So, you want to take a Hearst Castle Evening Tour in December to see the lavish holiday decorations, but found too few tickets were left at a time when you could go?
There’s another nighttime option, according to Dan Falat, superintendent of the State Parks district that includes the Castle. Even though the Twilight Holiday Tour is slightly shorter and doesn’t include docents in period costumes, the upper floors of the La Casa Grande main house and Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas,” the seasonal experience is just as magical as the Evening Tour.
And never fear, both the 75-minute guided Twilight Tour and 110-minute guided Evening Tour include plenty of holiday décor and spirit, plus a full dose of Hearst Castle splendor.
Each tour route takes visitors through a holiday-decorated guest house, La Casa Grande’s grand social rooms on the first floor, the kitchen, the theater and past the famous pools. Evening Tours also include the Gothic Suite and the library.
The Twilight tour’s route is two-thirds of a mile long and includes 190 steps. The three-quarter-mile route for the Evening Tours includes 303 steps.
Hearst Castle is the luxurious hilltop “ranch” estate in San Simeon that was owned, created and frequently occupied in the 1920s and 1930s by media magnate William Randolph Hearst. It’s now a world-renowned state historical monument and historic house museum.
The seasonal décor there features numerous Christmas trees — including two towering ones in the Assembly Room — and lots of wreaths, some of which are bigger across than a pro basketball player is tall. There are gifts, wrapped and unwrapped, garlands galore and much more.
Staffers “really did an outstanding job of decorating this year,” Falat said. They included in the décor as many period-appropriate items as possible, he said, including toys.
And, as is the case at many houses, he said, staffers will continue finding new things to add to the décor throughout December. Like Grandma at home, they’ll keep on decorating until the holidays are over, and then they’ll start taking everything down and putting it away in various basement archives.
It’s as if Grandma lives in an enormous mansion, and has a nearly unlimited holiday decorating budget.
Dan Falat, superintendent of the State Parks district that includes Hearst Castle said Monday, Dec. 4, that only about 50 Evening Tour tickets were still available by late afternoon, spread out between Dec. 8, 10 and 15. Those tickets are $36 for adults and $18 for children. Bought online, there’s also a fee from reservecalifornia.com.
However, at the same time, more than 4,000 tickets were still available for the 75-minute guided Twilight Tours, which will be offered Dec. 16 through 30, with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Tickets are $30 and $15, plus reservation fee.
Night tours have up to 18 people per group, and each Twilight tour can accommodate 54 people.
Reservations, strongly recommended, are available at http://bit.ly/2jt63QA.
Both tours can jumpstart tour-takers’ holiday spirit and create long-lasting memories of the season.