Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma
Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma (114 E. Spain St., Sonoma, 707/938-9560, www.parks.ca.gov, daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m.), or the Sonoma Mission to its friends, is the northernmost of the California Missions. It sits at the corner of the historic Plaza in downtown Sonoma—a low, surprisingly unpretentious block of buildings without much in the way of decoration or crowds.
The last Mission (established in 1823) and one of the first restored as a historic landmark (finished in 1926), the Sonoma Mission isn’t the prettiest or most elaborate of the California Mission chain. But visitors can see museum-style exhibits depicting the life of the later Missionaries and Native Americans who lived here, and a unique series of watercolor paintings depicting all the California Missions.
Outdoors, guests can rest on benches by the fountain, observe a moment of silence at the Native American mortuary monument, or check out the cactus “wall” that’s been living on the property since the Mission days.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition