A few months ago I took a family vacation to the Pacific Northwest. We stayed near Port Townsend (a couple hours out of Seattle) and explored the entire area over about a week. My favorite part was exploring the Bloedel Reserve, which nurtures the most beautiful and rarest features of the lush native landscape, from mushrooms to hundreds of types of moss. They also have a beautiful Japanese garden and French style manor where the founders of the Reserve once lived. The day we visited was overcast and slightly drizzly – the perfect type of weather for this kind of environment.
On my last trip to California, my Mom had the fabulous idea to visit Santa Barbara for a few days. I’ve visited many times, since it’s only about 3 hours away from my hometown, but the only things I remember about Santa Barbara are the zoo – which, if I remember correctly, was famous for its giraffe with a crooked neck – the beach, and shopping on State Street. For this trip, since we’re all a bit more grown up, we decided to check out what else the city has to offer, so we headed to the Santa Barbara Mission.
The only knowledge I had about Missions in California came from a school project I did in 3rd or 4th grade, so I was long overdue for a refresher. The Missions are some of the oldest structures along the California coastline, built by a Spanish order of Franciscan friars in an effort to spread Christianity to the Native Americans. There are 21 of them, and the Santa Barbra Mission was established in 1786, although after a major earthquake in 1812, it had to be rebuilt.