A Weekend at San Simeon: Day 1

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A privileged few participants were indulged in a weekend immersed in the Hearst Castle legend, experiencing the magic of the California coast in beautiful October weather. Ashlee, my mentee who recently graduated from the Interior Architecture program at CSUS, was overjoyed that because of someone’s cancellation she was able to attend all the activities and tours of the weekend. She was by far the youngest person around in the group.

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We checked into our seaside lodging and visited the beach delighting in putting our feet into the  refreshing Pacific salt water.

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Our first tours gave us a flavor of the small coastal jewel of a town, Cambria. An artist and her  husband, a talented mason, shared their home and incredible secret garden with us. Around every turn of the enchanted oasis was a assemblage of beauty. This unique couple has collected fine antiques and sentimental items to divide their garden and home into intimate spaces with incomparable charm.

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Our next stop was a home constructed with no 90 degree angles in the woods. The home was designed by Warren Leopold who proudly presented himself as “NALA”- not a licensed architect. The large open main space included the kitchen and living room as well as views of a floating staircase leading to a mezzanine.

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We then drove to downtown Cambria to a social gathering in Evans and Gearst Antiques, a beautiful newly finished spaces where only the floors and ceilings were original,  its charming volume filled with the most beautiful and rare antiques. This antiquarian deals by appointment only and began his long career in the Hearst warehouse among the huge collection of the titan publisher. Our host Jim Evans of “Evans and Gearst Antiques”, brought along his girlfriend and companion, Margaret Mondavi. She was so elegant, this lovely lady of a certain age!

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We ended the night by walking just around corner and down the street to Robin’s Restaurant. We sat on the back terrace of the restaurant enclosed with windows and crowned with a ceiling of ivy and twinkle light. We had a wonderful special four course menu to order from. Our group of thirty or so was split into three tables, allowing us to get to know the people seated around us. Filled with architectural and design inspiration we returned to our hotel to rest before day 2 of our enchanted weekend began.

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