Mission Inn

We learned that there is a California Welcome Center in San Bernardino which is only 10 miles north of where we are here in Riverside, so that’s where we went this morning.  We left with a bag full of brochures and maps and posters and a free pen and $20 in slot play coupons for a local casino.
Not far from the welcome center, in downtown San Bernardino, on old Route 66, is the very first ever McDonald’s Restaurant.  It was closed when we got there so I could only take a picture through the fence.
Original McDonald’s
Next was a visit to the old railroad station / museum.  Beautifully restored inside and the museum was interesting, but did not have a yard full of all the train cars and trolley cars like the other train museum we had just seen a few days ago.  This is still a functioning train station and it’s where you can get on Amtrack as well as the Metrolink into Los Angeles.
Old Santa Fe Train Depot in San Bernardino
Back to Riverside.  We went to the downtown area for some exploring.  One of the first things we saw was a Chinese Memorial Pavilion.  This was “dedicated to the spirit and courage of the Chinese pioneers who came to Riverside.  The culture and heritage contributed by them exemplifies the diversity that is an integral part of the magnificence of this land.”
Chinese Memorial Pavilion
 One block over is the National Historic Landmark Mission Inn.  We went in to see as much as we were allowed to see without being a registered guest or paying $12 each for an actual tour.  It’s beautiful!  Never was an actual “mission”, just looks like one.   
“Frank A. Miller (1857-1935) made adobe bricks for a small 12 room guest house which he opened in 1876.  Over the years by successive building additions he fulfilled his dream by recreating this early California mission style setting of a hotel.”
It covers a full city block with gardens, towers, a Baroque alter, gargoyles from Aztec ruins, Tiffany windows, and a large golden Buddha. It’s now a fancy schmancy hotel & spa and has several very nice restaurants.

Mission Inn
Several president’s have stayed here.  President Nixon was married in this hotel in 1940.  And there is a giant chair made for 350-pound President Taft when he visited in 1909.
Chair built for President Taft in 1909
In a small shop on one side of the Mission Inn is Casey’s Cupcakes, owned by the daughter of the current owners of the Mission Inn.  There was a big banner over the doorway indicating that Casey’s was a Cupcake Wars winner in 2011.  We went inside to check it out.  While the cupcakes looked beautiful and I’m sure they were delicious, they are $3.50 each or a 6-pack for $18.  I guess we’re the tightwads today since we didn’t want to pay.  
Cupcake Wars Winner
However, I did pay $4 for a box of Girl Scout cookies when I saw the little girl with her parents selling from a curbside table.  hmm

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