Hearst Castle, in San Simeon, California, is the mansion of newspaper publisher, William Randolph Hearst. The estate is located at the top of a mountain, known as La Cuesta Incantada (The Enchanted Hill) and overlooks San Simeon and the Pacific coast. Visitors must park near Route 1 and take a shuttle to the castle. There are a variety of tours available, but Tour 1 is recommended for the first time visitor. This tour includes visits to the pools, the gardens and the ground floor of the mansion. Note that there is considerable walking and stair-climbing on all the tours.
The castle itself, Casa Grande, has over 100 rooms and is furnished with many of Hearst’s art and antiques. Construction on the house began in 1919 but took many years to complete because Hearst imported materials from all parts of the world.
The Monterey Peninsula, in western California, south of San Francisco, is an extremely scenic area of the state. Take 17-mile drive, a loop which connects the city of Monterey with Carmel, to admire the rocky coast as well as the beautiful homes and golf courses (try to have lunch at Pebble Beach for a special treat) and do stop for a photo opportunity at the Lone Cypress, a tree (supported now by guy wires because of its significance) which stands alone on a promontory of rock that juts out into the Pacific, making it one of the most westerly points in the contiguous United States. While in the area, be sure to spend some time in Monterey whose sardine industry was made famous in John Steinbeck’s novel “Cannery Row”. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is definitely worth a visit.