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A Quiet, Quaint, and Quirky Place

San Juan Bautista, with an estimated population of 1,800, looks like your ordinary, move-along-nothing-to-see very small city. At least, from the highway that runs along it. Wrong! Lots to see and lots to do if you're into California history, California missions, antiques, thrift-shopping, art galleries, walking, eating, coffee, Hitchock's Vertigo, bicycling, architecture, organic farms, wine tasting, and simply zenning out at any of the patios of the various eating and drinking establishments. Oh, and earthquakes, as in the San Andreas Fault.

I find it hard to believe more people haven't discovered this quiet, quaint, and quirky friendly town. We live about 10 miles to the east in Hollister. I've know San Juan Bautista my whole life, but it's only in the last decade that I have come to appreciate the mission city, which some people call it because of Mission San Juan Bautista, one of the 21 California missions that the Franciscan missionaries established long ago.

I like wandering around San Juan. So does the Husband. "I need to take photos in San Juan," I say to the Husband now and then, and off we go. If it's first thing in the morning, we start at Vertigo Coffee for breakfast. The owners roast their own coffee beans. I tell you it's worth a stop for their coffee. Also, for their sandwiches and pizzas.

The owners named their business after Hitchock's movie Vertigo, of which some scenes were filmed in San Juan Bautista. Remember the bell tower scene in the movie? That was supposedly the mission tower, except by the time Hitchcock came to San Juan to shoot the scene, the bell tower was no more. So, Hitchcock built a fake tower. It's just as well because his fake tower was much taller than the real one.

This is already going long.  I need to think about making dinner soon. So, I'm going to share some photos that I took over the last few years of San Juan Bautista. Most of the photos are from my other blog, Take 25 to Hollister. If you're ever in the area, drop by.

Mission San Juan Bautista

Plaza Hotel in the San Juan Bautista State Historic Park

Rain Dance Ceremony in the San Juan Bautista Plaza.

You'll find this site across from the mission.
There are picnic tables near that old settler's cabin.

Yup. Those are horseshoe prints.

Window display of the San Juan Bakery. 

Third Street, the main drag.

The trap door in the Santana Gallery leads to tunnels
that go beneath various businesses and the mission.

An old gas station transformed into the city's museum. 

One of the oldest adobes in San Juan.

Beautiful roses.

A very, very old cactus.

Paul Newman?
Bear's Hideaway has a delightful patio to sit
as you sip a glass of wine or handcrafted beer.

One of the amazing pepper trees in San Juan.

Dancers at the 2014 Mission Fiesta

Check out this website for a directory of shops, antique places, and restaurants.

Pshew! Tired? Have a seat. I may have overdone it with the photos.
Haven't even scratched the surface though. 

It's the letter Q at Alphabe-Thursday, a meme hosted by the lovely Mrs. Jenny Matlock. Click here to see what other participants are saying and showing about the letter Q.



  1. Oh this looks like a wonderful place to visit. I recognise some scenes from Vertigo I would love to go through some of the shops and just look around-that picture of the roses is beautiful. I believe Paul Newman did pose for that sculpture:)

  2. Replies
    1. Also quake-y when San Andreas Fault decides to do its thing.

  3. Thanks for the little get away. I needed a road trip this morning. '-)
    Looks like an interesting place to visit.

    1. I'm glad you had a bit of respite from your virtual trip. :-)

  4. What a lovely place ! Looks so romantic !

    1. I never thought of it before, but, yes, San Juan is a perfect place for a romantic date.

  5. It pays to check out the small towns rather than pass them by. Your photo is proof!


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Thanks for the good cheer. :-)

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