Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Castle in the Air

Have you ever dreamed of having a castle in the air, a castle of your very own, perched high above the clouds with panoramic views to behold? I have not had that dream, but I have seen that castle. It is a castle high above the ocean on California's Central Coast. From a simple hill-top family campsite at the onset of the 20th century to a marvel of grand opulence; from an extraordinary 27-year collaboration of a publishing magnate and an accomplished architect, I came face to face with this Castle in the Air. Moments away from the small town of San Simeon and the Pacific Ocean, and so superbly located on The Enchanted Hill, I discovered Hearst Castle.

Folly, decadence, and lavishness overlap in this grand setting of mixed period styles with acres of manicured gardens, marbled terraces, majestic views, intricately designed pools for leisure afternoon dips, visions of intimate soirées with legendary guests in rooms dripping with spectacular European antiques and collectable oddities - as far as the eye can see.

I have caught but a glimpse of this estate via a tour of the Main House, and a brief walk through the grounds. I looked up, I looked down, I looked behind me, and everywhere I glanced, minute details of elaborate design and textures caught my eye. There were filigree lines woven through marble; there was a luminous vibrance to the mosaic walls of the indoor pools that I wanted to etch on the walls of my mind. There was astonishment. It was over-the-top. It was Hearst Castle.


In my wildest dreams, I could never have imagined such a  castle. With its gargantuan scale, its luxurious opulence mixed with a good dose of folly and eccentricity, it was one man's truly extraordinary dream. That man was William Randolph Hearst. 

I usually close my blog posts with.. "It's good for the soul" - this time, after this bit of folly, I will quote my dear artist friend Ted Emrick: DREAM big ~ live LARGE; to which I will then add… "It's good for the soul.

Enjoy as always, Adeline

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