California’s Hearst Castle reopens after 2 years of closure due to COVID, repairs

After being closed for two years, Hearst Castle in San Luis Obispo County began welcoming guests on Wednesday.

The historic house museum and popular tourist attraction was closed in 2020, first due to the COVID-19 pandemic and then due to severe rainstorms which damaged the access road to the castle in early 2021 .

The Hearst San Simeon State Historic Landmark is a sprawling estate with an ornate 115-room grand home, guest houses, pools, and eight acres of gardens.

The main house, called “La Casa Grande”, houses a large art collection including Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities, as well as European paintings and sculptures.

The sumptuous building also has many historic carved and painted ceilings from the Italian and Spanish Renaissance.

The castle is also known for its Neptune swimming pool and ornate roman pool.

Hearst Castle is seen in an undated image posted to his Facebook page.

Visitors can continue different visits to explore the historic site, including a tour of the Great Halls which aims to show visitors what it was like to be a guest on the estate. Tour reservations can be made online at HearstCastle.org or by calling 800-444-4445.

The steep and winding access road to Hearst Castle – which carries tour buses and up to 850,000 visitors to the castle a year – was damaged by a storm in 2021.

The upper part of the road had to be rebuilt and concrete retaining walls installed, among other fixes.

The 10-month project cost about $13.7 million, according to California State Parks.

State Parks will celebrate the castle’s reopening and its delayed 100th anniversary with a new tour which looks at the life and career of Julia Morgan, the first certified female architect in California and the first American woman to run her own architectural practice.

The tour will focus on rarely seen areas of Hearst Castle that showcase Morgan’s design skills, as well as photo exhibits of architectural drawings, family photos and personal items.

Tickets start at $30 for adults and $15 for children ages 5-12.

About Dwight E. McCray

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