Thursday, August 19, 2010

A real castle in the air - Daphne takes lots of photos!

Daphne is traveling down the California coast on US. Highway 1 towards the Hearst Castle near San Simeon. The view is breathtaking along the twisty ocean road.

Daphne is taking lots of pictures so she can show the mini-peeps at home.

Seals sun themselves on the beaches along the way. They are resting up for a hard, cold winter and they are molting their old winter coats to make way for new ones.

The first site of the Castle is breathtaking. It is set way up on a hill and looks totally out of place in the wild and barren countryside. Zebras run with the cattle in the fields of the estate. They are descendants of the Zebras from Randolph Hearst's private zoo. (Daphne missed that picture - too bad.)

Wikipedia tells us:

"Hearst Castle is a mansion on the Central Coast of California, a National Historic Landmark in California, United States. It was designed by architect Julia Morgan for William Randolph Hearst—a newspaper magnate from 1919 until 1947. In 1957, the Hearst Corporation donated the property to the state of California. Since that time it has been maintained as state historic park where the estate and its considerable collection of art and antiques are open for public tours. Despite its location far from any urban center, the site attracts roughly one million visitors per year.

"Hearst formally named the estate "La Cuesta Encantada" ("The Enchanted Hill"), but usually called it "the ranch". The castle and grounds are also sometimes referred to as "San Simeon" without distinguishing between the Hearst property and the Unincorporated area of the same name."

Daphne loves the pool:

And, she wishes that she and Colette and some of the other little peeps would be invited to stay in the magnificent guest house shown here.

The bed is made and ready and the dinner dress is set out in the ensuite bathroom. Bathrooms are a funny place to have closets, don't you think? But, then again, the steam would get the wrinkles out of the clothes.

The ceiling of the guest house is beautiful!!

And the view from the patio of the ocean and surrounding pasture lands is incredible!

There are lots of doll-like peeps around, Daphne notices, But they are very large and colorless and they seem very un-bendy.

She takes some pictures anyway. The big doll peeps are very beautiful.

This one is relaxing by the pool.

And these three seem to have a secret.

This one, who lights the private movie theater, is a bit imposing.

And this poor peep seems to be laboring under a misapprehension of some sort. Daphne is very confused but takes a shot anyway.

The great hall even has these strange unbending peeps embedded in the mantle.

Daphne wishes that Colette were here so she could ask her about it.

The formal dining room is very impressive and very castle-like.

It even has the knights banners. Something about banners reminds Daphne of home. What is it? Oh, yes. The Flagg family and all their relatives.

Daphne  can't wait to show them her pictures.

Back outside again they get another wonderful view of the ocean.

The last stop on the tour is the inside pool with its 18 carrot gold mosaics.

"Wow!' exclaims Daphne. "This is even bigger than Colette's hot tub."

We hope you enjoyed the tour. I wonder what will happen next.



Saturday, August 14, 2010

... stopped into a church I passed along the way ..

After leaving Colette and the San Francisco holiday Daphne and her 1:1 traveling companion went further down the coast with a group of friends from DC.

There was no longer anyone of  Daphne's size and even though they visited wonderful places, by the time they got to the Mission in Carmel by the Sea Daphne was feeling low and a little out of focus.
This is the 3rd Mission completed by the Spanish in California and is the final resting place of the founding father of California missions, Father Junipero Serra. It is quite lovely and the gardens are beautiful.

When they got inside the church Daphne's spirits rose. There in front of her was a whole village of little peeps. They were slightly larger than Daphne, but they were definitely her kind of people.

A large and elaborate creche was in an alcove displaying the everyday lives of its villagers while, on a raised patio in the background, Mary and Joseph rejoice in the birth of their son.

(The photographer apologizes for the blurry pictures. They were taken without a flash so as not to intrude on the wedding taking place in the chapel down the hall)

As Daphne finished her tour of the Mission she felt much better and more focused.

Life was good and she was happy again. Little peeps could turn up in the most unexpected palces

Next Daphne and the big peeps visit the Hearst Castle.

Stay tuned.



Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Carmel Doll Shop - not to be for me.

The Carmel Doll Shop could be a wonderful experience - if you could actually get inside it.

So far I haven't been to Carmel, California more than once every 30 years, so I was excited to visit the famous Carmel Doll Shop.

It has wonderful antique dolls and dollhouse items.

When I arrived it was closed. The sign on the door said that if it was closed during business hours I should phone the posted number and someone would be there within minutes.

Heart aflutter I dialed the number.

The voice that answered was promising. "Carmel Doll Shop?"

I explained I was there and waiting for them to arrive within minutes so I could see the shop.

 But the voice had some crushing news. "The owners are at a doll show in Chicago and won't be back until next week."

I explained that I was leaving town soon.  Would they be back before Wednesday?

"No," the terrible voice told me. "They won't be back by then."

Heart broken and crestfallen, I could do nothing but take pictures through the windows and imagine that the wonderful antique items I saw inside that shop were selling at prices that I could actually afford.

Heavy of heart I consoled myself at a nearby cafe with a cappuccino and blueberry scone.

I will have to content myself with their website where I know the prices are out of my range. But to dream is to live - or some such ...


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Daphne has left her heart in San Francisco

Daphne is unhappy to discover that a vacation must come to an end.

She and Colette bid each other a tearful adieu.

"Thank you so much," Daphne tells Colette. "I have had a wonderful time and I have learned so much. I really don't want to go."

"I had a wonderful time too," says Colette. "I hope you can come back soon."

As Daphne sails away from the city she feels as lonely as the single seagull that hovers over the ship.

She thinks about all the wonderful things she saw in the city.

The Trans America building was impressive.

She loved the painted ladies at Alamo Square.

Lombard Street was a trip.

Russian Tea at the Samovar was soooo cool!

And their visit to SFMOMA was even cooler.

Lunch in Sausalito was delicious.

But the best part of all was sharing the experience with someone who understands your language and talks your talk.

The girls will miss each other.

Farewell to San Francisco.

We will be back someday.

Thanks Carol and Colette for being the most fun, most gracious, and most compatible hostesses there could be.

Hugs and kisses

Susan and Daphne