San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission

– One of my favorite adventures  is to visit the missions of California. The art work and craftsmanship that went in to building these missions is amazing.  This was my first visit to San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission. The California missions were built a day’s walk or half of a day’s ride apart. Looking at a map of the missions’ locations you can see which ones had an “easy” walk between them and which didn’t. Each mission was named for a particular person important to the Catholic church.

At this mission, they are in the process of restoration. The original settlement for the mission was in Monterey by the presido, but the soil there wasn’t good for farming so the mission was moved to Carmel. The presidos were garrisons built in Alta California to house the Spanish solider’s and their families. Monterey was the capital of Alta California. Father Serra blessed the Monterey mission in 1771 and he is buried on the grounds. Unfortunately, the graveyard was closed because of the restoration. There are 21 missions in California. In 1769, Mission de Acala in San Diego was built first and in 1823 San Francisco Solano,the last one, was built a bit north of  San Francisco. If you’re interested in finding out more about the California missions, “visit” the California Missions Resource Center online.

Spanish Lt. Colonel Juan Batista de Anza was in charge of the Anza Expedition of 1776-1777 that started in Nogales, Mexico and led 240 men, women, and children to the San Francisco Bay area.  De Anza helped establish the San Francisco Presidio and the sight for the mission which became the future San Francisco. During the journey, the Carmel mission was one of the many missions in which they stayed. Juan Batista de Anza is my husband’s 7th great uncle.

The preparations for a festival on Sunday made it difficult to take pictures of the grounds as tents littered the court yard. One of the most interesting things I saw was a Cork Oak tree. The bark on the tree is about three inches thick.

In 1987, Pope John Paul visited the mission on his tour of the United States.

I love looking at the gardens. The gardens at Carmel Mission are not as lushes as some of the other missions, but they are still full of different gardening ideas.

Well, our weekend in Monterey area is over and it is back to the Big Sur campgrounds. Looking forward to sharing the coastal pictures. 🙂


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