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Showing posts with label California State Parks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label California State Parks. Show all posts

Libraries and Pools of the Gigante Castle

We took a weekend trip to Avila Beach last week.  During our first trip to Avila Beach we found there wasn't a lot to do. So we made a one hour drive just North of San Simeon to see Hearst Castle up close (for my first time).

The Castle was named Casa Grande, by William Randolf Hearst himself. I believe it would be more appropriate to call it Casa Gigante. 

The outside of the structure was more of a facade in comparison to the medieval castles in Europe, but for good reason. The walls had to be poured concrete reinforced by rebar, covered by tile. This was in accordance with State engineering regulations. That way the Castle could stand up against earthquakes. 

Casa Grande stands perched above Highway 1. To get to the Castle you must take a bus from the visitors center. We paid for tickets to see the Upstairs Suites tour, because this took us through the two libraries, and upstairs celestial suite. My favorite parts of the tour are, the Main and Gothic libraries (see photos below). In my opinion they were more breathtaking than the pools, which were a close second.

The Main library held 4,100 books. This library was open for general use for his guests. The lamp light was warm, but I should emphasize the shadows probably made it hard to read (it was a cloudy day so sunshine was not pouring through the windows). Never the less it was cozy. I shouldn't forget to mention the ornate decor, including the ceiling. The Main library is decorated with ancient Greek vases.


The second library, was basically Hearst's private library adjacent to his bedroom. Known for the Gothic architecture, the vaulted ceiling and pointed archways.



The libraries are decorated with massive Persian rugs (probably over 30 feet long). Which we could appreciate from afar.

The tour further renewed in me a great appreciation for libraries. Library's not only serve as a source of information, but also a sanctuary for relief, and rejuvenation.

The tour was "book ended" by stops at the two iconic pools on the property. 

The Neptune pool.



and the indoor Roman pool or a "plunge" (for it's uniform depth of 10 feet).

 In my opinion the elegance of the pools surpasses any pool I've ever seen.


This is our view from the resort in Avila Beach overlooking the bay. The Central Coast of California is an often overlooked by state.

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