Last Saturday we decided to take a little tour of another California Mission. I'm not sure that it was one we'd ever read about, and I know we'd never toured it before. So, off we went with our picnic lunch and Annie in the car.
We took Hwy. 101 up to the town of Paso Robles and went east on Hwy. 46 for a few miles before making a left turn on a small country road. This was certainly the long way around to get to the town of San Miguel. We enjoy back road trips and add them to our plans when possible. This road took us past vineyards and ranch land and lots of green hills.
The Mission San Miguel Arcangel was established on July 25, 1797 by Father Presidente Fermin Franciso de Lasuen. It was the 16th of the 21 missions along El Camino Real and formed the link between San Luis Obispo Mission and Mission San Antonio. This is the mission church.
Walking from the parking area you enter the courtyard though these gates. The courtyard had this wagon on display and there were some great cactus plants as well.
We gave a donation upon entering the mission gift shop. They are in need of donations to help restore and preserve this mission that was heavily damaged in the earthquake in 2003. The mission was just reopened to the public in December of 2009. Going through the gift shop you enter the interior quadrangle and garden area. As you can see, restoration work in the garden has a ways to go. In the center was a large fountain, fed by a well still in use. It was a bit overgrown with weeds, but still interesting.
We walked through a few of the rooms open to the public. We saw the padres kitchen with the beehive oven in the corner and the dining room where they took their meals.
They also have an original organ used in the early mission days.
Once outside again, we could look down the arcade walk with it's 12 arches leading to the mission church.
Flash photography inside this sanctuary was not permitted. Of all the California missions, Mission San Miguel Arcangel, has the best preserved interior, in spite of the earthquake. They do not want flash photography to damage the paint and artwork. The original mission church was destroyed by fire and this current building dates to 1816. The original painted walls are by artist Esteban Munras and Salinan Indian artists. Like the other missions, this one is also an operating parish today.
In this photo you can see some of the original mural paintings and the thickness of those adobe walls.
To the side of the mission is the cemetery. There are documented gravesites for 2,249 Salinan Indians here dating to 1798.
Leaving the mission grounds, this is the view of the hills to the east. All of the recent rains have turned them a lush green hue. So beautiful.
There is still much restoration work on building foundations and such here at the mission since the earthquake. Fortunately, they have been able to repair and reopen the main buildings to the public. This is really one of the most beautiful mission churches we have seen. I hope you can take the time to tour this mission someday.
Until next time.....so long for now!