We visited La Mission Nuestra Senora de la Soledad “The Mission of Our Lady of Solitude” this weekend as part of our return from Santa Barbara. We are working on getting to all 21 California Missions and Soledad made #5.
The location was selected primarily to shorten the distance between Missions, it lies between Mission Carmel and Mission San Antonio. So it was never a large mission, but today only the the South Wing and Chapel of the original quadrangle remain. The existing structure was restored in the 1950s but the ruins of the North Wing remain preserved in their original location.
My research is failing to tell me if this is the smallest mission, but it is certainly the smallest we have seen so far.
Soledad was the first Mission we visited without a set donation for visiting the museum. The museum was small, but it did have a great display of all 21 California Missions in diorama.
Before we take the kids into churches we have a little talk about being respectful and quiet because people are worshipping. HJ walked into this chapel, sat meekly in a pew, looked around, and loudly said “No one is worshipping God in here!” I’m just hoping the family that was walking in at the time didn’t hear her.
The altar was beautifully painted, but the highlight for me was the ceiling. So simple but such a statement.
Although the sides and back of the Mission are dusty and dirty, the front is landscaped and full of flowers. Considering the mountain views and imagining California before development, this really isn’t a bad spot for a little Mission.
The backyard includes the graves of Governor Arrillaga and Father Ibanez, the ruins of the North wing, and this fountain. In every direction there are dusty roads and fields with the mountains on the horizon.
After the Mission we stopped at what is becoming our favorite milkshake stop, Lolita’s in Soledad.