Our roadtrip on California's Pacific Coast Highway was about to end. We drove from the San Francisco Bay Area to Pebble Beach, and to San Simeon, where we visited Hearst Castle and Morro Bay. On our way back home we stopped for wine tasting in Paso Robles, and at the James Dean Memorial. And now it was time for our last stop before going home; Mission San Miguel on Highway 101.
Mission San Miguel is one of the 21 Spanish missions in California. They were established between 1769 and 1833 on El Camino Real, which now partly follows highway 101. They have a long history and they have been important for the development of California. The missionaries were catholic priests or Fransiscans, and they brought something to California other than just their religion: they brought a piece of their culture. Californians learned to eat European fruits and foods, herd some cattle and horses and grow wine. Over the years, some of the missions have been destroyed or they have been used for something else. Now many of them get their income from tourism, and the catholic church still uses some of them for services and as museums. Most of them have been restored from different kinds of damage, but some still have pieces of the original buildings.
Mission San Miguel was named after the Archangel Saint Michael. The original church was destroyed in a fire in 1806 and has been rebuilt. The worst damage the mission got, was from the 2003 San Simeon earthquake. The whole mission was closed and restored, and it wasn't re-opened until 2009.
We walked around on the mission grounds, church and in the souvenir shop. They also have a small museum which was very nice and displayed artifacts from the mission. Admission to the museum was $3/adult and $2/child, other than that, there is no fee to see the mission. A self-guided museum tour ends at the church which is small but very pretty, and it is still used for mass. The most historic part of the mission, in my opinion is the old cemetary. Here they buried priests and about 2000 American Indians who lived and worked there. It is interesting to walk around the cemetary and imagine what life would have been like in those days.