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North County Neighborhood Guide: Fallbrook

Fallbrook Guide

Rolling hills filled with avocado groves, citrus orchards, flower fields and oak trees surround Fallbrook, which is known for its Mediterranean climate, close-knit community and its local status as one of the Friendly Villages (along with the neighboring community of Bonsall).

While agriculture remains the driving force behind the area’s economy, Fallbrook has a thriving arts and culture scene, is a popular wedding location and continues to grow as a tourist destination. Several celebrities have called Fallbrook home or have a second residence in the area, including Tom Selleck, Jason Mraz, Rita Coolidge, Tony Hawk and T. Jefferson Parker.

As of the 2010 census, the population of this unincorporated, census-designated place was officially 30,534; however, local organizations, such as the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce, consider the population closer to about 43,000.

Folks who are drawn to this family-friendly area are often in search of the tranquility of small town living in a rural setting that is not too far from the city amenities offered in Vista, Oceanside, Temecula, San Marcos and Escondido. The beach is less than 30 minutes away, and the village atmosphere of Fallbrook can be readily enjoyed in minutes by those who choose to make one of the surrounding family farms, horse ranches or country estates their home.

History

The Vital Reche family is credited with the first permanent settlement in the Fallbrook area, which they established in 1869 in the area that we now know as Live Oak County Park. In honor of their family homestead in Pennsylvania, they named this new settlement Fall Brook.

The Fallbrook town site as we know it today was first laid out in 1885, and one of the town’s original churches that was built in 1890 is still a functioning place of worship serving current residents. The historic school house that originally served as Fallbrook School is still in use as well, although it is now home to the Reche Clubhouse.

Agriculture has always been the main industry in the area with olives being a primary source of income in the early 1900s, moving to avocados and flowers after World War II.

Fallbrook residents have done a great job of recording and preserving the area’s history over the years. If you are interested in learning more about Fallbrook’s past, there are several interesting articles at Fallbrook.org, and the Fallbrook Historical Society museum at the corner of Rocky Crest Street and Hill Street is definitely worth a visit.

Fallbrook Golf Club Golf Course

Housing

Fallbrook and the surrounding area offer a variety of housing options, including apartments, condominiums, townhouses, mobile homes, detached houses, country estates, farms and ranches. The median gross rent in 2012 was $1,076, and the mean price of all housing units in 2011 was $570,892 ($601,563 for detached houses).

Prices vary widely in this area, primarily due to differences in the size and type of available properties. For example, the most affordable property on the market at the time of this writing that is not in foreclosure is a 4.41-acre vacant parcel listed at $89,000, while the property with the highest price is a luxury, 1,390-acre equestrian estate listed at $55,600,000.

If you are looking for vacant land on which to build your dream home, there are plenty of lots available for less than $200,000. For those who want to own a home in Fallbrook but are working with a limited budget, there are also small condominiums for around $150,000 and mobile homes starting at around $170,000. Single-family, detached homes start around $250,000, but you will not see many options available until you get into the low- to mid-$300,000 range.

Once you get into the mid-$400,000s, you will see the options expanding greatly and will start finding homes with upgrades or a bit more land. Luxury homes seem to start around $550,000 and, of course, go up from there to include multi-million dollar estates.

Myrtle Creek Gardens and Nursery

Restaurants, Shopping & Entertainment

Fallbrook might be known for its small-town atmosphere and rural setting, but there is no lack of unique dining, shopping and entertainment options in the area. There are plenty of local favorites to be enjoyed, as well as just enough of the big-name restaurants and shops to keep the kids happy and ensure that everyday essentials are close at hand without having to head to a nearby city every time you need to run an errand.

For dining, there are old standbys like Denny’s, Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors, Domino’s Pizza and Carl’s Jr., but folks who want to really get the feel of Fallbrook might be better off trying out one of the local haunts, such as Fallbrook Cafe, Fallbrook Coffee Company, Trupiano’s Italian Bistro, Fallbrook Rib Shack or Cafe Bloom at Myrtle Creek Gardens & Nursery. There is also Aqua Terra at the Pala Mesa Golf Resort where you can enjoy theme nights, live entertainment and special events, as well as Cafe des Artistes, which combines a historic soda fountain with a menu of gourmet treats in a setting filled with local art. If craft beers are more to your liking, the Fallbrook Brewing Company, Inc. is a local brewery with a tasting room located right on Main Street.

The village area of Fallbrook is also home to Albertsons, Fresh & Easy, Rite Aid Pharmacy, O’Reilly Auto Parts and other well-known stores and services. The convenience of having these big-name businesses is nicely balanced with lots of locally owned options, such as Madd Potter or the Farmhouse Gift Shop at Myrtle Creek Botanical Gardens & Nursery.

Folks interested in taking in a movie or enjoying additional shopping or dining options are just minutes away from the River Village Plaza, which is at the corner of Mission Road and Highway 76 in Bonsall. And, of course, expanded options are available in the nearby cities of Vista, Oceanside, Murrieta, Temecula, Escondido and San Marcos.

As mentioned above, Fallbrook has a thriving arts and culture scene, which means locals and visitors have a variety of entertainment options from which to choose. There is the Fallbrook Art in Public Places program, which is responsible for the art installations found throughout the village, visual art pieces exhibited at the Fallbrook Art Center and Brandon Gallery, and the non-profit Fallbrook Arts, Inc., which works to increase Fallbrook’s popularity as an art destination.

Fallbrook School of Arts offers classes and programs for adults and children, Arts in the Park introduces local students to hands-on art experiences each spring, the Music Society puts on Pops on the Green each year, and the Fallbrook Art Center hosts a variety of annual events, including Gourd & Fiber Fine Art, Galaxy of Glass and Reflections of Nature.

Couple these art galleries, organizations and events with the offerings of the Fallbrook Film Factory and Mission Theater, and it is easy to see why John Villani included Fallbrook in his list of 100 Best Art Towns in America.

Live Oak Park Walkway

Parks & Recreation

There is plenty to do in and around Fallbrook, including golf courses, hiking trails, parks and lots of community events.

Golf enthusiasts can enjoy four golf courses nearby, two of which are public, one that is semi-private and one that is private. The Fallbrook Golf Club offers a par-72 course, a putting and driving range, youth golf camps and Jack’s Place, which is a great place to sit around the fire pit and enjoy a drink after a round of golf. The Pala Mesa Resort’s par-72, championship course is available to those who purchase one of their flexible membership options, which also allows access to the fitness center and swimming pool, as well as discounts at the pro shop, on guest rooms and at the on-site Aqua Terra restaurant.

For those who prefer an upscale country club experience, the Vista Valley Country Club offers a private golf course, as well as golf clinics, youth golf camps, a fitness center, a swimming pool and spa, and fine dining.

If you prefer wildlife viewing and hiking with care through nature preserves, you may be more interested in one of the 11 preserves under the care of the Fallbrook Land Conservancy. This includes the Appleton Preserve, Bonsall Preserve, Dinwiddie Preserve, Durling Preserve, Engel Family Preserve, Los Jilgueros Preserve, Heller’s Bend, Margarita Peak Preserve, Monserate Mountain Preserve, Palomares House & Park and the Rock Mountain Preserve.

Some of these allow only limited public access, and some are periodically closed to the public to protect the sensitive habitats. Others have miles of hiking trails, and some have additional attractions, such as the Palomares House & Park, which has a historic farmhouse, sculptures, a memorial tile walkway and gardens. The Fallbrook Land Conservancy Trail Council also maintains 14 miles of hiking and riding trails in the Santa Margarita River Trail system. If you are interested in visiting one or more of these preserves, this map and information page will help you determine which are the best options for your outing.

The Fallbrook Community Center, which is located at 341 Heald Lane, is open Monday through Friday and offers a variety of community programs and activities. This includes event venues, craft fairs, swap meets, childcare, group tours and travel opportunities, and classes that range from dance and fitness to computers and crafts. Another popular, centrally located gathering place is the Vince Ross Village Square, which is home the Fallbrook Farmers Market on Fridays and to the Fountain of Giving, which honors philanthropists and community leaders.

Other parks in Fallbrook include Alturas Street Park, Fallbrook Park and Ball Park, but one that has long been perhaps the best known place to gather with family and friends is Live Oak Park. This 27-acre county park has two playgrounds, three softball fields, soccer fields, a volleyball court, a basketball court, an amphitheater, walking trails, reservable picnic areas and wedding venues. There is also the Ingold Community Sports Park, which is where adults and kids go to play. Weddings and other events can be hosted at the park, but most folks come for the many sports programs and events, including youth and adult soccer, softball, rugby, lacrosse, Pop Warner football, senior and adult football, and baseball tournaments.

Fallbrook is home to many community events that are sponsored by local organizations and happen throughout the year. Some of these events include the Fallbrook Christmas Parade, Holiday in the Village, Wine and a Bite Holiday Art Walk, Breakfast with Santa, Fallbrook Scarecrow Days and the extremely popular Fallbrook Avocado Festival. There is also the Hot Summer Nites and Warm Winter Nights events sponsored by Connections Networking Group, the Fallbrook Vintage Car Show with hundreds of classic cars, the Annual Flower Show put on by the Fallbrook Garden Club, and additional events hosted by the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce and the Fallbrook Village Association.

Pilots with private planes will also be happy to know that the Fallbrook Airpark provides an easily accessible small airport option for commuters and recreational pilots.

Schools

Public schools serving students living in Fallbrook primarily fall under the Bonsall Union School District, the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District or the Fallbrook Union High School District.

Schools in the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District include Fallbrook Street Elementary School, Fallbrook Homeschool Academy, La Paloma Elementary School, Live Oak Elementary School, Mary Fay Pendleton School, Potter Junior High School, San Onofre School and William H. Frazier Elementary School.

Public high schools in the Fallbrook Union High School District include Fallbrook High School, Oasis High School and Ivy High School.

Private schools serving the Fallbrook area include A Step in Time Preschool, Fallbrook United Methodist School, Zion Lutheran School, St. Peter the Apostle Catholic School, St. Stephen Lutheran School, Rock Rose School for Creative Learning, Peppertree Montessori and Montessori Adolescent Academy.

Palomar College, which is a community college located in San Marcos, has a Fallbrook campus for adult learners, and nearby National University and California State University San Marcos offer additional options for furthering your education.

Boundaries

The unincorporated village of Fallbrook borders Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton to the west, Bonsall to the south, Rainbow and Pala to the east, and Riverside County to the north.

Additional Information

Fallbrook is an artist’s haven, a farmer’s dream and the ideal community for folks in search of a quieter, family-friendly lifestyle in a rural setting with a village atmosphere and an old-fashioned main street. Active community organizations ensure that there is always something to do, and ample networking events make it easy to become involved in the local business community and get to know your neighbors.

 

The Myrtle Creek Gardens & Nursery barn photograph is courtesy of the Myrtle Creek Gardens & Nursery website. The photographs of Palomares Park and the view from the Engel Family Preserve are courtesy of the Fallbrook Land Conservancy website. The photograph of the Fallbrook Golf Club Golf Course is courtesy of the Fallbrook Golf Club website. The photograph of Live Oak Park is courtesy of the San Diego County Parks & Recreation website. The photograph of the Welcome to Fallbrook sign is courtesy of the Thompson and Associates website.

Real estate data was gathered from Point2Homes.com, city-data.com and Trulia.com.

AJ Davis-Varela: AJ is a freelance writer and blogger at Articles by AJ specializing in travel, real estate, natural wellness and green living. She is a magazine columnist, a former San Diego newspaper columnist, has been published in a variety of print and online publications, and regularly contributes to several websites and blogs. You can connect with AJ on LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+