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Part 4: Great Drives, Porsche Travel Club

The very grand exterior of Hearst Castle.

In the fourth installment of his Great Drives series, guest blogger Nick Kurczewski stops at Hearst Castle with the Porsche Travel Club.

By Nick Kurczewski

“I could stay here all day,” whispered one of my fellow Porsche Travel Club companions during a tour of the magnificent Hearst Castle. Located roughly halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, this breathtaking residence once owned by William Randolph Hearst includes the extensive main residence (more than 165 rooms!), along with several opulent guest cottages. There are also acres of outdoor pools and manicured gardens, all surrounded by marble fountains and statues.

Stretching to 250,000 acres, on clear days the Castle offers sweeping views of the California coastline. At one point, the estate included its own private airfield—still in occasional use by the Hearst family—and what was at the time the world’s largest private zoo. A small herd of zebras and several other exotic species can often be spotted roaming the surrounding countryside.

William Randolph Hearst had the vision, and money, to build this hilltop escape that he liked to call La Cuesta Encantada (The Enchanted Hill). The property had belonged to Hearst’s father since 1865, though for years it remained largely undeveloped. In 1919, architect Julia Morgan was tasked with designing the property. It would take nearly 30 years to complete and had to encompass Hearst’s dizzying array of precious art and antiquities.

In the Assembly Room, the tour’s first stop, the walls are lined with a series of tapestries that once hung in the palace of Versailles. Antonio Canova’s seemingly bashful “Venus Italica” stands modestly in one corner. Once owned by Napoleon Bonaparte’s younger brother, Lucien, our guide estimates the statue’s current value at approximately $20 million dollars. Renovations to the house, and the vast job of cataloging the artwork contained within, are still ongoing.

Hearst Castle's Roman Pool.

For many visitors, myself included, one of the tour highlights is the Roman Pool. The interior tile-work makes stepping inside like finding yourself in a jewelry box of epic proportions. Every surface is covered in vibrant colors that, much like the crystal clear water, look as though you could dip your fingers into them. Occasionally, charitable auctions and special events allow a lucky few to take a dip in the pool, or savor sparkling wines and a gourmet dinner served on the Main Terrace.

Photos by Nick Kurczewski

Part 1: Great Drives, Porsche Travel Club
Part 2: Great Drives, Porsche Travel Club

Part 3: Great Drives, Porsche Travel Club


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About Sarah Elbert

Sarah Elbert

As executive editor of Delta Sky, Sarah Elbert lassos the best writers she can find to cover the world—as well as contributing some prose of her own. Before coming to Sky, Sarah was editorial director of magazines including Northwest WorldTraveler and Carlson Wagonlit Travel's Postcards. She has been a newspaper editor, a freelance writer and an Associated Press reporter, riding with the White House travel pool (back in the Clinton days) and covering everything from natural disasters to a cat kidney transplant. Sarah has written for The New York Times, the New York Post, the New York Sun—but not the NY Daily News. She now lives in Minneapolis, which she finds lovely and underrated, but does occasionally miss Manhattan and the Staten Island Ferry. Sarah would like to think she could again go backpacking across Europe, and she still loves to travel, but she knows that train has left the station. It's just so much quicker to fly.

About Deborah Caulfield Rybak

Deborah Caulfield Rybak

Senior editor Deborah Caulfield Rybak interviewed the Who’s Who of Hollywood during her years as an entertainment industry reporter at the Los Angeles Times. She still prefers writing about the arts to almost any other journalistic activity, so it’s a good thing we’ve got her on that beat at Sky. She’s pocketed numerous journalism awards and co-written three books.

But that’s just her journalistic cred: she’s also worked as an FM deejay in Aspen, a speechwriter in Washington and an environmental film festival director in Colorado. She considers herself happiest when she’s out of town—and out of cellphone range. She’s hitchhiked across Kenya, spent the night atop a pyramid in Central America, hovered face-to-mandible with giant manta rays during a night dive in Hawaii and hiked the High Atlas mountains in Morocco. Still left on her to do list: Bhutan and marlin fishing.

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Liz Doyle

After a few years navigating the trenches of New York's fashion scene as a stylist assistant at Harpers Bazaar, fashion editor Liz Doyle is excited to be back in her childhood hometown of Minneapolis. When she isn't scouting the latest trends in fashion and travel, she moonlights at a local Parisian brasserie where she says "welcome" and "enjoy" a lot and occasionally tries to improve her French. Though her foray to the editorial side of the magazine industry is a new one, she welcomes the challenge and can't wait to see what this new adventure holds.

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Amanda Hoffstrom

Associate online editor Amanda Welshons maintains the web and social media presence of Delta Sky. She enjoys using new media and exploring how different platforms enhance the reader experience. Based in Minneapolis, Amanda has several destinations on her bucket list including London, Paris and Sydney. She just spent a blissful week in St. Lucia for her honeymoon, and can't wait for upcoming trips to Chicago, Seattle, Vancouver and New York. When she’s not in the office, she's a pop culture junkie, soaking up as many movies, television shows and magazines as possible.