Over-the-top Hearst Castle
Visitors to Hearst Castle in San Simeon, Calif., soon notice that it’s a little different from their own homes, said Christopher Reynolds in the Los Angeles Times. Apart from the 38 bedrooms, there are the 234 staffers. There also used to be a zoo. Newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst built the 127-acre estate between 1919 and 1947. Casa Grande, the 115-room main house, looms over a trio of guesthouses. The cluster of buildings “gives the effect of a little hill town huddled around a twin-towered cathedral.” Other features include the outdoor Neptune Pool and the indoor Roman Pool; the zoo was dismantled before Hearst’s death, in 1951. Hearst also took a special interest in his gardens. One hilltop is still dominated by 1,000 rosebushes, and orange, grapefruit, and lemon trees.
Mussel and oyster nirvana
Prince Edward Island is a watery heaven, said Frank Bruni in The New York Times. If, that is, you’re a shellfish fan. Tucked into the Gulf of St. Lawrence just above Nova Scotia, “and just beyond the curiosity of most travelers,” this is the smallest and least populated of Canada’s 10 provinces. That means coastal industries have not sullied its pure, cold waters. One local calls the area “the Cognac of shellfish-growing regions.” I journeyed there for oysters and mussels, and found mussel nirvana at Flex Mussels in Charlottetown, where mollusks are served in more than 20 different broths and sauces. There wasn’t a “dud in the lot.” One morning I also harvested my own oysters from the bow of an 18-foot boat. These oysters “filled out their shells the way Jayne Mansfield filled out a dress.” How did they taste? “Wow.”