Contact Us


Rancho Ortega Blog discusses matters of public interest in South Orange County, including the communities of San Juan Capistrano, Ladera Ranch and Rancho Mission Viejo.

The writings of Don Juan Ortega on the Rancho Ortega Blog are the personal views of the author. This blog is not authored by nor does it have any affiliation whatsoever with any other person, place or entity using the name "Rancho Ortega" (or any similar name).

We have installed some new anti-spam software, and we are going to try again with open registration. Registration and sign-in information are available at the bottom of the far right column. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, you may email us at



Welcome to Casa Romantica’s New Executive Director

South Orange County is blessed with many cultural treasures, including the Mission San Juan Capistrano and Los Rios Street.  Casa Romantica in San Clemente is every bit as historically and architecturally important as its better known counterparts.  A new executive director aims to raise the cultural profile of Casa Romantica as well.

Casa Romantica is the spectacular bluff-top Spanish Colonial Revival estate of Ole Hanson, the founder of San Clemente.  According to the Casa Romantica web site “in 1927, Hanson built the Casa Romantica as his family home, and expression of his version of the California dream. The seven-bedroom, seven-bath house was designed by Carl Lindbom, who also designed La Casa Pacifica (the former Western White House).”  Owned as a private residence for many years, Casa Romantica was purchased by the San Clemente Redevelopment Agency in 1989 and added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1991.

The San Clemente Times has published an article introducing Casa Romantica’s new executive director, Berenika Schmitz — who is a native daughter of South Orange County.  Schmitz describes her vision for Casa Romantica:

“I believe we, at the Casa, can be the premiere cultural center for Southern California,” Schmitz said. “Although the venue is not a concert hall, an opera house or a gallery, we have the opportunity to do all of those things and be very interdisciplinary, in the visual arts and performing arts, as well as literature. Although it’s on a smaller scale, I think the quality of the programming I intend to bring will be comparable (to the Kennedy Center) and something Southern California can really be proud of.”

After a year of leadership by committee, we have high hopes for Schmitz’s leadership at Casa Romantica.  Welcome back, Berenika and good luck!

Comments are closed.