Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mission Days

Funny how things in our own backyards so often elude us. The girls, particularly the older one, are keenly interested in the pioneer era, but particularly the trails. The oldest reads anything she can get her hands on regarding the Oregon Trail. They've walked the last mile of Lewis & Clark's journey with the bicentennial reenactment. But it took me awhile to point them in the direction of the pioneers and pilgrims and early explorers and settlers of our own area.

We'd visited missions before, but this year we made it a point to visit more of them whenever possible. When the girls' dad had a work-related training to attend in the San Diego area, we joined him and spent our days doing all sorts of things, not the least of which included visiting a couple of missions. We've taken part in special events and visited when the missions are lonely. It's been fun.

Last weekend I took the girls to Mission San Antonio with their grandpa and his fiance'. We had a great weekend that began at the mission and ultimately included an overnight of tent camping on the banks of a cool stream, a drive over the Coast Range to fantastic Highway 1 and the Big Sur/San Simeon coast, a visit to the elephant seals, a walk on San Simeon Pier and dinner in Morro Bay before we made it home Sunday night.

Of the 21 California missions, Mission San Antonio this one is particularly spectacular in that no city was ever developed around it. So as visitors approach, they can get a pretty good feel for what travelers would have seen 200 years ago. It is particularly enjoyable in the spring when the wildflowers are blooming, but best when it's quiet on random days.

Saturday, however, was not a random day. It was the mission's largest docent event of the year: Mission Days. We enjoyed demonstrations of blacksmithing, tortilla making (the girls learned to pat their own), corn and hominy grinding, oak acorn processing, wool spinning and adobe brick making among other activities. The girls chose to wear their new dresses and were complimented right and left on their selection of attire.

It was a really relaxing, wonderful outing.

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