Rancho Santa Fe, which is home to the rich and famous, is an inland community east of Solana Beach. Yet, it rivals the beauty of the coast. Tucked away in the hills only seven miles from the ocean, this plush yet tranquil village is a perfect setting for the more relaxed side of the lifestyle of the rich and famous. (See Map below).
Among the few thousand residents are such celebrities as professional golfer Phil Mickelson, singer Janet Jackson, Billionaire Bill Gates, and even a movie star or two. These are but a few of the many notable people, who enjoy the privacy anonymity of this extraordinary community not far from Del Mar and Solana Beach.
Rancho Santa Fe is a wonderful discovery for a day trip or a weekend getaway. The Ranch, as it is known by the locals, is home to an enchanting 3 square block little shopping district where you’ll find a host of delightful little shops to meander through and romantic gourmet restaurants to discover.
As can be attested by the noteworthy people who call Rancho Santa Fe home, it’s also a great place to live. The Rancho Santa Fe covenant area, with its specific architectural guidelines, covers approximately 6,200 acres and contains about 1,700 households. These mini estates are priced well into the millions of dollars. For more information about relocating to Rancho Santa Fe please contact the Rancho Santa Fe Association at (858-756-1174).
Rancho Santa Fe’s history dates back to 1845 when Juan Maria Osuna was granted San Dieguito Rancho by California’s last Mexican governor, Pio Pico. History buffs already know that Osuna was a colorful early settler and became the alcalde (mayor) of the Pueblo de San Diego and raised cattle here on his 8,824 -acre rancho, which is now Rancho Santa Fe.
HOW TO GET THERE
The drive to Rancho Santa Fe is in itself a pleasure trip. The easiest way to get there is to exit off of Interstate 5 at the Loma Santa Fe exit and head east. Loma Santa Fe feeds into Linea del Cielo. Within minutes you will notice that the road begins to meander, forcing you to slow down and enjoy the scenery. Locals will tell you that the roads were. intentionally engineered for this very purpose, so take your time and enjoy the scenery and the scent of citrus and eucalyptus groves.
The abundant eucalyptus trees that contribute so much to the charm of Rancho Santa Fe came to be here through an error in business judgment. Early in the past century, the Santa Fe Railroad was in constant need of wood for its railroad ties, and because eucalyptus trees tend t grow so tall and straight it was believed that they’d be an excellent source of wood. So, 300,000 trees were planted throughout what is now Rancho Santa Fe. Alas, it was discovered that the eucalyptus wood was too soft to hold railroad spikes. It was unfortunate for the railroad, but wonderful tranquility for Rancho Santa Fe.
WHERE TO DINE
One of the enjoyable things to do here is to join the local tradition of lunch or Sunday brunch outdoors on the patio at any of the fine restaurants in the ranch. Fine dining, both indoors and outside on the patio is the specialty at the world-famous Inn at Rancho Santa Fe (858-756-1131). Continental cuisine is served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. As you enter the Ranch. you’ll undoubtedly notice the spacious one-story hotel on your right.
Another excellent recommendation is Mille Fleurs Restaurant (858-756-3085), which means a thousand flowers in French. Its name is very appropriate for being the Gourmet magazine winner for being one of the top 25 best restaurants in America, a few years back as well as Food and Wine magazine. It has a popular bar and entertainment on the weekends.
No less spectacular is the magnificent Rancho Valencia Restaurant (3) ( (858-759-62116) within the world-famous Rancho Valencia Tennis Resort. The resort is picturesquely tucked into the hills of Rancho Santa Fe. When President Clinton was president, he dined here and so should you. The numbers in the text correspond to their location on the map.
At the corner of San Dieguito Road and Rancho Diegueno Road, which is the road you’ll take to get to the Rancho Valencia Resort is the Del Rayo Village Shops. It’s also home to Leucadia Pizzeria (7) (858-792-2222). This informal restaurant is a local favorite. While they serve over 30 pastas, 38 pizza toppings, their real claim to fame is that they do home delivery. Their name originated from the fact that their original location was in the suburb of Leucadia, but they have expanded to have over a dozen locations throughout San Diego.
WHERE TO SHOP
Although Rancho Santa Fe is a mere 3 square blocks in size, it’s a charming place to shop for fashionable attire. After all, Rancho Santa Fe is home to the rich and famous and guests staying at the recommended hotels come from around the world to vacation here. So, shopping is a must.
Most of the shops can be found along Paseo Delicias, which is the main thoroughfare leading into Ranch Santa Fe. So find a parking place and get out and stroll through the shops and it won’t be long till you have discovered all there is to see.
WHERE TO STAY
Definitely consider staying at the world-famous Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. 5951 Linea Del Cielo, Rancho Santa Fe, USA 92067 (858-756-1131). Rates begin at $300 per night. This spacious one-story hotel is on your right as you enter the village. It is a standard of excellence in the Village and the center of much activity for meals and activity. amenities include Restaurant, a Whisky Bar cocktail lounge, a fitness center, spa, an outdoor pool, hot tub. meeting space, tennis courts, business center, gift shop, courtesy dry cleaning, kitchen, room service, wake-up calls, turndown service,kitchenette. Pets are allowed. Complimentary parking. Check-in at 4 p.m.; checkout at noon. All major credit cards are accepted.
Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa is Where to Stay if you can afford $1,337 a night.
Rancho Valencia Resort (3) 5921 Valencia Circle Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067 (858-756-1131) & (800-548-3664). Rates begin at $1,337 a night. The number (3) in the text corresponds to its location on the map in this chapter.
Definitely plan to discover the impressive Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa (3), especially for lunch or dinner. The surroundings are breathtaking. This world-renowned tennis resort and spa is secluded in the beautiful foothills of Rancho Santa Fe. It has been rated among the top 20 most recommended resorts in North America in the Reader’s choice poll in Conde Nast Traveler magazine. With rates beginning at ($1,337) per night, need we say more! These rates are not just for a room, but rather a highly impressive intimate Spanish-style casitas with fireplaces and private garden terraces, which offer both privacy and luxury beyond compare. Also impressive is their first-class spa enjoyed by guests. Everything about this resort is first-class from its gated entry to its valet parking. It’s a great meal destination to enjoy the best of the best when discovering Rancho Santa Fe.
Thus, it should come as no surprise that Rancho Santa Fe is where many of the rich and famous reside. The big attraction is its rural charm and tranquil atmosphere, which is reason enough for a road trip to discover this charming destination. A single visit is usually the beginning of a long love affair with charming Rancho Santa Fe.