Rancho Las Lomas
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
Imagine a place that is hidden in the hills and has gardens in plenty, architecture that was carefully implemented with thought, meaning, and history, ceramic tiles that not only serve an artful purpose but actually have a story – couple that with tigers, zebras, alpacas, birds, lynx, and life flowing all around and what you have is Rancho Las Lomas. While known as a wedding venue site, it’s safe to say that Rancho Las Lomas is far more. Once home to the entire Lawrence family, Rancho is a place that is more than a mere venue. I don’t say that lightly.
Nestled in the hills of Orange County, upon entrance you arrive at a Large Rustic Wooden Gate. As you go inside, to your left are orange tigers (yes, real ones), Spanish-style architecture, an old barn, signs, a Valet Post, and the Office. Always greeted by someone on the premises, you know you have entered a one-of-a-kind Venue. I was fortunate to be greeted by Owner, Jeannie Lawrence, and son, Brett Lawrence (who also happens to be co-owner of Ecco Restaurant in Costa Mesa). With smiles on their faces, we talk for a few minutes and then Brett takes my daughter and I around the property. As we enter through a walkway with a trellis above, the ground is lined with tiles and stones and we come upon the first sign of Zoological life: A beautiful Macaw. We stop to say hello and then continue on to the first building. Once a home, it is now a beautiful open room with rustic accents, wooden beams lining the ceiling, rich floor tiling, a center fireplace, full kitchen for vendors, a bar area perfect for indoor events, and just outside the doors is a garden and pool. As we exit outside past the pool, I notice the Spanish-style tiles offering color and artistic flair to the already impressive designs. (Everywhere you look, the designs are different. On one walkway there is a design that was drawn by Brett when he was a child. Jeannie mass produced it and it became the entryway near the courtyard. Nothing like a little whimsy to make a place feel more alive.) I stop to admire them and continue on to the illustrious view that opens up into a breathtaking courtyard that has hosted a number of weddings and would be the perfect venue for Concerts and Charity Events (The property can hold anywhere from 100-1500) – it is ornate and has the genuine feel of something you’d find in the Spanish countryside. Flowers and trees adorn the architecture.
As we continue, we come upon what can only be described as “Rick’s” – a building which is reminiscent of the movie Casablanca and named after Rick Lawrence. Inside are tables and decor that transport you to times far simpler but by no means simple. Rick’s is a place to play cards, grab a beer, drink some wine, laugh, and relax. Rancho Las Lomas can only be described as an Estate that is flowing in soul and abundant in beauty from every corner. After strolling through Rick’s, we see another beautiful bird and eventually come upon citrus orchard trees that lead us to the Bungalows. At present, there are two absolutely stunning Bungalows available for rent. Each carefully decorated with rare pieces gathered from travels around the world. One sleeps 2 people, the other sleeps 4-8. Both are newly remodeled, totally refurbished, have kitchens, amenities, and all the comforts of a home away from home. The larger Bungalow has a gorgeous lawn area and full BBQ outside perfect for family events, creative gatherings, a romantic escape, or Workshops.
Finally after our tour, we come to the animals on-site. Rancho Las Lomas is a certified zoo and their goal is to offer a safe environment for unique breeds of animals either in danger of extinction or simply in need of a loving home. They have two of each of the following: Orange Tigers, White Tigers, Zebras, several kinds of “cats”, including one lynx, and are soon acquiring two lemur monkeys. In addition they have Macaws and alpacas – alpacas that are by far the friendliest alpacas I’ve ever come across. It is clear that Rancho has something to offer everyone. The real beauty in this Estate is it is unknown to many but has the potential to gain recognition as one of the Most Prominent Event Sites in the World. The plans of expansion include adding a Bed & Breakfast, a Winery, A Spa, more gardens, and even more. The “creative” in me looks at Rancho Las Lomas and sees inspiration and a great place for Wine Dinners, casual dining with friends, Charity Events as I mentioned, a cinematic dream location site for filming, and an overall approach to “living” that I’ve never experienced – the thing that sets them apart? It is a private site that allows everyone who enters admittance to explore the property and enjoy the zoo. RLL is contracted with some truly remarkable vendors as well and are licensed to carry alcohol. If you have an event coming up, THIS is the place to have it…
Please take a moment to read Jeannie Lawrence’s story of how Rancho Las Lomas came about:
“I was raised in a sleepy little town in the Midwest and fondly remember watching my mother toil over her beloved rose gardens.
I’ve read the history of how this area was originally bequeathed to the Serrano Family via a Mexican land grant. That it once belonged to the coastal Indians. I have even heard whispered comments that my family acquired this land by winning a bet on a horse race. That makes me smile. But, I won’t tell.
It began during a trip to Europe nearly thirty years ago. We dreamed of finding a ranch near the ocean, yet still in the mountains. After only two weeks, this dream land was ours.
My late husband and I had the aspiration to build our home as a small village, with quaint little bungalows sprinkled around the rolling hills. We used recycled salvage materials like old doors, windows, brick and lumber, wanting to fill the buildings with many unexpected surprises. I used a local artisan to adorn the wood beams with hand-painted figures that copy the tile murals found during a trip to Portugal. Today those same hillsides are filled with white twinkling lights and many of the treasures we gathered are placed throughout the landscape. Even in the name “Rancho Las Lomas” Rick’s legacy lives on with his initials.
I have seen many inspiring places. Once in Nepal, I stayed in a protected sanctuary with Bengal tigers. They were safe. They were majestic. I found that many cubs born need a refuge where they could live with nobility. Here, they are forever out of harm’s way. All the birds and animals that make up my ever changing cast of residents are sheltered with loving respect.
Today, the stone washed garden pathways are lined with my favorite roses. You will probably find me out tending my gardens. The grounds. The animals. The love in the air. I am so delighted to share my home with you.”
NOW OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!
Rancho Las Lomas
19191 Lawrence Canyon Rd
Silverado, CA 92676
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