San Juan Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano is located just miles from the Ocean in Orange County. The city was built around the Mission San Juan Capistrano which is considered the birthplace of Orange County. There are several unique and fascinating areas including, the Capistrano Depot, the Los Rios District and of the course the Mission San Juan Capistrano. An easy and fun way to get to San Juan Capistrano is by train. So you can take either the Metrolink or Amtrak and enjoy a hassle-free and beautiful ride right to the Capistrano Depot.
The Depot was built in 1894 with adobe bricks and old style mission tiles and truly mirrors the era it was created. The historic Los Rios District is located across the street from the station. This district is considered by many to be the “oldest neighborhood in California”, Los Rios is a trip back in time. Cottages that were built in the 1700’s line both sides of the street including three of the original adobes, one being the Rios Adobe. Built in 1794 the Adobe is still home to the 11th generation of the Rios family.
Mission San Juan Capistrano
Father Fermin Francisco de Lasuén, a Spanish missionary, founded the mission in 1775. The mission was to expand territories of Spain and to educate the natives on Christianity. Over the next 30 years, the mission grew to over 1,000 in population. The mission offers a variety of tours featuring the 10 acres of gardens, adobes and beautiful fountains throughout the mission.
The Swallows Of San Juan Capistrano
Father St. John O’Sullivan, who was the pastor of the Mission from 1910 to 1933, recalls the legend of the swallows in the book “Capistrano Nights”. He told the Author, Charles Francis Saunders, that he noticed an innkeeper destroying the nests of the swallows that had nested in his eaves. Their conversation, “What in the world are you doing?” O’Sullivan asked.
“Why, these dirty birds are a nuisance and I am getting rid of them!” the shopkeeper responded.
“But where can they go?”
“I don’t know and I don’t care,” he replied, slashing away with his pole. “But they’ve no business here, destroying my property.”
O’Sullivan then said, “Come on swallows, I’ll give you shelter. Come to the Mission. There’s room enough there for all”. There you have it, the next morning the swallows were building nests at the mission.
The cliff swallows make their annual pilgrimage to the mission near mid April and return to Argentina, 6,000 miles to the south, around the day of San Juan, October 23rd.