Today, I saw ZEBRA IN WITH THE CATTLE! Yup. (I’m working at the Hearst Ranch.)

I’ve started a new job.  I’m working for Hearst Ranch Winery.  Yes, those Hearsts (William Randolph Hearst and Hearst Castle Hearsts).  The winery is on their private beach below the castle.  Awesome history, awesome views.

(As an aside, to work in an original Hearst building is incredible!  The history and the people that have shared this space – years ago – fills the air with a snapcracklepop!  The vigor and depth of the agriculture and the architecture is awe inspiring.)

Anyway, as I was driving to work today – up the Pacific Coast Highway which runs along the Pacific Ocean – I saw a herd of cattle, with a few ZEBRAS and a mini donk – in the pasture across from the water!

I nearly fell over.

Of course, I was driving at the time and didn’t think to take a photo… but I should have pulled over.  I don’t know how often the cattle of Hearst Ranch are so close to the highway – and I don’t know how often the zebras join them.  But seeing them today, together, RIGHT THERE, a stone’s throw away – was awesome!

I figured that road is so well traveled with tourists, somebody had to have seen the same thing and taken a pic and posted it on the internet.  So, I looked online and sure enough!  Tourists had seen the same thing and posted similar photos to what I witnessed.

— Long ago, Hearst had a zoo at the castle.  Most of the animals are gone, but the zebras remained for some reason… maybe because Hearst loved Arabian, Morgans and Morabs.  Did you know that William Randolph Hearst was responsible for the registry of the Morab?!  Fun fact!  He loved his horses, the trees and all animals.


People may not know that WR Hearst was in love with conservation and preserving the land of California (His father was the miner…).  He especially loved the trees and natural environment of his ranches.  In fact, it was well known that he hated to learn that any of his trees were cut or needed cutting.

Hearst cattle roam on the luscious grassland of California’s Central Coast.  Imagine how California would have been developed if Hearst hadn’t kept the land pristine?!  This land is South of Monterey/Carmel and North of Santa Barbara.  Prized land in CA.  And the cattle have it.  Grass fed.  There are only so many cattle – never too many, never over grazed, always rotated.

Oh, and zebras


This is pretty much what I saw… except they were closer to the road and there was also a mini donkey in there.

A wider shot of the hills leading up to the Hearst Castle. The cattle and zebras roam this area, but I had never seen them together – and so close to the road!

This is a Hearst family house built by Julia Morgan and RW Hearst around 1935.  It is still used by the family. This is one of several original (in use) buildings that sit across the street from the warehouse and on the beach next to the Hearst Ranch Winery.  You can see the Hearst Castle up on the hill. Can you imagine lugging all of whatever it took to make the castle- on the backs of mules?!   Anyway, the Hearsts still use the buildings down by the private beach where the new Winery lives.

The arrow shows the Hearst Ranch Winery in this cove. The Hearts still own much of the land on the central coast of CA. They own this cove and all of the hills that you see – and many more miles of land in CA.  (The Heart Family restored all of the California missions and heavily endowed many of the college campuses – and renovated many buildings at UC Berkeley.)

This is the view from the winery looking out of the cove.

This is the inside of the Winery.  It is an original Hearst storage warehouse. Hearst would put all of his newly shipped treasures in warehouses on the beach next to his pier. Then he would switch out the furniture and use these huge warehouses for storage. So this is an original building with original floors, walls and ceilings. It is pretty incredible to think of all of the beings who walked through this area… Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Marion Davis, Julia Morgan (the architect of Hearst Castle), Cary Grant… so many came to Hearst’s Castle during its functioning heyday.  Now most of the Castle was donated to the California Park system – and there are daily tours.

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