Video by Sydney Brandt

Hearst Castle is a popular destination along the Central Coast. Known for its rich history on William Randolph Hearst, people from all over the world travel to see this historic landmark. Now, there is another reason to visit.

On Friday and Saturday nights, guests now get to tour Hearst Castle at night time. The night tours are a highlight of the daytime tour, with some added features and an almost two-hour length, according to Hearst Castle.

One of the biggest changes to the tours is the addition of docents. The nighttime tours feature some of Mr. Hearst’s guests, through volunteers dressed up in 1930s period finery, sipping cocktails, smoking cigarettes and acting as guests of the castle.

“It felt like it was almost like they were inviting us in for a tour, and we were one of the guests, and towards the end you felt like, ‘oh, we shouldn’t have to go,’” Hearst Castle visitor Shiva Swami said.

While the docents do not verbally interact with guests, they provide another layer to the tours, giving people a sense of what it was like to be a guest of Mr. Hearst.

“I think it’s really important,” tour guide supervisor Richard Fletcher said. “Especially as time goes on, people have a harder time understanding what the guests went through here 80 years ago, so to see people enacting that lifestyle — that can really bring that home to people who aren’t familiar with that from the past.”

Newly installed light bulbs in one of the rooms visited on the tour also comprise another new feature. The historic lighting is now identical to what Mr. Hearst had back in the 1920s, when Hearst Castle was established.

The night tours last from now through the weekend before Memorial day, May 27.

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