Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mission San Miguel

DSC_6428, originally uploaded by Chez VH.

We were highly amused by this sign in front of our parking spot at Mission San Miguel. It was entirely true too - the tree was enormous, but it was the only reasonable spot for us to park our enormous 15 passenger van in.

For the excessively curious: you can see a picture of the van and the corresponding tree here.

DSC_6469, originally uploaded by Chez VH.

The Church at Mission San Miguel was almost a twin to the one at La Purisima - the same shape and size with similar coloring and ornamentation (and there is a wide variety among all of the California Missions, so I found this similarity surprising). But it was very different - it's an active parish, there was activity and many signs of life - especially that beautiful sanctuary lamp you can see in the picture.

While not as remote and "unspoiled" as La Purisima, the setting was more rustic and much less touristy than many of the missions we've been to. Although it's only about a block from the 101, the town is small (it shares a name with the mission) and quiet. Only part of the courtyard is open to the public as a large segment of the mission is used to house Franciscan seminarians (if I'm remembering my facts correctly). There were a number of rooms housing interesting artifacts, including a large glass case filled with tools, weapons and other metal objects found on the grounds of the mission.

Mission San Miguel Website

DSC_6450, originally uploaded by Chez VH.
Like many places we visited during this trip, there was a dramatic temperature difference between sunshine and shade. The shady areas, often including the insides of buildings (early spring, chilly nights, not much in the way of heating) were uncomfortably cold and the warm sunshine was most welcome (especially for Terri who was starting to get sick by this point). And so, partly for this reason, the front courtyard was a favorite spot with our family. We especially enjoyed watching (and attempting to draw) the fish in this lovely fountain.

There were a number of interesting artifacts placed around the courtyard as well, like a cannon, a large bell and an old wagon.

You can see more of our pictures from Mission San Miguel on Flickr.

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