I recently spent an afternoon in the quaint country town of San Juan Bautista. The town is named for the famous mission. Most children in silicon valley had a field trip to visit this mission, which was immortalized in the Alfred Hitchcock movie “Vertigo.” Although they actually filmed scenes at the mission, the most pivotal scene, in which a body falls from the top of a church bell tower, was created in the studio. (The church bell tower had been taken down because of storm damage.) Still, it is one of the more interesting California missions to visit.
But San Juan Bautista also has a charming main street full of shops and restaurants. There is a thrift shop, an ice cream parlor, a bakery, a rock store, and many gift shops. We had a lovely lunch at a Mexican restaurant and wedding venue called Jardines de San Juan. The seating was entirely outdoors in their pleasant patio. Adjacent to the patio is a charming garden full of flowers and succulents: a haven for birds, bees, and butterflies. If you are in the area of San Juan Bautista, it is definitely worth a stop!