California charm: Mary, Star of the Sea

California charm permeates San Diego but is especially concentrated in the spectactular neighborhood of La Jolla (“the jewel”).


Mary, Star of the Sea. La Jolla, California.

Unlike homes, churches are often reflective of their location which makes them interesting to visit while traveling. This can be said of our vacation church, Mary, Star of the Sea in La Jolla, California. This small and incredibly charming church perfectly suits its coastal setting. It is located a few blocks from the shopping area on Girard street. If you have never visited La Jolla, the area is picture perfect. Beach cottages cozy up to Spanish-style sanctuaries all under bright blue sky with cool breezes and gorgeous roses.


The priests’ home.

There is a home for the priests next door. The accompanying school sits behind.


Inside the courtyard.

The church is the star of the attractive compound. A tile mosaic of Mary welcomes you into the walled courtyard. Beautiful heavy wooden doors open into the narthex. The moorish arches, bottle glass windows and star sconces make it impossible for me not to love this building.  Once inside, three sets of doors with leaded glass windows guide you into the interior laid out in the cruciform plan. The interiors are packed with Southern California charm.


Passing under the della Robbia upon exiting.

Iron and glass light fixtures light the interior.  A della Robia set into the thick white plaster walls bids you goodbye as you leave.


The warmly weathered wood ceiling.

The ceiling and beams, of perfectly worn wood, make you feel as if you are in the bowels of a ship. My favorite feature that I picture in my mind when thinking of our vacation church is the painted scene behind the altar.


Beautiful Mary presiding over the altar of her church.

Beautiful Mary floats above silver cresting waves in front of a starry sky.  The ship sailing along the sparkly metallic sea is one more nod to the coastal setting.


Niche with prayer candles.

If you find yourself in La Jolla definitely take a few minutes to step inside this special place. Even better, if you are Catholic attend a mass. The congregation is very welcoming to visitors. The back is always packed with vacationing guests. Don’t be late as the wooden floors are very creaky making it impossible to sneak in unnoticed. After Sunday mass, walk down Girard a few blocks to the farmers’ market.


The famous Donut Bar has a small presence at the market.

The La Jolla market  is the largest I have been to in San Diego. There is produce, specialty foods, and eclectic gifts for sale.


Red walnuts for sale at the La Jolla farmers’ market.

Casa V specializes in California charm. Contact us to add some to your home.