Ramona is a small town 45 minutes northeast of San Diego. Founded on cattle and turkeys in the mid 1800s, it has kept its rural friendliness.

Ramona is unincorporated, so its borders and population are a bit blurry. San Diego County authorities have mentioned the number 38,000 as a pretty good guess. This population thins out the farther you go into the surrounding mountains.

Yet it is hardly backwoods. It has excellent schools, a large and well-regarded community of artists (especially painters) and an increasing number of residents in the high tech industry.

Ramona is also a sports town, especially of outdoor sports. If there were a single town symbol, it would be a horse. There are thousands of them. It also has three championship golf courses, a vast network of riding and hiking trails (that will soon connect to the ocean), great year-round tennis weather, and country roads well suited to bicyclists. Plus it's 30 miles from the beach, close enough that a lot of Ramonans are regular surfers.   



Its coastal proximity and its 1400-foot elevation give it a climate comparable to that of Pasadena in southern California and Napa Valley in northern California. Its climate is well suited for its budding wine industry. Ramona now boasts 13 wineries.

In 1928, Ramona won its third consecutive Silver Citizenship Cup for voter turnout, producing the highest voter turnout among California communities.

Its civic spirit remains undiminished, which is helpful because its town leaders have their hands full. Their aim, shared by all Ramonans, is to maintain the town's friendly, rural ways, despite a rapidly increasing population.

We, of course, keep recommending new urbanism as the best strategy to achieve this. We're hardly alone in this. The future looks good.

For those who want to know more about Ramona's history, two excellent books are A History of Ramona by Charles Darrell Beck and Ramona and Roundabout by Charles Lemenager.