There are three California Mission in Monterey County. The Carmel Mission, The San Antonio Mission, and Mission Soledad If you have a fourth grader in a California School chances are they are going to do a mission project. So if you come to Monterey County some time this year for a weekend trip you can have the chance to see all three missions or maybe just a couple, either way it will make this project much easier. It's different talking about something that you researched than if you have actually been there.
The Carmel Mission
The Carmel Mission was established in 1770 in Monterey and was later moved to Carmel. So we now know it as the Carmel Mission. It is still a working church today. So, if you are Catholic and you would like to go to Mass on your vacation look at their Mass schedule and go there on one of the days they are having Mass. That is one of the things I like about this Mission is it's also a working church albeit in this historical setting. One of the things you are struck with when you actually go to the Mission is how large it is. the church itself has huge ceilings and very thick walls. Today churches are very large and can hold thousands but imagine building something this big in 1770. There are several museums at the Carmel Mission along with a gift shop so you can purchase souvenirs.
The Carmel Mission is located at 3080 Rio Road Carmel Ca 93923 they are open from 9:30 - 5:00 Monday through Saturday.
Mission San Antonio
Mission San Antonio was established in 1771 by Junipero Serra it is the third mission in California history. The large church structure that you see today which is pretty big 200 ft. x 40 ft. with six foot adobe walls was not completed until about 1813. One of my favorite things about this Mission San Antonio is the large fountain in the courtyard. Mission San Antonio is located on the grounds of Ft Hunter Liggett. A military base but you will have no problem getting to access the Mission at all. The best way to go from Monterey is highway 68 to 101 south to get there. The Mission is actually located in Jolon Ca. about two hours south of Monterey take a map or your GPS to get there if you are not familiar with south Monterey county.
The Soledad Mission or Mission Soledad is the thirteenth mission in the chain of California Missions. It was established in 1791 just outside of what is today the town of Soledad. The Soledad Mission had a lot of trouble in the beginning. There were floods that destroyed the Mission twice. A third flood left only a small chapel the rest of the Mission was in ruins. Even with these problems it was pretty successful. By 1836 they had vineyards of 5,000 vines, 3200 cattle and 2400 sheep. So, overall this was a pretty big operation.
The Mission as you see it today is an ongoing rebuilding project that started in 1954and still continues. They have church the first Sunday of every month so if you plan on attending plan accordingly. They also have special events like weddings and other events at the Mission throughout the year. One of my favorites is the annual Grape Stomp you should check it out.
The Soledad Mission is locate outside of Soledad about 1 hour south on Hwy. 101 from Monterey So you are not as far away from everything as you are when you go to Misson San Antonio. Soledad is close enough to stop and get lunch or coffee if you need it.
So take your family to one of these missions while you are here it is an interesting side trip from your vacation. Especially if you have a 3rd or 4th grader because they will have a basis for their project. Have fun at the Missions.
Carmel Mission, a photo by bdinphoenix on Flickr.