Visit the Mission San Buenaventura

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I finally got back into the travel swing of things this week with a quick trip up to Ventura. The historic downtown is charming, and it’s clearly a “thrifter’s” dream. But it not only has cute shops and restaurants – it also has a mission.

That’s right! We’ve added another mission to the tally. At this rate, we really will see all 21 of them in the next year.

This trip we visited Mission San Buenaventura. It’s easy to find, and only a short drive from Los Angeles on the 101 (just over an hour with moderate to light traffic). The mission grounds are on Main Street, and there is a lot of relatively inexpensive metered parking all around the area. As with most of the missions I’ve visited so far, the entrance is through the gift shop. At the time of our trip, the entrance fee was $4 per adult for the self-guided tour.

Mission San Buenaventura is the smallest of the missions that I’ve visited so far, but the small grounds are beautifully maintained. The church and the original mission buildings were founded in 1792. For those of you playing along at home, that makes it the 9th of the missions established in California.

While there is a small museum before you enter the grounds, I feel safe in saying that most people come to visit the church which has faced earthquakes, a tidal wave and pirates (yes, pirates). The mission church underwent a significant restoration in the mid-1950s and the roof was replaced in the 1970s. It’s a very active church, and it’s nice to see the artistry and craftsmanship of the earlier periods represented and enjoyed.

Another popular spot is actually opposite to the church: the Grotto. The Grotto has three prayer stations: Our Lady of Grace, St. Joseph and St. Jude. Even if you choose not to approach, there is ample seating around the grounds near the fountain to take a moment and reflect.

If you are curious to see more, take a moment to flip the photos of the Mission San Buenaventura.

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