Homer's Travels: Missions La Purisima and Santa Inez and Solvang

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Missions La Purisima and Santa Inez and Solvang

Yesterday, Saturday, the wife, the 'J', and I drove up to Lompoc, CA to visit our seventh mission. La Purisima Concepcion de Maria Santisima Mission is not an active parish and is run as a California State Park. It is advertised as the most restored of all the missions. We weren't expecting much but were all pleasantly surprised. The Mission which occupies 2000 acres was restored by the CCC in the 1930s. The did a terrific job. We were very impressed. This was the first mission we've been to that was not in an urban setting so the open fields, gardens and livestock pens were a refreshing change. The mission pictures here are from La Purisima including a painting of Mary reminiscent of the Marys we say in Peru and the golden confessional.

After La Purisima we drove to Solvang, CA location of the Santa Inez Mission. We had already visited the Santa Inez mission years ago but the 'J' had never been there. Solvang, which means Sunny Field in Danish, is a very touristy town built on the Danish theme. The town was settled by Danish Protestants from Des Moines, IA. The area is Wine country and is near where the movie Sideways was filmed. While the town feels like a hardcore tourist trap, the shopping is pretty good and there are several unique stores including an antique store that I find fascinating. We didn't get to visit the store this time around but it is full of offbeat antiques including automatons and music machines.

After lunch and some shopping we visited the Santa Inez mission which is located at the end of the town. We toured the mission and then headed back into town for more shopping and a stop at a Chocolate shop for some ice cream. 

The height of our trip was after we left the ice cream shop. We were walking along when a little boy straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting, sitting in front of a store tweaking his ears, loudly proclaimed: "Neener Neener Neener!" After we got over the surprise we all laughed. I have no idea what set him off. We seem to attract weird people - even the young ones. HA!

The day was very full and we got home after dark. Homer was very hungry the the wife and I were tired. A good day indeed.

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