Historic Hearst Castle set to reopen to public this week

SAN SIMEON, Calif. (KFSN) -- Spectacular Hearst Castle rises high above the crashing waves of the Central Coast.

Visitors to San Simeon can once again enjoy this historic estate set among fragrant blooming gardens.

"So when you walk around, it's not just a sight," says State Park Superintendent Dan Falat. "Its also a smell, it's the breeze coming off."

Falat is a Fresno State grad who can't wait to bring people back.

"This is what Mr. Hearst intended -- to have visitors enjoy this place and use it as a place of learning, but also enjoyment," he said.

It's clear newspaper magnate William Randoph Hearst loved to entertain.

Your first glimpse of the iconic Neptune pool takes your breath away. Hearst's opulent lifestyle is reflected in every feature, every work of art.

"And I think he perfected this one," says The Foundation at Hearst Castle Executive Director Michael Young. "I don't think there's anything more you can do to this."

The former Denver Bronco receiver prepped at Mt. Whitney High in Visalia.

Hearst Castle draws as many as 850,000 visitors a year.

"So the pent-up demand is going to be significant," Young said.

Especially with the castle introducing this "hidden terrace."

The area pays tribute to a trailblazer. Julia Morgan was California's first licensed female architect. She designed Hearst Castle.

"This woman was so far ahead of her time," Young said. "She paved the way for so many women that are in engineering and architecture."

Every turn, every detail demands your attention.

Strolling the grounds of Hearst Castle is like taking a trip through time. The columns at the Neptune pool date back to ancient Rome, 1,800 years ago."

"If you think about it, this is the only fine arts museum in the entire Central California," Young said.

Each room grander than the next.

Imagine having Winston Churchill and stars like Charlie Chaplin as your dinner guests.

Hearst's extensive collection includes tapestries from the 1500's. You're enveloped by artwork.

"And really be able to look at the piece and really see what does this mean," Falat said.

Through the foundation, Young has made sure things are looking up when it comes to projects like wood restoration.

The portion of road damaged by storms leading to the castle has been fixed so visitors can again get up to the enchanted hill.

The indoor Roman pool features sparkling gold leaf and two million tiles.

We'd expect nothing less.

Mr. Hearst also had his own airstrip and a private zoo.

Visitors will sometimes see zebra on the grounds closer to the coast.
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