Dreaming of that picture-perfect summer European vacation with magnificent castles and rolling vineyard hills? Wait! Put down the suitcase…Before you start packing your bags, inspired by your dreams of castles and wine, you’ll want to keep reading because we’ve found a little slice of Europe (complete with a castle and wineries) nestled in California’s Central Coast. In the hills of San Simeon, past miles of beautiful coastline and wineries stands Hearst Castle.
What is Hearst Castle? It’s only one of the most incredible castles in California. Built in 1947, Hearst Castle was William Randolph Hearst’s dream and was designed by Julia Morgan. Hearst named this retreat in the Central Coast hills, “La Cuesta Encantada,” Spanish for “Enchanted Hill.” As you embark on the drive up to the estate, chances are you’ll feel the same. Something magical happens as the sun’s rays stretch over the ocean and hit the castle; it seems to shine. During Hearst’s time in the castle, he hosted elaborate parties inviting senators, Hollywood actresses and actors, and others. To this day, it continues to welcome visitors from around the world as one of California’s historical monuments. (Did we mention that they’re celebrating their 100 year anniversary this year?)
With 165 rooms, you’ll have plenty to explore as you embark on one of the many tours that showcase Hearst Castle. One of the most popular tours is the Grand Rooms tour, which gives an overview of the breathtaking estate.
Once you’ve had your fill of the grandeur and splendor of a castle, you’ll want to make your way down Highway 1 to a winery (or three) to complete your “European” summer vacation. We have three favorite wineries that you can pull off to as you cruise down Highway 1.
You can’t visit the magnificent Hearst Castle without making a stop at the Hearst Ranch Winery. As you travel down from Hearst’s “Enchanted Hill” you’ll run into this quaint tasting room. This winery makes for an ideal first stop because their tasting room also has a café—just in case you worked up an appetite from your Grand Rooms Tour at the estate. Sit on their outside patio with a glass of wine and soak up the ocean breeze under the shade of olive trees.
Boasting both delightful, full-bodied reds and crisp white wines, Stolo Vineyards & Winery sits a little above the cozy town of Harmony. (Fun fact, this town of 18 residents is often rented out completely for weddings. When you overtake an entire town for a wedding, that’s when you know you’re doing it right.) Back to the experience at Stolo Vineyards & Winery—here you can enjoy a bottle under the Central Coast sunshine in the winery’s meadow.
As you make your way inland to Paso Robles, the third largest wine region in California, you’ll want to make sure to stop at Four Lanterns Winery. This winery is a delightful last stop. They specialize in wine varietals native to France’s Rhone Valley & Bordeaux regions. This results in a richly complex but balanced glass of wine. Now that’s ending your summer vacation on a high note!
Tag us as you embark on your own summertime adventure! We’d love to see the tours you explore at Hearst Castle and the wineries you try here on the Central Coast.
If you would like comfortable and reliable transportation on your summer adventure, our wonderful staff can be reached by the form below or by phone at (805) 620-7233.