On our road-trip down the Pacific Highway 1 from San Francisco to San Diego in 2009 we had an overnight stay in Santa Barbara, known as the American Riviera. It is an expensive city to stay in as it is very popular with holidaying Americans and not too far from Los Angeles. Nestled in amongst the gently rolling hills above the Pacific Ocean it is known for its Moorish architecture, colourful history and beauty. Naturally, before we left, I had to have a look at the 10th historic mission founded there in 1786 and known as The Queen of the Missions.
Founded June 24 1797, San Juan Bautista is the fifteenth mission in the chain stretching from San Diego to San Francisco along the coastal strip. The missionaries had hoped to establish missions only a day’s ride apart, but there were still long stretches between them making travel difficult and dangerous. A site in the San Juan Valley, some 90 miles southeast of San Francisco, was selected for the Mission of San Juan Bautista – St John the Baptist.
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