4 Year Anniversary Trip to Hearst Castle

Happy Sunday, all! We just got back from a quick trip to San Simeon for the weekend to celebrate our four year anniversary (I still have no clue how it has been 4 years since we got married, what?!). Adrian and I wanted to go somewhere close so that we could save money and get home before Adrian had to go into work on Sunday, so when I found out he had never been to Hearst Castle a few months ago, it seemed like the perfect fit!

We left town on Friday after work (for me that is – Adrian has Fridays off). **Quick tangent: big thanks to my parents for watching our dog, Winston, while we were gone and to Adrian for cleaning up the house before they arrived!** Anyways, we didn’t actually hit the road until about 5 and we knew the chances of finding vegetarian food in a small town like San Simeon were slim to none, so we stopped for dinner in Morro Bay. We ended up finding a Thai food place – Thai is our favorite – on Yelp. We started with fresh rolls, Adrian had the Drunken Noodles (they were so, so good I definitely had food envy), and I had the Pumpkin Curry with tofu.

Pumpkin Tofu Curry - I ate about half of it before remembering to snap a pic - oops!
Pumpkin Tofu Curry – I ate about half of it before remembering to snap a pic – oops!
We didn’t get to the hotel until after 8 and we were both tired from the work week, so we got in our PJs and cuddled up to watch a movie on TV. Our room got HBO, so we ended up watching Trainwreck before bed and falling asleep by 10:30.  I’d seen the movie before with my dad, but Adrian hadn’t – he’s not a huge Amy Schumer fan, but even he admitted it was a pretty good movie.

Also, for those who are interested, we stayed at The Morgan. It was nothing too fancy, but it definitely had some of the more competitive prices in the area and it was less than 10 minutes away from Hearst Castle. We were also lucky enough to get an ocean-facing room, but we were in the kind of odd second building. The only bummer was that the hotel only has a pool and no jacuzzi and it was definitely too cold this weekend to find a pool appealing. I also found it super strange they didn’t provide a blow dryer – don’t mind my air-dried hair in the following pics!

Saturday morning we were both awake by 7:30 and we decided to go on a short run on the beach. The beach was only about a half mile long, so we ran it 3 times before getting a little bored and calling it quits. It was a perfect way to start the day with a little exercise. I’m pretty excited that I’ve been able to get Adrian to run with me lately since we’re both signed up for the Yosemite Half Marathon next weekend (can’t wait – even though I’m not in great shape I love love love Yosemite!). Afterwards we headed back to shower and get ready for the day. We had breakfast at Big Sur Restaurant (not horrible, but I also wouldn’t recommend it) and then headed over to Hearst Castle.

We got to Hearst Castle around 10:20am and when we checked in the attendant asked if we wanted to move our 11:30 reservation up to 11:20 and also let us know that would give us just enough time to catch the movie, “Hearst Castle – Building the Dream,” in the theater at 10:30 before starting the tour. I kept gushing about what perfect timing we had for everything and Adrian laughed at me for getting so darn excited over such little details – it’s the little things, right?!

Of course, Hearst Castle was beautiful to take in and I loved hearing the history again. We did the hour long Grand Rooms tour and then enjoyed exploring outside for a while after the tour was over. And a head’s up for anyone visiting in the next year – Neptune’s Pool is currently under construction, so it’s not much to see right now.

Getting of the shuttle bus.
Getting of the shuttle bus.
The main entrance to "La Casa Grande"
The main entrance to “La Casa Grande.”
Overlooking the San Simeon Bay.
Overlooking San Simeon Bay.
I look awkward standing alone, but I just love the architecture of the guest houses and the vibrant bougainvilleas.
I look awkward standing alone, but I just love the architecture of the guest houses and the vibrant bougainvilleas.
Down in the gardens by Neptune's Pool.
Down in the gardens by Neptune’s Pool.
The indoor pool - my favorite.
The indoor pool – my favorite.
After leaving Hearst Castle, we set out to check out the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse and see the elephant seals. The lighthouse was closed – womp, womp – not a big deal since it was a totally in the moment decision to check it out. Thankfully, the elephant seals were all out in their full glory sunbathing on the beach. There must have been over a hundred of them and we kept laughing at how funny they looked using their flippers to throw sand over their backs and at the sounds they were making…it was kind of a snort and a bark combined.

A beach full of elephant seals and two of them duking it out in the waves!
A beach full of elephant seals and two of them duking it out in the waves.
We headed back to the hotel for a quick outfit change and then headed 6 miles south to Cambria for a late lunch around 2pm. We both wanted sandwiches and Sandy’s ended up being the perfect spot. We both got the “Mother Nature” sandwich and said it reminded us almost exactly of the amazing sandwiches we got at High St. Deli in SLO by the same name.

Bad lighting, but amazing sandwich!
Bad lighting, but amazing sandwich!
We enjoyed our sandwiches out in the sun on the patio and then walked and drove around Cambria – the main tourist area is split into two and you have to drive a little down the street before finding the second half of it. The city is mostly filled with restaurants, art galleries, and antiques. We stopped into a really cool new looking grocery store called Thrive and also checked out a small artisan foods shop before heading back to our hotel for a couple of hours.

We relaxed and I fell asleep for a short nap before deciding to head back into Cambria for dinner. We had a couple ideas of places to go from Yelp, but ended up going somewhere completely different once we saw everyone flocking to Linn’s Restaurant. There was a 30 minute wait since we didn’t have reservations, but the hostess was extremely friendly and suggested heading to the saloon across the street to have a drink while we waited and even offered to come across the street and find us if a table opened up before we came back! The saloon was funky and seemed to be a place where locals and not just tourist hang out. Adrian said his cocktail was great and, while I didn’t have a drink, I can vouch for their free popcorn being a winner.

By the time we sat down to dinner it was almost 8:30, so we were thankful for the quick and kind service we got at Linn’s. They are known for their Olallieberry pie and also serve Olallieberry preserves with their bread to start and it was divine. I had the Roasted Vegetable Polenta and Adrian had their vegetarian pot pie and we were both really happy with what we ordered. We were way too stuffed to order dessert even though they looked so good in the display case, so I finished my meal with their decaf Olallieberry black tea and it was a perfect way to end the meal. After dinner it was almost 10, so we headed back to the hotel and watched a little TV before falling asleep.

Sunday morning we got up at 7 since Adrian had to be back at work by 11.  We packed up our bags, checked out, and grabbed bagels from the hotel’s continental breakfast. One last stop before heading home – to take pictures with all the scarecrows! The cities of San Simeon and Cambria have a scarecrow festival during October and have handmade scarecrows in front of every business in the area. Some are funny, others are creepy, some are just strange, but we’d been seeing them all weekend and had to take some pictures before leaving.

Trying to mimic the pumpkin's face...success?
Trying to mimic the pumpkin’s face…success?
We had a little too much fun…

Garden Variety Runner

Then we hit the road and got home by 9:45. Perfect timing for Adrian to change and head into work. Since my parents were still here, the three of us got to head out on a little adventure, but I’ll share that tomorrow since this post is already getting way too long!

Have a start to your week tomorrow and happy October!

Have you ever been to Hearst Castle?

Does your city have any Halloween/fall traditions? I just found out our valley has a scarecrow festival too that starts next week!

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