Hearst Castle, Tide Pools, and Paso Robles Eats

Road Journals Blog—What would a journey to California’s Central Coast be without a stop at that enchantingly extravagant Hearst Castle? In 1919 the young Hearst commissioned San Francisco architect Julia Morgan to “build a little something.” By 1947, Hearst and Morgan had created a 165-room Mediterranean revival estate surrounded by 127 acres of gardens, terraces, fountains, and pools.

Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle at sunset. | courtesy of Hearst Castle®/California State Parks

Today, you can get an intimate look at Hearst’s own bedroom, the rooms of his mistress, Marion Davies, and the study where Hearst reviewed each day’s news. Our tour guide kept us laughing as he expounded on Hearst’s imported Spanish ceilings, signed first-edition novels, and collection of 2,000-year-old Greek vases. When we couldn’t stand the sight of one more marble bust, we drove to Paso Robles for dinner—pork empanadas, yucca fries, and chile rellenos stuffed with roast corn and crab at chic Estrella.

We stayed in the hills around Paso Robles, and the next day headed to nearby Montaña de Oro State Park. Jagged rocks made accessing the tide pools tricky, but Corallina Cove was a treasure trove of shy anemones, scurrying hermit crabs, and even the shell of a bay red abalone washed up on shore.

Powell's Candy Shop, Paso Robles

Powell's carries candies from decades past. | Heather Kathryn Ross

Our adventure came to the sweetest possible end back in downtown Paso at Powell’s Sweet Shoppe. Modeled after a turn-of-the-century confectioner’s shop, Powell’s overflowed with Cracker Jacks and Bazooka bubble gum, jawbreakers and Jelly Bellys. Could I start the three-hour drive back to the Bay Area without Whoppers and an Almond Joy? Of course not.

This blog post was first published in May 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.