The historic Carmel Mission sits in an unexpected location, next to a high school and across the street from a residential neighborhood in the beautiful town of Carmel, California. We whiz by in the car, unaware that it is there until we suddenly see the imposing, old-world look of its church. I know I have to go inside its gates, so I return soon after, with limited time but unlimited interest.
The architecture is of a different time, partly European and partly something else, reflecting the 18th century days of exploration and exploitation in California.
The Spanish set up missions all along California’s coast in an effort to convert the natives and create a powerful network of communities, each within one day’s walk of the next.
The church is full of Spanish artwork and interesting details from the 1700s.
The grounds of the mission include a large garden; it looks very California, with drought-resistant plants and a bubbling fountain.
The mission’s cemetery reflects the town’s proximity to the ocean with graves lined with abalone.
I am supposed to be back at the house we are renting– my family is waiting for me– but I sneak around the side and come upon the mission’s courtyard. I feel like I could spend all day here. It is so beautiful.
And as it’s time to go, I get in one last view, a touch of Spain in the heart of California. I’m grateful for this piece of California history, but now it’s time to go to the beach.
Have you been to the Carmel Mission or another mission in California?Pin It