Scenic USA - California

Carmel Mission

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Carmel Mission - Carmel-By-The-Sea, California

Photo by Alastair Allan
Alastair's PBase Gallery

     California's Central Coast, sometimes called the Middle Kingdom, is located between the Bay Area and the sprawl of Los Angeles. Once outside the metro areas, a string of small communities dot the beautiful coastline. One of the most scenic stretches is found between Big Sur and Monterey Bay.
     Monterey's winter days are warm and summers are cooled by sea breezes. This wonderful tree lined coast first attracted Governor Portola and Father Junipero Serra in 1770. Here along the Carmel River a group of Spanish missionaries and soldiers established the area's first mission and presidio. Most of California's missions were built of adobe, but the Mission San Carlos de Borromeo de Carmelo was built of sandstone. The stately mission, radiating its Moorish influence, was constructed by skilled artisans. A departure from the usual adobe structure, the church displayed unusual tapered walls and catenary arches. The Carmel Mission, Father Serra's favorite, became headquarters of a long chain of missions established along the long California coast.
     Because of the area's inexpensive land, pleasant climate and sandy beaches, Carmel-by-the-Sea began to attract a steady flow of newcomers in the early 20th century. Small cottages sprouted up, creating small beachside communities. One of the town's newcomers, layman Harry Downe, offered his expertise to an ongoing mission restoration project. Today's renovated Mission San Carlos Barromeo creates a splendid reminder of California's first settlements.

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