San Juan Bautista is an attractive weekend destination, and the
retail shops along the quaint streets are an easy stroll for
San Juan Bautista is an attractive weekend destination, and the retail shops along the quaint streets are an easy stroll for visitors. Sisters Barbara Garcia and Cynthia Millington have both started creative businesses in two of the town’s historic homes.
Millington’s Mariposa Restaurant and Tea Room is located in a blue Victorian house between Third and Fourth streets on Mariposa Street. She and her husband Andrew felt the location in the town and the house itself were just right for creating a unique and charming restaurant experience.
Garcia’s Annie’s Cottage is a stroll down memory lane. She carries furniture and gifts from unique to shabby chic, vintage to antique, and whimsical to collectible. Unfortunately, the historic white cottage, at 103 The Alameda, had a major fire recently and Barbara had to move her inventory down the street to an empty store front beside Precious Petals Flower Shop at the north end of Third Street while the cottage is being rebuilt.
“We have family in town and in the area,” Millington said. “My uncle was raised here, and my aunt had a general store where ‘One Fine Day’ is now. My sister Barbara named her store after our mother Annie. My uncle James Panis helped both my sister and I to start our business here in San Juan Bautista.”
The Mariposa Restaurant and Tea Room is an 1895 Victorian that was moved from where the bank sits today down the street.
Millington likes to collect antiques and the restaurant is tastefully decorated with her finds. “I wanted to create a charming, romantic environment steeped in history,” she said.
The Mariposa is known for its weekend brunches and tea socials. Tradition Victorian High Teas are an excellent match for Millington’s baking talents, and her brunch offers comforting favorites with an original twist, such as her Bourbon Street Pecan Waffles.
“When I travel I’m always looking for a restaurant like mine to eat at!” she said.
And her customers agree. She has many repeat customers who come back and bring their friends. One patron wrote in the guest book that she had fallen in love with her husband all over again after dining at the Mariposa.
Both sisters create an atmosphere of a bygone era for the shopper or diner. “My sister likes to decorate and I like to entertain,” Millington said.
At Annie’s Cottage and at the Mariposa Restaurant and Tea Room, stress can be easily left at the door as you step back in time, San Juan Bautista style.
Mariposa Restaurant and Tea Room, 37 Mariposa Street
Annie’s Cottage Home and Garden, Temporary Home, 107 The Alameda.
Valerie Brockbank can be reached at [email protected]