Monday, September 2, 2013

San Simeon, California

 The first stop on our trip was the central coast around San Simeon.
 We stayed with our friends Tom and Ann whose home has spectacular views of the area just south of San Simeon.  When we awoke in the morning, I snapped this photo from their living room.  I can't imagine a better view.
 Stepping onto the balcony, we could watch the coastal fog as it retreated for the day.
 They also threw took a group of us over to the coast for dinner and drinks - here is Elgin in his rod.
 The Jag we had the honor of using for the trip over for dinner and drinks.
 The following day, they showed us to a few wineries in the area.  Tobin James and Kelsey are both excellent...

 Ann at Kelsey Winery
 We also spent an afternoon in San Luis Obispo.  I neglected to take my camera, but did pull out my cell phone to take a photo of this famous alley in SLO that I didn't even know existed.  Can you guess what that is on the wall?
 After showing us a wonderful weekend, we left their abode for a trip through Hearst Castle and places farther north.
 As most all Calfornians know,  Hearst Castle is a crown jewel in our state's cap.  The views are stunning, as is the estate itself.
 It really does feel like this is what they were imagining when they describe heaven above the clouds.
 We only had time for morning tours before our next stop in Solvang, so we arrived early in the day.
 One of the rooms we toured was the Gothic Study.

 The fireplace at the other end of the Gothic Study.
 Let's go across the hall to Mr. Hearst's private bedroom, shall we?
 This was his bed.
 Photos of his parents on the wall.
 The ceiling in his bedroom.
 Mr. Hearst was separated from his wife, but his significant other, Marion Davies, had her own bedroom adjacent to his.
 The ceiling in her bedroom.
 The sofa in her bedroom.
 The Library.  Stories abound of having the carpet rolled up so Groucho Marx could do acrobatics.  Note the ancient Greek and Roman vases lining the shelves - a stunning collection.  The earthquake a few years back damaged a few of them even though they are secured in place.
 The spectacular ceiling in the library.
 Other guest rooms at Hearst Castle.

 At one point Mr. Hearst wanted even more guest rooms, so his architect had to find a way to convert corridors into additional guest quarters.
 Therefore, there are a number of guest rooms with unusual narrow designs that, to get the necessary square footage, required creation of two-level suites.
 The ceiling in the 2-level suite shown above.
 The bathroom in that suite.
 There are also three guest cottages at the Castle.  Here is one of the three.
 Another of the cottages.  Interestingly, Mr. Hearst spent his last years in the Castle living in the cottage shown here instead of the huge main house he had built.  Was it too big even for Mr. Hearst?
 A view from the main building.

 A woman from Italy graciously offered to take our photo.
 Okay, let's go into geek mode for a moment.  I love architecture and especially what Mr. Hearst built on the hill.  It seems I always forget until I return that, while the building looks to be solid stone, it is only a façade.
 Here is a section that shows the stone façade on the right, and the cement structure beneath it on the left.  Mr. Hearst did not complete facing the building in stone before he passed away, so the section on the left was never finished.  If you look closely, you can even see the wires in the cement where the stone was to eventually connect.
 Gorgeous teak wood eves.
 A close up.  This is sealed every few years by the state of California.
A view of those eves from the second story.