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Murals & Mission – Lompoc’s Big Attractions
Lompoc is a town filled with a colorful history that traces the early beginnings of California. Two major attractions help capture the life, history and culture of the town – Lompoc’s majestic murals and the pristine La Purisima Mission.
Local history and heritage comes alive through the colorful murals scattered throughout Old Town Lompoc, creating an outdoor art gallery that has become a major draw for tourists. Lompoc’s murals started in 1989 through the Lompoc Mural Project founded by Lompoc’s ambassador Gene Stevens and his wife, Judy. The Stevens discovered the idea during a trip to Chemainus in British Columbia where a mural project pumped life into the small town and gave visitors a reason to come. Stevens called a town meeting, and rallied the local Chamber of Commerce and City leaders to create Lompoc’s very own art project.
Hence, Lompoc’s Mural Project took shape, and today more than 30 murals dominate the Old Town area. The very first mural depicts Lompoc’s flower industry, painted by Art Mortimer. Others quickly followed, focusing on agriculture, the Chumash Indian nation, and others themes relating to Lompoc’s history and culture. Just this month, a new mural was added to Art Alley, “Prehistoric Dinosaur.” The mural program is managed by the Lompoc Mural Society; artists are commissioned to create works of art on community canvases designated for the project. Several of the murals have been painted as “mural in a day” projects involving community residents and artists.
Group tours of the Lompoc Murals can be arranged with Vicki Anderson, Administrator for the Lompoc Mural Society, and a local artist. Anderson painted the mural titled, “The Lost Mission” located adjacent to the Lompoc Museum, depicting Lompoc’s history of having two missions – one that was destroyed by an earthquake and one that was later rebuilt. Walking tour maps for self-guided tours can be picked up at the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, 111 South I Street, or downloaded at http://www.lompocmurals.com.
Along with the murals, another major draw for Lompoc is the majestic La Purisima Mission where visitors have the opportunity to step back in time and imagine the way mission life was in the earlier days. This exceptional Mission – also a State Park – shines among those located throughout California, and is considered the most fully restored and furnished. La Purisima was the eleventh mission of the twenty-one Spanish Missions established in what later became California.
Besides wonderful exhibits and buildings to tour, La Purisima Mission State Historic Park offers 25 miles of hiking trails as well facilities which allows visitors to utilize the park for picnics, photo shoots, film shoots and special events, or simply as a place to come and reflect.
La Purisima Mission also features a visitor center, bookstore and a gift shop where many artifacts have been created by local Native Americans. Visitors can spend several hours browsing and exploring through the buildings and the surrounding gardens. All the roads are hidden from view, making it easy to imagine what life was like for early mission inhabitants. Domestic animals roam the land adding to the experience. Many of the animals represent the types of animals that would have inhabited the grounds over 100 years ago.
“Our Visitor Center is exceptional and is actually more like an exhibit hall,” stated Ann Boggess, Park Interpreter. “It’s beautifully done, and we receive many positive comments about it from visitors,” she continued. “We are also fortunate to have an informative staff who can answer any questions about what the mission, and its role in the California mission system.”
An integral part of the Mission is the living history programs and special events, offered on select dates year-round. During “Mission Life Days,” visitors participate by grinding corn to make tortillas, soap and other mission staples. Costumed docents reenact mission life, offer lectures, and host tours during “Purisima’s People Day” event days. “Village Days” offers hands-on activities and fun games for kids all relating to the Chumash Indian tribe. The semi-annual “Mountain Men Days” celebrates the American mountain men lifestyle, where Buckskin clad members share mountain men history and skills. Cooking, hide preparation and tanning, leather working, rope making, and blacksmithing are among the skills that visitors may experience.
La Purisima Mission State Park is open for self-guided tours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Free guided tours are conducted every day except during special events or Living History Days. The guided tour begins at the Visitor Center at 1:00 p.m., and generally lasts 60 to 90 minutes. Visit http://www.lapurisimamission.org for more information about tours and events.
The city of Lompoc is filled with natural beauty and small town charm. Located on scenic Pacific Coast Highway 1, just 155 miles northwest from Los Angeles with close proximity to Santa Barbara and Solvang, Lompoc takes on a world of its own. Its valley setting, surrounded by spectacular rolling hills and vineyards, creates an invitation for visitors to detour off the main road, and discover what’s around the bend.
With spectacular year- round weather, it is a destination for golf, skydiving, biking (road, trails, BMX Bike Park), hiking and nearby surfing at Jalama Beach. Lompoc is the also gateway to the Sta. Rita Hills wine AVA, and home the incredible Lompoc Wine Ghetto and Lompoc Valley Wine Trail, featuring a collection of 30 boutique tasting rooms throughout the city.
Media Contact: Janis Flippen, Explore Lompoc PR Rep, (805) 389-9495, firstname.lastname@example.org
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