Born in San Francisco, California, on April 29, 1863, William Randolph Hearst used his wealth and privilege to build a massive media empire. He is best known for publishing the largest chain of American newspapers in the late 19th century, and particularly for sensational “yellow journalism.”
Your visit to his magnificent estate begins when you board the Hearst Castle bus at the Visitor Center and start the 5-mile ascent to the top of the Enchanted Hill.
Once there you will tour a true temple of opulence and extraordinary excess – the lavishly designed Hearst Castle, built as the private residence of Hearst, it is truly an eye-popping experience! Showcased within one of California’s state parks, it features not only the 165-room castle but terraced gardens, fountains and pools. Wraparound views of the sunny Central California Coast complete the package. Lavishly designed by Julia Morgan, California’s first female architect, it is a memorable treasure of a bygone time and a true memory in the making.
Once you are gathered in the soaring social room, you will be awed by the mix of priceless antiques placed with very commonplace items. Close your eyes and let your imagination reign as you wander back decades to when these rooms held movie stars and other important guests for cocktails and conversation. Oh, if only the walnut paneled walls and 16th century tapestries could talk! Juxtaposed are shimmering silver candlesticks with ordinary ketchup and mustard bottles and commonplace jigsaw puzzles beneath exquisite silk banners.
It is guaranteed you will be enchanted, and maybe a little overwhelmed, with “La Cuesta Encantada” (Spanish for “the Enchanted Hill”). Do try to spend a little time after your tour to sit on a bench and absorb one the finest sea-and-land views in the entire state and recover from your sensory overload.
In 1941, a very young film director named Orson Welles produced Citizen Kane, a thinly veiled biography of the rise and fall of William Randolph Hearst. The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards, and was praised for its innovative cinematography, music and narrative structure, and has subsequently been voted one of the world’s greatest films. Mr. Hearst was not pleased. He mustered his resources to prevent release of the film and even offered to pay for the destruction of all the prints. Of course, Welles refused, and the film survived and thrived.
Please read the complete itinerary of this Interlude to California and plan to come “California Dreamin’” with us.
Eadie, Interlude Blog Team
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