Rancho Bernardo is a master-planned community located in the northern hills of San Diego County, about 25 miles north of downtown San Diego. The community is north of Carmel Mountain Ranch, south of Escondido, and northwest of Poway.
The land consists mainly of canyons and hills and features the typical shopping malls, golf courses, and office buildings you might expect. Still, this small community possesses a rich history and culture.
A Brief History of Rancho Bernardo
The area of Rancho Bernardo was originally called La Canada de San Bernardo, which translates to “the Gorge of Saint Bernard.” Saint Bernard of Clairvaux was a theologian of the Middle Ages and leader of the Second Crusade.
Beautiful valleys and the land’s fertile soil brought many people from all walks of life, including Spanish conquistadores, explorers, traders, mission padres, and ranchers, among others. The area was perfect for ranchers with its temperate climate that lasted all year long. Rancho Bernardo soon became well-known for exports like cowhides and animal fat.
The land that would be Rancho Bernardo was granted by Mexico to Captain Joseph Snook between 1842 and 1845. The land, which measured 17,763 acres, was the beginning of present day Rancho Bernardo. Unsurprisingly, the land was used as a cattle ranch.
The area changed hands frequently over the years, dividing into smaller and smaller lots. The land was finally purchased by John and Laurence Daley, who partnered with W.R. Hawn and Harry L. Summers in 1961, forming a corporation called Rancho Bernardo, Inc.
Summers, a well-known developer, made plans for the community featuring wide streets, exclusive neighborhoods, and plenty of entertainment. Rancho Bernardo, Inc. was eventually acquired by AVCO Community Developers, which planned for a community that included residential housing developments, educational institutions, shopping areas, cultural and entertainment centers, clubs, open spaces, and golf courses.
Rancho Bernardo Today
Today, Rancho Bernardo has an average population of over 40,000 residents and is home to several well-known businesses, including Hewlett-Packard, the Eastman Kodak Company, and BAE Systems. The community is also home to the corporate headquarters of Sony US.
Furthermore, the oldest operating winery in Southern California, the Bernardo Winery, is located in Rancho Bernardo. The winery was established in 1889 and has been family owned and operated since 1927.
Schools and Education
Rancho Bernardo is part of the Poway Unified School District. Many schools in the district consistently achieve national top rankings, and three schools (Rancho Bernardo High School, Poway High School, and Mount Carmel High School) have been ranked in the top 1000.
The two schools within the Rancho Bernardo community are Bernardo Heights Middle School and Rancho Bernardo High School.
Rancho Bernardo is home to dozens of residential developments, each built with different styles and perspectives in mind. Though exteriors tend to take after classic California Spanish influences, interiors offer a wide variety of choices, giving residents the perfect opportunity for home remodeling and other redesign projects including Room Additions, Second Stories, Casitas/Pool Cabanas, Custom Kitchens and Major Home Make Overs.