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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).

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Save the Date for Christmas at the Mission

The holidays are always a special time of year at the Mission, and it’s only one month away! Save the date for Christmas at the Mission, which we be held Saturday, December 6th from 5:30-8 PM as part of community celebration in downtown San Juan Capistrano. Tickets and more information are available here.

Top Ten Most Haunted Locations in Orange County

Two years ago, we counted down our nominees for the top ten most haunted locations in Orange County. It was by far our most popular article — especially the article about #2: Black Star Canyon. Not long thereafter, one of those ghost hunter reality shows did an episode on the ghosts of the Mission San [...]

Video: San Juan Capistrano and Caspers Wilderness Park

Although this is an older video, it takes a very artistic view at downtown San Juan Capistrano, including the Mission, and nearby Caspers Wilderness Park:

Mission Kicks of Sala Preservation Project with Open House on October 9

Next Thursday, October 9th at 11 AM, the Mission is hosting an Open House that will feature a presentation and overview of the Sala Preservation Project scheduled to begin this month. From the Mission:

In the coming year, the Mission Preservation Foundation will undertake the Sala Preservation Project, a three phased preservation effort of an [...]

San Juan Mission Getting a Group Hug Tomorrow

Want to be a part of a group hug with a thousand people? Here is an interesting event taking place at the Mission tomorrow to commemorate Orange County’s 125th birthday:

San Juan Parking Lot is Casualty of Development Feud

Apparently the feud between the staff of the Mission San Juan Capistrano and the developers of a shopping center proposed nearby has escalated to the point where the developers are terminating the monthly lease that allows the City of San Juan Capistrano to use the parking lot for public parking. The parking lot is located [...]

El Viaje de Portolá Named Honoree for Mission Preservation Foundation Benefit Gala and Broadway Star David Burnham is Featured Artist

Readers of this blog know that we are big fans of the Mission San Juan Capistrano. From its founding by Father Junipero Serra in 1776, to the tragedy of the Great Stone Church to the iconic annual return of the swallows, our beloved Mission is the heart of Orange County history and a fixture of [...]

San Juan Capistrano Hosts Forster Family Reunion

A family reunion is typically not news-worthy. When the family is one of the oldest and most influential families in Southern California, however, the rules change. Thus the Capistrano Dispatch reports on a recent weekend reunion of member of the Forster family, descendants of the smartly named John “Don Juan” Forster.

According to the article, [...]

Property Owner, City Leaders Clash Over New Retail Proposal for “Plaza Banderas” Site

Gretchen Stroscher Thomson owns property in downtown San Juan Capistrano. Her family is one of the ranch owning families on which much of San Juan Capistrano was built. In fact, the famous Walnut Grove restaurant was on her family’s land, as were the actual walnut groves for which the legendary San Juan restaurant was named. [...]

San Juan Capistrano Resident Day at the Mission: May 17th

Residents of San Juan, if you are not Mission Preservation Society Members, you should be. But if you are not, here is your chance to obtain free admission to the Mission San Juan Capistrano on San Juan Capistrano Resident Day on Saturday, May 17 from 10 AM until 2 PM.