A picnic and a glimpse of California history at La Purisima Mission – Lompoc, CA
By Gaby Mendoza
Who would have thought that one of the California Spanish missions along the coast would be the perfect place to spend a warm sunny day? La Purisima is a big beautiful mission. Perfect for picnics and exploring. As soon as you pull into the parking lot expect to be confused as to where the historical building lies.
At first, you’ll be pleasantly distracted by all the beautiful oak trees and begin to think this might be a mysterious place…and it is! The mystery lies within the settlement itself that is conveniently marked throughout the different pathways and sites that hold tons of history. Who has died here? What was cultured and how? Before you begin seeking the history among this sacred land, you will find a Visitor’s Center directly in front or the parking lot. Be sure to stop here before exploring the mission’s land so that you can have a good background in what life was like in those days. You’ll be greeted by eye-opening exhibits and information boards to spark your interest in this beautiful historic landmark.
After visiting the interpretive center, get ready to do some exploring. The La Purisima property is a total of three square miles, and you are free to roam the entire thing for as long and as much as you want! The mission still has its farm, garden, “lavanderia”, and many other special spots where the Spanish settlers and Chumash did specific activities. What makes this place special is that it has brought life into the different sections of the mission. You are free to open any door and walk into any space at La Purisima Mission. When you walk through, you will find what one would call an “exhibit”, but they are the real thing! There is the church, the priest’s headquarters, the hide making room; and they all have materials and equipment that were used in those days to give you a really good image of how people lived at La Purisima. You are truly taken back in time when you walk throughout the mission’s land. Walk a little further and you find yourself in the small farm or the beautiful garden of marked plants. Bring good walking shoes because you will be tempted to walk the trails at this gorgeous landmark. Bring the entire family and a nice lunch to spend the day at La Purisima Mission in Lompoc, you won’t regret it. Visitor, Cary Gray stated, “this is definitely one of the best mission to visit.”