By George Christopher Thomas, Travel Writer
Just a short drive north from Los Angeles is the beautiful city of Ventura. This is a great day trip or even a romantic weekend. Ventura offers many things to do, including the San
Buenaventura Mission, a harbor, and some of the best seafood in California. As this newspaper’s profiles of the missions continues, my girlfriend and I made the short drive north on the 101 to check out Mission San Buenaventura.
Each mis- sion is unique and has its own charm and allure. This mission is a gem and has a gorgeous garden inside the c omp o u n d . The church is b e a u t i f u l , and the mission is still an ac- tive parish in the Archdiocese. On October 4th, 1994 a new life sized statue of the Blesses Junipero Serra was dedicated inside the courtyard, and just ads to the history of California and how this land was originally settled.
The beauty of visiting the missions of California is the his- tory, you get to learn hundreds and hun- dreds of years of history about the land and the Native Americans way of life before the Span- ish arrived. Most people think the missions were built in progression going up from San Di- ego. But in the beginning they were few and far between, with large gaps between them full of hostile Native Americans.
Eventually the 21 missions were a days horseback ride away from each other, but not in the beginning. In order of being founded, Mission San Bue- naventura was the 9th mission to be found- ed, and the last mission founded by Blessed Junipero Serra. Mission San Bue- naventura was named after St. Bonaventure, known as “the seraphic doctor.” He was born in Bagnorea in Tuscany, in 1221. The Prayer of St. Bonaventure is recommended by the Church for Thanksgiving after Communion.
Father Serra raised the Cross at “la playa de la canal de Santa Barbara” (the beach of the Santa Barbara Channel) on Easter Morning, March 31, 1782. This mission had been planned as the third in the chain of twenty-one Missions, but was actually built 9th, and this happens to be the last mission dedicated by Father Junipero Serra. The mission is beautiful and worth the day trip up to Ventura. The nice thing about Ventura is after a visit to the mission, going down to the harbor is a great activity.
You can rent a boat, and go around the harbor, and there is some of the best seafood anywhere in California there at the harbor. For more information visit www.ven- turaharbor.com. A great place just a few miles north of Los Angeles, Venturing to Ventura is a wonderful way to Stay and Play in LA. Another good source of information on Ventura is the Ventura Visitors and Convention Bu- reau at http://www. ventura-usa.com/.