Back into time

Manuel Portugal

A trip back in time is one thing that is quite obtainable living in Southern California. Thankfully, as usual our train station is there to be the gate to experience these journeys. The south OC city of San Juan Capistrano is home to one of the oldest structures in California, dating back to the late 18th century. San Juan Capistrano is located about 35 miles south east of Fullerton and is accessed via either Metrolink of Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner. For this Adventure, we will take advantage of Metrolink’s $10 weekend day pass, which provides unlimited rides on the majority of Metrolink’s rail lines on Saturdays and Sundays.

Once arriving into the city of San Juan Capistrano, the double track converges into single track and leads directly into the rustic downtown area. Instantly one is taken back with the visuals of early 1900s architecture of the depot and the downtown areas surrounding buildings. Loaded with many shops and restaurants all worth visiting, the highlight of this adventure is the Mission of San Juan Capistrano.

The San Juan Capistrano mission was founded in November of 1776. It is an original Spanish Mission and it contains the oldest building still in use in California, a small chapel. The mission was made famous for its wine making and also because it was a structure that the padre Junipero Serra has celebrated mass on numerous occasions. The mission is also known for its biannual return of the swallows. The return of the swallows is a twice a year event where migratory American Cliff Swallow makes a stop in the city and mission during its 6000 mile north south migratory journey.

If you’re looking for another local venture to journey back in time, San Juan Capistrano will surely provide. The mission, the shops and the feeling of being in back-country Orange County are alone well worth the cost of the ticket. With this journey and many other local journeys available via the Fullerton Train station, we once again find ourselves blessed with easy access to great weekend escapes. If you find yourself with a couple of hours to spare on a weekend afternoon, a venture to San Juan Capistrano is surely something to consider.

Adventures by rail is a biweekly column dedicated to the Fullerton Train Station and the many adventures it can bring.