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Our Neighborhoods mountain view and los altos

Blossom Valley

St. Francis Acres

Country Club

P r o f i l e s, m a p s a n d v i ta l fa c t s o f f e at u r e d n e i g h b o r h o o d s i n t h e c o m m u n i t y w w w. m o u n ta i n v i e w o n l i n e . c o m

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Our Neighborhoods mountain view | los altos

index MOUNTAIN VIEW...........7 Blossom Valley....................18 Castro City..........................10 The Crossings......................10 Cuernavaca.........................24 Cuesta Park........................18 Gemello..............................12 Jackson Park.......................15

Whisman Station

Sylvan Park

A

sk longtime residents of Mountain View or Los Altos what makes their neighborhood special and they’ll easily point to the subtle differences that exist — sometimes block to block. In this, our ninth guide to local neighborhoods in Mountain View and Los Altos, you’ll find snippets of history, descriptions of neighborhoods and reminiscences from residents who enjoy living here. We asked them what they liked, and what they’d like to see changed, whether it’s traffic or big-box commercial ventures. Included in each neighborhood vignette is a fact box, designed to help people thinking about moving to the area. Where will the kids go to day care or school? Where can you pick

The Crossings

up a bottle of milk or loaf of bread on the way home from work? How far is the nearest fire station? And what would it cost to actually move in? This year, fuller versions of the neighborhood profiles, along with maps, can be found on our website, www.paloaltoonline. com/neighborhoods/. If your area has been overlooked — or you’ve found something just plain wrong — please call Carol Blitzer, who edited this publication, at 650-223-6511 (or email her at cblitzer@paweekly.com). We’d love to hear from you.

Tom Gibboney

Publisher, Mountain View Voice

Martens-Carmelita............. 22 Monta Loma........................ 8 North Whisman...................16 Old Mountain View............ 20 Rex Manor........................... 8 Saint Francis Acres..............12 Shoreline West................... 20 Slater..................................16 Stierlin Estates....................15 Sylvan Park.........................24 Waverly Park...................... 22 Whisman Station.................14

staff

Willowgate.........................14 Publisher: Tom Gibboney Editor: Carol Blitzer Designer: Linda Atilano Map designer: Bill Murray Researchers: Carol Blitzer, Pierre Bienaime, Ashley Finden, Lisa Kellman, Haiy Le Vice President Sales and Marketing: Tom Zahiralis Sales representatives: Connie Jo Cotton, Neal Fine, Rosemary Lewkowitz, Carolyn Oliver, Irene Schwartz

Home-sales data: Courtesy of J. Robert Taylor, Taylor Properties ON THE COVER: Cheryl Seltzer pauses with her shnoodle Shayna in front of her Old Mountain View neighborhood home in Mountain View. Photo by Michelle Le. Photographs of Blossom Valley by Veronica Weber; Saint Francis Acres and Country Club by Michelle Le. On This Page: Photos of Whisman Station and The Crossings by Michelle Le, of Sylvan Park by Veronica Weber.

LOS ALTOS....................27 Central Los Altos................ 36 Country Club...................... 40 Loyola Corners................... 34 North Los Altos.................. 32 Old Los Altos..................... 28

Copyright @2013 by Embarcadero Media. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

Rancho.............................. 34 South Los Altos.................. 38 Woodland Acres/ The Highlands.................... 40

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450 Cambridge Ave. Palo Alto, CA 94306 (650) 964-6300 www.mv-voice.com

Additional copies of Mountain View/Los Altos Neighborhoods, as well as companion publications — Palo Alto Neighborhoods and Almanac Neighborhoods — are available at The Voice for $5 each. All three publications are available online at www.PaloAltoOnline.com.

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MICHAEL GALLI 6

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mountain view

■ Blossom Valley ■ Castro City ■ The Crossings

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■ Jackson Park NORTH WHISMAN

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■ Martens-Carmelita

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THE CROSSINGS

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MONTA LOMA

■ Gemello

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■ Cuesta Park

■ Rex Manor 85

■ Saint Francis Acres ■ Shoreline West

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ST. FRANCIS ACRES

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■ Slater

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■ Stierlin Estates ■ Sylvan Park Stev

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WAVERLY PARK 85

FACTS

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57 percent multifamily and 4 percent mobile homes. About 42 percent are owner-occupied. Encompassing 12 square miles, Mountain View is surrounded by Palo Alto, Los Altos and Sunnyvale. Highways 101, 85 and 237, as well as light rail and Caltrain, offer quick access to the rest of the Bay Area. Mountain View’s diversified population enjoys superb recreation and arts facilities, including Shoreline Park and the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.

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Neighborhoods

rom an early stagecoach stop and agricultural center, Mountain View has grown since its incorporation in 1902 to a thriving city of 74,000+ residents in the heart of Silicon Valley. Internationally known corporations make Mountain View their home, swelling the daytime population to more than 100,000. Today, Mountain View neighborhoods are as varied as the housing types, with 28 percent single-family, 11 percent townhouses,

2012-13 GENERAL OPERATING FUND BUDGET: $95.8 million POPULATION (2010): 74,066 HOUSEHOLDS (2010): 31,957 OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSING (2010): 12,913 RENTER-OCCUPIED HOUSING (2010): 18,122 MEDIAN HOME-SELLING PRICE: $1,080,063 (single-family homes, December 2011 through November 2012) $610,000 (condominiums, December 2011 through November 2012) ESTIMATED MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2010): $88,244

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Monta Loma

“I

looked out that window, saw that same tall green plant outside and told the real estate agent that I wanted to buy the house.” That’s what James Cochran, mayor of Mountain View from 1992-93, recalls about purchasing his Monta Loma house in 1967, while working as a young bachelor. “I saw these tall windows that let in a lot of light, a lot from outside, and I liked that,” he said. “It was a great place for me as a starter home,” Cochran said, adding that the homes were less expensive than in Palo Alto or Los Altos Hills. Many families would start here, have a child or two, and then move to neighboring areas when becoming more financially stable, he said. Cochran bought this as his first home and never saw the need to leave. He met his wife, Alice, while living in Monta Loma and said the home is a good place for retirement, as it doesn’t have any stairs. Cochran mentioned a few neighbors that have passed their houses onto their future generations. “It’s half and half, some new, some old,” Cochran said. The Google campus is close to Monta

FACTS

Loma, and has had an impact on the types of neighbors moving in. “The houses and the lots are small, so you see a lot of new families moving in,” Raymond White said. White and his wife have been living at their house in Monta Loma since 2010. “It reminds me of when I grew up in the ‘50s. It has that feel of a community where everyone shares with one another,” he said. The homes have a distinct Eichler influence — low ceilings, a lack of interior walls and rectilinear angles — and were built in the suburban housing boom following World War II. The Monta Loma Neighborhood Association plays a large role in fostering that idea of community, White said. An email list set up by the neighborhood association includes more than 500 residents and allows neighbors to communicate with one another for both personal matters and local news items. “You see people asking for help every day and everyone is really receptive on the list,” White said. “We just lucked out,” White said. “It’s one of those cases when you really can’t see it until you live in it.”

— David Ruiz

Rex Manor / Mountain Shadows

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ocated just off busy Central Expressway, Rex Manor — a quiet neighborhood with tree-lined streets and numerous parks — is the best of both worlds. “You’re close to everything,” said Frank Gicale, whose family moved to the neighborhood in 1959, four years before he was born. He cited such conveniences as Safeway and the light rail, and being able to bike to almost anything. For all these nearby comforts, Rex Manor is still a restful place to start a family. Gicale works for the City of Mountain View and has always lived nearby. Today, he’s raising his own three children in the house where he grew up, left to him by his parents when they passed on. “A lot of our neighbors are from the old days,” he said. “They knew my parents. We feel safe here.” The neighborhood was built by William Blackfield in 1950. Some of the ranch-style homes have been remodeled, but many haven’t, said Amber Swindell, who moved to the neighborhood in 2009. Swindell added that most residents either have kids in the house now or did when they

were younger. “There aren’t a lot of young single people around,” she said. Rex Manor is still fairly social and diverse. Neighbors gather for Sunday potlucks and a yearly block party and ice cream social. “We have a lot of nationalities here and everyone gets along,” Gicale said. “Everyone gets invited to birthday parties.” There are a few small drawbacks for Swindell to living in Rex Manor, though. Her commute — to Foster City, where she works as a program manager at a life-sciences company — can take up to an hour and a half on her way home. “There’s a lot of speeding through the neighborhood,” she said. “I think it’s by residents. They know there’s no cops who go through.” Despite these small annoyances, Gicale feels very fortunate to have inherited a house in Rex Manor. “These houses cost a lot,” he said. “I think there are a lot of people who would enjoy our neighborhood, and I feel for them.”

— Emma Trotter

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Hobbledehoy Montessori Preschool, 2321 Jane Lane; Monta Loma Babysitting Co-op (part of Monta Loma Neighborhood Association) FIRE STATION: No. 3, 301 Rengstorff Ave. LOCATION: bounded by just south of San Antonio Road, West Middlefield Road, Rengstorff Avenue and Central Expressway NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Monta Loma Neighborhood Association, Estuardo Montufar, president, estuardomontufar@comcast.net, www. montaloma.org PARKS: Monta Loma Park, Thompson Avenue and Laura Lane; Thaddeus Park, West Middlefield Road and Independence Avenue POST OFFICE: Mountain View, 211 Hope St. PRIVATE SCHOOLS: Waldorf High School of the Peninsula, 180 N. Rengstorff Ave. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District — Monta Loma Elementary School, Crittenden Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Los Altos High School MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $853,000 ($575,000-$1,075,000) HOMES SOLD: 34 MEDIAN 2012 CONDO PRICE: $635,000 ($325,000-$658,000) CONDOS SOLD (nearby): 3

FACTS CHILD CARE AND PRESCHOOLS: YMCA of the East Bay/Mountain View Child Development Center, 750B San Pierre Way; YMCA — Theuerkauf,1625 San Luis Ave. FIRE STATION: No. 3, 301 N. Rengstorff Ave. LOCATION: Rex Manor: between Farley and Burgoyne streets, Central Expressway and West Middlefield Road; Mountain Shadows: between Burgoyne Street and Shoreline Boulevard, San Ramon and Montecito avenues NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Lawrence Shing, chair, Shings.rus@gmail.com PARKS: Rex Manor Park, Farley Street and Central Expressway; Stevenson Park, San Luis Avenue and San Pierre Way POST OFFICE: Mountain View, 211 Hope St. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District — Theuerkauf Elementary School, Crittenden Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Los Altos High School SHOPPING: Bailey Park Plaza Shopping Center, Shoreline Boulevard; strip shopping at 112 Rengstorff Ave. and 580 Rengstorff Ave. MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $790,000 ($640,000-$960,000) HOMES SOLD: 11 MEDIAN 2012 CONDO PRICE: $635,000 ($458,000-$780,000) CONDOS SOLD (nearby): 17

Neighborhoods

9

The Crossings

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nce the location of an auto mall, The Crossings was built in 1994 into a 540-unit neighborhood, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s “Smart Growth” website. It now boasts a close-knit community that was awarded the Outstanding Planning Award by the American Planning Association in 2002. “The neighbors are nice, there’s diversity and it’s safe with close access to grocery stores,” said Kenneth Salisbury, who has been living at The Crossings with his family since 2003. The community even has three of its own “parks,” as homeowner Yalena Marino, who lives at The Crossings with her husband and two kids since 1996, calls them. They are really just large strips of green lawn areas; one has a gazebo and the other a playground structure for neighborhood children to play on. Residents take their dogs to play together in these areas as well. This comforting, “just ask next door for some sugar” atmosphere is what Marino likes most about The Crossings.

FACTS

“(The Crossings) isn’t spread out, it’s very close knit, the people are very nice,” Marino said, “You don’t need a large home when they are efficient and there’s lots of commons areas.” Marino’s children used to play with the other kids in The Crossings; the younger children can be seen riding scooters or bicycles up and down the blocks. Salisbury says the diversity in the area is good for the children. Salisbury and Marino say the interaction at The Crossings doesn’t stop with the dogs or the children. The community holds monthly housing-association meetings and cocoordinated garage sales, and many houses display Neighborhood Watch markers. “The Crossings was designed as a commuter-oriented place; ideally people wouldn’t have to use their cars,” Salisbury said. But if the station closes, they might have to, which may in turn exasperate the already tight parking or even drop the value of the homes, he said. — Peter Maxwell

Castro City

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ichael Hamilton recalls moving into his house on Fair Oaks Avenue in 1984 very distinctly. “I remember the first day I moved in here, all the wheels on the car across the street were all taken off,” Hamilton said. But rest assured, this is a happy story. There are a myriad of reasons why Hamilton has stayed at his home for 28 years. The neighborhood has transformed from a rough neighborhood in the ‘80s to a quiet six-square-block enclave located across the street from Rengstorff Park. “It’s convenient to downtown Mountain View and Los Altos,” Hamilton said. “And if you want to travel a little, you can get to downtown Palo Alto pretty quick.” “It’s also very cosmopolitan,” he said, referring to his neighbors’ diverse racial backgrounds. Patricia Torres spices up that description: “There was a family who had a huge mariachi band during the holidays. A huge 20-piece orchestra right here.” “There is single older gentleman across the street, a house for sale that used to have a Latino family, a Chinese family in the duplex,

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (nearby): Oak Tree Nursery School, 2100 University Ave. FIRE STATION: No. 3, 301 N. Rengstorff Ave. LOCATION: between San Antonio Road, Showers Drive and California Street NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Separate associations for condominiums, townhouses, row houses and single-family homes; all run by Nagi Chami, CEO of Tri-State Enterprises; 650-210-0085 PARKS: Concord Circle and Sondgroth Way, Beacon Street and Laurel Way; nearby: Klein Park, Monta Loma Park POST OFFICE: Mountain View, 211 Hope St. PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, 450 San Antonio Road, Palo Alto PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Los Altos School District — Covington Elementary School, Egan Junior High School; Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District — Los Altos High School SHOPPING: San Antonio Shopping Center, strip shopping on California Street MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $1,168,000 CONDOS SOLD: 1 MEDIAN 2012 CONDO PRICE: $743,000 ($618,888-$916,000) CONDOS SOLD: 8

FACTS

some Mexicans here, Americans there, just different varieties,” she added. Torres moved to her Stanford Avenue house in 2005, joining her husband who had lived in the house his entire life. They remodeled the house from a small cottage into a charming two-bedroom, joining the many remodeled homes in Castro City that have transformed the neighborhood from its more rowdy years. The neighborhood has a mix of old cottage homes and newly built two-story houses. Torres enjoys walking through the neighborhood and taking her two boys to nearby Rengstorff Park. “One downside is that the pedestrian traffic is congested. I walk my kids across the street to the park all the time and cars are zooming, zooming past,” she said. Away from the traffic, however, the neighborhood can get a little too quiet. “We (the neighbors) are not that close,” she said. “There are no block parties, no neighborhood associations, but that would be nice.”

— Haiy Le

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Oak Tree Nursery School, 2100 University Ave.; Wonder World, 2015 Latham St. (nearby) FIRE STATION: No. 3, 301 N. Rengstorff Ave. LOCATION: bounded by South Rengstorff Avenue, University Avenue, College Street and Leland Avenue PARKS: Castro Park, Toft Avenue at Latham Street; Rengstorff Park and pool, Rengstorff Avenue at Crisanto Avenue POST OFFICE: Mountain View, 211 Hope St. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mountain View Whisman School District — Monta Loma Elementary School, Graham Middle School; Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District — Los Altos High School SHOPPING: Mi Pueblo Food Center, 40 S. Rengstorff Ave. at Leland Avenue; Walgreens, 112 N. Rengstorff Ave. at Central Expressway MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $700,000 ($380,000-$855,000) HOMES SOLD: 3 MEDIAN 2012 CONDO PRICE: $309,000 ($222,000-$399,000) CONDOS SOLD (nearby): 10

Dartmouth Ave., San Carlos

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11

Saint Francis Acres

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n the border of Mountain View and Los Altos, Saint Francis Acres exudes an all-American feel that could make anyone feel at home with its friendly neighbors. “It’s definitely a very cohesive neighborhood where everybody feels like an extended family,” Janis Zinn said. When Zinn bought her home in 1986, the previous owners told her she could have their home, but not their neighbors. According to Zinn the first homes in Saint Francis Acres were originally California ranch-style homes, but over the years new owners have renovated or rebuilt some of the homes. Each house is different from the next and varies between one and two stories. She said it is a stable neighborhood that is circulating through its fourth generation. Zinn said she knows the names of everybody on her street and several of the streets around her. “When you go for a walk on a Saturday morning, it’s hard to get much exercise because you are stopping and talking to people along the way,” she said.

FACTS

She also said the neighborhood is great for children and is located in a good school district. Her two children, now in their 20s, grew up playing on the wide streets where they developed close ties with their neighbors. They grew up with their neighbors as a family foundation, according to Zinn. Each year, there is a Halloween party for the whole neighborhood with snacks and activities for the children, and for Memorial Day one of the streets closes for a block party, according to Zinn. Mountain View City Councilmember Laura Macias has lived in Saint Francis Acres since 1998 and didn’t know how great of a neighborhood it was until after she moved in. She said the quiet streets are what first appealed to her and that the neighborhood fit her perfectly. The streets are lined with vibrant trees that provide cover and shade for the attractive homes that fill the neighborhood. “All of the good things that you hear about neighborhoods — I think we’ve got it here at Saint Francis Acres,” she said.

— Ashley Finden

Gemello

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emello, its residents say again and again, is an old-fashioned neighborhood. It has old-fashioned architecture, old-fashioned plants and, best of all, an old-fashioned feel with neighbors that know each other, like each other and even remodel with each other. Gemello — the Mountain View neighborhood located between the Los Altos border, El Camino Real and El Monte Avenue — was once a winery owned by John Gemello. In the 1950s, it was sold to San Francisco-based Meadow Development Company, which promptly starting building three-bedroom, one-bath Blackfield and Excel villages. Charles Channing is a relative newcomer to the area, having moved to Gemello from the Florida in 2001. He and his wife Stephanie, a Bay Area native, chose the area precisely for its old-fashioned charm. “We loved the older area,” he said. “It’s got older trees and plants and smaller, older homes. Plus, it’s got a nice and quiet feel. Everyone knows everyone else in the neighborhood. It’s a good place to raise kids.”

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Mountain View KinderCare, 2065 W. El Camino Real; St. Paul Lutheran CDC, 1075 El Monte Ave. FIRE STATION: No. 1, 251 S. Shoreline Blvd. LOCATION: bordered by El Camino Real, Permanente Creek and El Monte Avenue NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Emily Jee, emily.jee@gmail.com PARKS: McKelvey Park, Park Drive and Miramonte Avenue; Eagle Park, Shoreline Boulevard and High School Way POST OFFICE: Mountain View, 211 Hope St. PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): Canterbury Christian School, 101 N. El Monte, St. Joseph Catholic School, 1120 Miramonte Ave., St. Francis High School, 1885 Miramonte Ave. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Los Altos School District — Springer Elementary School, Egan Junior High School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Los Altos High School SHOPPING: Downtown Mountain View, El Monte Shopping Center (El Monte Avenue near Marich Way), Clarkwood Center (El Camino Real) MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $1,247,500 ($879,000-$2,650,000) HOMES SOLD: 16

FACTS In contrast, Jeanne Evilsizer moved to Gemello in 1978. Evilsizer, a Los Altos native, was first attracted by the quality of Excel workmanship and its proximity to her hometown. Thirty-four years later, she’s still there, one of a group of close-knit long-time residents. “The neighborhood is very established with several of our neighbor’s living in their homes for 50-plus years,” she said. “We have excellent neighbors who you can always depend on. We are very happy in the neighborhood.” The neighborhood park, Gemello Park on Solano Drive and Marich Way, is a focal point for families and small children, even if cars driving on Marich Way go too fast. “People go too quickly on Marich near the park,” her neighbor and Gemello resident Mark Bubert said. “Everyone flies on that street.” “Gemello is just close to everything,” he said. “I love to bike, and from Gemello you hop on 280 and you can get away in a few minutes. There’s a park, and Los Altos High is nearby.”

— Angela Chen

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Childrens Learning Cottage, 675 Escuela Ave.; Mountain View KinderCare, 2065 W. El Camino Real; St. Paul Lutheran CDC, 1075 El Monte Ave.; Wonder World, 2015 Latham St. (nearby) FIRE STATION: No. 3, 301 N. Rengstorff Ave.; No. 1, 251 S. Shoreline Blvd. LOCATION: bounded by El Monte Avenue, Jardin Drive, Karen Way and El Camino Real PARK: Gemello Park, Marich Way and Solana Court POST OFFICE: Mountain View, 211 Hope St., Blossom Valley, 1768 Miramonte Ave. PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): Canterbury Christian School, 101 N El Monte Ave.; The Waldorff School of the Peninsula, 180 N. Rengstorff Ave. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District — Bubb Elementary School, Graham Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Los Altos High School SHOPPING: Downtown Mountain View, Downtown Los Altos, Blossom Valley Shopping Center, Gemello Village, Clarkwood Center, San Antonio Shopping Center MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $1,085,000 ($600,000-$1,500,000) HOMES SOLD: 20 MEDIAN 2012 CONDO PRICE: $615,000 ($430,000-$840,000) CONDOS SOLD: 5

Where would you like to plant your roots and watch them grow?

www.ElizabethThompson.com Elizabeth.Thompson@cbnorcal.com 650-949-8508

Meet Elizabeth Thompson, Meet Elizabeth Thompson, your your St. Francis Acres specialist and and St. Francis Acres specialist neighbor. ~ established Francis neighbor. Elizabeth St. understands Acresyour as a recognized that house is neighborhood a “home” and in Mountain View ~ publishes very often your life savings. “St. Francis Acres Times” to bring her community together.

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“Professional, reliable, energetic, knowledgeable, and lots of fun - that’s Elizabeth. So much is involved in selling a home and she took care of everything with ease. From marketing to staging, personally sweeping the floors, hiring contractors, and ensuring everything was perfect for our open houses, we couldn’t have asked for more! Elizabeth made it easy and helped us successfully sell our home in less than a week for more than our asking price. Thank you!!” Joanne and Rob

13

Willowgate

W

es Duenow moved into his home on Willowgate Street in April 2008. Three months in, the Caltrain station moved the horns from the underside of the train to the top. The noise grew louder, reverberating through the neighborhood. “We thought that we had made the worst decision ever,” he said. But Duenow eventually found his reasons to stay. “Ten minutes to Central Expressway and close to other highways,” he said. He also cites the easy access to downtown Mountain View, Jackson Park and Stevens Creek Trail. And the noise doesn’t bother him as much anymore. “We only notice it when we’re paying attention,” he said. Duenow lives in a subdivision of five houses called Willowgate Villa located within the larger Willowgate community. “I know these neighbors very well,” he said, referring to the row of houses on his street. There is a neighborhood association and a

FACTS

mailing list that connects these five houses. Besides from this, Duenow feels that there is not much of an association with the larger Willowgate community. “I identify myself more with my subdivision or Mountain View,” he said. “I wasn’t even aware that there was a Willowgate neighborhood. That sentiment appears to be the same for Aimee Everitt, who moved into the 57-unit Cypress Point townhouse community in 2000. She is proud of the volunteer-driven board, which represents the townhouse complex and maintains an active mailing list. “It (the townhouse) is exactly what I wanted. I wanted privacy, a little garden, a pool, peace, and quiet.” Like Everitt and Duenow, Patrick Hsieh is a member of his subdivision’s 11-unit neighborhood association. He moved into the Willowgate Gardens townhouse in 2009. Hsieh appreciates the improvements that the collective action of the neighborhood association has brought about. “The street was darker and now they added more streetlights so it’s brighter,” he said.

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But, his favorite aspect of the neighborhood is its proximity to Caltrain, allowing him easy access to work in San Francisco and Palo Alto.

— Hiay Le

FACTS

Whisman Station ruce England, Whisman Station resident since 1998, called the neighborhood “the future of housing for Mountain View.” Bounded by Highway 237, Central Expressway and Whisman Road, the area got its name from the Valley Transit Authority Light Rail station it encompasses. It’s this focus on transit that makes the neighborhood a model for high-density living. “I wanted to take public transit to work, and there aren’t a lot of neighborhoods in the south bay where you can do that without a bicycle,” said Anthony Moor, who moved to the neighborhood with his wife and their two daughters in 2010. And if the light rail won’t work for a particular trip, Moor pointed out, the neighborhood has great access to freeways. “We’re not completely centered on the car,” he said. “We have options, which is unusual for suburban life.” Ease of commute also attracted Monica Lipscomb, who moved to the neighborhood with her husband in 1997. They were some of the original residents in the neighborhood and have continued to make friends as new

COMMUNITY GARDEN: $42 for plot permit, 650-903-6331, or email recreation@ mountainview.gov to join the waiting list for a plot FIRE STATION: No. 1, 251 S. Shoreline Blvd. LOCATION: bordered by Central Expressway, West Moffett, Moffett and Highway 85 PARK: Jackson Park, Jackson Street and Stierlin Road POST OFFICE: Mountain View, 211 Hope St. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District — Landels Elementary School, Crittenden Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Mountain View High School SHOPPING: Moffett Boulevard, Downtown Mountain View, Sunday farmers market at Caltrain parking lot (9 a.m. to 1 p.m. year round) MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $855,000 9$785,000-$899,580) HOMES SOLD: 4 MEDIAN 2012 CONDO PRICE: $765,000 ($516,000-$780,000) CONDOS SOLD: 4

people move in. “We meet a lot of friends at the pool,” she said, referring to one of the neighborhood’s common spaces maintained by homeowners’ dues she called “reasonable.” Various homeowners associations and committees — England says there’s talk of unification — host a variety of events throughout the year, said Lipscomb, who used to be on one of the entertainment committees. Events include an annual picnic, Fourth of July parade and Easter egg hunt. Residents agree that these events are a great way to meet neighbors — and the neighborhood is home to a lot of diverse groups, even for Mountain View. Singles and young couples mainly occupy the townhomes, while small families live in houses. “There’s a house full of these Google people, so a lot of technology folks,” she added. “A lot of the original people are not here anymore, but a lot of good new neighbors have come in, that’s for sure.” The only thing missing, for Moor, is a coffee shop right in the neighborhood.

— Emma Trotter

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (nearby): Kiddie Academy, 205 E. Middlefield Road; Building Kidz, 250 E. Dana St.; German International School of Silicon Valley, 310 Easy St.; Yew Chung International School, 199 E. Middlefield Road FIRE STATION: No. 4, 229 N. Whisman Road LOCATION: Central Expressway, Ferguson Drive, streets off Kent Drive, Snyder Lane, N. Whisman Road NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Michael Jones and Brian Emery, managers, Community Management Services, 650-961-2630, ext. 120 and ext. 150 PARKS: Magnolia Park, Magnolia Lane and Whisman Park Drive; Chetwood Park, Chetwood Drive and Whisman Station Drive, Stevens Creek Trail POST OFFICE: Mountain View, 211 Hope St. PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): German International School of Silicon Valley, 310 Easy St.; Yew Chung International School, 310 Easy St. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District — Landels Elementary School, Crittenden Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Mountain View High School SHOPPING: El Camino Real, Downtown Mountain View MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $1,025,000 ($885,000-$1,284,000) HOMES SOLD: 7 MEDIAN 2012 CONDO PRICE: $675,000 ($565,000-$842,500) CONDOS SOLD: 23

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f the 178 original homeowners in the tree-lined Stierlin Estates neighborhood, only a handful remain. Among them is Shirley Karkas, who moved into a brand new house in the tract with her husband in 1963. “I still know original owners,” she said. “But it’s evolved, it’s changed, and now we have young children again, which is wonderful.” Karkas’ own three children are in their 40s and 50s today. Now, she said, the neighborhood is “a mixture” of all nationalities and ages, with everyone from working class to professionals to retired people. “I think we’re fortunate to have that,” she said. Lyn Simpson and her family recently relocated to their current house in Stierlin Estates — they’d lived just around the corner since 1996 — to have more space as her two children get older. Simpson previously lived in the Philippines and then Anaheim, Calif., and finds Stierlin Estates to be a big improvement. “Everyone’s nicer than in L.A.,” she said.

“It’s really friendly and diverse.” Simpson’s neighbors are from such faraway countries as India, Vietnam and Thailand. She also feels safe in the neighborhood and enjoys the quiet. “We don’t have drive-by shootings or gangs hanging around,” she said. Karkas’ favorite aspect of the neighborhood is the weather. She and her husband used to live in Daly City’s Westlake neighborhood, where fog and cold temperatures are common throughout the year. “We had terrible weather up there,” she said. “Sometimes you couldn’t even see the house across the street.” She also appreciates the convenience of nearby freeways, including Highway 85, which was added after she moved to Stierlin Estates. Simpson also enjoys the small community feel and easy access to lots of parks in the neighborhood — where kids young and old go to play, she said. One potential drawback of the neighborhood is that it isn’t very social. That

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buffs but also ideal for pedestrians. Jeff Li, who moved into Jackson Park in 2003, admits he chose the neighborhood because it is nestled next to downtown Mountain View. The convenience is hard to beat. “Jackson Park is close to Castro Street, the public transit and freeway access,” he said. Plus, Stevens Creek Trail is a walkable distance away. Following Shoreline down to the end leads to the 5-mile hiking trail. Despite traffic-packed Shoreline Boulevard, Moffett Boulevard and Central Expressway sandwiching Jackson Park, the streets are alarmingly quiet. “I might hear the train sometimes or concerts from Shoreline but it’s not annoying,” Li said. In fact, Plano finds the noise soothing. It would take a lot for her to move. “It’s a nice area if you don’t want to use a car,” Plano said as she pointed in the direction of the bus line and transit center. “Parking can be hard in downtown Mountain View. It’s nice to walk there.” Li, a native of Cupertino, plans on staying

FIRE STATION: No. 5, 2195 N. Shoreline Blvd. LOCATION: between Terra Bella Avenue, North Shoreline Boulevard, West Middlefield Road, Moffett Boulevard and Highway 85 PARKS: San Veron Park, San Veron Avenue and Middlefield Road POST OFFICE: Mountain View, 211 Hope St.; Mountain View Carriers Annex, 1070 La Avenida St. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District — Monta Loma Elementary School, Crittenden Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Mountain View or Los Altos High School SHOPPING: Bailey Plaza, Shoreline Boulevard MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $656,500 ($653,000-$925,000) HOMES SOLD: 4 MEDIAN 2012 CONDO PRICE: $540,000 ($430,000-$698,000) CONDOS SOLD (nearby): 6

suits current residents just fine, though. “I can’t find anything wrong in Mountain View,” Simpson added. “I love it here.”

— Emma Trotter

FACTS CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: The Wonder Years Preschool, 462 Stierlin Road FIRE STATION: No. 1, 251 S. Shoreline Blvd. LOCATION: bounded by Shoreline Boulevard, Stierlin Road, Windmill Park Lane, Central Avenue, Moffett Boulevard and Central Expressway PARK: Jackson Park, Jackson Street and Stierlin Road POST OFFICE: Mountain View, 211 Hope St. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District — Monta Loma or Theuerkauf elementary schools, Crittenden Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Mountain View High School SHOPPING: Moffett Boulevard, Downtown Mountain View, Bailey Plaza MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $940,000 ($780,000-$1,100,000) HOMES SOLD: 2

here for the next few years. He enjoys living in Mountain View and would only consider moving for his daughter’s schooling. He ruled out moving back to Cupertino though because the high schools are not as diverse as those in Mountain View.

— Anna Li

Neighborhoods

he eerie silence surrounding Stierlin Road suddenly disappears when the park comes into view. Toddlers are screaming in delight as they swing off the jungle gym and sprint after one another in Jackson Park. Elena Migunova often spends her afternoon with other parents while their children play together. Migunova moved here from Russia in 2011 when her husband found a job in Mountain View. She says that she likes living in Jackson Park, which is really different compared to living in Russia. “In Moscow, the apartments are eight or nine levels tall. It is like the countryside here,” she said. Mary Anne Plano echoes Migunova’s sentiments. Plano moved to Jackson Park from Palo Alto 15 years ago when they cut down the trees around her old apartment. She really enjoys having lush greenery around her condo. “The weather is perfect. I don’t have AC at my place but it gets the best breezes,” she said. Jackson Park is not only perfect for nature

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estled between Google and Symantec is a neighborhood with a view of the mountains and an open feel, one resident described. “(North Whisman is) kind of like a little oasis beneath the clouds of Silicon Valley,” said neighborhood resident Lisa Matichak. Matichak moved into her home in 2007 and is currently vice president, after being president, of the Wagon Wheel Neighborhood Association. “The (Wagon Wheel) Neighborhood Association has been instrumental in pulling the neighborhood together,” she said. Matichak described her neighbors as people who care about the neighborhood and watch out for each other. “There are such wonderful people living here,” she said. “It’s like an extended family.” Even by driving down the street, it is clear that neighbors stop to say hello and catch up with each other. Jessica Gandhi, the North Whisman Neighborhood Association president, said it is a very tight-knit area. Gandhi has lived in her home for 14

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years since 1999 with her husband and two children. “It’s kind of like an old-fashioned neighborhood where you kind of knew everybody,” Gandhi said. The busy neighborhood is outlined with charming homes and active neighbors walking their dogs or taking a leisurely stroll. And, the two neighborhood associations share information with one another and invite one another to their events, according to Gandhi. Matichak has been able to meet more of her neighbors through the events the Wagon Wheel association has held, ranging from icecream socials to classes on composting and landscaping with drought-tolerant plants. The Wagon Wheel Neighborhood Association just won the Building Resourceful Inspirational Creative Community (BRICC) award by the United Neighborhoods of Santa Clara County, according to Matichak and Kelley Ketchmark, the Wagon Wheel president. “I think we’re a real gem of a neighborhood,” Ketchmark said.

— Ashley Finden

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Slater

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esidents of the Slater neighborhood voted last year to name their home after an old school nearby. Wagon Wheel is taken by another neighborhood, or they might have chosen that. “Most duplexes in this neighborhood have brick facades and were built around 1955 with that western motif — wagon wheels stuck in the bricks,” said Robert Rich, a recording artist who has lived in the neighborhood with his wife since 1989. Diverse housing options offer residents access to commuting arteries and downtown Mountain View lifestyle at much less cost, Rich said. His house is an old farmhouse in the California Bungalow style. “We were a young couple and we could afford it,” he said. At first, they rented out the separate cottage dwelling for some extra income. “You see a lot of that sort of creative financing around here.” Slater isn’t exactly new to the Mountain View scene, apart from its name and a fledgling neighborhood association. “I wasn’t aware of any kind of change in the way the neighborhood was referred to,”

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: German International School of Silicon Valley, 310 Easy St.; Kiddie Academy, 205 E. Middlefield Road; NASA Ames Child Care Center, Moffett Field FIRE STATION: No. 4, 229 N. Whisman Road LOCATION: bounded by Walker Drive, Leong Drive, Evandale Avenue, Easy Street; Wagon Wheel: East Middlefield Road, Tyrella Avenue, Fairchild Drive, North Whisman Road NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: North Whisman Neighborhood Association, Jessica Gandhi, 650-969-2429, jessicasgandhi@yahoo. com; Wagon Wheel Neighborhood Association, Kelley Ketchmark, kelleyketchmark@gmail.com or board@wagonwheelna.org PRIVATE SCHOOLS: German International School of Silicon Valley, 310 Easy St. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District — Huff, Landels or Monta Loma elementary schools, Crittenden Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Mountain View High School MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $762,500 ($335,199-$1,060,000) HOMES SOLD: 8 MEDIAN 2012 CONDO PRICE: $505,000 ($253,000-$799,000) CONDOS SOLD: 26

said Todd Markelz, a manager at Google who has lived in the area for five years and last fall purchased a townhome on Gladys Avenue with his wife and two sons. For Markelz, Creekside Park remains the social center for the neighborhood, no matter its name. “We see a lot of families there with kids the same ages as ours,” he said. “There’s always a lot going on,” Rich agreed. Other social hubs of the neighborhood include Clocktower Coffee and Roger’s Deli, residents said. Markelz said the neighborhood can be a little slower compared to other parts of Mountain View. “I don’t feel like there are a lot of events in Slater, but Mountain View as a whole has a lot of events we take advantage of, primarily in the downtown area,” he said. Downtown is easily accessed via the Stevens Creek trail. “That was the big crack in the eggshell to make this neighborhood part of this town. It’s the lifeblood of the neighborhood,” Rich said.

— Emma Trotter

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: German International School of Silicon Valley, 310 Easy St.; Kiddie Academy, 205 E. Middlefield Road; NASA Ames Child Care Center, Moffett Field;Google Daycare FIRE STATION: No. 4, 229 N. Whisman Road LOCATION: bounded by Hwy. 85, Easy Street, Central Expressway, North Whisman Road, East Middlefield Road NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Greg Coladonato, gcoladon@gmail.com PARKS: Whisman Park, Easy Street and Middlefield Road; Devonshire Park, 62 Devonshire Ave.; Creekside Park, 200 Easy St. POST OFFICE: Mountain View, 211 Hope St. PRIVATE SCHOOLS: German International School of Silicon Valley, 310 Easy St. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District — Huff, Landels or Monta Loma elementary schools, Crittenden Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Mountain View High School SHOPPING: strip mall on Leong Drive; retail centers on Middlefield Road and Whisman Road; downtown MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $579,000 ($410,000-$748,000) HOMES SOLD: 2 MEDIAN 2012 CONDO PRICE: $535,000 ($211,000-$725,000) CONDOS SOLD: 23

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Blossom Valley

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nce a field of orchards, Blossom Valley is now filled with houses, many with young children. Families stroll with their pets and zoom by on bicycles along the wide intertwining streets and cul-de-sacs lined with ranchstyle houses. Most homes stayed true to the original single-story 1950s design but some have been updated or enlarged with an added floor. The child-friendly neighborhood attracted Jimmy Dworkin who moved into Blossom Valley 11 years ago with his wife. “My wife was pregnant at the time. I knew the area had a lot of young kids and thought it would be great for our kids growing up,” he said. Now with elementary-age children, Dworkin is very impressed with the schools in the area. Springer Elementary school is close to the Dworkins’ house and has a great special-needs program to accommodate his son. “Love the schools,” he said. The amenities in the area also attracted Dworkin. He appreciates being able to walk to Blossom Plaza, with its stores, eateries

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and various services. The short distance to the foothills was also desirable since Dworkin enjoys running. Sinead Toolis and her family moved to Blossom Valley in 1990 and have lived there since. According to Toolis, her family sought a quiet neighborhood close to work, and like the Dworkins, a neighborhood fit for raising children. Now in her 20s, Toolis says the neighborhood does not offer much for 20-something-year-olds but there are many options in nearby downtown Mountain View. Toolis said she has seen more young couples with families. Among them are Andrew and Lisa Pattison who live in the latest housing community, the Satake Estates. The Pattisons have lived in Blossom Valley for a year and a half and were initially attracted to the new homes. “I love that these homes are on cul-de-sacs. It’s perfect for our kids to play,” Lisa said. “I like knowing my neighbors. Everyone waves as they pass by,” Toolis said.

— Monica Guzman

Cuesta Park

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ith its eclectic mix of old-style cottages, apartment complexes and new single-family homes, the Cuesta Park neighborhood feels like a 1950sera suburb. And, the people of Cuesta Park exemplify the traditions of the era it resembles. Genuine kindness and respect for each other and their neighbors is an everyday occurrence. In 2001 Sarah Donahue discovered Cuesta Park in her search to find a neighborhood that provided good schools and pleasant people. “I’ve found that in spades,” Donahue said. “I was thrilled to rediscover that there were people who know their neighbors, and they talk to each other.” Frankie Borison, resident of Cuesta Park since 1989, echoes Donahue’s sentiments. “It’s our own little oasis.” A key component to the sense of community that resounds in the Cuesta Park neighborhood is the Cuesta Park Neighborhood Association or CPNA. Kim Merry, a resident since 1960 and previous neighborhood association president, credits the creation of the CPNA to the

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (nearby): Children’s House of Los Altos, 770 Berry Ave.; Little Acorn School, 1667 Miramonte Ave.; St. Timothy’s Nursery School, 2094 Grant Road FIRE STATION: No. 2, 160 Cuesta Drive LOCATION: between Springer road and Miramonte Avenue, Marilyn and Lincoln drives. NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATIONS: Eastern Varsity Park Neighborhood Association, Lianne Mintz, coordinator, lmintz3@yahoo.com; Orchard Trees/South Fordham Neighborhood Group, Kirsten Frietzsche, coordinator, kirsten.frietzsche@hp.com; Springer Meadow Neighborhood Association, Francis Mueller, coordinator, fwmfwm@gmail.com POST OFFICE: Blossom Valley, 1768 Miramonte Ave. PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): St. Joseph Catholic School, 1120 Miramonte Ave.; St. Francis High School, 1855 Miramonte Ave. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: (Eligibility for school districts depends on resident’s address) Los Altos School District —Springer Elementary School, Blach Intermediate School; Mtn. View-Whistman School District — Bubb Elementary School, Graham Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Los Altos or Mountain View high schools MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $1,480,000 ($950,000-$1,990,000) HOMES SOLD: 29

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neighborhood’s struggle to keep the Cuesta Park Annex, an additional 12 acres of underdeveloped land, in its natural state. Neighborhood gatherings abound in this Mountain View locality, and many of them take place in the sprawling 25-acre park bearing the neighborhood’s name, Cuesta Park. The park plays host to summer concerts, fall picnics, wildflower planting, and every May it’s the location of the Mountain View chapter of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Oren Shachal, a Cuesta Park resident since 2004, has participated in the Relay for Life event for the past few years, and plans to take part again. “It was a great experience,” he said, “an experience I wasn’t expecting, very emotional.” “Cuesta Park is such an amazing neighborhood. We have been living in our starter home for 40 years — we just keep remodeling because we can’t imagine leaving this community,” said Pam Lehner, a resident since 1972.

— Kimberly Ewertz

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Little Acorn Preschool, 1667 Miramonte Ave.; St. Timothy’s Preschool, 2094 Grant Road; YMCA Kids Place, 525 Hans Ave. LOCATION: bounded by El Camino Real, Grant Road, Cuesta Drive, Miramonte Avenue, Castro Street EM 10/24 NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Cuesta Park Neighborhood Association (CPNA), Kevin McBride, president, kevin.mcbride@pacbell.net PARKS: Bubb Park, Barbara Avenue and Montalto Drive; Cuesta Park, 615 Cuesta Drive PRIVATE SCHOOLS: St. Joseph, 1120 Miramonte Ave.; St. Francis High School, 1885 Miramonte Ave. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District — Bubb Elementary School, Graham Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Mountain View High School SHOPPING: Grant Park Plaza, Grant Road at El Camino Real; Blossom Valley Shopping Center, Miramonte Avenue at Cuesta Drive; Downtown Mountain View MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $1,127,500 ($872,000-$1,370,000) HOMES SOLD: 30 MEDIAN 2012 CONDO PRICE: $900,000 ($502,000-$980,000) CONDOS SOLD: 9

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Old Mountain View

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riginally incorporated in 1902, Mountain View has undergone rapid development in recent years due to lowered construction costs and the influence of Google moving in, said Robert Cox, vice chair of the Old Mountain View Neighborhood Association. Much of the development has been along Castro Street, the main street of downtown Old Mountain View, he said. “We broke a landmark recently; we now have over 100 restaurants,” said Cox, a resident of Old Mountain View since 2009. The growth can sometimes lead to controversy, though, he said. In 2009, Prometheus — a real estate construction company — attempted to build roughly 200 units in an area that was previously zoned for only 100 units. Upset by the efforts of Prometheus, concerned residents turned to the Old Mountain View Neighborhood Association to have their voices heard. “We had five times more people than at a regular meeting,” Cox said about the election that took place that year. In one night, new members won seven of the eight available

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seats on the association board. “I hope it doesn’t lose its soul,” Cox said, commenting on recent growth. Historic houses mix with new units, and many of the streets preserve the original trees. Cox said the neighborhood has a commitment to the environment. “People have a strong commitment to preserving our heritage trees. They aren’t so quick to chop them down.” Like other neighborhoods, Old Mountain View has an online mailing list in which neighbors can communicate. Two current Mountain View council members live in Old Mountain View and participate in the discussion, raising political awareness throughout, Cox said. Mary Heeney has been in and out of Old Mountain View since 1992. She said she likes how close everyone is because it’s good for her children. Now teenagers, she trusts the neighbors in her area to also contribute to their upbringing. “I feel absolutely comfortable when they go to downtown Mountain View, it’s a great feeling,” she said.

— David Ruiz

Shoreline West

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s the former home of the Pacific Press Publishing Company and the future partial site of Google, Shoreline West has a history and character as eclectic as its architecture. The neighborhood originally broke off from Old Mountain View in 1994 in an effort to preserve the home of the city’s first mayor. Today, the heavily populated area is considering tightening its boundaries even further in an effort to build close community amongst its ethnically and economically diverse populace. The neighborhood’s quiet, tree-lined streets lead to small shops and markets and sit in close proximity to downtown. Residents vary in age, from longtime empty-nesters to young couples. Architectural styles range from original craftsman and Victorian single-family homes to duplexes to apartments. Julie Stanford, who’s lived there since 2002, loves how the neighborhood “doesn’t have a specific look. Every house looks completely different.” As newlyweds, Stanford and her husband were first attracted to Shoreline West for its

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: YMCA Kids’ Place at Landels School, 115 W. Dana St. FIRE STATION: No. 1, 251 S. Shoreline Blvd. LOCATION: bounded by El Camino Real, Shoreline Boulevard, Evelyn Avenue and Highways 87/237 NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Old Mountain View Neighborhood Association, David Lewis, chair@omvna.org; omvna.org PARKS: Dana Park, West Dana Street at Oak Street; Eagle Park & Pool, S. Shoreline Boulevard at Church Street; Pioneer Park, Church and Castro streets; Mercy-Bush Park, Mercy and Bush streets; Fairmont Park, Fairmont Avenue and Bush Street; Landels Park, West Dana Street near Calderon Avenue POST OFFICE: Mountain View, 211 Hope St. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District — Landels Elementary School, Graham Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Mountain View High School SHOPPING: Downtown Mountain View, Grant Park Plaza MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $1,032,000 ($690,000-$1,495,000) HOMES SOLD: 38 MEDIAN 2012 CONDO PRICE: $750,500 ($489,000-$1,015,000) CONDOS SOLD: 14

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location near downtown and its friendliness to growing families like their own. Today, the couple enjoys visiting with their neighbors for casual dinner gatherings throughout the year, along with hosting occasional “happy hours” in their own yard. Neighborhood volunteers also organize community potlucks every winter. The area has become even more communal as years have passed, Stanford said. “I can walk through the neighborhood and know who lives in every house,” she said. “We know everybody on our street.” Block parties of varying sizes occur throughout the year. In 2011, the Shoreline West Association of Neighbors hosted its first all-neighborhood block party, which boasted a record attendance of more than 300 people. Neighborhood association president Deniece Watkins Smith called the event “very successful,” adding, “The next day, when we all ran into each other, we all knew each other.” “Everybody that comes to the neighborhood is like, ‘I wish every neighborhood could be like this,’” Watkins Smith said.

— Casey Moore

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Castro Preschool, 505 Escuela Ave.; Childrens Learning Cottage, 675 Escuela Ave.; Wonder World, 2015 Latham St. (nearby) FIRE STATION: No. 1, 251 S. Shoreline Blvd. LOCATION: bounded by Shoreline Boulevard, El Camino Real, Escuela Avenue and Villa Street NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Shoreline West Association of Neighbors (SWAN), Deniece Watkins, dsoldit@gmail.com PARKS: Castro School Park, Toft Avenue and Latham Street; Mariposa Park, 301 Mariposa Ave.; Eagle Park and Pool, S. Shoreline Boulevard at Church Street POST OFFICE: Mountain View, 211 Hope St. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District — Castro Elementary School, Graham Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Los Altos High School SHOPPING: Downtown Mountain View; California Street Market, 1595 California St.; Escuela Avenue at El Camino Real MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $920,000 ($399,000-$1,405,000) HOMES SOLD: 28 MEDIAN 2012 CONDO PRICE: $339,000 ($200,000-$615,000) CONDOS SOLD: 17

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Martens-Carmelita

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hough it’s just a few blocks off El Camino Real, Martens-Carmelita neighborhood has a rustic, rural feel that sets it apart from other areas in Mountain View. The atmosphere is reminiscent of the 1950s, when many of the homes were built. Countless varieties of trees and shrubberies line the streets, which don’t have sidewalks. And every few houses, there’s a cluster of brightly painted mailboxes. This touch only increases the warm neighborly feel, according to Shirley Luna, who lives on Carmelita Drive with her husband. “You really know your neighbors who are in that little group,” she said. That’s not to say nothing’s changed in 60 years. Since Luna moved to the neighborhood in 1989, there’s always been one rebuilding project or another. Families today tend to add on behind their houses, cutting into the long backyard areas. But the country feel remains, in Luna’s opinion. “It hasn’t changed a lot,” she said. “It’s still a very nice neighborhood.” Couples with young children have been another constant. As Luna’s kids — at one

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point there were five in the house — grew up, young couples with new babies moved in. “You don’t realize how many kids are in the neighborhood,” Luna said. “Then all of a sudden they go running for the ice cream truck.” Just down the street, Luna’s neighbor Lisa Clifford is one of those young moms. She has three children age 8 and under. “We wanted a home in this same place but with a larger back lot,” she said. The family has renovated most of the house, including landscaping the backyard so the kids have more room to play. Clifford is originally from Ireland, and many of her neighbors also represent diverse countries and cultures, including Vietnamese, Filipino and Indian families. “It’s very Californian,” Clifford said, “with the melting pot.” Luna likes the neighborhood because it’s within walking distance of her church, the library, shopping and the school her kids attended. “If I don’t want to use my car, I don’t have to for those errands,” she said. — Emma Trotter

Waverly Park

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averly Park can be summed up by one event, according to Vickie Chegwidden, resident since 2009 with her husband, Scott. “The Fourth of July celebration epitomizes the neighborhood,” she said. “Everyone rolls their barbecues out into the court.” This social aspect is part of what drew the couple to the neighborhood with their two children, Alice and Joseph. “They’re just down-to-earth, loveable people,” Chegwidden said. “It’s very much what we need for a family.” The neighborhood used to be an orchard owned by Joel Levin in the mid-1800s. Development began in the 1960s. Today, the last parcel of land — formerly a pumpkin patch — is the site of the new Enclave houses. The development was not without controversy, much of it surrounding traffic, which was already known to be a hassle. “Until you actually live in the neighborhood you don’t realize how bad the traffic is,” Chegwidden said. Still, both she and her husband have reasonable

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Baby World, 1715 Grant Road; Montecito Preschool, 1468 Grant Road; St. Timothy’s Preschool, 2094 Grant Road; YMCA — Huff Kids’ Place, 253 Martens Ave. FIRE STATION: No. 2, 160 Cuesta Drive LOCATION: Martens Avenue and Carmelita Drive and nearby streets NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: MartensCarmelita Neighborhood Association, Robin Iwai, 650-961-8257, robin.iwai@yahoo.com PARKS: Huff Park, Martens Avenue POST OFFICE: Blossom Valley, 1768 Miramonte Ave. PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): St. Simon Catholic School, 1840 Grant Road, Los Altos PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District — Huff Elementary School, Graham Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Mountain View High School SHOPPING: Grant Park Plaza, Grant Road at El Camino Real; Mountain View Shopping Center, El Camino at Grant Road MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $1,100,000 ($931,000-$1,493,000) HOMES SOLD: 11

FACTS

commutes — that was one reason they chose the neighborhood, which has quick access to highways 85, 101, 237 and 280. Todd Fernandez has lived in the neighborhood with his wife, Catherine Moore, since 2003, the year their older child was born. “We were ready for a little more space,” he said. When possible, Fernandez and his family beat the traffic by biking with their daughter to school or to the nearby Safeway. “Waverly Park appealed to us with its rich open space resources,” he said. “Stevens Creek Trail reaching the neighborhood a few years ago has been a fantastic addition and provides another great connection to the rest of the city that doesn’t require a car.” Much of the neighborhood socialization, for Fernandez, takes place out and about. “It’s fun to walk around the neighborhood and meet up with (my daughter’s) friends from school, kids I’ve coached,” he said. “It’s a nice mixture of longtime and newer residents.”

— Emma Trotter

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: El Camino YMCA, 2400 Grant Road; Mountain View Parent Nursery School, 1299 Bryant Ave.; Primary Plus, 333 Eunice Ave.; St. Timothy’s Nursery School, 2094 Grant Road; YMCA Way to Grow FullDay Preschool, 1501 Oak Ave., Los Altos (nearby) FIRE STATION: No. 2, 160 Cuesta Drive LOCATION: bounded by Grant Road, Highway 85 and Sleeper and Bryant avenues PARKS: Cooper Park, Chesley Avenue at Yorkton Drive, Cuesta Park POST OFFICE: Blossom Valley, 1768 Miramonte Ave. PRIVATE SCHOOLS: St. Joseph, 1120 Miramonte Ave.; St. Francis High School, 1885 Miramonte Ave. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District — Huff Elementary School, Graham Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Mountain View High School SHOPPING: Blossom Valley Shopping Center, Miramonte Avenue at Cuesta Drive; Grant Park Plaza; Nob Hill Shopping Center, Grant Road; Downtown Mountain View MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $1,463,500 ($955,000-$2,342,595) HOMES SOLD: 50

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n outsider wouldn’t know the neighborhood was so conveniently located and social from wandering down the peaceful streets of Sylvan Park. Located nearby 280, 101 and 85 freeways, as well as shopping centers, the winding side streets off of Sylvan Avenue boast oneand two-story homes, two well-kept senior mobile-home parks and a few apartment complexes, all centered on a spacious park. “There is an outback feel, but a connection to where you need to go quickly,” said Linda Holroyd, who moved to the neighborhood in 1999. “(The neighborhood has) unique homes with high ceilings, a rustic, homey feel and also an Eichler feel” with big windows and lighting,” she said. Neighborhood traditions include an annual Fourth of July parade in the park and a potluck every six weeks, which a different neighbor hosts each time. Neighbors meet at one house and serenade each other with carols at a Christmas-caroling event every December. “We’re pretty active in maintaining the

quality of life in the neighborhood,” she said. The neighborhood uses both traditional ways of bonding and technology to get together. They use Yahoo! groups to exchange events and security information. “I wanted to be in a neighborhood that wasn’t commercial,” said Marty Brewer, who has lived in Sunset Estates senior mobile-home park since 1996. “Driving down Sylvan Avenue, I would not have known there was even a mobile-home park there.” Brewer said Sunset Estates is very convenient, with freeways and shopping close by. “It’s a small park with only 144 spaces and people are really friendly,” she said. The park has many groups that meet; multiple card games, a book club, crafts and knitting, which knits caps for newborns at El Camino Hospital, she said. The other Sylvan Park senior mobile-home park, New Frontier, is located right next to Sunset Estates.

— Sally Schilling

Cuernavaca

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tep inside Cuernavaca’s main gate and the first thing you’ll see is the planned community’s clubhouse, which includes tennis courts, a pool, a workout room and a “tot lot” for the neighborhood’s children. For many residents, this is paradise. “It’s like a resort,” said Steve Cowan, who lives on Elena Privada with his wife Suzanne. The clubhouse, a social hub for the neighborhood, is the site of about three or four all-neighborhood parties a year. “You get to meet a lot of people that way,” Cowan said. Cowan moved to Cuernavaca in 1994 with his first wife and her two kids. One draw for Cowan was the architecture — Spanish style with a signature color that can be hard to pin down. “It’s a very light beige with a pink overtone,” he said. “Depending on how the sun catches it, it can either look yellow or pink.” Cowan was also attracted by

FACTS CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Western Montessori Day School, 323 Moorpark Way; YMCA — Slater, 325 Gladys Ave. FIRE STATION: No. 4, 229 N. Whisman Road LOCATION: bounded by West El Camino Real, Highway 85, Highway 237 and the Sunnyvale border PARKS: Sylvan Park, Sylvan Avenue and DeVoto Street POST OFFICE: Mountain View, 211 Hope St. PRIVATE SCHOOLS: St. Stephen Lutheran School, 320 Moorpark Way PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District — Landels Elementary School, Graham Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Mountain View High School SHOPPING: Americana Shopping Center — Lucky Stores MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $1,250,000 ($750,000-$1,655,000) HOMES SOLD: 9 MEDIAN 2012 CONDO PRICE: $727,886 ($662,800-$872,000) CONDOS SOLD: 16

FACTS

Cuernavaca’s centrality to Silicon Valley and the rest of the Peninsula. When Dee West was offered a job at Stanford University in 2004, he and his wife were already living in a planned community in Walnut Creek. “Our Realtor told us of an isolated place, a little oasis in the middle of Mountain View. It was very attractive to us,” West said. West not only found the people friendly, but the board supportive. He’s served on that board for the last three years and is currently vice president. There is no typical resident of Cuernavaca, both neighbors said. Cowan estimated that more than 20 languages are spoken at home in the 170-unit neighborhood. West noted that “being in Silicon Valley, we have more Asian families moving in, many quite young.” And that diversity gets celebrated at least four times a year, with themed dinners with ethnic foods.

— Emma Trotter and Carol Blitzer

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (nearby): Western Montessori Day School, 323 Moorpark Way; St. Timothy’s Nursery School, 2094 Grant Road; YMCA — Huff Kids’ Place, 253 Martens Ave. FIRE STATION: No. 2, 160 Cuesta Drive LOCATION: off Crestview Drive, near El Camino Real and the Sunnyvale border NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Matthew Duncan, president, Cuernavaca Homeowners Association; CMS property management, 408-559-1977; www.cuernavacahoa.com board@cuernavacahoa.com PARKS: Green belt on the property POST OFFICE: Blossom Valley, 1768 Miramonte Ave. PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): St. Stephen Lutheran School, 320 Moorpark Way PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District — Huff Elementary School, Graham Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Mountain View High School SHOPPING: Americana Shopping Center — Lucky Stores MEDIAN 2012 CONDO PRICE: $1,057,500 ($888,000-$1,280,000) CONDOS SOLD: 6

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View and Los Altos Hills. Highways have replaced local railroad service, with easy access via Highway 85 and Interstate 280 to nearby metro centers. Known for its excellent schools and neighborhoods replete with mature trees, Los Altos supports seven commercial areas serving its close to 30,000 residents. And for those still yearning for apricot orchards, a weekly farmers market offers a chance for neighbors to interact while shopping for local produce and flowers.

FACTS 2012-13 CITY OPERATING BUDGET: $29.9 million revenues; $29.8 million expenditures POPULATION (2010): 28,409 HOUSEHOLDS (2010): 10,701 OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSING (2010): 9,152 RENTER-OCCUPIED HOUSING (2010) 1,549 MEDIAN HOME-SELLING PRICE: $1,827,000 (single-family homes, December 2011 through November 2012) $877,500 (condominiums, December 2011 through November 2012) ESTIMATED MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2010): $149,964

Neighborhoods

hat once was a brief stop on the Southern Pacific Railroad evolved after World War II to a tree-lined city providing a quiet housing enclave for Silicon Valley. Since incorporation in 1952, Los Altos has grown to a community of mostly single-family homes, rather than apricot and plum orchards, a winery and ranch land. Today, Los Altos encompasses seven square miles, stretching from Palo Alto to Sunnyvale and Cupertino, sandwiched between Mountain

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go in the backyard, you asked permission, but everyone was free to play in the front yard,” Talbot said. Even though many of the children are now grown, the neighborhood remains a tight-knit community with three particularly strong traditions. Every Labor Day, neighbors block off the street and have a massive Labor Day party with food and activities that all the children and parents attend. The adults do a progressive dinner every year where they move from one house to the next eating food and enjoying each other’s company. The best part, Talbot claims, comes at the end of the evening when “we have the most cut-throat game of males versus females Pictionary you have ever seen.” The neighborhood still keeps track of who wins every year. The “Ladies of Middlebury,”as they call themselves, also have dinner once a month. Around the cornerlives the Mickos family. Originally from Finland, Anikka Mickos, her husband and three children moved to Los Altos Hills in 2003 and then settled on University Avenue in 2008. Before they left Europe, Mickos researched where the best schools were in the Bay Area and chose the Los Altos School district, which she is very happy with. She loves the community and the dogs that play across the street on the grassy expanse of Lincoln Park. Her daughter can walk or bike to school and

her friends’ houses. “This is a wonderful neighborhood. ... We have the best neighbors you could ask for,” Mickos said. She too participates in the Labor Day festivities and progressive dinner on Middlebury lane. Every Halloween, University Avenue and neighboring Orange Avenue are very popular locations for trickor-treating. Mickos gets more than 100 trickor-treaters every year. “I couldn’t imagine myself living anywhere else,” Mickos said. — Lisa Kellman

Michelle Le

Neighborhoods

ust Across the street from Downtown Los Altos and behind Foothill Expressway lies Old Los Altos. Shoup Park and Redwood Grove, a nature preserve, blend seamlessly into the landscape on University Avenue where children and nature lovers alike enjoy the ambiance. “It is a small community that has a really strong community feeling within the big Silicon Valley, San Francisco madness,” resident Christine Talbot said. After growing up in Los Altos Hills where it took 45 minutes to walk to town, Talbot wanted better for her kids. “One of my priorities was I could walk into town, my kids could walk into town. They could walk to their friends’ houses. They could walk to school. They could walk to the library,” she said. Talbot found this ideal location in Old Los Altos on a cul-de-sac called Middlebury Lane. The cul-de-sac is located right off University Avenue, the longest street in Old Los Altos, and was developed in the 1970s. Talbot, a retired high school teacher and now business owner in downtown Los Altos, has lived in this neighborhood for the past 22 years with her husband and two children. Just after her daughter was born in 1989, there were 27 children in the 15 houses that make up this neighborhood. The parents carpooled to school and the kids all played together. “Everybody’s policy was if you wanted to

FACTS FIRE STATION: No. 15, 10 Almond Ave. LIBRARY: Los Altos, 13 S. San Antonio Road LOCATION: between El Monte and Edith avenues, Foothill Expressway and Los Altos Hills border PARKS: Village Park, Edith Avenue at San Antonio Road; Shoup Park, 400 University Ave.; Lincoln Park, University at Lincoln Avenue; Redwood Grove Nature Preserve, 482 University Ave. POST OFFICE: Main, 100 First St. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Los Altos School District — Covington Elementary School, Egan Intermediate School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Los Altos High School; Bullis Charter School SHOPPING: The Village (the triangle bordered by Edith, San Antonio and Foothill) MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $1,950,000 ($1,350,000-$4,900,000) HOMES SOLD: 19

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Neighborhoods

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“We had an absolutely fantastic experience at the public schools,” Strichartz said. “I feel the kids were really enriched by going to high school that was really diverse ... and has such great opportunities.” Ginny Strock has lived in Los Altos for twice as many years as Strichartz. Even though she worked in the Palo Alto Unified School District, Strock moved to North Los Altos for the same reasons as Strichartz. “We heard the schools were really good and also it was very close proximity to downtown,” Strock said. Strock moved with her husband and children to the quiet neighborhood on Frances Drive in 1978. She liked that her children could walk to school and be close to the Hillview Community Center, and her husband enjoyed being near his work in Silicon Valley. Every Fourth of July when her children were growing up, the neighborhood threw a block party with square dancing and a big barbecue. Strock’s children are now grown and all but two of her original neighbors have moved. The neighborhood is now filled with young families and very young children. “We were the youngest people when we moved in and now we are the oldest people,” she said. While the neighbors have changed, families still organize a block party at least once a year. “We love having young families in our

neighborhood as it keeps us all young. ...We continue to love our proximity to town, and our house, which always seemed small, is now just right,” Strock said. — Lisa Kellman

Michelle Le

Neighborhoods

hey say real estate is all about location, location, location, and residents in North Los Altos believe they have found their haven. Within this area, bordered by North El Monte Avenue, El Camino Real and Foothill Expressway, people can find a large library, community center, a performing arts center for children, a downtown filled with restaurants and shops, great public schools, and more. Almost everyone in the area lives within easy walking distance of these attractions. Deb Stricharz and her husband grew up in Southern California and moved to Los Altos after her husband finished his medical training at UCLA and landed a job at El Camino Hospital. She chose Los Altos because of its proximity to her husband’s job in Mountain View and her job as a children’s transplant nurse at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto. Even after leaving Los Altos for Kentucky, Strichartz knew she would return. “We took a detour. This is where we felt at home. When we moved back, there was no question that we would live anywhere else,” she said. Strichartz moved back to Los Altos in 1996 after two years in Kentucky. She chose Sioux Lane because it was a cul-de-sac, close to downtown, and because she “wanted to walk to Peet’s Coffee in the mornings.” She also picked North Los Altos because of the schools her two daughters would be attending.

FACTS CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Children’s Corner, 97 Hillview Ave.; Children’s Creative Learning Center, 700 Los Altos Ave.; Los Altos Parents Preschool, 201 Covington Road (nearby); Tiny Tots Preschool, 647 S. San Antonio Road FIRE STATION: No. 15, 10 Almond Ave. LIBRARY: 13 S. San Antonio Road LOCATION: bounded by Foothill Expressway, El Monte Road, El Camino Real and Adobe Creek PARKS: Village Park, Edith Avenue at San Antonio Road; Shoup Park, 400 University Ave.; Lincoln Park, University at Lincoln Avenue POST OFFICE: 221 Main St. PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): Los Altos Christian School, 625 Magdalena Ave.; Canterbury Christian School, 101 N. El Monte Ave. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Los Altos School District — Santa Rita or Almond elementary schools, Egan Intermediate School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Los Altos High School SHOPPING: Downtown Los Altos, Los Altos Village Court and San Antonio Center MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $1,900,000 ($750,000-$4,500,000) HOMES SOLD: 107 MEDIAN 2012 CONDO PRICE: $811,250 ($340,000-$1,275,000) CONDOS SOLD: 34

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hen Bob Grimm moved to the Rancho neighborhood of Los Altos in 1962, he found a safe, inviting community. Since then, he said, it really hasn’t changed all that much. “It’s been a friendly neighborhood all these years,” Grimm said. “My kids grew up here and there are new families with kids the same age as mine when they lived here. The cycle keeps on repeating.” Rancho fits that throwback description, its broad residential streets framed by a creek on Springer Road and anchored by the Rancho Shopping Center. On the corner where Springer meets Covington, a wooden sign with yellow, painted letters reads “Welcome to Rancho, Los Altos.” The shopping center has been around since the early 1950s when Christian Wilder developed the area. It still serves as the neighborhood hub with bakeries, grocery stores and the very popular Brian’s Restaurant often full of local patrons. The shopping center has made room for some changes while protecting its classic look and feel. It now has a Starbucks, but its

FACTS signage conforms to the faded-wood style that all of the other businesses have, so that “one doesn’t outdo the other,” Grimm said. “It’s a nice style of construction, the same as it was built many years ago,” he said. The shopping center has also started hosting a farmers market on Saturday mornings in front of the Andronico’s market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Melanie Hoffman is a big supporter, she said, partly because it features many of the same local vendors featured in the downtown Los Altos farmers market that she’s been attending for years. After growing up in Los Altos herself, Hoffman moved to Rancho in 1992 when her daughter entered the second grade. She loves the community feel of Rancho, she said. It’s the type of place where neighbors know each other, said Eleanor Besson, who moved there in 1961. She meets her neighbors on Riverside Drive three or four times during the summer for gatherings, she said, and looks forward to the annual community picnic on Labor Day. “It’s a fine neighborhood and we have fine people who live here,” Grimm said.

— Cyrus Hedayati

Loyola Corners

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elcome to Loyola Corners” reads the painted brick sign in front of the Shell gas station on Fremont and Dolores avenues, greeting cars as they pull into town from Foothill Expressway. Like much of the downtown, it harkens back to a time before the expressway was even built, when Loyola Corners was a key train station down the Peninsula. “Back then, this was all summer homes for families who would come down from San Francisco,” said Norman Shapiro, who has lived in Loyola Corners for more than 40 years. The train station has always served as a hub for the community, he said. Framing the neighborhood from the south, a cluster of small shops and restaurants filling up with customers at lunchtime remains where the station used to be. The rest of the neighborhood is mostly residential, apart from a row of dental and medical practices along Altos Oaks Road. Below, the winding residential streets of Loyola Corners still resemble the country

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (nearby): Children’s Center of Los Altos, 770 Berry Ave.; Los Altos Christian Preschool, 625 Magdalena Ave.; Los Altos Parents Preschool, 201 Covington Road; Los Altos United Methodist Children’s Center, 655 Magdalena Ave. FIRE STATION: No. 16, 765 Fremont Ave. LIBRARY: Los Altos, 13 S. San Antonio Road LOCATION: bordered by Foothill Expressway, Parma Way, Riverside Drive and Springer Road PARKS: Rosita Park, 401 Rosita Ave.; McKenzie Park, 707 Fremont Ave. POST OFFICE: Loyola Corners, 1525 Miramonte Ave. PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): Pinewood School, 327 & 477 Fremont Ave.; Los Altos Christian School, 625 Magdalena Ave.; Canterbury Christian School, 101 N. El Monte Ave.; Saint Francis Catholic High School, 1885 Miramonte Ave., Mtn. View PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Los Altos School District — Loyola or Springer elementary schools, Blach Intermediate School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Los Altos or Mountain View High School SHOPPING: Rancho Shopping Center, Loyola Corners, Downtown Los Altos MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $1,850,000 ($1,820,000-$2,040,000) HOMES SOLD: 3

FACTS

roads that ran through its orchards. The streets bend under low-hanging trees and dead-end in various cul-de-sacs, so few cars pass through. That makes it great for people with kids, said Shapiro, because they can let them play outside safely. One of the most popular cul-de-sacs, he said, is at the end of Clinton Road and leads to the playgrounds and tennis courts of McKenzie Park. On the other side of Clinton lies Heritage Oaks Park, adding another large green space to the area. With Loyola Elementary and Saint Francis nearby, he said, it’s a neighborhood very friendly to families. That’s what attracted Shapiro to the neighborhood in the first place. In those days, he said, he and his wife were one of the youngest couples on the block. “Now we’ve got lots of couples that are about a generation ahead of me,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of young couples come in the last 10 to 12 years. And it’s become one of the more popular neighborhoods.”

— Cyrus Hedayati

FIRE STATION: No. 16, 765 Fremont Ave. LIBRARY: Los Altos, 13 S. San Antonio Road; Woodland, 1975 Grant Road LOCATION: a triangle roughly bounded by Fremont Avenue, Miramonte Avenue and Clinton Road PARKS: McKenzie Park, 707 Fremont Ave.; Heritage Oaks Park, Portland and Miramonte avenues POST OFFICE: Loyola Corners, 1525 Miramonte Ave. PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): Canterbury Christian School, 101 N. El Monte Ave.; Los Altos Christian School, 625 Magdalena Ave.; Pinewood School, 327 & 477 Fremont Ave.; Saint Francis High School, 1885 Miramonte Ave., Mtn. View PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Los Altos School District — Loyola Elementary School, Blach Intermediate School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Mountain View High School SHOPPING: Loyola Corners, Rancho Shopping Center MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $1,061,000; nearby: $1,798,000 ($1,575,000-$1,850,000) HOMES SOLD: 1; nearby: 3

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35

Central Los Altos

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traffic and genuine local value, “the neighborhood got together, hired a lawyer, and did their homework,” McCusker said. “They went to city hall many times and eventually the city backed down on the pool.” The playing fields, accomplished by the residents’ initiative, are greatly appreciated. “It’s full all the time. Sometimes it’s noisy but it’s activity, it’s wonderful. That’s what you need in a neighborhood,” she said. Many of the residents see the Los Altos School District as something to invest in rather than just benefit from. “The schools are suffering the same way all California schools are suffering. But there was a local foundation founded by the parents when the schools began to lose funding in a serious way. They help prop up some of the programs,” she added. Their own children now adults, the McCuskers enjoy watching the neighborhood kids’ evening walk home from school. Mary knows some of them especially well, as she offers to babysit for recent, young move-ins. Larger lot sizes was partly what attracted Noelle Eder when she and her family moved back to the Bay Area in 2010. “There’s more green space and room per property. My husband is a gardener, so a quarter acre allows him to wield his green thumb,” she said. Other reasons for the Eders — who had previously lived in Southern California and San Carlos — include the “absolutely fantastic” school system and friendly neighbors. The annual cookie exchange allows neighbors to exhibit and share their recipes for holiday sweets. The tradition was started by a neighbor of the Eders, and now reaches beyond the neighborhood around Covington Elementary School.

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (nearby): CCLC School Age at Covington Elementary, 201 Covington Road; Children’s House of Los Altos, 770 Berry Ave.; Los Altos Parents Preschool, 201 Covington Road; St. Simon’s Catholic Church Extended Day Care Center, 1840 Grant, Road; St. Timothy’s Nursery School, 2094 Grant Road; Little Acorn School, 1667 Miramonte Ave. FIRE STATION: No. 15, 10 Almond Ave.; Loyola station, No. 16, 765 Fremont Ave. LOCATION: between Foothill Expressway, El Monte and Springer, and Covington and Grant PARKS: Heritage Oaks Park, Portland at Miramonte Avenue; Marymeade Park, Fremont Avenue at Grant Road; McKenzie Park, 707 Fremont Ave.; Rosita Park, 401 Rosita Ave. POST OFFICE: Blossom Valley, 1768 Miramonte Ave. Mountain View; Rancho, 1150 Riverside Drive; Main, 100 First St. LIBRARY: Los Altos, 13 S. San Antonio Road; Woodland, 1975 Grant Road PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): Canterbury Christian School, 101 N. El Monte Ave.; Pinewood School, 327 and 477 Fremont Ave.; St. Simon Catholic School, 1840 Grant Road; St. Francis High School, 1855 Miramonte Ave. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Los Altos School District — Covington, Loyola, Oak or Springer elementary schools; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Los Altos or Mountain View high schools SHOPPING: Blossom Valley Shopping Center, Miramonte Avenue and Cuesta Drive; Downtown Los Altos; Rancho Shopping Center, Foothill Expressway and Springer Road MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $1,902,500 ($1,065,000-$3,745,000) HOMES SOLD: 84

“Sixty to 70 people bring a few dozen of their home recipes for holiday cookies. It’s a great way to get together with and meet people.”

— Pierre Bienaimé

Eric Lawson

Neighborhoods

ary McCusker chalks it up to chance that her neighborhood in Central Los Altos has “the best mailman in the world. His name is Ray Rios. Everybody knows him, and he knows the name of everybody here. He’s like what the neighborhood cops used to be, a hundred years ago,” she said. The neighborhood is made up of two triangles bordering at Springer Road and lodged between North and South Los Altos. All three of these areas run along Foothill Expressway and spread north of it. Mary and her husband moved from Connecticut to her ranch-style home in 1974. Adjusting wasn’t easy, but the friendly spirit now embodied by Rios — and by many of the interactions among neighbors — helped their new home feel like one. “The neighborhoods are what you make of them. If you have two or three outgoing people on the street, everybody’s going to know everybody, because they are the pollinators,” McCusker said. “It depends on the street you’re on, but there’s a lot of interaction.” A woman across the street walks her elderly neighbor’s dogs daily, and every Fourth of July one of the nearby families hosts a summer picnic with hired musicians. The McCuskers picked their neighborhood largely for the reputed school district to which it belonged. Beyond their backyard fence stand playing fields adjoined to Covington Elementary School. That land lay fallow just five years ago, as the city of Los Altos entertained a few possible uses for it. They eventually decided on the construction of three Olympic pools, complete with bleachers and lighting. Over well-researched concerns about

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37

South Los Altos

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resources, such as where to find a good plumber. According to Vecchiet the book club has helped create a friendly environment in their neighborhood. “I think everyone likes being able to drive down the street and wave to their neighbors, knowing who they are,” she said. Although South Los Altos is not often the center of community events, it is a central location with access to many larger communities and activities.

— Kelly Jones

Veronica Weber

38

South Los Altos for more than 35 years, and raised their family there. Although she appreciates the quiet neighborhood, she “felt separated” when it came to her kids attending local schools. Due to school zoning their own children attended school in the Cupertino school district, which they felt distanced them from being more involved. Although they felt Homestead High School was a good school, they did not feel close enough to it. In some ways the city has improved the neighborhood, according to the Van Burens. Added in 1975, the Woodland Library is an extension of the Los Altos Main Library, and is conveniently located on Grant Road for the readers of South Los Altos. The Van Burens also appreciate having grocery stores nearby, such as the Lucky Supermarket on Grant Road and the Trader Joe’s found on Homestead Road. The South Los Altos area does not hold any large events, but neighbors find other ways to get to know one another. When Jean Vecchiet and her husband moved into their neighborhood in 1996 they knew no one. But, they wanted to raise their children in a place where neighbors knew each other and looked out for one another. “It was my husband’s idea to go around to the neighbors and start a woman’s book club,” Vecchiet said. Creating a flyer, Vecchiet introduced herself to her neighbors, to great success. After nine years the book club is still going, with about 15 active members meeting each month. The group chooses a book to read every other month, but still meets each month just to play board games or swap stories. “It’s more of a social group than a real book club,” Vecchiet said. The club is also connected through an online Yahoo! group, where neighbors share

Veronica Weber

Neighborhoods

fter living in South Los Altos since 1975, Steve Anderson says his favorite aspect is the friendly, quiet neighborhood. “Around 1989 my wife and I thought of moving,” Anderson said, “but after looking around we realized we wouldn’t find a better neighborhood than the one we live in.” Snuggled into the borders of Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Cupertino, the South Los Altos community stretches between Grant Road and Stevens Creek. Some of the homes are built in the modern, two-story, Mediterranean look, while many are modeled after the classic ranch-style home, according to Laura Bajuk, executive director of the Los Altos History Museum. “It’s interesting to see what the imprint of a community is,” Bajuk said. Working at the Los Altos History Museum, Anderson educates visitors on the town’s history, and its beginnings from a ranch community into a piece of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Since the rail company purchased the land in 1907, the town of Los Altos expanded further out, stretching towards South Los Altos. Anderson describes South Los Altos as more affordable than the northern part of the town. He says parts of the neighborhood lack sidewalks, but the district has nice parks and an excellent school system. The neighborhoods maintain a rural feeling compared to North Los Altos and the downtown area. Children in South Los Altos attend either Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District or the Cupertino Union School District, depending on their address. Both district’s public schools are highly rated, but the dual district attendance doesn’t lend itself to neighborhood cohesiveness. Paul and Karen Van Buren have lived in

FACTS CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: CCLC Preschool, 2310 Homestead Road; Enlighten School, 1919 Annette Lane; Mountain View Parents Nursery School, 1299 Bryant Ave., Mtn. View; St. Simon’s Catholic Church Extended Day Care Center, 1860 Grant Road; YMCA — Way to Grow Full-Day Preschool, 1501 Oak Ave. FIRE STATION: No. 16, 765 Fremont Ave. LIBRARY: Woodland, 1975 Grant Road LOCATION: between Grant Road, Homestead Road Stevens Creek, Joel Way, Harwalt Drive, Oak, Truman, Miravalle avenues PARKS: Grant Park, 1575 Holt Ave.; (nearby) Marymeade Park, Fremont Avenue at Grant Road POST OFFICE: Loyola Corners, 1525 Miramonte Ave. PRIVATE SCHOOL: St. Simon Catholic School, 1840 Grant Road PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Los Altos School District — Oak Elementary School, Blach Intermediate School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Mountain View High School; or Cupertino Union School District — Montclaire Elementary School, Cupertino Middle School; Fremont Union High School District — Homestead High School SHOPPING: Foothill Crossing, Homestead Road; Greenhaven Plaza, Grant Road MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $1,640,040 ($1,015,000-$2,575,000) HOMES SOLD: 54

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Neighborhoods 39

Country Club

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estled against the rolling hills of Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve (replete with wildlife, hiking trails and a working farm), the neighborhood known as Country Club (part of the larger San Antonio Hills community) stands apart from, and between, the towns of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. The neighborhood is built on unincorporated Santa Clara County land and has not been annexed to the city of Los Altos. Glen Balzer, who’s called Magdalena Avenue home since 1993, said the majority of the home sites are on 1-acre parcels and maintain a rural, “woodsy” feel, with horse trails running nearby and not much change since the construction of the first pre-war cottages and 1940s homes that make up Country Club. Balzer said the San Antonio Hills Homeowners Association, of which he is a board member, strives to preserve the unique qualities of the area. “Our CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions — bylaws set by the homeowner’s association) were set up 60

FACTS

years ago and they help the neighborhood stay the way it was and limit subdivisions,” he said. For Balzer, the access to the great outdoors is one of the most special attractions of his neighborhood. “I hike in the preserve all the time — once a week at least. I can do a 12-mile hike in three hours and be back home in time to have a beer or take a shower or both,” he said. As the name suggests, the Los Altos Golf and Country Club, founded in 1923 on former ranch land, is a defining feature of the neighborhood. The exclusive club (membership is by invitation only), along with “a few churches,” provides the only commercial activity in the neighborhood, according to Balzer, contributing to a peaceful, low-key atmosphere. New Country Club resident, Lisa Langston, knew about the neighborhood’s great features after living in nearby Los Altos Hills since 1989. “It’s beautiful — rolling hills, great nature and a wonderful golf course,” she said.

— Karla Kane and Lisa Kellman

Woodland Acres/The Highlands

Neighborhoods

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40

eith Peterson lives in what he believes to be the fifth house built in Los Altos’ neighborhood of Woodland Acres. “I think I’m the earliest resident to still be here. There’s another lady on Sequoia Drive that has the same occupancy date as I do; that’s 1951. But I think our house was ahead of that one.” Between Beechwood Lane and Permanente Creek, Woodland Acres was back then true to its name — home to orchards, oaks and laurel trees — despite a railroad track running parallel to where Foothill Expressway now stands. Daily trains carried city-bound commuters and great amounts of fresh cement from Los Gatos. Peterson is an active participant in an annual publication put out by the Woodland Acres Association. In a recent issue he wrote about his commute to Westinghouse (now Northrop-Grumman) in Sunnyvale: “On my return there was not a stop sign in the entire distance of five miles. ... Along the way we enjoyed pastoral scenes of grazing cattle and the orchards — the beautiful orchards. In

the spring the lovely blossoms and then the yellow mustard flowers between the rows.” To the west of Woodland Acres, still between the strip of land wedged between Foothill Expressway and Highway 280, stand The Highlands. The area was built up in 1960, some time before Jim Mutch moved into the area in 1973. “One of the things that really attracted us to the neighborhood are the trees and the natural look of it,” he said. The surrounding streets count liquidambars, elm trees and a few deodaras. “Something that’s very convenient is that we access to all the freeways: Foothill, 85, 280. So it’s very easy to get places quickly. And it’s quiet, which people often comment on. As close as we are to Foothill Expressway, we really don’t notice it,” Mutch said. In the early 2000s, he and a neighbor decided to approach the city about getting a single-story overlay applied to the area. A supermajority of 67 percent was just reached, making second-story construction impossible, at least for a few blocks. — Pierre Bienaimé

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (nearby): Los Altos Christian Preschool, 625 Magdalena Ave.; Los Altos United Methodist Children’s Center, 655 Magdalena Ave. FIRE STATION: No. 16, 765 Fremont Ave. LIBRARY: Woodland, 1975 Grant Road LOCATION: bounded by Magdalena Avenue, Foothill Expressway, Permanente Creek and Interstate 280 NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Richard Blanchard, president, San Antonio Hills Inc. Homeowners Association, 650-948-3073, www.sanantoniohills.com PARK (nearby): Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve, Cristo Rey Drive POST OFFICE: Loyola Corners, 1525 Miramonte Ave. PRIVATE SCHOOL: Los Altos Christian School, 625 Magdalena Ave. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Los Altos School District — Loyola Elementary School, Blach Intermediate School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Mountain View High School SHOPPING: Loyola Corners, Miramonte Avenue and Rancho Shopping Center MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $2,010,000 ($1,302,000-$4,800,000) HOMES SOLD: 32

FACTS CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (nearby): Children’s Creative Learning Center, 2310 Homestead Road, Suite E, Los Altos FIRE STATION: No. 16, 765 Fremont Ave. LIBRARY: Woodland, 1975 Grant Road LOCATION: between Foothill Expressway and Interstate 280, Beechwood Lane and Permanente Creek NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Kay Mazzola, president, Woodland Acres Association PARKS: Montclaire Park, St. Joseph Ave.; (nearby) Grant Park, 1575 Holt Ave.; Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve, Cristo Rey Drive POST OFFICE: Loyola Corners, 1525 Miramonte Ave. PRIVATE SCHOOL: St. Simon Catholic School, 1840 Grant Road PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Cupertino Union School District — Montclaire Elementary School, Cupertino Middle School; Fremont Union High School District — Homestead High School SHOPPING: Foothill Crossing, Homestead Road; Loyola Corners; Rancho Shopping Center MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $1,616,944 ($1,111,111-$2,625,000) HOMES SOLD: 34 MEDIAN 2012 CONDO PRICE: $880,000 ($854,000-$950,000) CONDOS SOLD: 3

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