Thursday, 12 November 2015

San Juan Bautista State Park

On the day we visited volunteers were dressed in period costume as part of a living history day at the San Juan Bautista State Park.  
Originally, what is now the Plaza Hotel, was a one-story adobe barracks and two-story guard house for the soldiers protecting the mission.   In 1835 the building became a home and general store for the Anzar family.
It was then sold to an Italian immigrant, Angelo Zanetta who added the second story and opened the Plaza Hotel in 1859.   The hotel became famous for its excellent cuisine and liquors.
By the 1860’s San Juan Bautista was a stop for 7 stagecoach lines and when the Idria Quicksilver mine opened south east of town, even more people stopped at the hotel.

A reconstruction of what the dining room would’ve been like, you could get ham and eggs for 40c and a coffee for 10c.

If you were a traveller in the mid 1800’s it would take you about 58 hours to travel the 366 miles from LA to San Juan Bautista, at an average speed of 6.8 miles an hour and cost $20.00. 

Well furnished rooms were available to travellers, but single travellers shared a room and sometimes total strangers shared a bed!   Not something that would ever even be considered now, thank goodness.

The Castro/Breen adobe is an example of eastern and western building methods produced in Montery and formed the Monterey Colonial Architectural style.
The adobe served as headquarters and residence of José Antonio Castro, Commandant General of Alta California and later as home to  Donner Party survivors Patrick Breen and family.

One of the demonstrations was cooking in a ‘horno’’ oven, it took 3 hours for the horno to get hot enough to put food in.   Thank goodness for microwaves, I’m really glad I don’t have to cook like that every day!

Across the road at the rear of the stables,

a blacksmith was demonstrating his work.

Unmarried mission women once lived in a dormitory on this site, in 1835 the enlarged building became the headquarters for General Jose Castro’s cavalrymen.  

The building was later purchased by hotel owner Angelo Zanetta and used to store hay.   He and his partner hoped to sell the building as the San Benito County Courthouse, the ground floor contained offices and the first floor was one long open room. 

After Hollister became the county seat, Zanetta added a dining room and kitchen for his family home and the upstairs was used for town meetings and balls.  

Just across the road from the plaza hotel is a small settlers cabin and what was possibly the first log cabin in California.   It was moved from its original location on Mission Ventura Ranch.

Once we’d finished looking round the state park, we walked through town,

we had coffee and lovely apple cinnamon turnovers in the bakery

I loved this handbag in one of the store windows.

San Jaun Bautista is a lovely little town and we really enjoyed our visit. 

Have fun, we are!

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