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Sierra Club Urban Hike: Mission San Fernando Rey de España

November 25, 2012 5 comments

Mission San Fernando Rey de España may be California’s 17th Mission but it was my 1st Mission. I think my parents took me to Mission San Juan Capistrano when I was little, but I don’t remember it so it doesn’t count. 😉

Our Sierra Club leaders, Sandra Tapia and Gerrie Montooth, did a great job making this outing fun and interesting. First we toured the Memory Garden located in Brand Park on the other side of the boulevard. My first thought was that I’d like to sit on one of the benches surrounded by the roses and read a book. Then I remembered that I’m terrified of bees so maybe that wouldn’t be such a good idea.

Next, after paying the $4.00 admission fee, we toured the museum and Convento building. The Convento building is the only original building that remains on the site. It’s the largest adobe building in California and the walls are four feet thick. It felt good to step out of the hot sun into the much cooler adobe.

The Convento was built between 1808 and 1822 and served as a residence for the Bishop and missionaries. You can see the Bishop’s Room and the Governor’s Room, which is where visiting VIPs stayed.

The church was destroyed in the 1971 Sylmar earthquake so an exact replica of the 1806 church stands there now.

I enjoyed the tour of the mission very much and would like to go back sometime just to sit on one of the many benches and enjoy the beautiful grounds. One nice spot is the Bob Hope Memorial Garden where he and his wife, Dolores, are buried on what looks like the stage of a band shell.

After the tour, six of us had lunch at The Bear Pit Bar-B-Q, which has been in business since the late 1940s. I prefer pulled pork to the Bear Pit’s sliced, but I must say they have the tastiest bbq beans I’ve ever had in my life.

I hope I can visit another California mission soon. One down, 20 to go!