A Night at Hearst Castle

The Great Hall During the Holiday SeasonMost of you have been to Hearst Castle and know of  the grandeur Hearst gave to the family camping grounds.  Not too many know about the evening tours.  Some time ago, the lights were restored to the grounds and a tour established to give you the feel of what it was like to attend the evening festivities.  Although Hearst wanted his guests to have all possible distractions during the day,  the payback was that they had to attend the dinner party every night.  This consisted of dressing to the max and beginning the evening in the main room at 7 PM.  After socializing and  allegedly alcohol stingy drinks( beer was OK as is) , the party moved to the dinning hall for dinner.  After dinner, some more games and socializing, the formal scripted part of the evening would assemble in the movie theatre.  Once the movies were done, Hearst would retire for the evening (usually to do a few hours of work) and the guests had the run of the place.  The tour is set to give you the feeling of the evening.  Docents, dressed as they did in the period, are along the tour route and the tour guides are a little more abstract about the history and ongoings during this time.  The Pool at NightDuring the holidays, they decorate the castle as Hearst did.  He was very big on Christmas and it shows.  The tour also takes you for a walk along the gardens at night. There the ambiance of the lights, the quietness and the beauty of a star filled night take you back to what it must have been like.  A walk through the kitchen gives you a feel for the level of entertaining that occurred regularly.  Even before you get there you begin to travel back in time while driving up highway 1.  The area is pitch black except for the glow of the light on the hill and the outline of the castle waiting for you.  Now I know why it was on the map for mariners.  This is a must tour for those who have been to Hearst Castle and have seen at least one day tour.  The night tour is entirely different and gives a very realistic feel for this magical place.  Check it out at the Hearst website.