San Gabriel, California. Mission San Gabriel Arcangel has beautiful gardens and walkways covered with grape vines. One very large and gnarly vine was planted in 1774; its trunk is as large as a tree. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a large grape vine. In front of the mission is an El Camino Real bell that was erected on August 15, 1906. Their museum has a very informal feel with handwritten notes accompanying the many artifacts on display from the mission period. In one room there were many old song books, theology books, and Bibles. One was a volume of a six-book Bible set published in 1588 in Venice, Italy. The missions truly help one understand that California has an important history that precedes the gold rush of 1849. I think the simpleness and the beauty make this is my favorite mission visit so far.