Santa Ines Mission Solvang: Living Breathing Community

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IMG_3174I stopped in Buellton CA on a late Saturday morning for gasoline, as I have several times when I’m heading north from LA, and after seeing signs for Solvang (3 miles away) I decided I was making good time so a slight detour was in order. As I cruised through this lovely and charming little Dutch-settled town of Solvang, I found myself at the entrance to the grounds of the Santa Ines Mission! Well hey, that’s pretty cool! Of course I proceeded in so I could check it out. The Santa Ines Mission, founded in 1804 as the 19th of the 21 California Missions, was built to relieve the overcrowding at the existing nearby missions Santa Barbara and La Purisima. The original structure was more or less demolished in the 1812 earthquake and the current structure was completed in 1817 with six-foot thick walls. There was also a Chumash Indian revolt in 1824, so apparently this mission saw just as much strife and turmoil the others throughout its history. Santa Ines is so simple yet beautiful and you can just feel the pride the parishioners have for their beloved place of worship! A very active parish indeed. Such a sense of community!

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Stunning hillside views, wide open land of the Santa Ynez Valley, fresh air, and clean architecture that omits a warm feeling from the inside out. Lovely gardens, meditation areas and a walking path lined with the Stations of the Cross as well as trellises that I can only imagine are awesome to see in the spring and summer time!

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More historical information is available if you want to learn and there is a gift shop on site with lots of neat Mission-related gifts, memorabilia and religious resources. Hooray for detours! The best road trip discoveries are the unplanned ones!

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