They stretch from San Diego in the south to Sonoma in the north. Some are located right in the middle of bustling towns and cities, while others sit in rural isolation. Located along the route of the original El Camino Real, many have become well-known tourist destinations visited by hundreds of thousands of people from literally all over the world. Yet others, located on the same route, remain obscure and almost forgotten. They come in all shapes and sizes, represent different styles of architecture and are presently in varying stages of restoration. Some are State Historic Parks, while most others are still active churches.
We're talking, of course, about the California Missions and even though they differ in many ways, these missions have become part of the history and lore of our state and endure today as true California treasures.
In this very special ten part miniseries, entitled simply "California Missions," Huell Howser and cameraman Luis Fuerte set out on a quest to visit all 21 missions that run much of the length of present-day California.
The miniseries features three missions in each thirty-minute episode, which will air this fall on all 13 PBS affiliates throughout California for seven consecutive weeks. We started in San Diego and literally drove up the coast. It was the most fascinating and enlightening trip of my life. I now have a better understanding of just what it is about these wonderful missions that continues to captivate so many people after all these years.