After waking up and hiking Morro Bay, we headed back to San Louis Obispo. Only 20 min away from Morro bay, we arrived at our motel a few minutes early. Our attempt to check in early backfired however when we learned the building was behind in cleaning the rooms. Still in our smoky camping clothes and rocking our bed head, we ventured out for a walk. We ended up finding… pretty much nothing… the only thing we were really close to was the hotel we would stay at Sunday night: The Madonna Inn.
Now I have been to the Madonna Inn before, but I have never stayed the night. My father used to do business with Mr. Madonna before he passed away, and some of my favorite childhood memories involved the bright pink bakery boxes my dad would bring home to us. As I grew up, my friends and I started to stop for coffee at their cafe mid-road trip. We even started collecting the famous Madonna Inn goblets. The boy on the other hand had never even really heard of the hotel! Since nothing else was really nearby, we decided to go to the Madonna Inn bar for some red and pink valentines day drinks.
After drinks I took Spencer down to the gift shop where we both picked out a new goblet and checked out the "room postcards". The Madonna Inn is famous for having extreme themed rooms… one is all hot pink, another features hot rods, while still others take on a cave like appearance and feature waterfall showers. In the gift shop you can see the interior for each room in postcard form. You can also peek at the rooms here.
That afternoon we had a reservation to tour Hearst Castle. A bartender at the Madonna Inn bar told us the Castle was only 20 to 30 min away, so we took our time walking back to our motel and eating lunch nearby. Two hours after our original check in time, we were finally able to check in. Thinking I still had over an hour until we needed to leave, I decided to shower off and take my time getting ready. My plans were quickly dashed however when the boy checked for directions on his phone. The drive that we thought would take half an hour was really going to take us an hour and twenty minutes without traffic.
We rushed to the car immediately and started heading up the coast. I did my make up in-between "oohing" and "ahhing" at the views the Central Coast had to offer. We made excellent time and only hit traffic when a heard of zebras suddenly appeared to the right of the freeway. We later learned that those zebras were direct descendants of Mr. Hearst's zebras he kept at his personal zoo.
I hopped out of the car at the entryway and rushed inside to collect our tickets. After hopping through a gathering of foreign tourists, I managed to get to the ticket booth as they did the last call for our tour bus. I began to panic since S hadn't made it back from parking the car but as soon as the bus was closing the doors he appeared. The driver was flagged down before she pulled away and we were able to climb on and collapse into the back seat. It was Valentines day magic.
We planned it out so our tour would end at sunset (you're able to explore the grounds on your own after the tour) and managed to capture some of it in our pictures below. While our tour included tired crying children and cranky tour guides, the castle itself was unlike anything I have ever seen.
When making a reservation, you don't actually get to pick your specific room. Instead, you pick a category and hope for the best! Each category has 3-4 rooms. I choose the cave category (for the waterfall shower!!) which included the cave man room, Jungle Rock, and Bridal Falls. We ended up getting "Bridal Falls", which we found in postcard form below!
These two "Mountain Men" were on the side of the mantle piece and guarded a secret door…
I managed to find a piece of Siena inside the main hall!
Dressing for the era… Paper Crane Beaded top and faux leather shorts by Willow and Clay
Our Valentines Day ended with wine, cards, and chipotle. We saved our romantic dinner for our stay at the Madonna Inn…