Sunday, November 7, 2010

Visiting, Part 2 -- A Winding Road Takes Us To The Norbertine Sisters Monastery

Here is Judy deciding on her lunch. We got a lot to eat -- our plates were huge and full of delicious food. Way too much, so we both got doggie bags and I ate my left-overs for dinner Friday night.

After lunch we drove through town,

passing the newly reconstructured railroad depot. I have mentioned before that this town is a railroad town with many trains coming through each day. After restoration of the original depot was almost complete in 2008, some fools set off firecrackers that landed on the depot roof and set it on fire. This new depot is a museum that I will visit and write about sometime soon. I love trains, so it will be fun.

Then we took the winding road that leads to Tehachapi Mountain Park and to the place we were visiting, the Norbertine Monastery.

The road up the mountain was really beautiful. The light was stunning with sun shining through autumn leaves. I took pictures through the windshield and I stretched my hand out through the side window, shooting away and hoping the pictures would come out OK.

Last year we had gorgeous fall colors in town and I have on record photos from October 20, 2009, to document them. I believe this year has been too warm because many trees in town are still green,
 but up here at 5,700 feet, the leaves were changing colors.

After a couple of miles drive, we arrived at the entrance.

Magnificient trees grew on the side of the road leading up to the chapel.

Great old trees in a pretty meadow surrounded by a wooden fence. What's not to love here?

The sign that welcomes you reads: Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph.

Reading about the sisters in the Tehachapi Visitor's Guide, I quote: "Affiliated with the Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael's Abbey in Orange County, California, the cloistered, contemplative community of the Norbertine Sisters of the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph was founded in 1997. Mother Mary Augustine and four sisters were the first to move to Tehachapi in 2000. Now there are 18 sisters, representing five continents."

A view from the parking lot of a typical California hillside with blue, black and live oaks.

And here is the "guard" dog, who never moved an inch while we were there. I didn't take any pictures inside. There was a small chapel where we prayed and sat for a while. They also had a lovely gift shop. The sisters are very, very talented and there were so many homemade items for sale there: Jams, honey, soaps, salves, powders, and candles from what they grow themselves on the property. They also sew and crochet: totebags, aprons, and all sorts of things. It was a lovely place and the sister who helped us with our purchases was very sweet.

I bought a lavender salve, a mint milk soap, and a rosehip soap. They all smell heavenly! Judy enjoyed shopping for presents for her family. It was a really lovely visit.

Wild roses grew outside and I imagined that the rosehip soap I bought came from here.

A lovely garden with a statue of St. Joseph. Because of the name of the priory, I am guessing that's who this is.

This was indeed a billy goat to write home about. Look at that beard…he was something else and he didn't move either. Maybe you get a bit lazy, living in such a splendid place.

We passed this duck pond on the way back down the steep hill from the chapel and gift shop.

Here we are back down at 4,000 feet again and had to stop for one of the aforementioned trains.

When we got home, my husband gave Judy a container of coleslaw he had just made and some of that good banana nut bread he baked the day before. I later found out he had gone to the store and bought food for dinner that he would have cooked if Judy had been able to stay. I'm so lame when it comes to stuff like that and so blessed to have a husband who equates food with love. (Yes, he is from the South, New Orleans to be specific, so it's in his DNA.) He also helped me clean the house…I did some, but he really, really worked at it and made it spotless. Thank you so much, my sweetheart.

And then, after this adventuresome day, I went to bed very early and fell sound asleep right away.

I hope you enjoyed this visit as much as I did.


  1. Wonderful photos of that lovely country! Sticking your head out of the window worked great! I love the dog and goat - pure contentment. Yes, that statue does look like St. Joseph (Jesus' earthly father).

    That's a very young convent/monastery. What a wonderful place to live, pray, create, and contemplate. I hope they do well with their gift shop and wares! Thanks for sharing your trip!

  2. Inger, I enjoyed your trip! Beautiful places, beautiful trees, beautiful everything! BTW, I never met a cranky Sister, LOL, they are all so sweet! That was really a full day!

    Tell your husband, I think he's a sweetheart too!

  3. Great post Inger! A little bit of everything.
    Aren't hubbys great?!
    Your tour sounded very peaceful, so far removed from everything....probably why the animals weren't budging!
    Have a great Sunday.

  4. Oh, I would have loved to take this trip with you. It all looks beautiful.

  5. Wow, what beautiful scenery along the way! I love the billy goat, and the soaps look wonderful. I stocked up on different soaps at the festivals I'd been to recently... love them! Looks like you guys had an awesome time, and your husband is a real treasure... so thoughtful! Thanks for sharing.

  6. What a great day you had. I love this part of California. The drawback is it's so darn dry and always in danger of fire. We lived up in the Northern part in a forest and that too was super dry. Wish CA got just a little more rain. You have a great friend there and I'm sure she loved spending time with you in your very unique high desert abode. Nan

  7. What an awesome place! Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed it very much!!

  8. Hi there, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Loved the beautiful winding road and that was the ugliest goat I have ever seen!

  9. This sounds like a wonderful day spent with a friend. My children think that poor goat looks quite old!!

  10. Road trips can be so much fun -- especially if you are the adventurous type. Love the billy goat and the sleepy security guard. Looks like my kinda place! :)

  11. Did the billy goat smell? I'm glad that you had such a wonderful day. Thanks for taking us along with you and Judy.

  12. Ahhh, Inger! Beautiful country and beautiful friendship. What a lovely day!

  13. Looks like you and Judy had lots of fun! California looks beautiful. I've only been to San Diego, long enough to get off/on a plane and spend the night at a airport hotel. I'd loved to see more someday. Thanks for visiting the Rented Cottage Life!

  14. I'm so glad you & Judy had such a nice time during her visit. All the items you described made by the sisters sound wonderful...I would have wanted to buy one of everything!

  15. Hi Inger - I just read your last 2 posts about Judy's visit. It sure sounds like you both had a lovely time together. Spending the day with a treasured friend is such a precious gift. We'll have to visit this place someday together when I am up visiting you.

  16. Another enjoyable visit to an amazing place that when shared with a friend makes it that much more memorable! Thanks for taking us along!

  17. First off, tell your husband that one of your blog readers thinks he sounds like quite a catch. Lucky you.

    I really really enjoyed every photo and all that you wrote to describe it..Great post.

  18. Thank you so much for all your comments. I'm glad you enjoyed the trip up the mountain. Both the goat and the dog were old, of that I'm sure. And, yes, we do have the fires and it is way too hot where I live in the summers, but the rest of the year is just so great here. Rachael, let's go there in the spring....the wildflowers are supposed to be something else up there then. I'll let my husband know, Sandy. Thanks again, Inger

  19. Inger, you are so lucky to have your hubby! The dog & the goat know they are blessed. Thanks for the awesome tour...:)JP

  20. Thankyou for stopping by my blog, you too have a lovely blog site... full of beautiful nature and animals, i look forward to reading more and getting to know you better.

  21. I had forgotten how beautiful California is, thanks for reminding me with the awesome pictures.
    Also, thanks for visiting my blog.

  22. inger - what a beautiful place! that billy goat is my favorite. hope the day was restorative - sounds like it was. hope you keep having fun with your friend.

  23. A monastery fortunate...and to be able to sample their wares...the best. Now if I was able to visit I'd have sniffed out everything...nothing's holding me back unless of course a leash is put around my neck...then...curses! Thanks so much for this and a high 5(^5) goes out to hubby of course!


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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