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No Place Like Home Hearst Castle Gardens and Vistas Tour

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Published on May 7, 2010

Since Hearst Castle began it's first public tour more than 50 years ago, some 33-million people have paid a visit. If you live on the Central Coast, you should be one of them. But whether you are or aren't, you now have another good reason to get it on the calendar. There's now a whole new way to see La Cuesta Encantada, or The Enchanted Hill, like never before. And it offers spectacular proof, there's no place like home.

It really is one of those places anyone who lives here should visit. It is the home that William Randolph Hearst built on one of the most beautiful pieces of property anywhere.

"250,000 acres. 50 miles of beach front property..." Dan Eller points out as we stand on the balcony of Casa Del Mar, the home Mr. Hearst lived in first and last before he died. "Casa Del Mar, House of the Sea."

The castle is amazing. It takes a few trips and tours to even begin to see all that's inside. It's construction, d├ęcor and the 22,000-plus pieces of art it holds make it worthy of the journey. And the story of the man who built it makes it all the more fascinating.

It's why the new tour now being offered at the castle is so special. The Gardens and Vistas tour allows you to enjoy the thing Mr. Hearst appreciated most....the views. "People have been telling us that on this tour they feel like this must have been what it was like back in the 1930s when Mr. Hearst was here and they were guests," says Eller.

You can now wander the estate's picturesque grounds, on your own, at your own pace. After the last of the regular guided tours have ended for the day, the Gardens and Vistas are open for you to explore.

Take your time and check out the hundreds of sculptures and art pieces nestled within.Stroll the steps celebrities once did on their way for a dip in the Neptune pool. Or find a quiet corner to simply appreciate the fragrance of the the orange blossoms and roses all around you.

Unlike other tours offered at the castle, you are on your own for this one. But nestled here and there will be guides ready to offer directions or answers to the questions you'll no doubt find you have. "This is a place that harbors questions," says Eller. "Our guides are there to answer your questions, and talk more about what you're interested in."

You now have access to areas never before open to tours. Anything off limits is clearly marked. But otherwise, explore away. This is a chance to let your imagination wander as well as your feet. You are a guest and you set the afternoon agenda of your stay. "During the late afternoon, golden hour is wonderful, but imagine being here in about three hours from now as the sun is getting ready to set," Eller says as he sits in a garden chair overlooking the Pacific. "You can watch the sunset, take pictures, spend time with family in friends and really enjoy a piece of American history."

And it's right in our won backyard. There really is no place like home.

For more information on the tour, click here. And to send me an idea for no place like home, click here.

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