Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Downtown Ventura

Downtown Ventura is sleepy regardless of a recent sprucing up. It is dominated by six or seven thrift shops and the Mission San Buenaventura.

The mission is small and has a nice garden. English navigator George Vancouver called the gardens the finest he had seen. Most of the gardens are now gone and the grounds are not as grand as other missions such Santa Barbara or San Juan Capistrano.

The mission was founded in 1749 and has a long history reflected in a one room museum. The most interesting items in the museum were the unique wooden bells (seen below) and a handwritten letter from Thomas Jefferson dated 1803.

As in most missions I have seen, Father Junipero Serra is held up as a near saint and saviour of the heathen natives. Alternative views depict him as an enslaver and destroyer of cultures.

We found one cool store, Wetsand, that is a combination, web site, art gallery and surf shop. Here is an example of surfboard as art:

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