Mission San Antonio de Padua is well off the “beaten track”, but is very worth the extra effort it takes to get there.
San Antonio Mission was the third of the twenty-one California missions to have been founded. Father Junipero Serra chose this spot and established it on July 14, 1771.
Mission San Antonio de Padua Quick Facts
Address: Mission Road, Jolon 93928 (Monterey County)
This mission is located in the midst of Fort Hunter Liggett. You will have to pass through the military checkpoint for this base, presenting insurance and identification documents in order arrive at the mission.
Google map – (opens in new window)
Year established: 1771 by Blessed Junipero Serra
GPS coordinates: 36.01498, -121.24978
Church Hours: Open daily 10am to 4pm
Museum (self-guided) Open daily 10am to 4pm
Gift Shop: Open daily 10am to 4pm
It is recommended that you call first to confirm as they sometimes must alter their schedule to accommodate volunteer help.
Mission San Antonio Mass times: tba
Mission San Antonio as it appears today, not much different than what is seen in the 1873 sketch below…
Edward Vischer The caption on the sketch reads:
Church, Buildings and Ruins of the Mission of San Antonio de Padua in Monterey County. Sketched June 26, 1873
The Mission that time forgot
Over the years since the missions were founded, cities grew up around them and most of those cities took the name of the mission: San Diego, San Gabriel, San Luis Obispo, San Francisco.
That was not to be with Mission San Antonio. It is situated in a lovely valley with its back against the mountains of the Santa Lucia Range. Just over those mountains is found the Big Sur Coast.
No city grew up alongside the mission
Commerce and settlement followed the Salinas River 15 miles to the east. After achieving its independence from Spain in the 1830’s, Mexico claimed all mission lands for its own. Although a few missions continued on as functioning churches, most (including San Antonio) were abandoned or put to other uses. Mission lands were large (many thousands of acres) enabling the missions to support themselves through farming and ranching.
A large portion of the former lands of San Antonio Mission were eventually bought by the Hearst family as one of their cattle ranches. William Randolph Hearst sold those lands to the government in 1940 for an Army training facility, but not before deeding the mission and some land back to the Church.
So the mission is now an 80+ acre island in the middle of mostly undeveloped land.
Mission San Antonio Church Interior
The tour of the mission has a wide variety of artifacts from the mission era. Additionally, there are many remnants of buildings, aqueducts and other facilities that supported the life of the mission.
The mission also hosts retreats for individuals and groups. This is a time for spiritual reflection away from the demands of the world. The remoteness and quiet of this mission makes it a perfect place for meditative time. More information here on their site.
Historical Accommodations at the Hearst Hacienda
Less than a mile from Mission San Antonio, is the “Hacienda”, built by architect Julia Morgan for William Randolph Hearst in the late 1920’s.
Hearst used this building as lodging for the cowboys that worked this unit of his sprawling empire. He also housed his many Hollywood guests who visited the “Castle” to the south and rode the rough trails 30 miles to this ranch.
Now owned by the military, as mentioned above, the Hacienda
is operated as a hotel and restaurant concession open to the public.
The Hacienda has four tower rooms (suites with queen-size beds), 2 garden rooms, and 5 cowboy rooms with shared baths.
Be sure to check with the management about evening meals in the restaurant, as I don’t think they are served any longer.
Reservations can be made at 831.386.2262. They don’t have a website, but I did find a Facebook page.
At Mission San Antonio de Padua, you can give your imagination a rest here because what you see is more or less how the mission was in the 18th century.