Thursday, July 21, 2011

road trip 2011:: part 1 - the missions

as usual, i have way more pictures and stories than can ever fit into a blog post.  at least not one that you would want to read.  so i've highlighted some photos and will share the best of the best, which really aren't that best.  it helps that our trip can easily be broken up into 2 parts:

the missions
the wedding

so let's start with the missions.
my mother and father-in-law invited us to leave a few days before the wedding and make our way to the coast via the mission trail.  there are 21 missions along the "royal highway".  our plan was to see 4 of them.  that meant turning a 3 hour drive into a 3 day drive. andrew will be in 4th grade next year and the missions will be a big part of his social studies course.  he will get to pick a mission to study and do projects on.  so this was a good introduction to that.
san buenaventura mission
after packing up the truck we drove for an hour and made our first stop in ventura.  bobby and i visited this mission when we were up here last year.  it's small but very pretty.
most of these missions have some cool artifacts that not only show what life was like at the mission, but they also house important items from california's history.  it was interesting looking at all of these items like a handwritten letter.
i wanted to take a picture at every church.
and get a photo of the kids sitting by the fountain.
while we were in ventura we stopped at this olive oil shop.  bobby and i came her too last year and sampled the oils and vinegar.  i regretted not buying a bottle of their balsamic which is delicious.  so this time around i made sure to bring home a bottle.

then it was time for dinner and bed.
mission santa barbara
on thursday we went to santa barbara.  i've been to this mission a few times with my family and it was nice to be here with my family.  this mission was bigger than ventura with a museum that had relics from that time in history including some of the only native american sculptures of this time.  we walked through the cemetary and watched a movie that gave way more information than i can ever remember.
these stands were set up outside the gift shop.  i'm sure they were not here during the time of the missions.
in santa barbara i wanted to have lunch at the super-rica taqueria.  when we got there the line was pretty long but we stuck with it and 45 minutes later were enjoying sopes
enchiladas and the best horchata i've ever had.
some reviews said the wait was not worth it.  i found the food simple but tasty.  not your typical mexican cuisine but i liked that.  totally worth the wait for us.

we left santa barbara and headed to lompoc for the third mission on our tour.
la purisima mission
i had read that this was one of the most renovated missions.  and on certain days of the week they have volunteers who dress up and depict life on the missions.  we got there about an hour before they closed and just zipped in and out of rooms as they were locking it up.
this was the kids favorite mission so far.

it had beautiful gardens and fountains.  we could have spent the whole afternoon here.  but we left as they were closing and went to pismo for the night.
we stayed at this hotel in november for my sister-in-law's wedding so we knew that there was fun stuff to do, like badminton, ping pong, mini golf and a giant chess board.

i didn't expect the weather to be so cold and windy.  after dinner the kids wanted to get in the outdoor pool.  thank goodness it was heated and grandpa tom volunteered to get in with them.  i could barely stand the cold just watching them.

the next morning we ate and played some more and then drove another hour to san luis obispo.
first we went to the coastal town of cayucos for some smoked fish tacos.
and some brown butter and sea salt cookies.
this was a super cute shop that we read about in aaa magazine.  the girls spend their day rolling cookie balls and getting their picture taken.
these are the sisters that own the shop.

and the cookies were a huge hit.

we walked along the pier and watched people fish.

then we drove to downtown san luis obispo.
san luis obispo de tolosa mission
this mission is right in town.  it was another small one.  the museum had arrowheads, a fruit press and the church is still being used as a catholic church.  in fact we were there as a wedding party was rehearsing for their saturday wedding.

at this point we were all ready to get to the hotel and get ready for the next part of the trip - the wedding.  we had dinner in downtown slo at an open air eatery.  we could get food from a few different places and then sit at the outdoor tables and spend time together.
i loved hanging out in slo.  i think if i knew about this place after college this is where i would have lived.  life seems just the right speed for me.  they are surrounded by farms and wineries and beaches.  there are a lot of little shops and restaurants but still had the things that keep me from moving out of a big city.  for now it seems like a great place to spend the summer.

tomorrow i'll do the wedding wrap up and the road trip back home.
happy thursday.


Sarah said...

That photo of the enchiladas looked so yummy! And love all the fountain pictures! Sounds like a fun trip! I remember doing my report on the missions! I think I built one out of sugar cubes or something weird.

Anonymous said...

Great Pictures and stories of the Missions!!!! Hope the kids enjoyed it as much as I did!!! Grandma