Pacific Grove,California -John Denver Park

A visit to Pacific Grove to see Monarch Butterflies in mass took a hard right turn and pivoted in to a day at the Beach.  Pacific Grove, California is known for its Monarch Butterflies who stop by every year on their migration.  YouTube shows videos of what looks like millions and millions of butterflies hanging off of the trees taking a rest on their journeys.  A butterfly sanctuary exists to protect, teach, and enjoy them.  I have wanted to stop by for years even researching the appropriate time to stop by.  Well, surprise, I finally made it when I was instructed to and we only saw a few butterflies…probably 20 in total.

Well, when life throws you lemons in California, you hit the beach. A two minute drive away was John Denver Beach.  Being both a fan of Mr. Denver and any beach anywhere I thought I would go and pay my respects.  In 1997 just beyond this beach John Denver crash his ill-fated airplane forever locking this beautiful beach with his amazing life and voice.  My son and I watched the waves crash while we collected seashells and watched the birds and the tiny crabs.  It was lovely and somehow fitting for Mr. Denver.

I’ll leave you with the lyrics to my favorite John Denver song; Annie’s Song.  Rest in Peace Mr. Denver.

You fill up my senses like a night in the forest,

like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain,

like a storm in the desert, like a sleepy blue ocean.

You fill up my senses, come fill me again.

Come let me love you, let me give my life to you,

let me drown in your laughter, let me die in your arms,

let me lay down beside you, let me always be with you.

Come let me love you, come love me again.

Let me always be with you.

Come let me love you,

Come love me again.

You fill up my senses like a night in the forest,

like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain,

like a storm in the desert, like a sleepy blue ocean.

You fill up my senses, come fill me again.

Mission San Juan Bautista

The beautiful state of California is dotted with Missions harkening back to a profoundly different time in our history. Some have been restored and some show their age. I would love to see them all and had the opportunity to check one more off the complete list near the Monterey area. Mission San Juan Bautista is a fine example of a restored mission turned state park adjacent to a lovely little historic town. I’m not exactly sure why I’ve never been hear considering its close proximity to Monterey and Carmel. Perhaps I’ve always been in a hurry to hit the beach? Regardless, this gem was a great place to take a break and stretch our legs on the way to the beach. The church is magnificent and the grounds are pleasing and peaceful. The nearby structures show period houses, hotels, a jail, blacksmith, stables, etc. School kids were running around soaking it all in as little kids should be.

Have you ever visited any of the California Missions?  I’ll try my best to stop by and visit some more in coming days and years, they are a treat.

*In other news, I have also been looking for the opportunity to take a photo and mention the mission bells one can see whiling driving on historic California roads. The mission bells indicate El Camino Real and there are many of them connecting Mission country up and down California. I am usually whizzing by them on the highway without the ability to stop and wanted to capture this one for you since it was right outside the church.