"A day trip..." Top 5 Page for this destination San Juan Bautista by Lhenne1

San Juan Bautista Travel Guide: 28 reviews and 158 photos

Missions and Movies

"No! Don't go up those stairs!" Grab a pillow and cover your eyes, but we all know an Alfred Hitchcock flick isn't going to end well. Leave it to Hitchcock to find a great setting for the tensest scenes in the film Vertigo.

But the town of San Juan Bautista in California is more than a movie set. The historic mission, cute downtown shops and restaurants make this a fun place to spend a day when you need to get out of town.

A little history...

The mission itself was the 15th built in California. Father Fermin de Lausen began the mission in 1797 as Father Junipero Serra's successor. With the help of the local native people, the missionaries were able to construct an adobe Church, a monastery, adobe houses and a grainery. Beautiful gardens were planted which were used as learning centers for carpentry, weaving and tanning.

Next to the mission, visitors will notice a sharp drop down a hill, overlooking farmland below. This drop is actually a piece of the San Andreas fault. The earthquake of 1906 did considerable damage to the mission buildings and were not fully rebuilt until 1976 (with the help of funding from the Hearst Foundation).

For 600 miles, the old El Camino Real connected the 21 missions of California. Pieces of the old road can be seen at the foot of the hill. Today, much of the road has been paved and turned into the highways Californians travel every day.

  • Last visit to San Juan Bautista: Jun 2008
  • Intro Written Jun 26, 2008
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