Take a Rare Swim in Hearst Castle's Neptune Pool

A special Soirée + VIP Swim Experience at the San Simeon landmark is splashing this way.

TAKING A DIP? It's a fairly easy thing to do, if you happen to have a swimming pool in your backyard, or your pal has one, or you're near a gym or community recreation center, or there's a shimmering rectangle at the motel you're staying at, or a few dotting your favorite desert resort. The only action you need to take, in such cases, is to change into your swimsuit, grab a towel and sunblock, and ahhhh, you're enjoying the H2O. But there's one very well-known watery landmark, right here in the Golden State, that has been famously closed, or at least mostly closed, to swimmers for decades...

HEARST CASTLE'S NEPTUNE POOL: It's the beautiful and sizable outdoor pool at the historic San Simeon property, the one with the Grecian-style design on the bottom, plus regal statuary and grand columns nearby. It also underwent a massive renovation for several years, one that just concluded in late summer, meaning it was even closed to the occasional dip-taker. But a popular question put to Hearst Castle tour guides by guests has always remained, and it is this: "Can people really swim there?" And while people very occasionally do — travelogue icon Huell Howser did — consider this cool-off spot mostly closed to the public, unless someone bids to win a swim during an auction that supports the landmark's preservation. But on...

SUNDAY, OCT. 21... that will change for 50 swimmers, swimmers "... who will head to the historic changing rooms located off the Neptune terrace to prepare to be one of the first individuals to swim in the iconic and newly refurbished Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle." The evening's elegant event, the Grand Reopening Celebration: Sunset Soirée & Swim, will also be attended by many revelers, both members of the Friends of Hearst Castle and non-members, but only four dozen of those revelers, plus two more, will take a refreshing dip. The price to do so? There's a pre-sale for members set at $1,100, but after Oct. 1 members will pay $1,300 per ticket to swim. And a non-member? That ticket is $1,500, and all "will sell out," states the event site.

THE FUNDS... raised from tickets to the debonair to-do, both of the swimming and non-swimming variety, will "... continue vital preservation efforts, ensuring Hearst Castle remains a world-class monument and museum that inspires the next generation of architects, engineers, artists, and dreamers." Further, this merry splash-about promises to be extra-extraordinary and super-celebratory, as the Neptune Pool did just undergo that years-long renovation, which meant it sat free of water for a notable stretch. Are you a longtime aficionado of The Enchanted Hill? Have you dreamed of sticking a toe, or your whole self, into the world-famous Neptune Pool? This could be your once-in-a-lifetime moment to savor one of the rarest swimming opportunities around.

FIND YOUR SWIM CAP, your chicest '30s-era bathing costume (the decade the most recent version of the pretty pool hails from), and purchase one of those all-too-few tickets lickety-split, before they fade as quickly as a splendid San Simeon sunset.

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