The flowers around and inside the Mission are really beautiful. It's very peacful here and there is quite a bit to see. The Mission Preservation Foundation has provided a very good look into life at this mission as it was over 200 years ago.
Fondest memory: The Serra Chapel was constructed in 1782. In the early 1920's Fr. St. John O'Sullivan restored the chapel. The beautiful baroque retablo is from Barcelona, Spain. It is made of hand-carved wood with a gold leaf overlay. It is estimated to be over 350 years old.
This church was begun in 1797. It took nine years to build this church. On the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1812 a massive earthquake struck during morning mass. The Domes caved in and the walls crumbed, killing 42 Indian worshipers. The church was never rebuilt.
These ruins became known as the American Acropolis.
A major restoration was completed in 2004 by the Mission Preservation Foundation.
Fondest memory: The niches inside the church are made of brick and each held the statue of a saint. There is a section of the sanctuary floor that is visible in the Northwest corner. Here you can see that originally the floor was covered with diamond shaped brick tile. The bells that hung in the church tower are displayed in the ruins of the tower's walls.
Favorite thing: Each mission along the California coast served as outposts for the Spanish travelers as well as Spanish military. Each mission had some sort of military garrison in its confines which served to protect the rich settlers in the area.
Favorite thing: Mission San Juan Capistrano was founded in 1776 and is the seventh Mission of twenty-one missions that were placed by the Spanish along the coast of California. The missions were a way for the Spanish to convert the local Indians to Christianity.
San Juan Capistrano is the seventh mission of twenty-one missions going up the coast of California.
San Juan Capistrano is located about 70 miles south of Los Angeles just off the I-5 freeway.
San Juan Capistrano is famous for the Swallows that return here to nest each year around the same time.
Fondest memory: I came here way back when I was a child and I found that the mission had not changed much in the 25+ years.
Lots of flowers. Shade trees. Pleasant brick and stone walkways. The mission is the perfect place to wander aimlessly and lose oneself in contemplation.
One caveat, if you enjoy the solitude arrive early. I found that the school groups and tour groups started pulling in about 9:30 a.m. The grounds open at 8:30 a.m. which allows for an hour of peace before the clamor and bustle of the crowds.
The San Juan Capistrano Mission is called the "Jewel of the Missions" and rightly so. The swallows (birds for those who aren't familiar) have taken a liking to this sprawling mission and return there on March 19th every year to nest, have their young and kick back for the summer until it's tiime to leave on October 23rd to parts unknown. Their arrival sparks a fiesta and thousands of visitors come to see the swallows take residence in the Old Stone Church.
This mission was established by Junipero Serra, a Franciscan monk, who took the local indians under his wing. The Mission houses a museum that follows the history of the mission with rooms decorated as they were during the different time periods in the misson's history.
This Mission is located off the Ortega Hwy exit from the 5 Freeway, Admission $6 for adults.
Fondest memory: This Mission is captivating, with it's history and wild and beautiful gardens that are picture perfect.
When I first visited San Juan Capistrano Mission, it was to watch the Swallows returning on March 19th, I have no memory of the gardens which now are extensive and contain not only very large and old cactus, but huge sprays of bouganvilea with huge tree-like trunks that must have been there since the start of the Mission. These plants are augmented with blazing colors of holyhocks and roses among the many other flowers and plants. The first week of June a Flower & Garden Festival take place when the gardens are in full bloom. There are flower vendors and, garden presentations, a great time to buy flowers for your home.
Fondest memory: A wonderful place to take pictures even on a cloudy day - the pictures in my travelog will attest to that.
The Los Rios (Spanish for river) Historic District is the oldest residential street in California. The little houses (some you would call shacks) are lined up along the railroad tracks and are still occupied, used for charming boutiques and bric-a-brac stores. There are also adobes left from the days the Indians were housed to help with the building of the Old Stone Church located within San Juan Capistrano Mission.
Fondest memory: Wandering through and in these 200-year old buildings is truly a flash back to early California.
Visit the Mission, of course! See the old Mission, look at the archeological dig sites, enjoy the beautiful flowers. And visit the big Church... it's huge and white and NOT located on the Mission grounds.
Fondest memory: Probably walking along the creek, looking for snakes and skipping stones on the water. Either that or sitting on the wooden fence at one of the stables, on summer nights, and picking oranges and eating them with the neighborhood kids while we watched the bats fly overhead. (I guess I should say 'getting married there' but I'm sticking with growing-up time, not already-grown-up time.)
So much beautiful scenery and California history is
located within the walls of the historic San Juan Capistrano Mission. It is a must see for all visitors. The old Santa Fe
Railroad Depot (now an Amtrak station) is also fun to visit. You can eat lunch or dinner at the Freight House if you
wish. Here is a photo of the old Santa Fe Railroad Station. Built of adobe in 1895, it a site to behold, and a reminder of what Old California life was like.
Walk the streets of SJC and take in the beautiful scenes, especially downtown in the historic part where you'll find various colorful plots full of flowers.
Fondest memory: Flowers of SJC stay in my mind!