I had just read The Great Gatsby, and my visit to this hilltop estate brought F. Scott Fitzgerald's story to life for me. I couldn't help but picture Jay Gatsby feeling quite at home in this Gothic chateau - complete with its grand dining room and guest rooms, lushly landscaped garden and pool areas, priceless art, and many antiquities that were part of newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst's [1863-1951] own private collections.
This past week my husband and I visited Hearst Castle and took the "Upstairs Suites Tour". One of my favorite rooms was the exquisite, low-ceilinged library - home to many of Hearst's first-edition books and his collection of 150 ancient Greek pottery vases.
William Randolph Hearst's estate was under construction for 28 years! It was finally completed in 1947.
Among many other incredible requests, Hearst commissioned architect Julia Morgan to create several lampshades from the leaves of a medieval choir book.
I was pleasantly surprised by the two books that were on display in Hearst's beautiful Gothic study (his personal office and private library): Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and Jack London's The Call of the Wild.
After enjoying the indoor tour, my husband and I ventured out to see the gorgeous grounds of the estate...
The landscaped gardens were a riot of color, profuse with all kinds of flowering spring bulbs and trees.
Aside from the surrounding mountains, the pool area was quite a perfect setting for one of the "Great Gatsby's" parties, don't you think?
Our afternoon at Hearst Castle ended with a quick visit to the fabulous indoor Roman Pool.
I hope you enjoyed my little photo blog of Hearst Castle. Want to see other libraries Jay Gatsby might have liked? Go here: The Libraries, Studies, and Writing Rooms of 15 Famous Men - from "The Art of Manliness" Blog.
And go here to read more about the various tours offered at Hearst Castle (there is even a night tour offered, where tourists can mingle with docents who are decked out in period costumes).