The Mission Inn Hotel - Riverside, California
A Massive Hotel with Flying Buttresses
Stopping for lunch gave us a chance to explore this rather impressive hotel that took up more than a city block. We wandered the exterior, which we learned later, had incorporated elements of all 21 California Missions. I'm not sure which old mission had "flying buttresses", but this hotel had a few propping up the structure. I still remember the first time I heard that term. "Those are flying buttresses." My older brother told me as he pointed to the oddly shaped, marble things jutting out of the side of a cathedral. I was 11 and most of his teasing was done with a straight face.
Peaceful and Cool
It wasn't until we popped open our wooden menu that we started reading about the history of these amazing bells and the Inn. Frank Miller opened a 2-story, 12 room, adobe boarding house in 1876. By the 1890's Riverside was the richest city per capita in the U.S. (Who would've guessed?) In 1903, big expansions on the building began and the hotel (which was owned by the Millers until 1956) now has 238 rooms!
In our little dining patio, we had a nice view of a few of the 400 bells that decorate the property. The Miller family at one time had collected 800 bells! The oldest bell is from 1247.
Las Campanas is known for its Mexican cuisine, so Don went for the Carnitas with roasted pork and Guajillo mole, guacamole, beans and rice. I had an open face quesadilla with Monterey Jack, queso fresco, avocado, cilantro pesto, arugula and pico de gallo. It all tasted as fresh and and pleasing as the garden atmosphere where we dined. (Funny, because all we remembered about Riverside 35 years earlier... was the smog!)
We explored the hotel after lunch and I can't begin to describe the extravagance of the place, where Bette Davis and President Nixon were both married...not to each other! This hotel has been on my list and someday, I'll hopefully have it on my Notable Night Blog List!
The Dining We Missed
Our exploring lead us to a number of indoor dining rooms that were very impressive. And then there was the enchanting courtyard with bright red umbrellas and flowers tumbling from balconies and a much grander stone fountain in the center. Oh man! I wish we had explored first and eaten out there. As for the more formal dining, those places can wait until we return for an overnight!
Till Next Time
Don and I headed for the car with images of all these crazy details in our heads. To think we had nearly pulled out the jar of peanut butter at a rest stop! I love traveling and the finds you make along the way. But I have to hand it to Trip Advisor for this one, or we would have never stopped!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.