A February 2004 trip
to Cambria by SFPhotocraft
Quote: For Spring Break we headed south to LA and Disneyland. Rather than taking the very boring I-5 we took the slower 101 and headed off the freeway to see Hearst Castle and the Cambria area. It was well worth the detour.
Shop in Cambria, check out the small theater, or visit the local lighthouse. The nearby beaches are also home to elephant seals.
Most of all, visit HEARST CASTLE -- give it a FULL DAY and enjoy all four tours. It's worth it! You will understand why Hearst picked this area for his getaway mansion.
Hotel | "Best Western Fireside Inn"
The office is small with a nice fireplace. There is a medium sized pool and a relaxing hot tub and a cozy breakfast room. Rates all include a hearty self serve breakfast. What more could you want? The hotel is clean and comfortable and in a great location. Breakfast is good and the pool and hottub are great. Being a motel, the parking is easy and convinent, our car was right outside our front door.
At check in, the staff was a little unfriendly. We asked for a dining suggestion and all we got was a grunt and a finger pointing to a book of menus on the coffee table. Not a smile or a suggestion to be had. Things were more friendly the next morning when the woman who took care of the breakfast room was more chatty and had lots of smiles and "Good Mornings" for all the guests.
The room was a nice size, newly decorated. It seemed fresh and updated. Our room did have a very ugly parking lot view. However, front rooms have a WONDERFUL beach view with great private patios. Some larger rooms have a fireplace.
The hotel is near downtown Cambria (5 minutes) and 10 minutes to Hearst Castle and right on the beach. It's a great location for all your coastal exploring.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 18, 2004
Best Western Fireside Inn Moon
6700 Moonstone Beach Dr
Cambria, California 93428
Restaurant | "Moonstone Beach Bar/Grill"
The menu was expansive with lots of choices. It runs from fresh fish, to steaks to pastas. The kids had steak and it was excellent. I had an orange -coated halibut and it too was delicious.
It's well worth for the meal for the service, food and, yes, the view. Moonstone Beach is one of a kind and they have a prime spot on the beach!
Moonstone Beach Bar and Grill
6550 Moonstone Beach Drive
Cambria, California 93428
WR Hearst threw parties, entertained movie stars and politicians here, and lived in this wonderful estate six months each year. It has been left intact and much like it was in Hearst's day. You can feel what it must have been like to be one of the honored weekend guests at this estate.
The tours are well run. The estate is SO large that it requires four tours to see the entire estate. These tours run all day long and you can book via the castle's own website at HearstCastle.com.
Four tours are offered plus an evening tour. Tour number 1 is where to start. If time only allows you one tour, this is the one you will want to purchase. This tour includes a film, the main house (first floor) plus the pool area. The other three tours include the pools, gardens, guesthouses, second floor, wine cellar, and kitchen. Each tour overlaps a bit.
The main house is called Casa Grande and looks more like a church than a home. Hearst built it that way on purpose. It was suppose to be the centerpiece of this hilltop village and that is always a church. The main house is awesome, but I enjoyed the small cottages and guesthouse most of all. I love Casa del Mar.
You start at the base of the hill at the visitors’ center and take a five-minute bus ride up the hill. Each tour requires that your return to the base of the hill to the visitors center and back up again for the next tour. It's a long ride on a curvy road and if you get motion sickness it's not fun to have to go up and down all day. We had three different guides this day and each one was outstanding and really knew their facts. They are full of cute and interesting stories and facts.
The visitors’ center has a snack bar and a gift shop. The snack bar is a basic hamburger and hot dog counter and not very interesting. There are tables to eat at outside. Things can get chilly if you pick a day with lots of fog.
This place is very well run, very organized, and worth a detour off Hwy 101 for a visit.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 18, 2004
750 Hearst Castle Road
San Simeon, California 93452