In July, my husband and I got some very good news and decided on the spur of the moment to celebrate with our very own California magical mystery tour – no hotel reservations, no planned sightseeing – just spur of the moment fun!
And so we drove through California farm country and saw massive fields of strawberries, cherry farms and numerous other edible green things. Next we drove through the hilly and very beautiful wine country with grape vines covering almost every hill and vale and a place to stop for wine tastings around each curve in the road. Our next stop was the mountaintop home of William Randolph Hearst, aptly called Hearst’s Castle. It is a gigantic estate home of over 65,000 square feet full of European and ancient Greek and Roman antiquities. It covers over 250,000 acres of breathtaking California land, from mountain to sea. The drive to the top took about 20 minutes and was harrowing on a very narrow and twisty road with no guard rails and cows randomly crossing back and forth along the way! The castle itself was spectacular but it was very hot – making the outdoor pool extremely inviting. Fortunately that night we found a room in a lovely Inn right on the Pacific Ocean. The wind was blowing and it was chilly seaside but we walked on the beach for a couple of miles and breathed in the wonderful salt air. I had forgotten how much I love the coast and the ocean and this trip was a wonderful reminder. Then we drove along the Pacific Coast Highway to Carmel by the Sea and then on to Monterey. Stopping at Elephant Seal Beach we actually saw two huge males fighting in the water. The deep bellowing sounds they made were unforgettable – a true National Geographic moment!
Carmel is one of the most beautiful little seaside towns –as there were lush and lovely gardens in full bloom everywhere you turned. The air smelled intoxicating! Staying overnight at the Portola Inn in Monterey, we visited the Aquarium then sauntered around Cannery Row. The weather cooperated fully the entire time!
|Beach at San Simeon|
|Outdoor pool at San Simeon - the indoor pool was just as large!|
|Entry to the main castle with tour guide reminding us not to touch anything!|
|One of many magnificent tapestries lining the walls|
|Gorgeous ancient Russian icon in the main reception area|
|View from the drive along Big Sur|
|Elephant seals in full battle!|
|My husband strolling along the beach|
|And me enjoying the salt air!|
And now its time to get back to the easel!