California Adventure with Hearst Castle ~ Priority Notification List
Hearst Castle, Santa Barbara, Bakersfield & More
During this four-day experience, visit some of Southern California’s most popular sights. From unique inland cities, to the “American Riviera”, to scenic coastal driving along iconic Highway 101, to the famed Hearst Castle, the days will be filled with interesting activities.
The Highlights & Cities
Santa Barbara Mission: Tour this cultural and historic landmark. The Santa Barbara Mission was established in 1786 and was the tenth of twenty-one California Missions to be founded by the Spanish Franciscans. More than 200 years later, the mission remains vibrant. Home to a community of Franciscan friars, the Mission features a beautiful church with a large and active parish; a museum and gift shop; a cemetery and mausoleum; eight restored rooms, and ten acres of beautifully landscaped gardens. The Mission’s commanding position and grand proportions, unique twin bell towers, graceful lines and soft, blending colors all reinforce her title, “Queen of the Missions.”
Hearst Castle: William Randolph Hearst told architect Julia Morgan that he wanted to build “a little something” on the California coast. Three decades later, Casa Grande (commonly called Hearst Castle) crowned La Cuesta Encantada, Hearst’s “Enchanted Hill” above tiny San Simeon. It’s a 165-room Moorish castle with 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways, furnished with Spanish and Italian antiques and art, flanked by three large guest houses. The estate has 56 bedrooms, 41 fireplaces, 61 bathrooms, within 90,080 square feet. In its heyday, Hearst Castle had a zoo, tennis courts and two magnificent swimming pools. “The Grand Rooms” guided tour takes visitors back in time, interpreting many aspects, including William Randolph Hearst and his family, the art collection, architecture, gardens and lifestyle at the Castle. The tour is 60 minutes long. The route includes approximately 159 steps, both up and down, and 2/3-mile walk. An Accessibly Designed Grand Rooms Tour is also available for those who may have difficulty standing and walking for extended periods of time. Please let us know when you make your reservations with Tour West if you will require this option. It is wheelchair accessible. A stunning IMAX movie also provides insight into the era.
Piedras Blancas Rookery: Just short coach ride north of the Castle, view Northern Elephant seals in their natural habitat. The Northern Elephant Seal, Mirounga angustirostris, is an extraordinary marine mammal. It spends eight to ten months a year in the open ocean, diving 1000 to 5800 feet deep for periods of fifteen minutes to two hours, and migrating thousands of miles, twice a year, to its land based rookery for birthing, breeding, molting and rest. Northern elephant seals, the world’s second largest type of seal, are named for the males’ proboscis-like snouts; mature males can grow to 16 feet/5 meters long and weigh up to 5,000 pounds. The Piedras Blancas rookery is home to about 17,000 animals. Mid February is a perfect time to visit; the beach will be full of newly born pups and their nursing mothers.
Bakerfield: This city sits in the middle of one of the largest agricultural producing areas in the world. What is grown here finds its way to points all around the globe. Bakersfield is also a city of music. “The Bakersfield Sound” is popular worldwide. Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, an all-in-one restaurant, museum, and theater focuses on the rich history and sounds of country music.
Santa Barbara: It’s easy to see the allure of Santa Barbara: long stretches of tawny sand edging an expanse of ocean, an imposing backdrop of chaparral-covered mountains, and in between, a ribbon of land. Here, in “The American Riviera®”, golden hillsides cascade into sparkling seas, red-tile roofs give way to abundantly sunny skies. Stroll out along Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara’s Waterfront district. Wine country and lush gardens welcome you, and porticos lead to quaint downtown enclaves. Santa Barbara was the original “Hollywood”; hundreds of silent movies and westerns were filmed here in the early 1900s, including Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” (1923). The region continues to be used as a backdrop for photo shoots, commercials and films; feature film shoots have included “Hidalgo,” “Seabiscuit” and “Sideways.”
Cambria: Eat up the small town charm of Cambria. Numerous studios and galleries grace the quaint main street, as well as unique one-of-a-kind and specialty shops. Nearby, stroll the boardwalk along Moonstone Beach. Find refuge on a wood bench and watch for whales, dolphins and birds. Feel the sand between your toes — if you look closely at the small rocks along the beach, you’ll see some aren’t rocks at all. Instead, they’re colorful, shiny moonstones for which the beach was named.
Day 1 – Early morning departure, with a breakfast stop in Brawley, we arrive in Santa Barbara for lunch and sight-seeing.
Santa Barbara is a coastal resort where bougainvillea flowers climb white walls and an old California mission drowses in the sun. Among the city’s ravishing charms are a Mediterranean climate, gardens, broad beaches, a pretty yacht harbor, and mountains tinged with Impressionist pinks and blues. Stroll Stearns Wharf, the oldest wharf operating on the West Coast (1872). Like any self-respecting pier, it has a bait shop and a gypsy palm reader; also, restaurants and shops.
Tour Mission Santa Barbara with the insights of a docent guide. From a breathtaking mission church and historic cemetery to beautiful gardens and a captivating museum, Old Mission Santa Barbara is something to experience.
Later, check in to overnight accommodations in nearby Buellton.
Day 2 – Heading northward to Cambria, there is much to explore today.
The bus travels along the coastal highway, iconic Route 1. Feast your eyes as we drive along bluffs above the Pacific Ocean, treated to stunning views — the sea on one side, the Santa Ynez Mountains on the other.
Visit Monarch Grove at Pismo Beach. Each year thousands of vibrant orange and black Monarch Butterflies flock here, seeking shelter from the freezing northern winters. From late October to February, the butterflies cluster in the limbs of a grove of Eucalyptus trees. The colony is one of the largest in the nation, hosting an average of 25,000 butterflies over the last five years.
Later, eat up the small town charm of Cambria. Stroll the boardwalk along nearby Moonstone Beach, or tour crazy Nitt Witt Ridge. It is the remarkable folk art creation of Arthur Harold Beal, a Cambria Pines pioneer who sculpted the land using hand tools and indigenous materials, inventiveness and self-taught skills. A blend of native materials and contemporary elements, it is a revealing memorial to Art’s cosmic humor and zest for life. Beal was garbage collector for the town of Cambria and made good use of what Cambrians were throwing away, as well as the natural materials on the property, in the nearby pine forests, and on the area’s beaches. Common building materials incorporated in the structure are beer cans, abalone shells, and concrete. There are also washer drums, car rims, tile, car parts, and old stoves.
Day 3 – This morning, visit Piedras Blancas Rookery and take the Grand Room Tour at Hearst Castle.
Travel west to Bakersfield, for overnight lodging. An optional outing to Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace is offered. Enjoy dinner and live entertainment.
Day 4 – Heading toward the Yuma area, we make comfort and refreshment stops as required.
We visit Rio Tinto Visitor Center to learn about Boron mining, and make a stop at Tehachapi Loop. This engineering marvel attracts train fans from all over the world. The steep line averages 2.2% in gradient in its 28 miles of
length. This feat of civil engineering genius was the crowning achievement of civil engineer William Hood of the Southern Pacific Railway Company. It is one of the seven wonders of the railroad world.
Please note: This is a high activity level tour. It will require walking and standing during guided tours and independent exploration, at times numerous steps are involved. Elevators are not present at all venues/hotels. This tour is considered inappropriate for persons with mobility limitations.5:30 AM Yuma Foothills 6:00 AM Depart Yuma TWA office Final Day estimated return 9:00 – 10:00 PM
$TBA pp/do…. escorted tour includes 3 nights quality hotel accommodations with hotel breakfasts, admission and tours Mission Santa Barbara and Hearst Castle, sight-seeing as described and deluxe motorcoach transportation. $TBA single.
Dates TBA ~ February 2017
For a description of tour policies, including cancellation penalties, click “Policies and Procedures” at the very bottom of this page.