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Hearst Castle reopens to excited guests, staff

hearst castle.JPG
Hearst Castle visitors.JPG
Posted at 3:21 PM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 22:44:28-04

People from all over were eagerly anticipating the reopening of Hearst Castle Wednesday morning.

The historic estate in San Simeon closed at the start of the pandemic and road repairs kept the doors shut longer than anticipated.

Some visitors coming from across the country were excited to experience the castle firsthand, including Laura Gage from Tampa, Florida.

“We stalked the reopening. I literally booked them the minute they opened,” Gage said.

As a first-time visitor, she feels lucky that her road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco with friends coincided with reopening day.

“I'm an architecture buff, so I just can't wait to walk around and stare at the general grandeur,” Gage said.

Built between 1919 and 1947, Hearst Castle has 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools, and walkways.

William Randolph Hearst, an American businessman and publishing tycoon, called his estate "La Cuesta Encantada,” which is Spanish for the enchanted hill. Hearst Castle sits on his ranchland overlooking San Simeon.

The historic monument offers various daily tours to choose from plus seasonal tours, allowing those who have seen the castle before and those who are seeing it for the first time something to look forward to.

“For now, we still have the same number of tours. The tour schedule is remaining the same,” said Sean Lia, State Parks Supervising Ranger. “We have a new Julia Morgan tour, which is a semi-private tour that's gonna be an awesome addition to what we have on offer up there.”

Aside from the daily tours, Hearst Castle also offers school, group, and private tours.

Staff at the site are excited to be welcoming guests back.

“This is a worldwide, renowned destination and to see folks back, able to enjoy it, that's one of the things I'm looking forward to the most,” Lia said.

Reservations were not expected to fill up Wednesday but State Parks says they’re anticipating a busy weekend.

There are currently no COVID-19 restrictions in place at Hearst Castle.