After San Francisco, we headed further south on the Pacific coast, with stops in Felton and Santa Cruz, on our way to Big Sur. Although there is a town named Big Sur, Big Sur also refers to an approximate 90-mile stretch of central California that is bordered by the Santa Lucia Mountains on the east and the Pacific on the west, between Carmel and just north of San Simeon. We stayed at the Kirk Creek National Forest Service Campground 35 miles south of the town of Big Sur. We were centrally located to explore the Big Sur coastline, both north and south, via Highway 1. We continued our love affair with the wild and scenic Pacific Coast.
We also visited the Hearst Castle at San Simeon, a different definition of wild and scenic
! Having been deeded to the State of Califonia, it is run as a state park -- but not your usual state park, with revenues coming from the tours and merchandise sold at the park. The castle (really an estate) is admittedly quite beautiful, but is an ostentatious display of the vast wealth of William Randolph Hearst, the publishing mogul. Built in the 1920s, the estate (there were guest houses in addition to the main house) was a popular place for movie stars and politicians to party. The style is a mish-mash of different styles (mainly European but also some Egyptian and Moroccan influences), with a fortune spent on not only its construction but the antiques, furnishings and sculptures adorning the property, acquired overseas. Although we enjoy seeing beautiful things and it was an interesting tour, nonetheless, we weren't comfortable with the idea of the excesses spent by Hearst on this during a time of economic depression. The tours give you a white-washed version of Hearst, but for the real scoop, read "Citizen Hearst" by W.A. Swansberg. (The movie “Citizen Cane” was based on Hearst.) Jim read the book after our visit and found Hearst to be an intriguing but eccentric character. For more info on the Hearst Castle, see this Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hearst_Castle
But we still had more of the Pacific coast to explore...
(Sorry about the delay in blogging but between lack of fast internet access, holiday planning, and just plain goofing off, I've gotten way behind!! Pam 12/14/09)