Saratoga is a highly desirable place in which to live, a great retreat from the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley. Nestled into the Santa Cruz Mountains, it is just a few miles to the north of Los Gatos. Its an upscale town noted for great schools, low crime, scenic beauty, fabulous shops and restaurants, and stunning estates. Like most of the valley, this area was largely orchards and also some vineyards & wineries 50 or 70 years ago. In fact, the largest prune orchard in the world was once Hume Ranch, which had 680 acres of prune trees!
Exceptional entertainment is abundant in Saratoga. Take in concerts at The Mountain Winery (formerly called Paul Masson Mountain Winery) and at Villa Montalvo, two lovely outdoor venues for music, or go wine tasting or horseback riding at Cooper-Garrod off Pierce Road. The new Saratoga Library is a wonderful place to spend a rainy winter day too.
The city is comprised of many great neighborhoods, from ˜the village (downtown) to residential areas such as Prides Crossing, Brookview, Saratoga Woods, Blue Hills, The Golden Triangle, The Platinum Triangle, Montalvo, Glen Una, the new Chateaux de Notres Dames subdivision and so many more. Much of Saratoga is tract housing, built in large part by three brothers: George Day, Jim Day and Marion Day. Homes built in the 70s off Fruitvale Avenue came up quickly under George Days watchful eye (for instance, on El Puente, Versailles, and part of Farwell). They are tract homes, but well built and highly regarded as many of those sit on flat one-acre parcels ˜close to town.
Like most of the cities and towns nearby, the school district lines do not follow the city boundaries (the school boundaries were set first, when most of the area was unincorporated), so there are several districts within the city of Saratoga, and this can be confusing when people relocate here!
Below please find links to some of the best that the City of Saratoga has to offer.
|The City of Saratoga has a great, comprehensive website that is a ˜must see for residents and folks considering being residents there. Included are information on current events, volunteer opportunities, government (on permits, city council, city government, municipal code, city commissions – info on parks & rec, library, youth, etc.), businesses, employment, publications, resource links, the current weather, ˜About Saratoga (city parks, city maps, budget, heritage resources), senior center, and more. TOO MUCH TO LIST. This is a very fine website, easy to navigate and fast-loading.
City of Saratoga’s Official Website
|Villa Montalvo: what’s not to love? Whether you like live music performances, art shows, or just walking the serene trails and grounds of this old estate, you’ll find it here – pristine, inviting, and accessible without having to drive a country mile. Oh, and its a historical landmark, too, with exceptional architecture. Its a perennial favorite for weddings and fancy occasions, private and corporate.
Villa Montalvo website
|I found this neat site, which is part of a collection of websites on historical buildings in Santa Clara County. It features pictures and history of Villa Montalvo (the Phelan Mansion). Enjoy!
Great info on Montalvo (an unofficial but very good site)
|The Mountain Winery is another great venue for music in Saratoga. It was formerly known as the Paul Masson Mountain Winery and when I was a teen we could see Shakespearean plays there as well as the music which is offered today. (I miss those!) The place is so unique: hillside vineyards, a natural amphitheater, a view of the hills and the valley below. I don’t think musicians get it much better than this! Its a fabulous place to enjoy a picnic, wine tasting and a show – go if you get the chance!
The Mountain Winery
|West Valley College gives adults of all ages the opportunity to study a wide variety of things at a reasonable cost (foreign languages, real estate, art, computers, you name it). The campus is lovely. As a high school senior, I took a course in psychology here to get a jump on college. Loved it!
Visit West Valley Community College
|Horseback riding & wine tasting at Garrod’s. Where else could you do both in one place? When I was a kid, we took riding lessons at Garrod’s. Now they’ve added a winery, Cooper-Garrod’s. My disclaimer: the wine is great, but if you want a nice place to picnic afterwards, be prepared to battle either flies or yellowjackets (yellowjackets are a problem all over in September here). The horses just seem to attract the flies – last time we did the picnic part, we wished we hadn’t. Maybe horses and picnics don’t miss. But DO go up for the winetasting, the views, and to pet the horses, if you didn’t already ride them! (I do not suggest riding after wine tasting¦.)
Take a ride!
|Enjoy a quiet stroll through 18 acres of an authentic 17th century Japanese Garden, right at 21000 Big Basin Way (Highway 9) in Saratoga! Hakone Gardens is also a great place to take photos of your family & friends (personal use is encouraged but permission is required for commercial). There’s a cost to park and/or enter – check the website below for the latest. Its a rare treat to visit such a place and I encourage you to do so.