Hey Fellow Hearstheads!!!!!
Jake and I are in San Luis Obispo, a town we previously knew nothing about but are now VERY INTO. It's hard to say what the defining charcteristic of SLO is, but a weird number of people have assured us that SLO is "known for its barbeque," which... as a Southerner... I am just so confused by. (that classic Central California BBQ?? Has anyone EVER heard of this?? Plz comment. #engagement) We tried it and, in the name of diplomacy, it was...fine. But SLO has many other things going for it including: a dope mountain (how could all these yelp reviewers be wrong! also who has the gall to leave a negative yelp review of A MOUNTAIN does nothing satisfy you people???), coffee shops where the baristas had a working knowledge of Hearst, and Cal Poly Special Collections where we had the most pleasant research experience imaginable.
We visited Cal Poly to look at the papers of Julia Morgan, Hearst's main architect and a serious trailblazer for women in the industry. Morgan served as a conduit between Hearst and many of his dealers, most notably the Bynes--the art dealing-couple in Spain that would eventually secure Hearst multiple medieval monasteries. One of my favorite documents we found was a 1924 letter from Julia Morgan casually mentioning that Mr. Hearst has been thinking he would like a cloister. Arthur Byne writes back and basically says that's crazy, it would be so expensive, it would be a logistics nightmare, it isn't really legal. But he ends the letter:
"However I shall do all I can; who knows, stranger things than this have happened in Spain."
Non-research highlights of our trip have included getting stuck in an hour-long traffic jam in between SF and SLO and finally discovering that the traffic was backed up for something called the GILROY GARLIC FESTIVAL. (which somehow involved both Giada De Laurentis AND the crowning of a Miss Gilroy Garlic.) We pulled off at a produce stand and got garlic ice cream which Jake resoundingly rejected but I thought was surprisingly good--I think it is very clear which of us is making a play for 2018 Garlic Queen.
BUT perhaps the real highlight was stopping in San Simeon, a small town where Hearst Castle is located. We briefly visited the Castle, but I crushed Jake's dreams of breaking into on-site warehouses, leading to a lot of resentment but also saving us from having to call our advisors to bail us out of a Central California jail.
Since we were not in jail, we went to the William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach which is across the road from the Castle. And who was there but *multiple humpback whales* !!!!!!!! We were on the dock and they were maybe 20-30 feet away from us and it was 100% the most magical thing that has ever happened to me. Everyone on the dock kept collectively gasping because we all know humanity does not deserve whales.
In conclusion, California has been great and productive, whales are too good for us, and I am VERY EXCITED to tell you more about all the crazy histories we encountered in these archives.