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Hearst Castle Lofty Dreams

James Andrew - Hearst Castle

James Andrew – Hearst Castle

I’m the first to admit that I’m quite often borderline delusional with the many dreams and fantasies I entertain…but seeing Hearst Castle, “La Cuesta Encantada” – (The Enchanted Hill), gives new meaning to the idea of lofty dreams, and has inspired my already grandiose fantasies to ever higher heights!

The “castle” is the result of an epic thirty year collaboration between William Randolph Hearst and architect Julia Morgan, and ranks up there amongst the best known and most visited estates in America. The property is wildly eclectic – it doesn’t surprise us that Hearst as a boy was taken on several world tours, exposing his developing mind to magnificent possibilities – in fact the young lad actually started collecting compulsively at age ten! He continued on, filling warehouses with treasures he’d acquire, and when he finally inherited his father’s vast 250,000 acre estate, he decided that the site at the top of the hill where he used to camp as a child now required a proper house to showcase many of these treasures. Hearst and Morgan then set out to create a Mediterranean Revival style palazzo in the southern European Renaissance tradition, incorporating countless architectural pieces and fragments that he’d amassed over the years. They continued to build on to Hearst Castle right up until Hearst’s death.

Granted, Hearst had nearly unlimited wealth and resources at his disposal, but the monumental task of creating this massive estate at the very top of his property was still a formidable undertaking – yet he never seemed deterred and, being who he was, never accepted no for an answer. Hearst kept on enjoying the creative process until the day he died.

Summer slip covers - Hearst Castle

Summer slip covers – Hearst Castle

There are way too many fabulous details, and anecdotes to share— zebras running wild, the incredible guests — we actually spent an entire day on the property and took three tours and still did not see everything!… more material for another post. Let me just leave you here by saying visiting The Enchanted Hill was a deeply moving experience for us, with plenty of life lessons to be learned regarding dreams, passion, and perseverance.

Our next stop was Santa Barbara/Montecito where we were welcomed by The Baccara Resort. After a long drive, martinis and dinner at the bar there were the most perfect way to conclude such a delightful day.

Dressed as a period guest at the Hearst Castle, I’m photographed above the “Neptune Pool,” and I’m sporting a Tom Ford ivory linen sateen suit, dusty pink and white check shirt, large fuschia check silk tie, white suede lace up shoes with saddle leather cap toes and fuchsia silk pocket square, Gucci python belt with silver double horse head buckle, Rolex watch, antique moon stone cuff links and my fragrance is Tom Ford Lavender Palm.

15 Comments

  1. James,

    What a handsome portrait of you! I hope to one dav visit this important estate- I enjoyed reading your post this morning-

    Dean

  2. Regina says:

    Those slipcovers are special order by Scalmandre…Cherubs. This original pattern was rewoven especially for San Simeon…sold up to a few years ago though not in the original color way…that was reserved ONLY for La Cuesta Encantada.
    Did you love the Doges Suite? The Celestial Bedroom in the Tower or one of the Duplex suites! All divine. You’d enjoy the FRIENDS OF HEARST CASTLE Christmas fundraiser – cocktails on the Esplanade under a clear tent with the Casa Grande illuminated as the backdrop…entering the Assembly Room to be seated in the Refectory for a 5 course meal. California is really GOLDEN, moreso the untouched beauty of the Central Coast!

  3. You look perfectly suited -in the dreamy outfit in ivory by Tom Ford, with accents of dusty pink and fuschia -and in capturing the mood of Hearst Castle in its heydey of old Hollywood. You look sensational in the bright California sun and I love your take on it all: a tribute on passion and love of beauty, and living a dream. All of it, dreamy, indeed.

  4. Wendy Woo says:

    Oh wow! I was just posting the Julia towers yesterday…daydreaming. Love visiting Hearst. Recently read the gardeners comments that they had to blast rock to plant! Who would have thought it?
    Heaven on earth!
    You would be the perfect occupant! Looking summer chic!
    xo

  5. James Andrew says:

    My Dear Regina,

    That is just fantastic!

    I had actually asked one of the guides if they knew anything about the fabric – clueless- so happy to now know where this was from – a sort of ravishing 1930’s/40’s take on Renaissance theme.

    Sad to hear it is no longer made.

    I did see all of these wonderful things at Hearst Castle.

    Let me know if you need an escort for the Friends of Hearst Castle event.

    Cheers

    JA

  6. James Andrew says:

    My Dear Philip,

    That is exactly what I wanted this to be – a tribute of sorts to Hearst and big dreams, passion and perseverance.

    Thank You as always for your gorgeous words!

    Cheers

    JA

  7. James Andrew says:

    Dear Wendy,

    The place is an absolute dream!

    The tour guides all said that my ensemble was exactly what a guest of Hearst castle would have worn.

    Cheers

    JA

  8. George Cruz says:

    A special man in a special setting! You make dashing look so easy, James and few can pull it off like you. Putting on the Ritz is definitely your thing! The Tom Ford ivory suit is full-on elegance on you. The dusty pink and white, check shirt, adds an airy touch, while letting the large fuchsia silk, check tie sing. Ah, but it’s those white suede shoes, with leather caps, that are upping the dapper level with this ensemble. You’re simply owning this style quite successfully, James!

  9. This is now teetering on “SCARY”!!

    I took pictures of those exact slipcovers the first time I went to Hearst Castle….before you were born! SHEESH!!

    Scalamandre!! My long-time friend Steven Stolman is the new president……

    but is this “MY Regina”?? The one who bought my house in Pasadena?

    It just can’t be; but it MUST BE!!!???

    Regina Drucker?

    LORDY!!

    It is a very small beach; if any of this is true!!

    YIKES and YOWZERS!!!

    What fun we had with you guys!!

    XXOO

    Penny

  10. Regina says:

    Penny, perhaps your friend at Scalamandre can be convinced to do a special run for YOU, James & I in the same San Simeon color way….I’ll take 15 yards please! Regina

  11. James Andrew says:

    My Dear Penny,

    How amazing!

    We are very much kindred spirits- thrilling to hear ALL of this!

    So lovely spending time with you all in Montecito!

    Love

    JA

  12. James Andrew says:

    My Dear George,

    I had so much fun at Hearst Castle- I was just beaming the entire time and my ensemble really helped to create a total mood- I was transported back in time.

    Approaching these posts as if I were a cinematographer – I attempt to flesh out a full and rich picture to tell a stunning visual narrative.

    Cheers and Many Thanks

    JA

  13. Bob Schulenberg says:

    My old friend, (Lady) Sylvia Ashley (Fairbanks Gable, Princess Jorjadze and I forgot who the one was after Ashley) was a frequent guest at San Simeon and she told me many colorful stories about her visits there. “Aunt Syl'” was a veritable Auntie Mame!

  14. James Andrew says:

    Dear Bob,

    I have always been rather fascinated by these “Auntie Mame” types of characters.

    How splendid to have had your “Aunt Syl” – I always wished for one.

    Would love to hear some of these stories – one gets the sense that Hearst always attempted to keep things rather “PG’ rated at Hearst Castle.

    Cheers

    JA

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