Mission San Juan Bautista surviving earthquakes and time

Green door surrounded by vine and adobe at the mission.

As an Alfred Hitchcock fan I thought it would be fun to stop at the Mission San Juan Batista and see where he filmed part of the movie Vertigo. In the process we stumbled across a cool little town with more history than just a bit part in a movie.

Good design transcends time

Immediately I was struck with the beauty that is an 18th century mission. It is the genesis for the “mission” style we associate with later buildings, furniture and consumer design items. I was surprised at how both the interior and exterior elements of the mission would draw me in and provide a sense of comfort. This was even after I read the warning that the mission is an unreinforced masonry building and may be unsafe in the event of an earthquake.

San Juan Bautista Mission has certainly seen its share of damage from earthquakes. It was only after I started researching the mission did I learn that the San Andreas earthquake fault runs along the mission. This history explains the primitive but informative seismometer inside the mission.

More than just the mission

While the mission is certainly historic for California, it is not supported by the state. However, there are other buildings across from the mission that are part of the California State Parks system. The Plaza Hotel, Hall, Stables and Castro-Breen Adobe have been wonderfully preserve and are a tremendous addition to the history of small 19th century ranching and farming community in California.

I also learned that even before the mission, Juan Bautista de Anza of Spain travelled through the area leading settlers through Alta California. The trek is commemorated by the Juan Bautista De Anza National Historic Trail.

I want to move here!

We walked into town where I was attracted to the Mission Clock shop. It is nice to see a small community supporting a local merchant. On our way out of town we stopped at Vertigo coffee. I tried a double shot of their tasty Kyoto coffee. This specialty coffee is brewed over a 24 hour period through a glass contraption that looks like it is out of a chemistry lab. The historic little town of San Juan Bautista will continually be way point for us whenever we are heading over to the coast from now on. It would be even better if I could find a way to move there!