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Mission San Juan Bautista

Mission San Juan Bautista

Just off Highway 156, between Highway 101 and Hollister, is the small (roughly 1500 people) town of San Juan Bautista (St. John the Baptist), home to Mission San Juan Bautista. The Mission, which figured prominently in Alfred Hitchcock‘s film “Vertigo,” once had a steeple added to the original structure, but the steeple was destroyed by fire. Hitchcock added a bell tower to the film by using matte paintings, scale models, and trick photography.

Mission San Juan Bautista sits almost on top of the San Andreas Fault. The first time that we visited the Mission, there was a seismometer on the Mission grounds – the last time that I visited, the seismometer was no longer there. The Mission is just off of a stretch of El Camino Real. A number of other historic structures, beside the Mission, border an open grassy plaza on three sides. These include the Plaza Hotela blacksmith shop, and other buildings. The interior of the Mission chapel is impressive. A walled “Indian (Native American) Cemetery” lies between the Mission and acres of farm fields. A statue of Junípero Serra stands at the entrance to the cemetery. (Note added January 10, 2010: There is an utterly MAGNIFICENT statue of St. John the Baptist, with arms raised to the sky, in front of the church. Of course, I have a beautiful :-) photo of it, with a background of farm fields, but I do not display photos of creative works that are likely copyrighted.) The baptismal font of the Mission sits under a painting of the baptism of Christ by St. John the Baptist.

Mission San Juan Bautista is one of my favorite Missions, since it is rural, a little bit “off the beaten track,” and since the town of San Juan Bautista is so charming. When you visit San Juan Bautista, be sure to take a little time to explore the town on foot, have a meal or a beverage at a small restaurant, and enjoy the rural atmosphere, which, like so many other things in California, is rapidly changing.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

You can view higher-resolution photos (*generally* 7-30 megabytes, compressed) at the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Pro Gallery on Shutterfly™, where you can also order prints and gifts decorated with the photos of your choice from the gallery. Apparel and other gifts decorated with some of our most popular photos can be ordered from the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Store on CafePress®.

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