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Between Hearst Castle and the Pacific Ocean, come visit us in W.R. Hearst’s and Julia Morgan’s estate village.

Old San Simeon Village

Immediately adjacent to the Pacific Coast Highway and nestled between Hearst Castle and W.R. Hearst Memorial State Beach, Old San Simeon Village now offers two locations for visitors to enjoy the beauty and history of the area:
Hearst Ranch Winery outdoor tasting room with wicker and wood chairs and tables, blue umbrellas, and a view of the ocean.

San Simeon Hearst Ranch Winery Tasting Room

With soaring ceilings, plentiful seating and an accompanying food truck, Hearst Ranch Winery’s tasting room is the perfect place to enjoy excellent wine and a bite to eat inside or at dog-friendly outdoor tables with sweeping views of the Pacific. Reservations are generally required. Please visit Hearst Ranch Winery’s site for details: click here.

Sebastian’s General Store

Reopened in June 2023 after a multi-year rehabilitation, Sebastian’s is the spot to grab lunch before or after your Hearst Castle tour, shop for unique and local goods or enjoy an afternoon beverage. Seaside Foods’ deli counter offers grab-and-go meals if you’re in a hurry, or made-to-order sandwiches featuring fresh, local ingredients and Hearst Ranch Beef.
Sebastian's General Store.

History of Old San Simeon Village

In 1840, California Governor Juan Alvarado granted 48,806 acres to José de Jesús Pico, creating Rancho de la Piedra Blanca, so named for the prominent white rocks offshore.

In 1864, Portuguese sailor Captain Joseph Clark obtained permission from Pico to open a whaling station on the inshore side of San Simeon Point. Clark’s whaling station included living quarters, a small wharf, storage sheds, and utility buildings, which continued to operate after George Hearst purchased all of Pico’s San Simeon holdings in 1865. Hearst then leased out portions of the property to dairy farmers and continued to acquire other adjacent properties, which would soon become known as the Hearst Ranch.

William Randolph Hearst Era

William Randolph Hearst Era

George Hearst died in 1891, and his wife Phoebe Hearst died in 1919. Their only child, William Randolph Hearst, began work on Hearst Castle the same year. Construction supplies and furnishings for Hearst Castle were shipped in by steamships that unloaded at a wharf George Hearst built in 1878 on San Simeon Cove or were trucked in from San Luis Obispo where they were delivered by train. Items were stored in four existing warehouses. Around 1928, Hearst started development of an estate village on San Simeon Cove – between the pier and the Arroyo del Puerto drainage - later known as ‘Old San Simeon Village.’
George Hearst's 1000 foot long wharf and warehouse built in 1878.
George Hearst's 1000 foot long wharf and warehouse built in 1878
San Simeon in the early 20's, before William Randolph Hearst replaced frame houses.
This involved the removal of several older buildings and in 1930 Julia Morgan (architect of Hearst Castle and the first licensed woman architect in California) designed five Spanish Colonial and Mission Revival style residences for important Hearst employees. She also designed the ‘stucco’ warehouse (intentionally resembling an early California mission) facing the ocean which was built in 1931. Around this time hundreds of eucalyptus, Monterey Pine, and Monterey cypress trees were planted on San Simeon Point and around the estate village, offering shade and – critically – protection from frequent winds. Even today aerial images clearly show these trees were planted in neat, orderly rows.
Julia Morgan's drawing of San Simeon Village.
Julia Morgan's drawing of San Simeon Village.
William Randolph Hearst died in 1951. In 1957 his heirs deeded Hearst Castle to the State of California. They also deeded a nearby lot – separated from the estate village by the Arroyo del Puerto drainage – to the State for use as a public beach, and authorized moving George Hearst’s pier from its historic location to its current one, where it is also accessible by the public. These areas are today known as W.R. Hearst Memorial State Beach, managed by the California Department of Parks & Recreation

San Simeon in the early 20's, before William Randolph Hearst replaced frame houses.
An aerial view of Hearst Ranch, with San Simeon Pier and the ocean visible.

Old San Simeon Village Today

Old San Simeon Village today comprises the historic warehouses, five Julia Morgan-designed residences, still occupied by Hearst employees, Sebastian’s store, and the Pacific School building (opened in 1882 but closed in the 1940s). It is reportedly the last estate village in the country remaining in private ownership.
Like the rest of the property, Old San Simeon Village is protected by a conservation easement recorded in 2005 and held by the California Rangeland Trust. This easement significantly limits future commercial development of the area and ensures that any such development will be compatible with Julia Morgan’s original plans and drawings and the historic character of the area.
A red roofed schoolhouse in Old San Simeon, with a white picket fence, and three horses in front.
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P.O. Box 66, San Simeon, CA 93452

Phone: 805-927-4611

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