My family lives in central California. That means they’re halfway between San Francisco and LA. When my childhood best friend and I started at UCLA, an announcer at one of the myriad welcoming assemblies asked for cheers from people hailing from Southern California, Northern California, other states, and other countries. We sat, silently, waiting for the acknowledgement that would not come. That was our first clue that we were from “nowhere.”
But the central coast of California is one of the most perfect places in the world. Beautiful, temperate, and not too crowded (yet). With beaches, farmland, wineries, and cattle ranches, it is a mediterranean lifestyle that inspires art and innovation.
Last weekend, Marco and I ventured to my family’s ranch to attend my niece’s 5th birthday party. While we were there, we decided to go for a walk around the San Miguel Mission.
Mission San Miguel Arcangel is just off Highway 101 in San Miguel, CA. Very easy to find!
It’s one of the original missions in California, and it has recently been restored. All the California missions are beautiful, and very photogenic. Marco has done many shoots here, including family photos for my sister.
A view of the church from across the street. It was recently restored, thanks to huge local fundraising efforts. The state does not maintain it, because it is an active Catholic church.
Inside the mission’s Catholic church. The altar came from Spain in the 1800s, and the frescoes are recently restored.
Less than a mile away is another historic landmark, called Rios Caledonia. It’s an old adobe hotel and stagecoach stop.
The sign reads “Caledonia Hotel, Stage Stop and Saloon”
I picked up a brochure, and we learned that it was purchased illegally from Governor Pio Pico, who later had to flee the area, by a man named Rios. It was then purchased by a man named Blanchart, who decided to call it the Caledonia Hotel, because of his love for Scotland (called Caledonia by the Romans). And thus, a little outpost in California came to use an ancient Roman name. Incidentally, Pico Boulevard in LA is named after Governor Pio Pico. Love history!
The front of the two story hotel, from down on the street. It was originally a residence for the Rios family.
So if you’re headed to the central coast, or just driving up Highway 101,
“Be sure to visit the mission, 1/2 block ahead. Visitors welcome.”
I couldn’t say it better myself!