California missions spotlight: You’re invited to spend the night at Mission San Antonio de Padua

The Alta Dance Company performs at San Antonio de Padua for Mission Days on April 10, 2010. The mission is where the Carabajal violin made by Native American Jose Carabajal in 1798 was stored until it was stolen several years ago.
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

San Antonio de Padua, Jolon

Third mission


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This was a busy mission in the old days — as many as 1,200 neophytes at one time, tending as many as 8,000 head of cattle and 10,000 sheep. Since 1939-40, the 86-acre mission site (owned by the Diocese of Monterey) has been surrounded by the rural landscape of sprawling Ft. Hunter Liggett military reserve. But you can visit, as long as every adult in the vehicle has photo ID. A priest from the San Miguel mission celebrates Mass every Sunday. The complex, reconstructed in 1948, includes a retreat center with 30 double rooms ($60 per person per night) and a family suite, along with ruins of an old gristmill, winery and aqueduct. (Children welcome. No TV, phones or Wi-Fi.) In August the mission began a seismic retrofit and restoration that’s expected to last 13 months. The mission is about 26 miles off the northbound 101. Call for detailed directions. And mind the speed limit; military police do give tickets.

Nearby: Before the U.S. government bought up this area in 1940, William Randolph Hearst enlisted San Simeon architect Julia Morgan to build him a hacienda about half a mile from the mission. Morgan designed it in the mission style (but used poured concrete instead of adobe) and made it large enough to house 30 employees. It was completed in 1930 and later used as an officers’ club. Now, like the mission, the Hacienda (a.k.a. Rancho Milpitas, a.k.a. Jolon Ranch House) is surrounded by the fort but open to the public. It operates as a hotel, with rooms and suites at $50-$200 a night. Info: or (831) 386-2900.

Info: End of Mission Road, Jolon; (831) 385-4478, Driving distance from L.A. City Hall: 260 miles northwest.

From the archives:

In 1957 The Times wrote about the friars who built Mission San Antonio de Padua.

In 1993, The Times reported on a three-day, six-mission trip that included San Antonio.

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