Nitt Witt Ridge: Touring the Hearst Castle of Trash Art

When traveling, the more unique the stop the better, in my opinion at least, and Nitt Witt Ridge is one of the most unusual places I have been to in a long time. Michael the tour guide is a very knowledgable and I highly recommend making the stop here for a fun history lesson of a very strange California coastal house.

Nitt Witt Ridge 40

Details

  • Tours most days at 11,12 and 2
  • Suggested donation of $10

History

Nitt Witt Ridge 17

This house was owned by an eclectic man names Art Beal who lived by his own rules. He upset half of the city with his constant building and strange personality, but did actually build a house that is still standing today, made largely of trash. He loved his “coffee” which meant beer (he even built with the empty cans), and turned this 2 and a half acre property into a modern work of art. There are tons of storys about him available online but my favorite is that he had a toilet on the roof and used to sit up there and converse with people walking below, sometime clothed sometimes not. He passed away in 1992 at the age of 96 and his ashes were spread on the property.

Nitt Witt Ridge 11

The current owners bought the house about 15 years ago for less than 50,000 and have dedicated their time to keeping it up and running and providing tours for visitors of the awesome piece of California history. This house is a registered California Historical Landmark.

Here is a little video from Michael about how they came upon the house.

The Tour

Nitt Witt Ridge 1

The tour starts at the base of the house and heads up the stairway to the plaque that designated it a CA landmark.

Nitt Witt Ridge 38

This is also where one of the two pieces that were taken from Hearst Castle are, the above tile in the ground. He worked at Hearst Castle and so many of the items are said to have come from there.

Nitt Witt Ridge 4

The tour proceeds to the women’s room, which was in pink and I guess was to impress any women that he had over.

Nitt Witt Ridge 3

I also thought it was amazing how well Michael had keep everything original, there was letters he had received in this room and in the kitchen and other rooms there was still bills and even canned food.

Nitt Witt Ridge 2

He also hanged toilet seats on the walls as picture frames where he put some of his favorite people, mostly cowboys from the movies.

Nitt Witt Ridge 13

As you continue to climb you will walk through the staircase that served as his fridge. Yes, his fridge. He apparently told people it kept all of his food at a cool 55 degrees.

Nitt Witt Ridge 12

There is a video that you can watch here that interviews the man himself and is informative to his personality. He seems like he was a total character and it was fun that they showed this video to give you more background on the man himself and make him more real.

Nitt Witt Ridge 19

From here you will see his room, complete with old clothing still in the closet and really unique wallpaper.

Nitt Witt Ridge 20

The tour then heads into the kitchen which is one of the most well preserved and unique rooms in the house. It is also one of the nicest as it has more light then the others.

Nitt Witt Ridge 14

The kitchen had old canned food still, bills he never paid and even a skylight that let light into the room. Here are a few pictures.

Nitt Witt Ridge 18

Nitt Witt Ridge 15

Nitt Witt Ridge 16

As you continue up there are lots of unique spots such as the bathroom with two toilets cause it’s always better with a friend right?

Nitt Witt Ridge 9

There are beer cans everywhere and even some walls that were built with the cans themselves.

Nitt Witt Ridge 7

In the back of the property is the original house that he lived in as he was working on the main attraction. You cannot get very close to this house but it is cool to see from behind the fence.

Nitt Witt Ridge 24

When you get to the top of the property you will also see the second piece from Hearst Castle, the cement pillar.

Nitt Witt Ridge 29

Art also put in what he called the wedding chapel. I am not sure if there were any weddings here but it did have a nice view!

Nitt Witt Ridge 26

One of the best parts of the house to me was the toilet that was on the roof. Michael said that he heard he would sit up there and watch the people who would come to visit.

Nitt Witt Ridge 32

The last stop on the tour is the old work bench where a massive redwood has grown up around it. This is an interesting addition from Mother Nature into the house and this is also where his ashes were spread

Nitt Witt Ridge 33

After that the tour was over. I really appreciate the way Michael has stepped in to keep this historical place running and I hope it is able to be maintained the way it currently is as it truly is the poor mans Hearst Castle.

Nitt Witt Ridge 39

This is a great stop in Cambria on PCH and you should take it at least once. Check out the rest of the pictures below.

Photo Gallery

 

Get Directions

Interested in supporting this blog?

This blog is simply a hobby and labor of love for me. If you have enjoyed the posts consider sharing it with your friends. I want as many people as possible to explore this state and you can help by letting them know about all of the great spots!

Subscribe to the mailing list for a weekly posts recap!

About JoshMc

Thanks for checking out the blog, I am happy to be sharing my adventures with you! You can get to know me by reading my about me, which includes a video and additional information on the site, myself and my full disclosure. Also, follow along on Twitter here or read all of my posts on this blog here.