"Always go forward; never turn back." Father Juniper Serra's inspirational words are the motto of this peaceful monastery nestled in the Santa Monica mountains. Just a short drive up from busy Pacific Coast Highway below, it's a world away.
Originally built as one of two mansions by May K. Rindge, the property was bought by the Catholic church in 1943, and has since been in the care of the Franciscan Friars, who make it available to the public for group retreats or individuals in need of a brief respite from daily life.
Ornate Malibu Tiles are in abundance, decorating fountains, grottos, buildings, stairs, benches and guard rails. Even pathways are wedged with shards. The fanciful tiles were produced in the 1930's at Malibu Pottery for the mountain estate owned by the Rindge family, last owners of the Spanish Land Grant (see previous post on Adamson House for more history).
Paths and walkways throughout myriad gardens overlook the Pacific Ocean...
...inviting quiet contemplation and reflection.
A stone labyrinth, perched in a grove of eucalypts, has yet another spectacular ocean view.
Surrounded by the Santa Monica mountains to the north and east, the ground's twenty-three acres feel even more expansive.
The road winds lazily downhill, returning you restored and rejuvenated to PCH, (just across from the Adamson House). Though appointments are required on weekends, the grounds are open to visitors weekdays from 9-5, with no reservations needed.
To learn more: Serra Retreat.