September 29, 2013

La Cuesta Encantada

In 1947 the vision of William Randolph Hearst and the incredible architect, Julia Morgan, was finally realized in La Cuesta Encantada or the Enchanted Hill. Better known as Hearst Castle, this towering estate in San Simeon sits looking out onto the ocean from the high hill of the 40,000 acre Hearst estate. With 167 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, pools, terraces, and walkways, Hearst Castle was built to showcase William Hearst's vast art collection and entertain the elite of his era. 

Both those of political esteem, like Winston Churchill, and those of notoriety in Hollywood, such as Charlie Chaplin (who often frequented the estate), were invited to stay at Hearst's grand home. Guests could enjoy tennis courts, horseback riding (a pastime which William himself had grown up enjoying across the endless acres of his family estate), multiple pools, a movie theater, miles of gardens, and many other amenities. An eccentric character, William Hearst wanted his guests to fully enjoy the lavish fantasy that he had created on La Cuesta Encantada. 

In 1957, six years after William Hearst's passing, the Hearst Corporation donated the estate to the State of California, which then turned the land into a state park. Today Hearst Castle is open for tours daily. For just $25 you can be transported into what not only feels like another era, but another world. 

Upon arrival to the tour you are placed on a bus that takes you up the very steep and generally treacherous mountain. It is a wee bit sketchy, but the view at the top is entirely worth it. You arrive at the summit and continue your accent up to the main house, named Casa Grande, by foot. Casa Grande is the largest house, but there are actually four houses on the main estate, and you can purchase a more extensive tour that allows you to walk through them, as well as, more of Casa Grande. I personally recommend this longer tour if you don't have young children and like history. I definitely plan on going back for the longer tour at some point. 

However, the Casa Grande Tour is plenty substantial. During it you are lead through the main house through several of the beyond ornately decorated rooms, while a tour guide explains some of the traditions of the home and Mr. Hearst's interesting belongings. For example, you are shown one of his collections: his ceiling collection, which is displayed right above your head in every room. After the walkthrough of the main house you are allowed to roam the gardens at your leisure. 

September 26, 2013


Now, I was lucky enough to grow up in a household that was always very appreciative of Birthdays. Therefore, I won't even deny it, I kinda totally love my Birthday; but to be fair, I don't just love my Birthday, I love all Birthdays! They're just so fun! You can have a party! And cake! And presents! All jolly good fun. 

As you get older, however, your Birthday changes. You start to resent getting older (or so I hear, I'm still game to get a little older!), you don't get a piñata, and sticking your fingers in the cake is frowned upon. If you're like me though, you'll continue to act like a little kid whether or not you're turning 5 or 20. There may have been some finger-licking-frosting-stealing behavior...

I know, I'm cute. 

Also, when you get older, if you don't spend your Birthday with your family, you are not really entitled to act like a Birthday-brat. (It's my party and I'll cry if I want to!) Luckily, I remedied that by spending the weekend with my big sis, who let's be real, unnecessarily spoils me rotten; which is exactly what she did on my birthday weekend. 

September 2, 2013

Summer days

Despite rising temperatures here in San Diego, the inevitability of Autumn is near. Even living in Southern California, where our seasons lack the extremity of the rest of the world, summer ends. We've gone back to school, bought our books, and are already eying this years boots. And even though Autumn has its perks, does anything really compare to the electric air and freedom of summer? 

As Anaïs Nin said, "We write to live twice, in the moment and in retrospect." So with that ideal I've been holding on to some of my summer memories, trying to make them last just a little bit longer, while avoiding going back to reality. However, I'm afraid that the time has come to accept that it is, in fact, somehow (where did the time go?!), September. So here's to the lasting memories of summer and the joy of retrospect. 

If you've read previous posts (Welcome to OregonTree climbing and other shenanigans, and Bye bye blue), you'll know that I spent time in Oregon early on in the summer. Well, on that trip we had just so gosh-darn-much fun, we decided to go for round two. My parents, younger sister, and I all made the trek up to the lovely coast in early August and galavanted around, making more than a few memories.

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