Mission Santa Ines on the El Camino Real

Phyliss Miranda sig line for P&P BluebonnetIt seems like just last week I blogged with you all … well it was!  But if you can stand me one more day, I’m going to continue along the El Camino Real and write about another Mission I visited not long ago.

My youngest granddaughter came home from school and said she had an end-of-the-year school project and needed my help.  She had to select a mission and write about its history, as well as draw pictures.  Of course the Mission La Purisima was the first one to come to mind, but as she reminded me, anybody could drive the two or three miles to get a bird’s eye view.  The next choice is where we went every Wednesday to the market in Solvang … Mission Santa Inez.  It was a great choice, so we rounded up as many grands who wanted to go and my daughter and I headed towards Solvang.  We could kill three birds with one stone, go to the market, go to our favorite winery while the kids went to the ice cream shop, and visit the Mission for Addison’s project.  What a wonderful outing!front-view-of-santa-ines

But first some history.  Mission Santa Inez was founded in September 1804, and was known for their excellency in saddle making.  Today the Mission is fairly well dwarfed by the tourist town of Solvang.  This is one of the most beautiful Missions I’ve visited, but like the others I’ve written about, it has folklore to match it’s magnificence!

chapel-santa-inezOne story tells of a dark vampire that once inhabited the church when it was in ruin.  The tale says that there is a creature that will suck the blood from the toes of any hapless stranger who sleeps the night in the chapel and has the bad luck to remove his shoes.  Maybe the tale has its origin in the owls who once perched in the building long ago. Maybe not.  Maybe it’s just a myth!

Another legend caught my attention because it tells that the statue of San Antonio, that was brought by the Spanish padres, is somehow blessed and has the power to grant one prayer of an unselfish nature.

This quiet and beautiful place wasn’t always so peaceful, for it was here in 1824 that the Great Revolt started.  The Chumash native converts grew tired of the cruel treatment afforded them by the Spanish soldiers, and revolted in a bloody rampage which lasted a month.  According to folklore, A Chumash woman  warned the padres of the uprising saving many lives.  As the legend goes, she was buried under the alter in a special site reserved for padres and political leaders.  Maybe it is this woman who haunts the grounds of the old graveyard-santa-inezchurch.  Some say they feel her presence near the old laundry basin.  It is said that tape recordings made at the cemetery and laundry area always seems to pick up stray whispers and the mournful wail of a Native American flute.

The site is calm now, but if its memories do replay to the visitor, this should be a very haunted site indeed.

santa-inez-back-yardNow for where Addison and I worked.  This is the backside of the Mission.  We sat on the wishing well and I helped her vocalize the mission, without the ghosts, but it’s history.  She did a fantastically beautiful drawing from this view.  She’s like her PawPa, an artist at heart.  I lost five dollars in coins to the wishing  well.

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my visit to California a few months ago.  Stick with me because I’m still going to revisit the Mission La Purisima and tell you about my college grandson’s real adventure with what could have been a ghost.  I’ll let you all decide.

And, yes we all had ice cream, got some beautiful vegetables along with strawberries, blueberries, and some wonderful mulberries, as well as a couple of bouquets of flowers and headed home … no Lucas and Lewellen Tasting Room for us that day.


  To two readers who leave a comment, I’ll put your names in one of my

lady Stetson hats direct from Solvang and you can select

your choice of one of my eBooks from Amazon.

Hugs from Texas to all you all, Phyliss

Website | + posts

A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

Visit her at phylissmiranda.com

20 thoughts on “Mission Santa Ines on the El Camino Real”

    • Thanks, Debra G. Good to see you again. I love history. If I could do what I really want with writing it’d be to do research and have someone else write the book. I love to write western historicals, but this contemporary series just came naturally from the western historical anthologies we wrote. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Estella. I really enjoy missions and their history. That’s one reason I love going to my California family to research. Walk the walk! Hope you have a wonderful day, and I promise there are more missions to cover. Hugs, Phyliss

  1. I would love to be able to visit the missions. I always enjoy learning the history of different places. The myths are pretty cool too.

    • Hi Janine. I hope you have the opportunity to visit a mission or two. Although many are on the El Camino Real, there are tons all over the United State; particularly in the south and west. Come to Texas and visit the Alamo in San Antonio. New Mexico has some wonderful ones, too. Hope you have a good day and I still have some Missions on the El Camino Real that I plan to blog about. Hugs from Texas, Phyliss

  2. That is such a cool thing you did with your granddaughter! They will remember those times and have keepsake memories to share to their kids! I know I remember those special events when my grandma took me places. I loved learning more about the mission. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Susan P, glad to hear from you. I had a great relationship with my grandmother and I love being a Granny to my 8 grands. I hope and pray that they will have fond memories like I do of my Granny. I’m glad you’re enjoying the mission blogs. I still have more to cover. Ones I’ve visited. I’m not going to do Missions I haven’t visited unless they have a history that I think everyone would enjoy. Hey, have fun with your grands. I only have three that aren’t in college now or will be entering at midterm. Have a great day. Big Texas hugs, Phyliss

  3. Ah – Phyliss. You brought be back home for a few minutes. I grew up on some property right outside of Lompoc and drove past La Purisima all the time. And I worked one summer in Solvang as well. I worked in a needlework store and even dressed up in those lovely peasant gowns with the outer corsets. 🙂 I don’t think I ever actually visited the Santa Inez Mission, though. Now I wish I had. What a lovely place with so much history. Thank you for taking me back home for a short visit.

    • Oh my gosh, Karen, I can’t believe we’ve sat across from one another at breakfast and we never discussed Lompoc. My kids have lived there twice. First off Ocean in a gated community. The kids were little, so I spent a lot of time out there with them. As a matter of fact, I saw the first Delta II rocket launch. And, I mean under the tents with the engineers and professionals. I also attended the Michael Jackson trial in Santa Maria. Now the family live in the Vanderburg Village (where we go on Sunday for the market). You’d be sad, however, at the virtually uncultivated flower fields, particularly in Lompoc. All due to the drought. The great big fields about a mile before the old outdoor theater (west side of road) where they used to plant flowers into the design of the American Flag isn’t there. Or the flowers aren’t, but I’m hoping they will be. The vegetables are good and there are still flowers, but nothing that contributes to the Flower City. It’s still a beautiful town and my kids love it. We go to Solvang regularly, as I mentioned. I love the town and always buy some L&L wine for my family. At the La Purisima they always have folks dressed up in period clothes, doing yarn and other things. I love it when I’m there when they are all dressed up. I bet you had fun in the needlework shop all dressed up. I’m so glad I could take you back in time for a short visit. Big hugs from one Texan to another, Phyliss

    • Kim, glad you stopped by. I hope you don’t get bored with the mission stories, but it sounds like you like the short bird’s eye view of their history. Thanks for dropping by and I hope you have a wonderful day. Hugs, Phyliss

    • Thanks, Colleen. We had a great time, as we always do when we go to Solvang. There is just so much to see and do. Yes, Kathy and I had ice cream with the kids, but we did sneak into the L&L Tasting Room to say hello! Hello without a taste of wine because we had to drive home. The ice cream was better anyway. We got hats, big floppy ones, for graduation, since their high school graduations are outdoors. It was great because my other daughter and oldest granddaughter showed up as a surprise for granulation. We have two this coming year. Senior in Lompoc and a senior college grad from premed in Texas. Busy year! Thanks for stopping by Miss Colleen. Hugs, P

  4. Hi Mary B. Thanks for dropping by. I am glad you are enjoying my blogs on the missions. It’s a joy to write them. Have a great evening, Hugs, Phyliss

  5. A bit late getting here, but enjoyed the post. We stop at old missions and churches when we travel. Some of them are spectacularly beautiful and all have a sense of history. It is always enjoyable to learn about them.

  6. In our school districts, fourth grade (?) students are to visit and write a story, do an art project or make a A/V production about a California mission of their choice. One favorite for our family is San Juan Bautista. I love the mission history. Thanks for sharing these tidbits about Mission Santa Ines.

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