Remember in 4th grade when we had to build a model of a mission? Oh, I guess this was probably just if you lived in California. Unless 4th graders in New Jersey built California missions for school projects too. I don't really know...
When I was a kid my parents took me to all sorts of sites, including many, many missions. I enjoyed them, but by the time I was a teenager I was kind of sick of them. The same thing happened with me and trees. These activities were fun for a good long time, but then I wanted something more urban and exciting out of my travels. Bring me LA! Bring me Vegas!
But it's okay, because we repaired our relationship and now I love missions again. And trees. And botanical gardens. I can't resist a nice botanical garden.
Miss T's parents came from the same explorers' mold that my parents did and was taken far and wide as a kid too. Now we're adults and have taken our own kids to the missions (and dragged them all sorts of other places), but there is no rule that says two grown women can't go to La Purisima by themselves. Is there?
After our recent hotel adventure, we wanted more, so when we heard that our closest mission was having Purisima's People Day we thought that nothing sounded more adventurous than watching people dressed up in 1800s mission people clothes doing 1800s mission people things like making candles and weaving and grinding corn.
Welcome to 1822...
We started off in the soldiers' quarters where a nice young soldier told us all about his room and the adjoining jail. The best part was clearly going to be getting to go behind the bars that normally keep people out of the various rooms. Usually it's "You can look, but don't touch" and now it was "You still can't touch, but you can look at things at much closer proximity and without the bars that give the not-so-subtle impression that we don't trust you to keep your hands to yourself every other day except today".
Next we talked with a chatty weaver who showed us how wool was spun and a chatty baker who showed us the ovens where her bread would have been made. We even got to taste some of the homemade loaf with butter, which was a nice treat. Then we got to see actual roast chickens being taken out of an actual working adobe oven and served to actual men who were dressed as soldiers sitting at a table. They were really going all out with the who re-enactment thing - it smelled so good. I never thought I'd be jealous of a man in a heavy wool coat on a hot day, but I was. I wanted his chicken. I wanted it bad.
Back outside we watched a group of women making candles and I got to help grind corn for tortillas.
After that we only had two goals left. 1) Find the room the Ghost Hunters investigated on their show and 2) go to the gift shop. We found the "haunted" room first and took some pictures to see if we could capture any ghostly lens flares. Sadly we didn't. I think Miss T was disappointed. She would have loved to send a video to her boys of a ghost sitting on the bed or a pot floating above the nightstand.
I was happy enough visiting the gift shop and not seeing a ghost. It was 1,000 degrees inside there, but I was determined to pick up and examine every handmade item they had.
I have to say, seeing the mission populated by historically accurate characters did make the whole experience more fun. And I mean, come on, I got to grind corn.