The Quaint Charm of San Juan Bautista

Located just an hour south of bustling Silicon Valley, CA is the quaint city of San Juan Bautista. This charming little town has managed to maintain its humble origins and has respectfully preserved its history and authenticity.

You won’t find trendy stores and Michelin Star restaurants but you will find a town steeped in history, filled with heart and reflective of the people who live here. Small antique stores, art galleries, gift shops along with a few restaurants line the half~mile long main strip of town.

One of the main reasons why this town holds a special place in my heart is because of the historic Mission San Juan Bautista.

@2016 Susan Edel

I adore the California Missions and this is one of my favorite missions because much of the original structure remains and it is the largest California mission church and the only one with three aisles.

@2016 Susan Edel

Musical arts were taught here and the mission owned many instruments. As you tour the mission, heavenly monk style music is piped throughout the corridor creating a serene ambiance. {Click on first image to see slideshow}

A little fun fact: In the fall of 1957, scenes from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1957 production of the movie Vertigo starring James Stewart, Kim Novak, and Barbara Bel Geddes was filmed around the mission.

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Story board rendering for Vertigo.

When in town, be sure to have lunch or dinner at Jardines de San Juan Mexican restaurant. If you’re a fan of beef burritos, their “People’s Choice” burrito is a must!

@2016 Susan Edel

I come to this town sometimes when I want to feel grounded, grateful, and connected. This is the type of place that feeds your soul, not your ego…and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

 

Bodega Bay, CA

If you find yourself in the San Francisco Bay Area, a fun little road trip is to head north on Hwy 1 to the small town of Bodega Bay. Many of you will be familiar with Bodega Bay because of it’s Hollywood history. This small town is where Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic movie The Birds was filmed with Tippi Hedren.

DSC_7090The original schoolhouse and church still stand proudly in the midst of town.

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This tiny town now cashes in on its Hollywood legacy and you will find fun references to the movie throughout town.

Tippi Hedren comes to town every Labor Day and will sign autographs for a small fee that go towards her exotic animal sanctuary, The Roar Foundation Shambala Preserve. The County Store sells many signed photos and I found some great reproductions of Edith Head’s costume designs for the movie. I’m really kicking myself for not purchasing one now.

If you’re feeling adventurous, continue heading north on Hwy 1 along the stunning Pacific Ocean. It’s a fun drive on the windy road and you will see such beautiful landscape.

And who doesn’t love coming across old barns?

If you drive north to Jenner, you will spot a huge Totem pole and I highly suggest stopping at the Timber Cove Inn for lunch, you may even want to make this a pit-stop for the night…however, let me make this very clear – ask for a renovated ocean view room – trust me on this one! The view is spectacular from the dining patio…

…and you may even spy a movie star. Kathleen Turner sat at the table next to me, no mistaking her with that sexy, deep, raspy voice.

If you take the time to explore this area, you will be surprised at how much history there is in these tiny little towns and the original structures that still stand. There was a time in the late 1800’s that these towns were thriving communities and it’s fun to discover the history of the area.

Explore. It’s good for your soul. Happy traveling!