But I was craving something new, and so suggested the historic district of San Juan Capistrano. Located in southern Orange County, the town is most famous for the mission and its swallows, but we didn't tour the mission. I'd visited Capistrano before as a child several times and toured the mission, but it's been years since my last visit.
It was a hot hot toasty day on that Sunday, and though SJC is near the coast, it was far enough inland that it was still plenty hot.We stayed primarily in the Los Rios section, which is the oldest residential neighborhood in the entire state. Below are lots of photos to give you the flavor of this historic place.
Our trip took us over the steep and winding Ortega Highway, which runs from eastern San Juan Capistrano, over the mountains of the Cleveland National Forest, to Lake Elsinore. (From Elsinore you can continue on Highway 74 all the way to Palm Desert.)
The Montanez Adobe below was built around 1850.
Detail of Pancho Villa on the front door. According to my grandmother, her father (my great-grandfather) rode with Villla in Mexico.
Cute retail shops, tea rooms and restaurants line the street. We didn't eat at any of the cafes; the one I liked was only offering a Mother's Day Brunch menu at $50 per person, no matter the age. Um, no to the $200 brunch.
Me and my monkeys on the train tracks. (Popular photo-op spot. We had to wait for a great big family taking pics here.)
Another take-away: everyone in our family was inspired by the Metrolink and Amtrack trains pulling into the old depot. We ate lunch at the (very stuffy) restaurant inside the depot and got to watch all the trains. It would be awesome to take a ride up the coast somewhere! None of our family has ever used the train as transportation to somewhere else. How fun. Another item for our to-do list.