Monday, 25 July 2016
Hearst Castle, San Simeon
It's been on the list for a while, and this time we managed to get along to William Randolph Hearst's Casa Grande just off Highway 1. Usually referred to as Hearst Castle, it is definitely one of the places you need to see to get an idea of the scale.
Last time we visited, we don't get further than the car park because of the time, but this time we were able to make our way up along the winding road to the main house and grounds.
The series of mansions took 27 years to build and during their heyday in the 1920s and 1930s the Hollywood and political elite often visited.
Among Hearst's guests were Charlie Chaplin, Errol Flynn, Cary Grant, Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, the Marx Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Joan Crawford, James Stewart, Bob Hope, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, George Bernard Shaw, and Winston Churchill.
Hearst had a long dining table and guests would start near the centre, but over successive days would gradually move further away from the middle. Most knew when it was time to leave.
There was a games room too and the many house guests were encouraged to 'do things' rather than to relax. This could include anything from billiards to horse-riding, as well as frequent themed parties.
Nowadays, the whole site is operated as a museum, back in the day, one can only imagine the type of parties that took place!
And here's some behind the scenes footage from Lady Gaga, using the Neptune Pool at Hearst, for a video shoot.