There were a number of reasons I picked “Monterey Peninsula” out of my very full Where Should We Go Next hat last Thanksgiving. Lots of interesting Nature - - and different sorts of Nature from what we have down here in Alabama. The sea.
I had two in mind, in particular: Carmel and San Juan Bautista.
Since we were flying into San Jose and staying in Santa Cruz our first night there before driving down to Pacific Grove, San Juan Bautista was the logical first choice for a visit.
So that Monday morning, after a decent night in Santa Cruz (look to the left over there), we started heading east, through miles and miles of agricultural lands, being diligently worked.
It’s located in what is still a tiny little town.
So it’s very easy to find. There were schoolchildren there on a field trip that day, as I’m sure there often are. The entire mission complex may sit on an expanse of land, but the buildings themselves are small, unassuming, old, worn – in a good, real, true way, not a sad, neglected way – and lovely.
Rooms of the outer buildings display artifacts brought by the missionaries, made by the native peoples and used by all of them in worship. It has a haphazard feel, but I like it.
Cool things growing in the courtyard:
And the mission church, which I thought was so lovely. Red was the color that I took away, that I think of when I think of this little church.
Two centuries ago, animals walked across tiles drying in the sun. Finding them all is a fun game.
Candles. Where ever we go, there are candles to be lit. Because it is good to say prayers, where ever we go.
There’s a seismic monitor in the courtyard, too, because the mission is built over the San Andreas Fault. Joseph decided that this was it.
The view from the mission:
The patron saint of the mission:
Movie buffs know that San Juan Bautista plays a vital role in Hitchcock’s Vertigo. However, the bell tower in the movie isn’t actually at the mission. The interior shots were filmed in a studio, of course, and the exterior image was inserted in the film via special effects.
Bah. That’s a different story.
As I mentioned, we were in the area on Thanksgiving week. I had thought we’d do Carmel on Wednesday. That day, I checked the mission’s website, and didn’t see any indication that it would be closed. Thursday, yes. But not Wednesday.
So we ended up there in the late afternoon on Wednesday – maybe around 3:30.
Ended up standing in the parking lot along with about twelve other people, similarly put out by the fact – as announced on the sign on the gift shop’s door – that the mission would be closing at three (or one – I can’t remember) on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
So this was a close as we got:
Well, live and learn.
Learn that when in doubt, to make absolutely sure…call.
(I did so a bit later, just to see, and sure enough, the closing was on their message)
Live…to have a good excuse to return.