By Joy A. Kennelly
Finally uploaded all my pix and have them ready to be seen. Just know, this is a new camera, I haven't read the owner's manual and as a result, some of the pix aren't the best quality, but others are wonderful (if I d say so myself. LOL) Enjoy my picture diary!
Okay, here's a bad one, but at least now you know what I meant by the stationary fashion show at GenArt's recent event. I had taken a bunch of other pics, but ended up deleting them to accommodate my scenery shots up north.
This girl totally reminded me of Kate Bosworth, doesn't she? These was real rain droplets and I thought it was such a clever display.
One of my good friends, Lana, and her brother, Erwin I believe, joined us at the GenArt event which was a lot of fun. I always have a great time with both of them!
My good friends, Lana and Melinda, joined me at the GenArt event. Oy vey! I look so pregnant and I'm so not, but boy do I feel comfortable wearing this top. Got to buy a belt.
Lana has some crazy pants just like me. Now my pants have someone to go out with on the town! LOL
Here's one of the shows I caught during LA Fashion Week by Joseph Domingo. I always love to see what the hair stylists will create to go with the clothes as much as I enjoy the fashion.
Is this wild hair or what? This is what the runway looks like at the end. This show had some really pretty dresses with unusual adornments and piping which I liked.
Sorry, had more, but again, deleted them to find space for my vacation pix since I forgot to buy a larger memory card. My bad!
This was the first place I walked to in Cambria because it sounded so unusual... Nitt Witt Ridge. Don't you agree? Of course, it didn't open till 10am and I was there much earlier. Next time I'll take a tour.
This trip, it was Hearst Castle tours instead.
This is the view from the top of Hearst Castle. Again, wish I had a telephoto lens, but I think you grasp a little of the splendor of the view right?
This is one of the side entrances to the castle. Can you believe it? How grand!
This is the first pool you come to and it's called Neptune's Pool. Once a year all the staff get to enjoy a huge pool party where they can invite their friends up to enjoy spending time with them.
A lot of the surrounding statues were especially created for Mr. Hearst and shipped in from Italy and all over the world. See the man standing in the top? Apparently, when this statue arrived it was too big so they chopped off his feet to fit it inside that area! Isn't that funny.
Also, if I'm remembering correctly, Mr. Getty copied a lot of what Mr. Hearst did with his smaller museum over in Malibu. Oh, those rich people. Always trying to keep up with one another.:)
Wouldn't you just love to swim here? Absolutely stunning.
Here's another shot of the same pool, but looking back up towards the castle itself. So regal, I just loved it! The stark white of the statues contrasts so beautifully with the clear water and blue tiles of the pool.
This is just one of the many gardens Mr. Hearst had planted. The building you see behind was one of the guest houses he built for guests that weren't invited to stay in the "big house," but enjoyed a beautiful setting nonetheless.
What I found fascinating is that every plant and trees were brought into this area and weren't here normally. What an undertaking and how beautiful now.
This the main Hearst Castle entrance. I thought my shot of this was unique, but as I look up the information, it's so not. Oh well, I tried.:)
It's nice though, right?
Here's another one straight on...
Isn't the color of the sky incredible? I did not digitally enhance it either. Just naturally beautiful. The balcony is where Mr. Hearst would watch his guests having fun. What I thought was so funny is that he was really against unmarried couples shacking up together, but personally kept a mistress for 34 years.
Her name was Marion Davies and they had adjoining rooms on the third floor where no one else was allowed to enter. I enjoyed my Tour #2 because then we toured that area also. Lots of small, winding staircases with small rooms and lots of beautiful furnishings.
Click here for some of the amazing statistics and an overview of the entire Castle property.
Here's some examples of the furnishings and his extensive art collection. Sorry this one is blurry, but you weren't allowed to use a flash. The ceilings and wall coverings were over the top too!
Isn't this just so delicate and feminine? If I could have taken t with me, I would have.:) I love pink.
This is the master dining room where everyone ate together. Again, sorry it's so blurry. According to our fast talking gay tour guide (why do they love this job so much? Just kidding. It's a gay man's dream! LOL), the longer that you stayed at Hearst Castle, the farther you would be seated away from Mr. Hearst who sat in the middle across from Marion.
One of the famous old time stars, either Carey Grant or someone else who I've forgotten, said if he was sat any further away he'd be sitting outside! One of those stars was invited back 40 times. Others were never invited back.
Oh, another interesting character twist of Mr. Hearst is that he hated his guests to get drunk. Sound familiar? HA!
He would lock up the liquor cabinet until the evening to make sure he kept things under control. Isn't that funny? I bet some old time alcoholics weren't too happy about having their booze controlled once they realized they'd have to wait to imbibe. LOL Maybe some began packing their own just in case...:)
Tour number 1 takes you to Mr. Hearst's huge private theatre. Just like one of the grand theatres you would see Downtown LA today. Very ornate and gaudy.
This statue is one of many that graced the walls to help with acoustics I believe. We were able to enjoy home movies playing on the big screen in this room.
Mr. Hearst, because he owned so many newspapers, was always receiving films ahead of the general public and began throwing his lavish parties to entice people to drive the four hours up from LA to sit and review them with him.
Oftentimes many of the actors, actresses, directors and writers of the films were included. There was a whole mezzanine floor with shared bedrooms set up just for starlets to stay in so the gentlemen would have pleasant female company while visiting. What that life must have been like back then. Can you imagine?
Actress Katherine Hepburn has been quoted as saying her one regret is that she didn't take up Mr. Hearst's offer to come visit his "little ranch." Now do you see why?
Both tours I took ended up in this amazing Roman style inside covered pool room. Now according to my outspoken first tour guide, oftentimes midnight love trysts occurred in the steam room. A note slipped into a pocket, a furtive glance and the next thing you know...
The bottom of the pool, although flat, creates an optical illusion and looks curved when you look straight into it. Just directly above the lamp in the foreground is a ledge where people could dive into the 10 foot deep part of the pool.
What I loved about the National Geographic movie, Hearst Castle Building the Dream which is part of Tour 1 is that it follows one starlets experience staying there and you see the place come alive with action.
You also follow little Hearst as he travels with his mother when he's only 10 years old all over Europe where art first captures his heart. Apparently, he wanted his Dad to buy the Louvre after visiting France. His mother had a great deal of influence over him and when his father died, he left his entire estate to his wife since he knew young William would squander his fortune.
Thus, when William wanted to buy something, he would have to ask his mother's permission and she would use that opportunity to make him stop dating some undesirable woman, or give up something in exchange.
Some tour guides surmise that Marion Davies played a mother figure to him. She was an amazing lady all on her own - Actress, Real Estate Investor etc etc! What I loved learning about William Randolph Hearst is that he loved and appreciated strong, career-minded females.
His architect who worked with him almost day and night to build his vision, was a female residential architect named Julia Morgan. She was also another extraordinary woman of that time and in addition to creating Hearst Castle, created and oversaw over 800 other projects in California and Hawaii. She worked nearly 28 years on Hearst Castle and numerous other residences for both Mr. Hearst and Ms. Davies.
A very humble Victorian woman, she requested all her private papers be burned upon her death, but fortunately for us, her relative refused and that's why we know what we know today. Click on her name if you want to learn more about her. Quite an extraordinary woman.
Here's a picture of the small studio she used when she would come to
stay and oversee the project. Isn't this amazing? Such a small location
for such a grand scale project, but I guess she was out in the field
for a large part of this.
Notice the old timey phone too on the desk.
This is the back courtyard where she would cross to go to her "office." The backside of Hearst Castle isn't as finished as the front and the tape on the tour bus taking you back down to the bottom of the hill lets you know that if you'd like to donate you can donate to the Friends of Hearst Castle foundation.
They host some amazing special events at the Castle and if you want to enjoy some with other philanthropic minded individuals, click here for more details. Really sounds like fun. I wouldn't mind going to a few myself? Anyone care to join me?
There is only one kitchen in the entire Castle and this is it. I took these pix for my chef friends.:) I can only imagine how many people were responsible to make the wonderful meals for all the guests and workers who came to the hill.
Isn't the attention to detail adorable?
This is the pantry. I ended up touring with a family of five on this tour because I mistakenly joined them and when I figured out I was in the wrong place it was too late. They were nice about it and it was great to have the entire castle to ourselves while touring, rather than the huge group I would have been with otherwise.
You can take private tours for about $600 if I remember correctly and you're allowed to invite up to six guests with you which is actually fairly reasonable since it covers the entire castle tours on a private basis.
Click here for information on all the tours available.
I can't remember which room this is (they all blur together after awhile, but maybe it's the library. I think that's right.) William was kicked out of Harvard is one of the stories told.
This is the "Gold Room" where the infamous gossip columnist, Hedda Hopper, used to stay as a guest. It's up in the top spier of the castle (is that what the towers are called? Well, that's what I'm trying to say.) and is very small, but really pretty with the sun shining through.
Click here for a list of some of the other important people who stayed here.
This is an example of the ornate ceilings Hearst was fond of. This is also the chandelier that hangs in the Gold Room. Everything is so ornate and gaudy and so of the time, I just loved it. Not to my taste for my own personal space, but definitely something admirable in this setting.
Tour 2 ends in the same pool house just from a different viewpoint. Click here for some Behind the Scenes info on the beautiful details involved in this room and all the others.
Now do you see why this was so refreshing and just what I needed? I love art and visionary men. When the two come together... It's a beautiful thing.
The other fun thing to do while visiting Cambria and Hearst Castle is to check out all the Elephant Seals that love to laze around in the sun along the coastline. It's just a few miles past Hearst Castle and the turn-off is clearly marked. There are walking trails to allow you to walk and view closer.
There are hundreds of seals like this and they make the funniest sounds. They also seem to do the Michael Jackson moon walk as they push themselves across the sand to get back into the water.
Certain areas were quite stinky perhaps from a dead one, but otherwise, it's very pleasant although when I was there it was bitter cold and windy. These next few shots are blurry because it was too cold to stand and get a good shot!
Isn't it rugged? Just love the different seascapes Northern CA offers.
This could be further up, or in Cambria, I don't remember.
The next day I drove up to Big Sur. I had been told it was only 25 miles away, but it was actually more like 100. However, it was well worth the drive.
Stunning vistas like this all up and down the Northern coast. You really must see it for yourself because I'm not doing this half the justice.
This is my final shot heading home from Big Sur and thus ends our tour. I hope you've enjoyed your visit and make plans to come back and see me again real soon.
We'll leave a light on for you...:)
Have I convinced you now to make the trip? I'll even go back up with you! Only this time I might suggest staying at the Cambria Pines Lodge based on the referral of another friend, Jaimi Blakely who just hosted a writer's retreat there.
According to Jaimi, Cambria Pines Lodge has "24 acresthat you can hike and a free drink at their bar and a free breakfast buffet every morning. There's an organic garden on the property where they grow a lot of their own produce.
When you call Cambria Pines Lodge, say that you want their current special.Usually, the specials are from $69-$89 depending on the season. (Such a deal!) Also, if you register to receive the weekly email from TravelZoo.com, then you will see frequent specials listed that are in that area (from San Luis Obispo to Monterey).
"Jaimi" loves Black Cat Bistro and Robin's for dinner and Indigo Moon for lunch or a casual dinner. "She" heard that the Thai place is great, too, but hasn't been yet."
Okay, that's really all. Cambria isn't that big so you can find the perfect place for you just by walking through the town once. I did it in 30 minutes or so from where I was staying. It's that small. Totally reminds me of what Hermosa Beach was like so long, long, long ago...:) I'm not that old, but I can imagine.
Enjoy your Sunday. I need to get outside now.