Mission Santa Inés: Exploring Solvang’s Mission

Mission Santa Ines was the 19th of the 21 California missions to be created, and it resides in the small Danish town of Solvang, only a few miles off Highway 101. Father Estévan Tapís founded the mission in 1804, and it is most famous for being the start of one of the largest Indian rebellions during the mission period. I got a chance to check it out on day three of my missions road trip, which you can read about here, or continue on to learn about my time at Mission Santa Inez.

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Getting There

Mission Santa Ines is located on Highway 246 right past the town of Solvang. It has a large parking lot that can accommodate lots of visitors.

The Exterior

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As you pull up, you will see the big bell tower and mission building extending out from it. This mission is one of the better ones solely for the views that you can see from the parking lot of the well-maintained mission.

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There is a statue of Father Serra right in the front as well, much like the other missions.

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There is also the El Camino Real bell that has come to mark each mission I have visited as well.

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In the back of the parking lot, you will find a distinct exhibit with a dozen crosses, each representing a different moment in Jesus crucifixion.

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When you enter the gift shop, you will pay the fee of $5 and receive a map you can use to wander the mission. Here are some of the main things you will see.

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The first room of the museum has a detailed model that shows what it would have looked like in its heyday as well as a map of the area.

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The rest of the museum has a lot of artifacts, such as confessionals, garments, paintings, and statues.

Madonna Room

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Much like Fernando de Rey, there is also a Madonna Room at this mission. This Madonna room has a half dozen or so depictions of Mary and a separate altar.

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The Chapel

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The chapel here is stunning with a colorful altarpiece that was much different than the typical gold altars I had seen in the other missions. Here are a few pictures:

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The Gardens

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One of the best aspects of this mission is the incredibly beautiful garden that lines the courtyard.

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When I was there, the flowers were in full bloom, and it was stunning seeing all of the colors.

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The middle of the courtyard has a fountain, like many of the other missions, but the pathways that lead to it are covered in colorful flowers and beautiful plant life.

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There is also a covered walkway that has vines growing over the top of it.

The Uprising

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In the back of the mission, there is an area dedicated to the Chumash Revolt that happened here and spread to some of the other missions. There is a really unique story that you can read about here.

The Cemetery

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The cemetery of Mission Santa Ines is probably my favorite spot. While many of the other missions have the traditional organized cemetery plots, this mission just has gravestones and crosses that pop up all over the side yard. What makes it distinct is how old many of the plots are and the crosses that adorn the gravesites.

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I spent about an hour walking around this mission, and even though this was the second time I visited, it is still one of the hidden gems of the California missions. The property has been kept up immaculately, and it is a place where you can just wander and enjoy the serenity it provides. Read more about my trip to the rest of the missions here and let me know what you think in the comments.

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