8.01.2011

San Simeon Fairytale


I pretty sure the phrase "go big or go home" originated from the construction of Hearst Castle. If you've never been there, add it to your must-see list during your next trip to Northern California (or just California itself). My boyfriend had never seen it so we stopped on our way to Paso Robles. We took the Grand Rooms Tour, which takes you through the main Casa Grande, the dining room, the game room, the movie theater, and then allows you to walk the rest of the grounds on your own.

The main room, used for entertaining, dancing, music, and mingling, was astounding. Hearst's collection of art range from Versailles tapestries to hand-carved Italian panelling. Never again will a man be able to purchase the artifacts Hearst did. Not only do people not have the fortune this man did, but these simply wouldn't be allowed in private homes. Honestly, do you know anyone else who has had their own zoo in their backyard? Complete with polar bears? Art, pieces, and work like these are now only kept in museums. When you hear the origins this architecture, I promise your jaw will drop. And what's even more amazing is that they were treated just like any other Pier 1 piece in our own homes. They smoked around them, the sat on the irreplaceable and ancient chairs, they played the piano, and they fully used every utensil and utility that served an everyday purpose. William Hearst recreated Europe on ranch land and he made sure every guest was able to feel as if they had entered another world.

I highly recommend you read William Hearst's story. His inspiration deriving from a tour of Europe, his constantly changing building plans, and the immense difficultly of the execution for his architectural dream. The castle took 28 years to fully complete. And considering we only saw 4 of the 115 rooms, I'm guessing it would take at least 28 hours to look at every one.

To imagine the parties he had and the people who spent their weekends lounging by the Roman Pool in San Simeon, it reminds me that glitz and glory isn't always in Los Angeles. It can be found anywhere you choose to create it. In fact, I think I quite prefer oak trees and an ocean view with my sequin dress and martini. Maybe Hearst Castle can never be recreated, but at least the landscape will never change.