The crafty side of Hearst Castle January 9, 2007

Andrew and I are on a little California birthday-week adventure, staying in San Simeon for a couple of days, and it’s been amazing… gorgeous weather and lots of time outside. Our very first stop yesterday was Hearst Castle, for Tour 2 (we went on Tour 1 when we were on our honeymoon way back in 2005), and I was really excited to see it again.

The visitors’ center is a freaking mid-remodel mess right now, with construction all over the place and not much nice to do or see while we waited for our bus up the hill. Luckily I met a very nice docent who was knitting, and got to chat with her about the lacey edging she was doing on her dishcloth.

The tour was cool; honestly, I think Tour 1 is more exciting since it’s kind of a greatest-hits mix, and we had the best tour guide ever for that one, but I liked 2 pretty well. We got to see the cavernous kitchen, the library, and the private rooms of William Randolph Hearst and his paramour, Marion Davies, which faced each other on a tucked-away top floor. And one of the highlights was definitely her suite: it had pretty vintage dresses arranged all over her dressing room, and a cool little set of 1920s-esque sewing supplies on the nighttable!

Hearst Castle

I don’t know if you can see it all (the lighting is deliberately very low in the house so the art and antiques don’t take an ultraviolet beating) but there was a little card of snaps, a cute pincushion, needles, buttons, thread, an embroidery transfer, and a sewing pattern. I was so pleased to see that Marion Davies was crafty! Trust me to glance at a full hour’s worth of priceless antiquities, and find myself truly captivated by a hand-embellished tomato pincushion.

If you go:

Hearst Castle, on Highway 1 in San Simeon, CA
Each tour (there are four daytime, plus one evening) is $20 for adults, $10 for children, and reservations are highly recommended

p.s. a heartfelt thank you to Megan for her lovely post today… such a nice surprise!

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