On the crisp but sunny weekend morning by the ocean, we listened to the docent for the estate village of San Simeon describe how George Hearst first acquired his ranch from the Mexican land grant. We viewed the warehouses and construction buildings where the material to build the castle on the hill and the copious amount of antiques for the interior design were stored.
Julia Morgan designed the warehouses as well as several Spanish Revival influenced homes for the estate and construction managers in the village where a charming school house still stands.
The usual tour of La Cuesta Encantada had a higher level of interest than previous tours of the castle I attended with family because of how the docent specialized the tour to interest the design and construction professionals who attended.
After the tour we viewed the film in the visitor center called “Hearst Castle-Building the Dream”, which beautifully portrays the collaborative effort between Julia Morgan and William Randolph Hearst in designing and building the castle.
The evening tour brought a special feeling to the gorgeous estate on the hill. The sun set as we climbed the hill and by the time we toured one of the cottages the old alabaster lamps glowed and the interior furnishings looked spectacular in the softened light. Costumed docents invited visitors, strolled the grounds, and visited in the drawing rooms, playing cards and having refreshments provided by their imagined host Mr. Hearst. It all enhanced the thrill of peeking into the second story rooms of the bedrooms, library and study.
Lamp shades from the thirties whisper secret messages of reverie enchanting every visitor of La Cuesta Encantada.