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Spectacular Mountain-top Retreat Lodge, Sleeps 20 , Surrounded by Forest

Bedrooms 5
Half Baths1
Space 4,300 sq. ft.
Property type lodge
Minimum Stay 3 nights


About the property

Private Luxury Lodge Sleeps up to 20 people on 20 Acres of Mountain-top Forest!


Upper Meadow Lodge is the perfect place for a luxurious mountaintop retreat for 10 - 20 people.

The land here is truly special, as are the spectacular mountaintop views from every room in this gorgeous like-new home.

Here's what makes it truly special:

** Breathtaking Mountaintop Beauty **

The 200 year old Cedar tree circle that stands next to this home has been a site for reflection and healing for generations, from the native people of times past to our current gatherings. You will have a "mountaintop" experience every time you gaze out a window to see the far-reaching vistas, the ever changing tapestry of colorful clouds, hawks circling, and deer grazing in the meadow. Simply breathtaking views keep people coming back here year after year.

**Incredible Solitude and Privacy**

The house is surrounded by 20 private acres of Cedar and Oak forest and lush fern meadow. People describe the level of silence at night as healing in itself. Stargazing here is world-class, due to the lighting regulations that protect the nearby Palomar Observatory. Astronomers, bird-watchers, spiritually inspired people, and anyone needing to unwind will find this place an absolute treasure.


We had an enchanted evening under a blanket of stars. We felt a little closer to heaven up here. Kathy A.


**Luxury and Class**

Why settle for a place that feels like a "rental house?" The Lodge was intentionally designed to be a special place to gather by the O'Neill/Seaman family. Built in 2009, it boasts soaring ceilings, huge view windows, hard wood floors, a top-of-the-line kitchen, and elements of class and elegance throughout. It feels luxurious, yet everyone remarks how it feels like home. Our caretakers, Manda and Carson, take exquisite care of both home and land, so you can enjoy elegant details and an abundance of beauty.

**Ecology and Respect**

Eco-design elements abound, from the ultra-insulated SIPS-panel construction and top-end dual pane windows, to the use of reclaimed wood beams, natural stone, and permaculture-inspired landscaping surrounding the home. We removed the "smart-meter" and utilize eco-friendly clearing and cleaning to maintain a pristine environment. Those who are sensitive to such things will feel the dedication to ecological sustainability, energetic stewardship, and deep respect for the land here. And just wait till you taste the water - pristine, perfect water from our deep onsite well flows from every tap. You will want to bring some bottles to fill and bring home!


What a glorious place. The perfect place to have an inspired board retreat.

- Board of Directors, Avalon Springs


** Uniquely Designed for Groups**

Retreat leaders love this Lodge. They end up creating more retreats just so they can return here as often as possible! Groups feel special here. Twenty people can sleep comfortably in beds at the Lodge and in Fern Cottage. From the spaciousness of the spaces, to the comfortable beds, to the large hot tub under the stars, to the spa-quality natural soaps in the limestone showers and deep bathtubs, Upper Meadow Lodge is a perfect place to delight groups who come together with intention - to learn, to reconnect, to simply relax and unwind. Our onsite staff can be available to help with food preparation, and possibly bodywork and child care with some notice. We can also connect you with local catering contractors.

**Really? This is San Diego?**

People always remark at how unique this place is in all of Southern California! The lodge is just 90 minutes from San Diego, and maybe 2 hours from Los Angeles. Yet this forest feels lush, exotic, and primordial. Everyone always says, "This feels like Northern California" because of the richness of the landscape that is so different than the scrub oak forests of lower elevations. Yet Upper Meadow Lodge is the perfect home base from which to explore Southern California, including Disneyland, Legoland, Sea World, San Diego Zoo, The Wild Animal Park, Julian, Anza Borrego and Palm Springs deserts. Harrah's at Rincon, Pauma, Santa Ysabel, and Pala Casinos offer fine dining, gaming, and spa services nearby, and the shopping and dining of Escondido, Oceanside, and wine tasting of Temecula are just 45 minutes away.

**Everyone loves the Lodge**

You can bring your well-behaved pooch - yes!

Kids love exploring here, enjoying climbing around on the rocks, exploring the forest, and playing on the swing set (make sure to watch kids closely though, of course!).

There is a ramp making the lodge wheelchair accessible on the bottom level (Sundance Suite) as well as the main level with the kitchen and gathering spaces.

Our guest groups range from very high-end corporate groups to family reunions crawling with squealing kiddos.

Everyone loves Upper Meadow Lodge!

We respectfully decline heavy-party groups, heavy drinking events and anything that will take a toll on the forest.

That way, the house remains elegant, and the forest remains pristine for the intentional groups we love to host!

Please contact Elaine if you have questions or want to book. And if you are a retreat leader who needs to see the place before you book, let us know and we will try to arrange a one-hour visit/tour of the Lodge. If you let us know you're a retreat leader, will can also invite you to our occasional open house days just for group leaders. Thank you!

More Details

Property Manager
Member since: 2008
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within a few hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
November 27, 2017

About Elaine

**** (Photo of Carson and Manda, our on-site managers and caretakers of the land. We love them and just know you will, too!) ****

Hi There - my name is Mellissa, and my cousin Elaine and I manage the Lodge for the family.

My dad is Bob O'Neill - a retired San Diego judge, ever a scholar, and mystic-minded guy. Mom and Dad bought this land in 2000 through serendipitous circumstances (the best kind ;). Dad had always wanted a cabin in the forest. And he had made a hobby of looking at land-for-sale whenever and wherever we went a'traveling, but he wouldn't buy until he found the perfect place.

One day, Mom and Dad had the feeling that they just needed to drive up Palomar Mountain. So they did. And through a surprise run-in with an old acquaintance (the guy used to be my dad's bailiff in his courtroom, actually), they got connected to take a look at this land that was not even on the market. But when they "met" the huge 200+ year old Cedar tree that anchors an ancient sacred tree circle on the land, they *knew* they were home. Our neighbors, the Bailey family, agreed to sell this precious parcel to my folks because they also just *knew* that it was supposed to go to them.

For some years we camped on the land, we prayed on the land, and we played on the land. And in 2009, Dad finished construction of his masterpiece - Upper Meadow Lodge. The family lovingly cared for and decorated the lodge, and began to welcome groups - mystic Catholic retreats, family reunions, shamanic spiritual gatherings, and other groups who respected and enjoyed this beautiful place.

Manda and Carson had been friends of mine since 2005, and they moved in at the end of 2015 to take over the care-taking of the lodge. They are amazing! They are spiritual, kind, intelligent, and hold deep expertise and experience with permaculture, hospitality, and conscious land stewardship. Come see what we've built; you're going to love it as much as we do!

Elaine purchased this lodge in 2009

Why Elaine chose Palomar Mountain

We wanted to be within an hour and a half of our dream lodge and to have our own well with magnificent pure artesian water. We wanted to build a home that was big enough to hold our extended family, grandkids and comfortable enough so we would all feel like we could put up our feet and relax, both indoors and out. We decided to make the building Eco friendly to include a minimum of 8' of insulation and the best lighting and window systems. The views were so spectacular that every room had to take advantage and patios and decks were fashioned to serve each area of the home. The great room had to feel snug and homey whether there were two or twenty guests and the kitchen had to have professional ovens, lots of burners, a large griddle, and lots of counter top for community cooking fun. We got our dream and lots of friends have felt the immediate peace and relaxation, the joy of nature just being here.

What makes this lodge unique

The largest cedar circle on the mountain is just outside our kitchen door and Native Americans have considered the circle sacred. You'll have to experience this energy to understand. But suffice to say it is way better than TV, Facebook, or even your favorite church building!

One can sit in the extra large Jacuzzi and soak up the cedars with a million stars overhead and shooting stars almost every night. Walks through the forest, sledding, a dog friendly wonderland brings our guests back year after year.

You are looking at our beautiful photos, and reading our words about Upper Meadow Lodge. But we encourage you to stop for a minute and *feel* what your heart says about this place. Because the one thing we hear over and over is "Wow it is SO much more beautiful than I could have ever imagined." It is a special place that draws just the right people. If you are feeling drawn, come. You will not be disappointed.

Guestbook comments from the manager

Alan and Diana,

Thank you for a lovely weekend. Blake & his groomsmen had a wonderful time at the Upper Meadow Lodge and will return for future events. We appreciate the Bailey referral and highly recommend both venues.

Much Appreciation!
Sep 2013
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Palomar Mountain Lodge Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • lodge
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 4300 sq. ft.
House Rules:
  • Max. occupancy: 20
  • pets considered ...
  • children welcome
  • non smoking only ...
Location Type:
  • Mountain View ...
  • Rural ...
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Romantic
  • Spa
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Fireplace ...
  • Free Long Distance ...
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating
  • Internet ...
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room
  • Parking ...
  • Parking Off Street
  • Parking for RV/Boat/Trailer
  • Telephone
  • Towels Provided ...
  • Washing Machine
  • Wireless Internet ...
  • Wood Fireplace ...
  • Catering Available ...
  • Coffee Maker ...
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Dishes & Utensils ...
  • Dishwasher
  • Ice Maker
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave ...
  • Oven ...
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Stove ...
  • Toaster ...
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 20 people
  • 5 Bathrooms
  • 1 Half Bath
  • Guest Bath - toilet , Located on the main floor, easy access for groups
    Lavender Master Bath - toilet , tub , shower , Elegant Private bath for the Lavender Views Suite
    Upstairs Bath - toilet , combination tub/shower , tub , 3rd floor - Bath for the Mountain Rose & Cedar View Suites
    Bears' Lair Bath - toilet , shower , Across the hall from Bears Lair, accessible for groups too.
    Sundance Suite Bath - toilet , shower , Private bath for the Sundance Suite
    Fern Cottage Bath - toilet , shower , Private bath for the Fern Cottage
  • 5 Bedrooms, Sleeps 20
  • Bears' Lair Suite - 1 king , 2 twin/ single , (Two kings or 4 twin beds)
    Mountain Rose Suite - 1 king , 1 double , 1 twin/ single , King or Two Twins, Twin bed, Built in futon nook for 2 kids
    Cedar View Room - 2 twin/ single , Can have 2 Twins or King Bed
    Lavender Master Suite - 1 king , Master bedroom for 2 w incredible views, luxurious tub bath
    Great Room Fireside Bed - 1 sleep sofa /futon , Living room has a king size sleeper sofa next to fireplace
    Fern "Honeymoon" Cottage - 1 queen , Romantic cozy 200 Sq. Ft. detached cottage with bath
    Sundance Suite with Kitchenette - 2 twin/ single , 1 sleep sofa /futon , Has Kitchenette, full bath, pvt entrance - King or 2 Twins
  • Main floor: Lavender Views Suite- Sleeps 2 - Private bath (King Bed) Bears Lair - Sleeps 4, in Kings or Twins Fireside Sofabed in the Great Room - sleeps 2 by the fireplace Upper Floor: Cedar Views Suite- Sleeps 2 - in King or Twins (shared full bath with Mountain Rose Suite). Mountain Rose Suite - Sleeps 4 - King or Two Twins, separate Twin bed, and one double platform bed (Shared full bath with Cedar View Suite) Lower Floor: Sundance Suite - Sleeps 4 - Private Bath - King bed or Two Twins + queen sofa sleeper (yes it is comfy ;) Detached Cottage: Fern Cottage - Sleeps 2 - Private Bath - Queen bed
  • Books
  • CD Player
  • DVD Player
  • Games
  • Satellite / Cable ...
  • Stereo
  • Television
  • VCR
  • Video Library ...
  • Balcony
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Outdoor Grill ...
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • wheelchair accessible ...
Pool / Spa:
  • Hot Tub ...
Onsite Services:
  • Massage
  • Private Chef
  • playground
  • restaurants
  • zoo
Leisure Activities:
  • bird watching
  • gambling casinos
  • horseshoes
  • sight seeing
  • sledding
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • hunting big game
  • hunting small game
Piano. Cedar Forest, Sledding, Horseshoes, Native American Artifacts, incredible Mountaintop Views. * Smart-Meter free zone!


Exceptional! 5/5 -
(20 traveler reviews)

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Spectacular Mountain-top Retreat Lodge, Sleeps 20 , Surrounded by Forest
average rating of 5.0 based on 41 reviews

Great property for a family reunion.

  • 5 of 5

This is an amazing property with beautiful surroundings. The lodge has all the amenities needed, lots of space for family activities. The manager was great accommodating any needs for bedrooms set up. My family and I look forward to plan another stay at this property.

  • Submitted: Oct 18, 2017
  • Stayed: March 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Perfect Cabin

  • 5 of 5

We rented the Upper Meadow Lodge for a weekend trip with 12 people. First, the house and property are absolutely beautiful. It takes some time to get there, but it is absolutely worth it. There was plenty of room for everyone in our group and the layout of the house is very open. It was very easy to cook in the kitchen while also hanging out with people in the open family room. Everyone in our group was impressed with the facility and the caretakers were very helpful. I would highly recommend this house for large groups and families that want to enjoy nature.

  • Submitted: Apr 10, 2017
  • Stayed: April 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Valley Center, CA

Christmas Magic!

  • 5 of 5

This was our second visit to Upper Meadow. The first was a few years ago for a Thanksgiving holiday. Both stays were wonderful but the Lodge has been updated since our last visit. The house feels so much lighter with the removal of several pieces of large art that adorned the walls, including a diorama in an upper alcove. Although we enjoyed the home with the original decor, this was lovely. The caretakers, Manda and Carson, were both friendly and informative. We were lucky enough to have a beautiful white Christmas and Carson was quick to clear the deck and stairs for our safely. We spent a week relaxing, reading, playing games, and frolicking in the snow. It will be remembered as one of our very favorite Christmas adventures. I highly recommend Upper Meadow Lodge for a wonderful family vacation.

  • Submitted: Dec 30, 2016
  • Stayed: December 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you! Over the last year we've done a ton of work to renovate and refresh the space, so it's delightful to hear that it was noticed. We continue to make improvements and make the land easier to access. Caretakers Carson and Manda recently put in new walking trails, improved the path to the hot tub and have steadily been making changes. So lovely to hear that it made your trip better!
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Magical Home + Grounds

  • 5 of 5

My family and I spent a weekend at Upper Meadow Lodge to celebrate a special moment in our lives. The retreat is beautiful, peaceful and simply just special. It was a beautiful Fall day and the property was glowing in the cool air and sun light. The staff (Manda + Carson) are a dream to work with; very accommodating and helpful. Its really hard to put into words how magical this place is- I highly recommend staying for any occasion.

  • Submitted: Oct 17, 2016
  • Stayed: September 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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San Diego, California

Incredible trip

  • 5 of 5

We held our wedding reception here and it was perfect in every sense of the word. We hosted our family and friends for a long weekend and a small wedding. Carson, Manda, and Elaine were a phenomenal help and the house was fully equipped for everything we needed. The property is beautiful and the view spectacular. We loved the sound system, the large tables for family dinners, the expansive deck, and the great weather. We are so so thankful for the opportunity to stay there and we will remember our trip forever.

  • Submitted: Oct 13, 2016
  • Stayed: October 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Magical Sacred Retreat Spot!

  • 5 of 5

We held our women's retreat at Upper Meadow Lodge and it was hands down the best place I've ever held a retreat! Sitting in the cedar tree circle was just magical. The jacuzzi at night to watch the stars was the perfect way to end the day. And the house was the perfect size for our group. We'll be coming back!

  • Submitted: Aug 9, 2016
  • Stayed: August 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Nearest Airport
62 Miles
San Diego
Nearest Golf
15 Miles
Valley Center
Nearest Train
45 Miles
Nearest Motorway
20 Miles
Nearest Beach
45 Miles
Car: necessary

Golfing in Valley Center & Temecula,Fishing at nearby Lake Henshaw or Doane Pond, Julian, Old Town Temecula, Wine Tasting Temecula, Hot Air Balloons Temecula, Harrah's, Pala, Valley View and Pauma casinos nearby, Beautiful Anza-Borrego desert one hour away, Palomar Observatory, about one hour to most north San Diego County Beaches.


Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Refundable damage deposit $1,500
Pet Fee $50
Minimum Cleaning Fee $300

Lodge pricing is $950 per night for Weekends (Thursday-Sunday night) and $750 for Weekdays (Monday-Wednesday). The property can sleep a total of twenty (20) people, including Fern Cottage. There is a three (3) night minimum for most dates with a five (5) night minimum for Easter, Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Father's Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. All holiday bookings are at a minimum rate of $950 per night, regardless of day of the week.

A cleaning service fee will be added to final total. A $1500 Damage Deposit will be due one week prior to your check in date and will be returned to you after your stay, assuming no damage has been inflicted on the space.

Please contact us for additional information concerning special events or renting only part of the space. We do not host events with more than 40 people on the property, at any given time.

50% upon booking, Balance due 30 days before stay or 60 days before holiday stay.

Manager's Cancellation Policy

Please ask the manager or check their rental agreement when booking the property.

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