Staycation- San Juan Capistrano

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Favorite Things

A couple of Inspiration Saturdays ago I posted a Sunset Magazine article about visiting San Juan Capistrano.  This weekend Emma and I bopped on down to San Juan just to have a stroll of the area Sunset had written about. It’s an area we frequent often but rarely as tourists. So, on Friday we pretended we were visiting the area and with camera in hand and our Sunset article we strolled around San Juan Capistrano.

We parked at the Depot Restaurant. It has a great parking lot, it’s free and across the street from the mission. The restaurant is right against the train tracks. In fact, you’ll have to cross over the tracks to get to the Los Rios Historic District. Right before we crossed the tracks we made sure to pick up a train schedule for a future train trip Emma and I have been planning to San Diego. There is a little booth at this location where you can buy a ticket and hop on the train! Emma has never been on a train before so it’s a must do!

Honestly, everything in the Sunset article was within a mile or two of each other and one parking job would let you visit the whole area. We didn’t visit any of the bars or wine houses but we did pass by them and they looked really nice. That would make a romantic date night. There are a lot of other places you could visit that weren’t mentioned in the article. This little part of town is a real gem.

We strolled around the historic district where we read about some of the original families that lived here over a very long period of time. In fact, Rios Street is the oldest neighborhood in California. There are 31 homes on this little road that are original homes built between 1880 and 1910 and many are still residences. Here are a few of the shops we visited or passed by.

  • The Ramos House Cafe. A wonderful little cafe next to the train tracks that serves fabulous food in a really neat cozy patio style atmosphere. I’ve eaten here several times and have never been disappointed.
  • Hidden House Coffee. This is a very cool little coffee house where they serve you coffee in a cute ceramic cup with frothy design included! Amanda and I went here one morning when she was in High School. We used to have coffee together every Friday morning. It’s a really darling place.
  • Los Rios General Store. This place looked really cool and there was a huge variety of things I did’t need but really wanted to buy.
  • Los Rios Historic District. This is a park area in the middle of Los Rios St. where you are able to walk through some gardens and read information about the people who settled here. There are a couple of old structures to look at and even a park where children can play. There is more free parking here too!

Here are a couple of pictures I took in the butterfly garden.

Wild berries in the butterfly garden.

Wild berries in the butterfly garden.

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There are many succulents and cactus in the gardens too.

There are many succulents and cactus in the gardens too.

The district is so quaint and relaxed. There is a fantastic nursery here and a petting zoo. We didn’t visit them because we did recently and this day we were mission bound.

I love this little sign between the downtown area of San Juan Capistrano and the Rios District. This is at the RR crossing.

I love this little sign between the downtown area of San Juan Capistrano and the Los Rios District. This is at the RR crossing.

I’ve been to the San Juan Capistrano Mission so many times. As a child I came here with school and family. I worked parties here when I was with a catering company and have even been to the location with a Kelby Photowalk. (I’ll post my images from that event at a later date). Today was only Emma’s second time here and she couldn’t remember the first visit. I was really excited to show her around. 

The San Juan Capistrano Mission:

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Amazing craftsmanship seen throughout the mission.

Amazing craftsmanship is seen throughout the mission.

Emma asked me who would ever sit on this low bench… she would.

Emma asked me who would ever sit on this low bench… she would.

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The famous bells at the mission

 

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This is a classic view of the mission and is very similar to so many other missions in California. There was a huge party going up at the location so I was trying to cut out all the table and chairs in the courtyard.

This is a classic view of the mission and is very similar to so many other missions in California. There was a huge party going up at the location so I was trying to cut out all the table and chairs in the courtyard.

Emma's favorite places are always the churches. This location has a  Christmas Eve mass.

Emma’s favorite places are always the churches. This location has a beautiful Christmas Eve mass.

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Both Emma and I are obsessed with the beautiful lily ponds that are at this mission. They are full of koi fish and lilies. There were a ton of baby fish in the fountains that, of course, Emma was in love with.

Both Emma and I are obsessed with the beautiful lily fountains at this mission. They are full of koi fish and lilies. There were a ton of baby fish in the fountains that of course, Emma was in love with.

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The lily pads get to be about the size of a large dinner plate.

The lily pads get to be about the size of a large dinner plate.

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Don't you love how dark the water looks with the contrast of the koi?

Don’t you love how dark the water looks with the contrast of the koi?

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We found this lovely little hallway in the corner of the mission. It's a favorite spot for engagement shoots. The quality of light is beautiful and since it was over 90 degrees, we were happy for the shade and breeze that runs through it.

We found this lovely little hallway in the corner of the mission. It’s a favorite spot for engagement shoots. The quality of light is beautiful and since it was over 90 degrees, we were happy for the shade and breeze that runs through it.

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Emma is pretty into "voguing" right now. She's so silly and fun to hang out with.

Emma is pretty into “voguing” right now. She’s so silly and fun to hang out with.

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The gardens at the mission are actually newer but build in an older traditional way. They are so nicely done and we loved walking through them. My favorite of course was the walkway covered in grapevines. I'm a little obsessed with grapevines and look! There were full bunches of beautiful grapes growing on them.

The gardens at the mission are actually newer but created in an older traditional way. They are so nicely done and we loved walking through them. My favorite was the walkway covered in grapevines. I’m a little obsessed with grapevines and look! There were full bunches of beautiful grapes growing on them.

_MG_2423So that’s our day trip to one of our local tourists’ favorites. I thought it was really fun and I’m looking forward to visiting more places near us that people come to visit on vacation.

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Just a girl, on a journey. Thankful for love, thankful for friends and family, and thankful for forgiveness. Full of passion, conviction and hope.

2 thoughts on “Staycation- San Juan Capistrano”

  1. Pingback: Sold! | The Multi-ti-Purpose Room

  2. Pingback: In the Meantime | The Multi-ti-Purpose Room

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