Thursday, December 11, 2014

Historic San Juan Bautista

San Juan Bautista was a major stage-coach stop on the journey between Los Angeles and San Francisco during the mid to late 1800s.  Today many of the old buildings have been incorporated into San Juan Bautista State Historic Park.  Visitors can take a self-guided tour through the Plaza Hotel, Castro-Breen Adobe, Plaza Stable, and Plaza Hall/Zanetta House.  The park offers a Living History Day on the first Saturday of the month.  Other events are scheduled throughout the year.

Plaza Hotel/Museum

Across the plaza is Mission San Juan Bautista, which is still a functioning church.  Founded in 1797, the mission was the 15th of what would become 21 missions established by the Spanish Franciscan fathers.  Mission San Juan Bautista was also where Kim Novak was pushed from a church bell tower in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo.  Unfortunately for Hitchcock the mission's bell tower had been removed, and he was forced to build a substitute.  A visit to the mission includes a walk through the museum, church, chapel, cemetery, and garden.

Mission San Juan Bautista

Mission Cemetery
San Juan Bautista is located about 1 3/4 hours south of San Francisco off of US 101 and can be easily visited if you are driving the inland route between Monterey and San Francisco.  The State Park is open daily from 10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.  The Mission is open from 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. except on Friday when it closes at 4:00 p.m.  The Park and Mission each charge $3.00/person admission.  Lunch can be had at one of the many restaurants in the town of San Juan Bautista.

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