Hello Friends and Family,

Hearst Castle and Carmel Mission, 1979

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

I apologize that I was busy this week with personal commitments and could not get out to capture new photos so I will again share some older ones taken some time ago with my old Minolta film camera.

In 1979, my parents were in California for a visit and we decided to explore some attractions a bit farther from home, such as the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, located on the Central Coast of California. As you may already know or recall from a previous LAHP, the Hearst Castle was the extravagant creation of William Randolph Hearst, publishing tycoon and architect, Julia Morgan.

The complex was built on top of a hill with a commanding view of the surrounding countryside. Hearst filled the buildings with architectural elements, art, antiques, statuary, silverware, and textiles on an epic scale. The grounds complimented the interior with spectacular landscaping.

From Wikipedia, "In the Roaring Twenties and into the 1930s, Hearst Castle reached its social peak. Originally intended as a family home for Hearst, his wife Millicent, and their five sons, by 1925 he and Millicent had effectively separated and he held court at San Simeon with his mistress, the actress Marion Davies. Their guest list comprised most of the Hollywood stars of the period; Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, the Marx Brothers, Greta Garbo, Buster Keaton, Mary Pickford, Jean Harlow, and Clark Gable all visited, some on multiple occasions. Political luminaries encompassed Calvin Coolidge and Winston Churchill while other notables included Charles Lindbergh, P. G. Wodehouse, and Bernard Shaw. Visitors gathered each evening at Casa Grande for drinks in the Assembly Room, dined in the Refectory, and watched the latest movie in the theater before retiring to the luxurious accommodation provided by the guest houses".

For me, the jaw-dropping elements were the outdoor (pictured here) and indoor swimming pools. Can you imagine hobnobbing with the crème de la crème of Hollywood, business, politics, and the arts while sharing what Hearst thought the "most sumptuous swimming pool on earth"?

As the tour walked around the Romanesque pool, I kept thinking that someone would break ranks and jump in. No one did but it was sure tempting. Sadly, the limits of slide photography in those days prevented me from capturing the interiors of the buildings we toured. A nice flash attachment would have helped but I suspect that the tour operators would have frowned on that.

I keep thinking that it is time to visit again. After all, I'm not getting any younger.

The second destination on our trip of exploration was the Misión de San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo located in Carmel-by-the-Sea. It was initially constructed in 1797 and is the most authentically restored of the Roman Catholic mission churches in California.

Here we see the bell tower — the only Spanish mission in California that has its original bell and bell tower.

According to Wikipedia, "From 1797 until 1833, Carmel Mission was the headquarters of all Alta California missions. It was headed by Saint Junípero Serra from 1770 until his death in 1784. It was also the seat of the second missions presidente, Father Fermín Francisco de Lasuén, who was in charge of completing nine more mission churches."

Also from Wikipedia, "In 1833 the mission buildings and lands were secularized by the Mexican government. By the mid-19th century, the Carmel Mission structures had fallen into disrepair. The chapel was saved from total destruction when the roof was rebuilt in 1884. In 1886, ownership of the mission was transferred from a group of Franciscans to the Diocese of Monterey. Ever since, Carmel Mission has been a parish within that Diocese."

I found that not only is the reconstructed Mission impressive, so were the gardens. I'm sure the monks who served the Church in those days found it quite inspiring as well.

Also, I especially liked this vantage point from a photography perspective — very nice. I hope you enjoyed it too.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com