After a two-year battle with first the pandemic and then a backhand from Mother Nature, California's Hearst Castle will re-open on May 11th.
The estate was first closed to the public at the beginning of the pandemic. Access to it was limited further by mudslides in January 2021 on the Pacific Coast Highway, which would have cut off access from the north if the castle had been open.
By the time the highway was restored in April, the five-mile access road that climbs to the castle had suffered severe damage in a different storm. The work to make that passable again is just now finishing at a cost of nearly $14 million.
The extravagant buildings and acres of pools and gardens were built, starting in 1919 by media baron William Randolph Hearst, who lived there until 1947. It was given to the state in 1957 by his heirs and has become a popular attraction. Unusually for the time, the entire project was handled by a woman architect, Julia Morgan.