and dust.

Sometimes along this lonely road, you may find it necessary to rethink your path-

But, you will know you are almost there when –

And, all of a sudden –  you have made it!!

 

Now to explore the destination –

 

A little bit of Los Angeles

And a little fun at Universal Studios –

and me with a couple of my buddies –

 

Cheers to Route 66

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, living a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca
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