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Kim Redford Discovers a Bit of Texas in California

One of my favorite tours in Texas is the string of five missions along the San Antonio River. Most people have heard about, or even seen, the Alamo (1718) in downtown San Antonio because of the famous Battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836. Yet there are another four magnificent missions in the area.

From north (upstream of the San Antonio River) to south (downstream), you can follow the Mission Parkway with fifteen miles of hiking, biking, paddling trails, and culture bus routes. The Park connects Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan, and Mission Espada to the San Antonio Riverwalk through a series of park portals (

San Jose (1720), San José y San Miguel de Aguayo, was once a major social and cultural center, as well as the strongest garrison of the five missions. San Juan (1731), San Juan Capistrano, supplied agricultural and other products to the region. Concepcion (1731), Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña, became the center of local religious celebrations. Espada (1731), San Francisco de la Espada, was renowned for its unique bell chapel and stone entry.

When I recently made my way to Southern California, I had San Juan Capistrano on my mind because I knew there was another mission in the area with the same name as the one in Texas. I quickly found the mission famous for its returning swallows in the lovely village of San Juan Capistrano.

Mission San Juan Capistrano California (1776) ( is an inspirational historical, cultural, and religious site. The adobe wall enclosed compound consists of outstanding architecture, stunning oil paintings, religious artifacts, agriculture implements, horse tack, and rich landscape. Restoration and preservation is ongoing as public contributions fund this exceptional educational site for current and future generations.

Mission San Juan Capistrano California (1776)
Did I compare San Juan Capistrano Texas with the sister mission in California? I couldn’t help doing just that. I even met a lady in the gift shop who was buying—wouldn’t you know it?—a gift for a friend in Dallas. After hearing my Texas accent, she wanted my opinion on her choice. I assured her the present was perfect. And so we parted ways, even as she kept her connection to Texas and I kept mine to California.

I must admit there is definitely more glitz and glamour in the Golden State mission, but San Juan Capistrano sparkles big and bright in the wide open spaces of the Lone Star State. And yet, the missions in Texas and California—even after almost three hundred years—exhibit the same peace, serenity, and beauty deep in their heart of hearts.

Kim Redford's Smokin' Hot Cowboys

Kim Redford is an acclaimed, bestselling author of Western romance novels. She grew up in Texas with cowboys, cowgirls, horses, cattle, and rodeos for inspiration. She divides her time between homes in Texas and Oklahoma, where she’s a rescue cat wrangler and horseback rider—when she takes a break from her keyboard. Visit her at