It began with warm, Southern California sunshine, smoothly moving freeways and hopes of a day spent soaking up healing rays, listening to the soothing sounds of waves lapping the beach and strolling through a little bit of Old Scandinavia just a few hours up the coast. That’s not quite the way it played out.
First, we got started a bit later than planned. Normally, I try not to let this worry me, but I also misjudged the amount of time it would take to drive from Long Beach to Solvang. All was good, though, as the freeways were moving and we didn’t have to sit in traffic. Still, by the time we got to Ventura, we were starving. Promenade Park looked like a nice place to stop for lunch on the beach. With the lunch-hour surfers competing for parking space, it became a matter of ‘wait for someone to pull out and grab their spot quick’. This accomplished, I made sandwiches for the boy and his grandpa (and his mom) and we proceeded to enjoy watching the waves and sunning ourselves. A seagull, perched on a nearby rock, sensed an audience and spread his wings to demonstrate his take-off. Duly appreciated.
Refreshed, we turned inland for Solvang. Second mistake. The once quaint Danish Village of Solvang, is now just another shopping mall. At least in the winter. The worst part was that I had a nagging suspicion that I should have remembered this from another, similar trip two years ago, with my daughter. Note to self: begin a small trip log, noting places not to revisit, and destinations to return to. I probably would have done better to update my pictures and info on Santa Ines and La Purissima Missions instead, but the day was fading. After stretching our legs from one end of Solvang to the other and back again, we decided there was enough time left to visit the Ostrich Farm on the way back to the coast road.
Save! Our misadventures in Solvang were soon forgotten in the quirkiness of feeding the ostriches and emus at the Ostrich Farm. Watching their comical bird faces and gangly legs running around their pens provided us with some much needed belly laughs, though our stop there was less than an hour.
Our final destination before heading home had to be Anderson’s Split Pea Soup Restaurant in Buellton. Not disappointing. Sure I could make a vat of split pea soup with ham bones and carrots and potatoes at home for about a buck, but the satisfaction of hearing my oldest son, when he called in the middle of our dinner, gasping “Anderson’s Split Pea Soup in the bread bowl?! That is sooooo aaawesooome!!” was priceless. Day salvaged.
So what happens when you’re in Brazil and life throws you lemons? Read what Trent did Wander, Seek Find
Santa Ines was expected to become the most successful of the missions. Due to a series of unfortunate events, this did not happen.
First, the Hidalgo uprising of 1810, gave Mexico its independence from Spain. And then, the great earthquake of 1812 devastated all the missions. Finally, the secularization of 1834 did not give the new mission much time to live up to its promise.
In the few years it did have, the mission saw over 1,000 baptisms and hundreds of marriages. It boasts some of the earliest industrial sites in California.
Joseph Chapman was a craftsman from Maine. In 1818 he sailed west to Hawaii. The Argentine pirate, Hippolyte de Bouchard, forced him into service on his crew. When Bouchard stopped to raid the Ortega Ranch, near the mission, several crewmembers were captured as well as several soldiers.
In the exchange of prisoners, Chapman was overlooked or refused and remained in the custody of the soldiers. When the new governor discovered Chapman’s mechanical inclination and craftsmanship, he pardoned him. Chapman was turned over to the padres at Mission Santa Ines.
Consequently, Chapman studied and embraced the Catholic faith. He went on to design and build a New England-style fulling mill, which the padres had long envisioned, for treating woolen cloth. In addition, he married a daughter of the Ortega family, whose ranch he had helped to raid. They settled near the mission, continuing his work there.
La Purisima has had massive restoration due to federal and state funding. Yet, Mission Santa Ines has had to rely on the generosity of visitors and benefactors. It has been in continuous use, serving the surrounding community of Solvang, a Danish colony established over 100 years after the founding of the mission.
Danish settlers wanted to train young Danish Americans and preserve their lifestyle. The idea worked. Visitors to Solvang can marvel at Danish architecture, costume, handcrafts and hospitality while wandering the streets and cobblestone alleys of the town. You might even catch some of the locals speaking the language.