Weekend Road Trip – The Hearst Castle

Come On: Hearst Castle


The Hearst Castle is perched high above the Pacific Ocean at San Simeon, California. The castle was built by William Randolph Hearst and architect Julia Morgan. The project began in 1919 and lasted thirty years. The main house consists of 115 spectacular rooms. I can’t even begin to describe the awe-inspiring detail in each of the rooms. The estate is also home to the largest private zoo in the country. Exotic animals still wander throughout the hilltop property. The castle was built to serve as a weekend retreat for Hearst.


Looking out toward the Pacific Ocean from the castle.


Stairs to the main house.


Outdoor pool


Marble statues surround the outdoor pool.




Indoor pool. Each tiny mosaic tile on the walls and in the pool is made from 23 carat gold.  Famous guests, such as Winston Churchill, Joan Crawford, Charles Lindbergh, and Cary Grant often enjoyed a weekend swim. In fact, Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan) made a few dives from the balcony above.



Indoor pool


Fountain in front of the Gothic Study


Gothic Study


Seals lounge on a nearby beach front.


Thanks to author Terry Odell for sending this photo of  Fat Albert, a weaner.

Until today, I thought this was a weiner.


Sunset at San Simeon.


11 replies
  1. Terry
    Terry says:

    I was trying to hunt up a picture he took of “Fat Albert” — a weaner on the beach. No clue where it went, but maybe when he gets home he’ll know where all those shots ended up.

    Memories are cool, I agree. Although I admit to a bit of shock when I see the “kids” in our pictures from those days. Who WERE those people?

  2. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Terry – Thanks for pointing out the mistake because now my wife and I are going back through all the pictures from that period in time. What great memories.

    I did find the photo of the elephant seal. If I have the time I’ll add it.

  3. Terry
    Terry says:

    Yep, they do, and they can do great bodily harm. We’ve got kazillions of pictures of those island critters. Bulls in battle are majorly impressive.

    However (sigh) since almost all my husband’s research was done on San Nicholas Island in the late 60’s, it was a Navy base and NO FEMALES allowed no matter what. So I got to hear recordings, see photos, and type his thesis, but never got out to his research site.

  4. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Terry – You’re right. Wrong picture with wrong caption. I do have a photo with a group of elephant bull seals, but this wasn’t it. Now, I need to find it because I thought they were really fascinating, and huge. Way bigger and way uglier than I thought they’d be. They also move a lot faster on land than I thought.

  5. Terry
    Terry says:

    I lived in Los Angeles for 26 years and regret never getting to San Simeon. Love that part of the country.

    HOWEVER — one comment on your ‘bull seal’ shot. I sent the picture to my husband, who got his PhD studying seals and sea lions on the Channel Islands off the coast of California.

    What you’ve got is a shot of “weaners”. Elephant seals nurse their pups for a short time (4-6 weeks, maybe a bit more) and then leave them to fend for themselves. There’s probably a yearling in the front, he says, and either a juvenile or adult female in the back. Juveniles are about the same length as weaners, but not so ‘roly poly’.

    But these are a long way from being ‘bulls” — and are undoubtedly of mixed gender.

    Also, if you look carefully, you can see evidence of ‘sand flipping’ behavior, something my husband documented during his research. It’s a thermoregulatory behavior.

  6. BeckyLevine
    BeckyLevine says:

    I think Disposable is the key word here!

    As someone who grew up about 30 minutes south of Hearst Castle, let me just say, when you go…layer! The temperature at the bottom can be oh, twenty degrees different (colder or warmer!) than at the top. There’s a metaphor somewhere there.

    And, as you drive up the hill, watch for the zebras. Really!

  7. Carla F
    Carla F says:

    Isn’t it amazing what you can do with a little disposable income? 🙂 Thanks for sharing those!

Comments are closed.