Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mission Inn and the Festival of Lights

Last night we took a trip out to Riverside to visit the historic Mission Inn and see their annual Festival of Lights. We had heard about how beautiful the Mission Inn is, but never had the enthusiasm to make the hour or so drive their. Well, Armilyn's uncle Jun told her how beautiful the Festival of Lights is, so we decided to take a chance. So glad we did.

The place is amazing! The Mission Inn was inspired by the California Missions and other architecture from the Spanish Colonial period. To me it's a cross between a mission and Hearst Castle. There are around 3.5 million lights used in the Festival of Lights and they are strung all through the gardens, courtyards, and exterior. As it was just the second night of the Festival, it was very crowded.

The entrance to the Mission Inn

In the lobby next to the 20 foot tree

So we spend about an hour looking around the Inn and the adjacent shopping plaza and then decide to leave. We are almost at the car, wondering what to do for dinner. We decide to go back and try one of the local restaurants, the Tamale Factory. I get the food and Armilyn and Alex sit out on the patio. Alex does his kid thing of not sitting and instead getting up and walking around, which attracts the attention of Rose, a lady sitting at a nearby table. Rose says Alex reminds her of her grandson, who was a ringbearer at a family wedding Rose attended yesterday at the Mission Inn. Turns out Rose had been staying at the Inn for the past 3 days for a wedding. Her husband was tired, but she wanted to go out and see the sights. We invited her to join us, which kind of upset Alex, who was thinking, "who is this stranger?" But he eventually warmed up to Rose.

Long story short, Rose loves horse-drawn carriages and there were a bunch operating in the area around the Inn. She offered to take us on a carriage ride. We eventually agreed as these rides weren't cheap, but Rose insisted.

Alex and I on our fancy carriage

Rose and Armilyn on the carriage

After the lovely ride, we went back inside the Inn to get some dessert. Since Rose was a guest at the hotel, she was able to get us access to the courtyard restaurant and we also got to go upstairs to see the exterior of the wedding chapel. Armilyn saw the place and immediately decided that this is where we will renew our vows next year.

Alex and Armilyn outside the chapel

Panorama view of the chapel courtyard. Click to expand
We had a wonderful dessert and a fantastic time with Rose.

post by David

1 comment:

Melissa Spence said...

Robyn's brother got married at that chapel, and had their reception there too. It is a beautiful place, love the architecture.

Wow how sweet of that lady Rose, what a treat for you guys!

Now that's the spirit of the holiday season! :)