Today marks a historic moment in the Bay Area, as May 11th marks the official reopening of the Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument, more widely known as simply the Hearst Castle.
This legendary house museum was shuttered during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but after two long years, California State Parks is finally reintroducing the site back to the public.
Situated on San Luis Obispo County’s La Cuesta Encantada, the landmark mansion atop “The Enchanted Hill” was the opulent masterpiece of architect Julia Morgan and local notable figure William Randolph Hearst.
This partnership began in 1919 and for the following 30 years spawned this illustrious estate adorned with extravagant pools, curated gardens, and a main house replete with over 115 rooms.
Titled “La Casa Grande,” the central home has been known to host other key figures of history, such as Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, and President Calvin Coolidge.
Today, after two years the castle and its access road has been completely revitalized, renovating the upper 2.25-mile stretch of the road damaged from storms with a reconstruction project that cost $13.7 million.
“Two years is a long time,” experienced tour guide Michael Davis expresses, “I am excited to get this place open again.”
Ticket pricing and tours have also been revamped to become more user-friendly, affordable at $3-6, and in-depth, with a brand new tour called the Julia Morgan tour, which highlights the famed architect for two hours.
Cara O'Brien, the Hearst Castle’s Museum Director gleefully remarked, “I can not wait for the first busload to pull up and to greet the people back to their park.”
Armando Quintero, the Director of the California State Parks also affirmed, “Hearst Castle is a state treasure and we are thrilled to reopen this wonder to the public to enjoy in a safe and responsible manner.”
The staff expect an influx of excited visitors new and returning alike for this grand and momentous reopening, especially for the sunny Memorial Day weekend.
Reservations can be made online on their site to step into this Bay Area gem of history, located on 750 Hearst Castle Road in San Simeon.
Photography by: Catalina Johnson/Unsplash