Mission Nuestra Senora de la Soledad (or Soledad Mission for short) is just one of the three missions in Monterey County and the newest; that is if you think 1791 is new.

Named after "Our Lady of Solitude" the Soledad Mission is the 13th of the 21 California Missions and like many of its "sister" properties it has quite the view! Nestled in the Salinas Valley the mission is surrounded by lush lettuce fields, countless rows of vineyards and epic views of sunny hillsides.

The mission is right off of Highway 101 making it the perfect pit stop to include on your road trip to Monterey or during a River Road Wine Trail excursion.

At first glance the mission doesn't look like much, but once you step out of the car and onto the property you can see why the padres set up shop at this location. The natural beauty and solitude make for a great place of worship and the grounds are pristine! Rose bushes, palm trees and manicured gardens frame the simple structure rooted in California's history.

The current chapel is actually a recreation of the original since the first structure was destroyed in three separate floods. Whether you are religious or not the chapel is sure to give you goose bumps. The interior is intimate with no more than 20 rows of pews; rustic wooden beams protrude from the thick white adobe walls and "Our Lady of Sorrows" sits high above the modest alter.

A quaint gift shop sits right outside of the chapel full of boutique crosses, rosaries and other religious items. Through the gift shop you enter the museum which walks you through the different eras of the mission, including the native, mission and rancho periods.

Out back you will find the ruins of the mission which is where the initial church stood. You can still see remnants of the original walls as well as the marked graves of Governor Arrillaga and Father Ibanez dating back to the late 1700s.

Soledad Mission's grounds are open 10am-4pm, daily. For more information visit the official website.