In June, a wedding in Ashland (OR) gave us the opportunity to drive to Oregon, and stop at California missions and practically every independent book store along the way to drop off copies of A Biblical Feast. (See the list here: )
I LOVE car trips. It’s so easy to forget, on a day-to-day basis, what awe-inspiring vistas this state has to offer. There are 21 California missions between San Diego and Sonoma. These national treasures are a sight to behold, resplendent as when it was built, and lovingly maintained. Four in particular remain etched in memory: Santa Barbara’s set like a queen atop her hilltop “throne”, and hosting hundreds, if not thousands of enthusiastic visitors from round the globe every day; Mission Santa Ines, more subdued, but just as striking, on the outskirts of Sweden-inspired Solvang. Linger a while in the gift store, and Marushka, the friendly manager, will answer any question regarding the artifacts inside the mission’s lovely museum; and imposing Mission San Luis Obispo partially hidden behind a leafy quadrangle of trees. My favorite, I have to admit, was secluded Mission San Antonio de Padua in Jolon, built in 1771, now on the western edge of Fort Hunter Liggett Military reservation about 20 miles off Highway 101. Aptly named “The Mission that Time Forgot” Santa Ines is still very much an active mission, with its restored buildings, a cloister, and church built in 1771 in the shadow of the Santa Lucia Mountains.
We drove along many of the roads I had traveled when researching The California Farm Cookbook (to be continued),