If you haven’t been to Villa Montalvo and the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga recently, this is a great time of year to head over and take in the lovely grounds – and perhaps take in some live music, family theatre, or other art on display, too.
The villa was built for Senator James Phelan in 1912, who willed it to the people of the State of California to be an arts center. And so it is today, not just a lovely Italianate estate on 175 acres, but a place to enjoy a wide variety of art forms. Last weekend my family and I visited there (these images were from a sunnier day recently!) and enjoyed seeing the artwork in the lawn, in cryptic (poetic) signs along the roadway, and noticed a wide array of tempting events coming up soon.
Amateur photographers will find many scenic subjects for their art (but please note that professional photography is not allowed without permission). Also please note that picnics aren’t allowed, unfortunately, but there are some opportunities for dining on site.
There are a couple of venues for concerts at Montalvo. Best known is the large, gracious lawn that spreads out in front of the Villa. (In the ’90s I remember seeing Peter, Paul and Mary perform there on a glorious summer day!) It’s a very slight hill, which makes for a wonderful, natural amphitheatre.
Given the natural and architectural beauty of this place, it is a highly prized location for parties and weddings, too.
But don’t wait for an engraved invitation to explore and enjoy the exquisite grounds at Montalvo. Find a reason for a visit, whether spontaneous or long awaited, such as for a concert. It’s always changing, and the events are too, so there are ample excuses for an enjoyable day or evening there again and again, year round, but none better than right now – spring!
Montalvo Arts Center
15400 Montalvo Rd Saratoga, CA 95071