Monday, August 27, 2012


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Where will you find this quatrefoil window?
After arriving by ship at Monterey Bay June 3, 1770, Father Junipero Serra immediately erected a cross near an oak tree, hung a bell on the limb, began the formal founding of Mission San Carlos Borromeo the second mission of the province and celebrated its first Mass. The original setting was on the shores of Monterey Bay at the Presidio of Monterey.

Because this site did not have the land or water to make the mission self-supporting and due to the undesireable influence of the soldiers stationed at the Presidio, Father Serra moved the mission site south in 1771 to its present location near the mouth of the Carmel River. 

At this new location, Father Serra erected a cross where daily Mass would be held until the chapel could be built.
In 1938, Harry Downie, the curator in charge of mission restoration, discovered the remains of this cross shaft, and had the cross reconstructed and erected on its original site. 
Father Serra died August 28, 1784, years before the Carmel Mission Basilica was completed.  Father Lasuen took over where Father Serra had left off, completing the original stone church in 1797.   
Thirty-seven years later the mission
lands were secularized and fell into ruins. 

As a parish church, Mass continued to be held in the mission periodically until services had to be moved to the sacristy next door due to fear that the roof would collapse.  After Mass on November 4, 1852, the feast day of Saint Charles Borromeo, patron Saint of Carmel Mission Basilica, the roof did in fact cave in.   
But Carmel Mission Basilica would rise again.  On August 28, 1884 the 100th anniversary of Father Serra's death, Father Angel Casanova rededicated the mission with a new wood shingled peaked roof. 

In 1931, Harry Downie would be appointed curator in charge of mission restoration.  One of the first jobs of the Restoration Committee would be to raise funds for rebuilding Father Casanova’s steep roof, which had fallen into disrepair, to the original 1790's design.  
The quatrefoil window, a common Mission style architectural feature, can be found over the front entrance of...

The Basilica of
Mission San Carlos Borromeo

Carmel Mission Basilica
3080 Rio Road
Carmel, CA

Catholic Mass
Daily (Monday - Friday) 7AM 12PM 5:30PM
Daily (Saturday) 8:30AM
Vigil Mass (Saturday) 5:30PM
Sunday Mass 7:30AM 9:15AM 11AM 12:45PM

Saturday 9:30AM - 10:30AM Blessed Sacrament Chapel

Carmel Mission Museum and Store
Monday - Saturday 9:30AM - 5:00PM
Sunday 10:30AM - 5:00PM
Charge to view Museum $6.25


Father Serra Celebrates Mass at Monterey - Leon Troussett
Drawing of Mission area 1794 by John Sykes
Watercolor of Mission in 1827 by Richard Beechey
Mission in ruins after secularization - Photograph courtesy of Downie Collection
1884 Mission roof restored - Photograph C. W. J. Johnson, courtesy of the Monterey Public Library, California History Room Archives

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Concours d' Elegance 2012 - Classic Car Week on a Budget

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Classic Car Week on a Budget

For 10 days the third week in August, car enthusiasts from around the world converge on the Monterey Peninsula. I know very little about cars, other than I drive a blue one.  But I was fascinated by the cars that filled our narrow streets that week.
While entry to the majority of the events surrounding the Concours d'Elegance cost well outside our pocketbook, (The Quail Motorsports Gathering $450, Pebble Beach Concours $250, Concorse Italiano $150, Reunion at Mazada Raceway Laguna Seca $70) we managed to enjoy a number of events within our budget.
Before one thinks that these exorbitant prices serve only the rich and famous crowd, take note that part of these high price tickets  go to charities, such as the Pebble BeachCompany Foundation which funds numerous grants for the youth of Monterey County. 

What can someone on a budget enjoy at the Concours d’ Elegance?  Shhh now don’t tell anyone, but…

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Pre-Reunion
($20 per person includes parking)

For the first time, the Pre-Reunion was open to the general public.   Our ticket price included free parking, access to the paddock, grandstand bleacher seats and no crowds! 

We closely examined and admired touring and racing cars from 1929 to 1989, candidly talked to the owners, asked dumb questions, and snapped photographs without other people blocking the way.

Once the racing started we sat in the bleachers with an unobstructed view of the cars as they came into Turn 4 and then attempted to pass one another on the straightaway before Turn 5.  Note to self – bring sun screen next year.
Concours on the Avenue
Carmel-by-the-Sea (Free)
It's 8am on a Tuesday morning, Ocean Avenue from Junipero to Monte Verde and surrounding side streets are blocked off to regular traffic.  In the early hours of the morning, just as the coffee houses are opening, the streets are eerily empty of cars and people.  The next three hours will be the best time to view the cars at the Concours on the Avenue. 
Grab a cup of coffee at Cafe Carmel and walk down the middle of Ocean Avenue to San Carlos. Here, 175 classic cars are beginning to line up.  Their owners will form three rows between Seventh and Ninth Avenue, revving their motors as they wait for the signal to continue on to Ocean Avenue and their assigned spot for the Concours.

The actual event starts at 10am and runs until 5pm, but if you prefer to view the cars and talk to the owners at your leisure without the crowds, go early.   

 After viewing all the cars on Ocean Avenue, I still don’t understand much about what is under the hood, in the trunk, on the floor or dash of most cars. What have I learned?  That cars come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, some with fancy grill work, wings, hood ornaments or tops, and most come in pretty shinny bright colors. 

Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance
($9.25 price of the ticket into the 17 Mile Drive)
 8:30am Thursday morning I was parked inside the Carmel Gate on the 17 Mile Drive about ½ mile from the Lodge on my own private turn out.  Quite surprised that very few others had the same idea I had, that of following (some might call it stalking) the cars as they drove the Pebble Beach Tour d’ Elegance to Big Sur and back.   
Just as I settled into my lawn chair with the morning paper and a cup of coffee I heard the loud buzzing of motors. A moment later a motorcycle officer led the procession of around 190 cars built between 1903 and 1954 around the bend in the road, drivers and passengers waving or tipping their hat as they passed.  No time to lounge, the parade had begin. 

As the last car passed, I pulled out of my turn out and headed south to Big Sur.  The tour would take these cars out the Pebble Beach Gate then into Carmel Valley via Aguajito and Monhollan Roads before cutting back along Carmel Valley Road and turning south onto Highway 1.  My goal was to be ahead of them and parked at the Bixby Bridge when they came by going south on their way to the turn around point in Big Sur. 

Not alone this time in my idea, I arrived to find most of the few available pull off spots already taken.  I managed to park in a safe spot and walk back to the north entrance to the Rocky Creek Bridge and wait. 

Someone with binoculars spotted the touring cars to the north on the stretch of highway coming our way alerting us all to our camera ready positions. 

As the last car (or what I thought was the last car) passed, I headed back to meet friends in Carmel and view the cars arriving on Ocean Avenue around 11:30.  As I made the turn at Highway One and Rio Road, some of the slower cars were just passing through this intersection on their way south.

Up to this point I had run into very few "crowds."  That is because while I was following the tour up and down Highway One, the rest of the world was lining Ocean Avenue.  Still we managed to squish ourselves into a prime location to view the cars as they entered Ocean Avenue just before noon. 

The cars remained parked on Ocean until 3PM that day.  The crowds were huge, but plenty of time to walk and admire these historical cars. 

Total spent for three days of events for a family of four at the Concours d'Elegance on a budget, $89.25 and about 4 gallons of gas, but remember this is our secret!


Until next time Happy Adventures!

For an interactive map and guided walking tour covering many of our tours please be sure to download the GPSmyCity App from the iTunes store. The App covers an extensive library of articles and walking tours from over 470 cities worldwide, and now features articles from Adventures of a Home Town Tourist covering Carmel and Monterey (with more cities on the way).


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Photography by LA Momboisse