Rios-Caledonia Adobe admin retires her post

After nearly 50 years, Joyce Herman, a long-time member and administrator for the Friends of the Adobes, has decided to take a bit of a break. Energetic and knowledgeable, she is virtually a walking history book when it comes to the Rios-Caledonia Adobe, the adobe churches in the area, and the town and people of San Miguel.

When she officially resigns from her position as the administrator of Friends of the Adobes and lead docent and tour guide, there will be a void in the all-volunteer organization that will be felt for years to come. Joyce first joined the group at its inception, back in 1968, when Virginia Peterson, Virginia Culbert, and Margaret Work headed the efforts to rebuild the crumbling historic adobe.

“Joyce has contributed so much over the years,” said Linda Elmerick, Friends of the Adobe member and volunteer. “There’s really no one who knows as much about the history of the historic adobe, the families who have lived here, and the many uses it has had over the years than Joyce. She has taught all of us volunteers so much and, truly, every time I listen to her giving a tour I learn something new.”

The Rios-Caledonia Adobe is California Historical Landmark No. 936, a San Luis Obispo County Park, and was initially part of the properties of Mission San Miguel de Archangel. It is located on the old mission trail, eight miles north of Paso Robles and adjacent to the San Miguel Mission. Preserved buildings, beautifully-landscaped grounds, picnic sites, a gift shop, and research library grace the site.

The adobe has become a visitor’s center for San Miguel, with the help of Joyce and the all-volunteer staff. Their yearly cactus jelly making sessions and sales bring interest and visitors from near and far. Several yearly events such as the Memorial Service at the Estrella Adobe Church in May and the Tour of the Haunted Adobe in October. A classic car show and Caledonia Days, held in June and September have brought hundreds to the grounds of the adobe over the past several years; there are talks of combining the two events together for one larger event in the spring of 2018.

Calling her decision to resign, “bittersweet,” Joyce said she will likely fill in from time to time as a volunteer and will continue to be a member of the non-profit organization. She also hopes others will consider volunteering at the historical site.

“I will miss my time out at the Adobe, but I do plan to stop by and help out occasionally,” Joyce said. “I think what I will miss the most is leading tours for local school children and talking with visitors, both locally and those from all over the world, about what the adobe means to the people of this area.”

For more information on the Rios-Caledonia Adobe and Friends of the Adobes, see rios-caledoniaadobe.org. Stop by the adobe Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or call Linda Elmerick at 805-680-6086 to volunteer.