Holiday Vacation

We may have forgone the gifts this holiday season but not the fun! We chose to take a family holiday in lieu of gifts. Adam chose the first annual destination, and he decided to go on a trip to the legendary Hearst Castle. We stayed in San Simeon and took in the sights up and down the central California coast. We left Redding early and our first stop was Casa de Fruita. To call it a fruit stand is an understatement. This little slice of family/foodie heaven is located in Hollister, CA. Casa de Fruita is a winery, amusement park, confectioner, restaurant, jam and jelly bonanza and fruit stand. Adam is a sucker for shops like these. Laden heavy with our “harvest” we hit the road. Next stop the Pacific Ocean. Casa de Fruita  Dried Fruit at CASA DE FRUITA vaca3 vaca4 vaca5
We arrived in San Simeon too late to actually play on the beach but the sunset was beautiful. The sounds of the tide lulled me to the best night sleep I’ve had for quite awhile.
vaca6 I got up the next morning before everyone and, clad in my pj’s, a coat and scarf, I headed alone to the beach before the sunrise. My favorite thing on earth is sitting on a deserted beach and listening to the tide in the wee hours of the morning.
vaca7On the walk back to our hotel I stopped to revel in the sun peeking over the Santa Lucia Range. vaca8 Once everyone else was up-and-running, we drove south to Cayucos for what ended up being most of the day. We walked the beach, had cookies at the Brown Butter Cookie Company, had a great fish and chips lunch and did some shopping. vaca10 vaca15 vaca13 vaca12  The antique shopping was excellent, the food at Schooners was delicious, the service was incredible and the view of the beach and roaring ocean made it perfect.vaca11 We watched as the setting sun graced us with a glimmering sunset. vaca14 We spoke with many of the locals and fell in love with this little beachside town.The next day, we were up with the morning light and headed off to Hearst Castle. The visitors center was very well done with interpretive displays about the Hearst family, the collections, some artifacts and a movie theater. I had heard a lot about the castle, W.R. Hearst and architect Julia Morgan but wasn’t prepared for the grand scale and massive art collection.. vaca vaca37 vaca20The castle with filled with antiquities dating back to the 15th century, tapestries, carvings and paintings. Every inch of the interior is covered in the most sunning art, hand carved walls and ceilings, tapestries, mosaic tiles, wood flooring and mosaics.
vaca25 vaca24 vaca23 vaca22 vaca21 vaca26 vaca18 vaca19    The outdoor space wasn’t forgotten. Hearst and Morgan spend 28 years building and perfecting this home that Hearst call “The Ranch”. Three cottages flank the castle as well as the stupendous outdoor Neptune pool and the indoor Roman pool. The gardens and art and every surface you walk on has been lovingly tiled, designed and beautifully appointed.
vaca27 vaca33 vaca30 vaca31 vaca29 vaca34 vaca32 vaca35 IMAG2942 IMAG2943 IMAG2947 vaca36 The castle, its grounds,animals and surrounding topography are all staggeringly beautiful.Leaving the castle we drove north, still in awe of the splendor of the castle, to see the elephant seals. The seals turned out to be one of the best “Wild Kingdom” moments of my life. These animals are massive, loud and have huge personalities.  Who would have thought that enormous sea creatures lumbering around on the beach would pull you in and captivate your imagination like they did? The screaming pups and roaring bulls elephant seals are mesmerizing to watch. With an up close look we witnessed bulls fighting and a female give birth. What an amazing end to a already breathtaking day! vaca39 vaca40The next morning we shopping and nibbled our way through Cambria, an inspiring, artistic and delightfully quaint small town. Afterward, we drove north to San Simeon Beach where we spent the rest of the day taking in the tranquility and peace of the Pacific and combing the beach for goodies. vaca38The beach at San Simeon is NOT populated at all. In fact, it’s my new favorite beach. Roaring tides, surfers, awesome beach combing and not many people…perfect!!

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One response to “Holiday Vacation

  1. I love Cayucous and San Simeon. We head to the Central Coast every summer. Pismo Beach and the Central Coast are our “favorite places on earth”. And we saw an awesome one-man Mark Twain portrayal last summer in Cambria. It was incredible. I highly recommend the Pewter Plough Playhouse (Cambria) next time you go. Good for you for going. And thank you for sharing.

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