No matter what religion or spiritual path you follow, you owe it to yourself to check out the missions in the Tucson area - they are simply inspirational! The rich culture and history they represent are pretty moving.
The first one we visited is the Mission San Xavier del Bac. The conception of this beautiful building began in 1692, and currently the restoration is in progress. This mission is also considered a working mission, as they still hold mass daily.
There was something there for everyone -a favorite of the little ones were the mission dogs, little red was our tour guide through the grounds.
The landscaping is native and very well kept. There is even a daily guided walk around the grounds, which I will definately plan to catch next time around.
Across the plaza from the mission, are a few artsy shops, and we stopped below this mural for a photo shoot with the kids. I thought it was very appropricate.
The whole gang for one final shot. I wish I would have gotten some pictures of the inside because it was amazing; however, I was so moved I forgot to take any. I guess you will have to see it for yourself.
Because we enjoyed San Xavier so much, the next day we headed down south to Tumacacori National Historical Park. Where we got a double bang for our buck - the mission, and the spice shop.
Tumacacori Mission is very different from San Xavier. This is not a working mission; it is a historical monument, and operated by the national park service. Mass is held here; however, only twice a year.
The inside of the mission is in disrepair after being used for years as a barn, and since the mission of the state parks is to preserve and protect - they are not restoring the mission to its original state.
The outside grounds are interesting. There is a self-guided tour path to follow, and we always like to get out and explore.
Lucky for us, we were there on a Saturday, and they had two demonstraters - a paper flower maker and tortilla maker, and both were very interesting to watch and talk with. We decided to sit in the open picinic area behind the ramada; where we ate the pupusas we brought from the Drexel Market earlier that morning. Yummy, yummy in our tummy.
I know it must seem like we are always eating - and most of the time we are. We usually set out in the morning for our adventure, and plan on eating lunch wherever we are. Then the little ones take a nap in the car on the ride home, or if it is a short ride in the bed when we get home. And before we know it the day has flown by.
However, before we left the area we headed over the street to this wonderful spice shop - Santa Cruz Chili and Spice Company. You can smell them before you ever get in the door. I bought plenty of spices but my favorite currently is the Bloody Mary Spice Mix, which I am going through much quicker than I anticipated - good thing they have an online shop :)