Lake Hodges Dam overflowing to a snappy banjo tune


Olivenhain – charming homes among coastal hills

Olivenhain is widely known for its picturesque winding roads, large lots, horse corrals and farming heritage. Over the past decade, it's also acquired a reputation for bigger and pricier new homes, some rivaling those in neighboring Rancho Santa Fe.
"We're seeing very large houses - mansions if you want to call them that . . . perfect houses with perfectly groomed lawns," says Cindy Brandenburg, a 4H Club leader who owns horses and raises chickens, ducks and goats on her one-acre lot in town.

house in Olivenhain
Many homes in Olivenhain are sited on large lots with beautiful landscaping.

"We're trying real hard to cling to a semblance of a rural part of Encinitas and North County here," she says.

Olivenhain - pronounced Oh-LEE-ven-hine, according to the Town Council's website - was settled by German farmers in 1884. Most of the first houses were tiny one-room shanties and the land cost about $15 an acre.

Olivenhain is a neighborhood of Encinitas

Baloon in Olivenhain
Hot-air balloons sometimes launch in Olivenhain to give riders a view of the picturesque valley, Rancho Santa Fe and other points east.

Olivenhain incorporated as part of Encinitas in 1986 along with Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Leucadia, Old Encinitas and New Encinitas. It lies on the east side of the coastal city, which has about 65,000 residents, and is the largest but least populated of the five communities.

Locals voted for cityhood with promises that they could keep the semi-rural flavor, and that pledge has largely been kept.

Community meetings and annual celebrations are still held in the original Olivenhain Meeting Hall, built in 1895 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Most of the town remains zoned for residential use and large lots. There are few sidewalks. A dark-skies policy limits outdoor lighting. And the city maintains 18 miles of horse trails, including a public park with a corral and parking spaces for horse trailers.

The Town Council remains on constant guard to keep things the way they are, from limiting road widening and the number of stops signs to keeping commercial development at bay.

Historic Olivenhain meeting hall
The historic Olivenhain Meeting Hall is used today for town meetings and social events, much as when it was built in 1895..

Brandenburg's husband objects when someone says Olivenhain is "a poor man's Rancho Santa Fe."

"It has a distinct character. It has a distinct history. It has a distinct presence," says Tony Brandenburg, a retired judge who is president of the Town Council and a member of the Encinitas Planning Commission.
He says the council, the town hall, the community's German heritage and social events, such as the annual Bratwurst and Beer Festival, Oktoberfest and July 4th Picnic, make it unique.

Horse trail and house
The city of Encinitas maintains 18 miles of horse trails in Olivenhain and Little Oaks Equestrain Park, which has a corral.


Copyright 2012.


map link Olivenhain

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