We continued our quest to visit all 21 California Missions this weekend and crossed 3 off our list! The first one was Mission Santa Barbara where the I Madonnari XXXI Anniversario festival was taking place.
Mission Santa Barbara is the “Queen of the Missions” and its easy to see why as you drive up. The mission is white and pink with beautiful double towers flanked by mountains. The mission is also supposed to have a beautiful view of the ocean, but I’m not sure where this is, maybe the bell towers?
Our tour started in the courtyard where a sign informed us they are renovating the garden to be more drought resistant. Whether or not these improvements had been complete, I wasn’t sure, but the garden was beautiful. They had many cacti planted around the perimeter and K delighted in showing me which ones were pointy.
Passing through the courtyard, the tour then led us to the graveyard. The graveyard itself did not have many graves, but there was a mausoleum in the graveyard. If you want to be buried there, they don’t restrict it to catholics, but rather “All people of faith and goodwill.”
From the graveyard we passed into the chapel which was relatively simply decorated and the chapel was large. The back of chapel had two alcoves feature life sized statues of Biblical events.
The museum displayed relics of the lives led by the Native Americans prior to the Mission period, a display of the kitchen as it existed in Mission times, and many artifacts and artworks depicting the time period. My kids were mostly excited about the historic bell with a sign encouraging touch. They always take full advantage of any opportunity to touch something in a museum.