While you're visiting San Juan Capistrano, don't miss the small historic district on Los Rios Street. Los Rios is a narrow, shady road, which is lined with 31 historic structures, including several original adobe houses, private homes, quaint restaurants, an art gallery, and even a vine-covered tea house with a broad porch for outside dining. The gift shops--all in old houses--have names like "Forgotten By Thyme," "Treasures From the Heart," and "Master's Marketplace." Besides the shops, local artisians sell their wares to the tourists.
Be sure to stop by Susan Logan's studio and take a look at her fabulous watercolor art. The talented, famous artist is best known for her beautiful, colorful portraits. My husband and I were fascinated by her skill--painting with so much detail and such precision with watercolor paints is extremely difficult. Many of her paintings are Native American and western themes, though Susan actually enjoys painting pictures of various ethnic groups. She works on-site and is as friendly as she is talented.
Strolling down Los Rios Street truly takes you to another time and place. Amazingly, the Rios Adobe the oldest residence in the State which has been continously occupied by the same family (the Rios family) since it was built in 1794. Because this is a private home, there aren't any tours allowed inside the structure. There's also the Montanez Adobe and the Silvas Adobe. Because many of the adobes were built in 1794, the Los Rios district is the oldest neighborhood in California.
There are still sweeping emerald green fields behind the stately Victorian mansion beside the tea house -- a rare sight in So. California. Around the corner on River Street, visitors are welcome at the Jones' Family Mini-Farm: there's a petting zoo, pony rides, rabbits, chickens, a potbellied pig, and hay rides.
Although I've made a separate entry for the Ramos Cafe (built in 1881), it was worth a second visit on our recent return trip to San Juan Capistrano.
Be sure to pick up a Walking Tour Map from one of the shops or from the O'Neill Museum so you don't miss anything.