Our last stop in our Central Coast tour was the Old Mission Santa Barbara. This is one of ten Spanish missions in this area that were constructed in hopes of converting the people of the Chumash-Barbareño tribe of Native Americans. Originally built in 1786, this is the only mission to still be under the leadership of the Franciscan Friars since it’s founding. To this day, it operates as a local parish church so any tours offered are scheduled around those times. This mission also served as an apolelic college and then later as a college for laymen making it Santa Barbara’s first institution for higher education.
Our tour started with a walk through the mission itself showcasing the simple beauty of the mission style. The interior atrium was beautifully kept and peacefully inviting. We paused on our tour to marvel at the incredible artistry of the chapel and then walked through the small cemetery before finishing the tour in the museum that was filled with original items from when the mission first began.
This mission stands on a small rise between the mountains and the sea and the grounds are so lovely. They have a large rose garden across from the mission that many people come to walk through and rest by. For more on this beautiful mission, go to: santabarbaramission.org/
After the mission we made our way to the Santa Barbara Airport which has become my new favorite airport. This building itself is quite pretty with its white exterior and Spanish style elements and a great amount of flowers around it. And with only 6 gates it is quick and easy to make your way through. I loved walking right up to the security, then up the stairs, right to my gate. They have certainly created an enjoyable airport experience.
With that, the end of our visit to California arrived. My friends here have been my other parents for most of my life. They moved to California soon after we moved to Florida. I was making plans to go and visit them when Covid hit and because of her health problems we put those plans on hold. So it has been almost 2 years since I’ve seen them and it has been really hard. I’ve been grateful for the technology that at least has allowed us to stay connected, but to actually hug them and see their face not through a screen meant so much to me. Covid has affected us all in so many ways, and one of the hardest parts has been that limited presence with our friends and family. It made our trip to California all the more important and those hugs all the more special to feel that finally we are coming to the tail end of difficult time. I’m already trying to figure out when I can next make it out to the coast to see them again.