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7 of America's best castles to visit by luxury yacht

7 of America's best castles to visit by luxury yacht

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Hearst Castle
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Hearst Castle

When William Randolph Hearst inherited more than 250,000 acres of ranchland overlooking the Pacific Ocean, he dreamed of a magnificent estate to showcase his art collection. The year was 1919, and he called his whimsical vision “La Cuesta Encantada,” Spanish for “Enchanted Hill.” By 1947, his 165-room hilltop aerie, designed by architect Julia Morgan above the village of San Simeon, was complete.

Sprawling across 127 acres of lush terraced gardens that bloom year round, the Mediterranean Revival-style complex of ornate guesthouses and the twin-towered Casa Grande are filled with European treasures passionately collected by the newspaper magnate and politician. Hearst’s eclectic collections included Flemish tapestries, Persian rugs, Tiffany lamps, 18th Dynasty Egyptian sculpture, antique French furniture, 400-year old Italian and Spanish ceilings, fragments of Roman temples, Renaissance paintings and other historic works of art.

Visitors can see all of this and more on several distinct guided tours of the estate, now a museum, and imagine what it must have been like to hobnob with the crème de la crème of Hollywood elite and other influential guests who flocked there in its heyday, including Greta Garbo, Cary Grant, Charles Lindbergh, Winston Churchill and President Calvin Coolidge.

Don’t miss: The Neptune Pool’s beautiful serpentine tiles and marble colonnades overlooking the sea.

How to visit by luxury yacht: The Morro Bay Yacht Club, 30 miles to the south, has six mooring balls and a 150-foot dock for visiting yachts. A visit to Castle Farms could be incorporated as part of luxury yacht charter from San Francisco.

Picture courtesy of Aresium Art/Shutterstock.com

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