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More information about Lake Forest, California
Having been incorporated in 1991, Lake Forest is a relatively new town of about 78,000 in southern Orange County. It is a typical upper middle-class O.C. community with leafy streets, nicely-landscaped large family homes and condos, high-tech business parks, and a wide selection of ethnic eateries. However, Lake Forest has two unique assets setting it apart from neighboring towns along the San Diego Freeway.
First, the town’ history has been preserved from the Mexican period to the citrus farming days at Heritage Hill Historical Park. Of the cluster of buildings, which have been carefully restored, the oldest is the Serrano Adobe dating from 1863. If the kids are interested in what the one-room school house looked like, stroll through the refurbished El Toro Grammar School that was built in 1890. The Bennett Ranch House with furnishings and farming implements from the early 20th century represents the period when Orange County was still mostly orange groves. At a separate location, the Queen Anne-style Arden House is also worth visiting. It was built in 1888 for Helen Modjeska, the famed Shakespearean actress. However, public access the Arden House is restricted to only four days each each month and requires reservations.
At the northernmost edge of town there is Whiting Ranch, a wilderness preserve that remains untouched by development and offers excellent hiking and mountain biking opportunities as well as frequent wild-life sightings. The panoramic views from higher elevations at sunset are well worth the climb.