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Hearst Castle is all decked out for the return of Holiday Twilight Tours

Hearst Castle is all decked out to kick off their Holiday Twilight Tours
Posted at 5:13 PM, Nov 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-25 23:06:17-05

The holiday spirit is making a comeback at Hearst Castle. Museum technicians have been working around the clock for weeks to get the castle ready for visitors to enjoy.

Hearst Castle’s majestic doors take you back in time to a 1920s Christmas wonderland just like William Randolph Hearst celebrated it back in the day.

“We have a complete manual which every year we add to as we learn new things as a way to improve what we’re doing,” explained Shirley Smyth, a museum technician at Hearst Castle. “We try to follow a lot of what Hearst did during his time.”

From traditional Christmas lightbulbs to sparkly stars at the top of the Christmas trees, it is hard to know where to look inside the Casa Grande’s Assembly Room.

“One tree is a boy’s tree and one tree is for the girls, an abundance of presents and gifts and just everything over the top because he [Hearst] loved Christmas,” Smyth said.

The two giant Christmas trees are fan favorites.

“I was born in 1950, and it reminded me of the old-fashioned Christmas trees with the garland and everything,” said Sharry Cummins, who visited the castle. “It was very beautiful.”

Pete Gutierrez from Hollister has toured Hearst Castle several times but not during the holidays.

“I like the bottom where they have wagons and the presents, it looks like a lot of work that they had to do,” Gutierrez said.

The return of the Hearst Castle Holiday Twilight Tours has kept workers pretty busy.

“We started on November 1st, and it takes a mighty team to accomplish all the decorating and it takes almost three weeks,” said Cara O’Brien, Hearst Castle’s Museum Director.

Shirley Smyth, who has been doing this for at least 35 years, is part of that mighty team.

“It’s a great feeling of accomplishment when it’s finally all completed and everybody is going like, ‘oh, we got it done, we did it, but it’s worth it,’” Smyth reflected. “The people are so happy, and it really says Christmas when they walk in the door.”

As visitors make their way through the Refectory, they can enjoy a display of candles, wreath centerpieces and baby trees with mini presents.

The Morning Room and Billiard Room have poinsettia flowers wrapped in holiday ribbons.

“We are really excited to welcome people to our holiday tours, and it’s the first time since 2019,” O’Brien added.

People walk away feeling ready to spread some holiday joy.

“I’ve never been here when they have the Christmas decorations, so it’s fun,” said Cathy Mcomber, who visited the castle. “Gets you in the spirit of it. I think I’m going to tell my kids to come over here for Christmas.”

Holiday Twilight Tours kick off on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, and will continue on select dates until Dec. 30, 2022.

Ticket prices start at $30 for adults and $15 for children.

For more information, click here.