Silicon Valley, a region known for high tech (semiconductors, computers, and biotech among them), mostly abides within Santa Clara County. (It also extends a bit into San Mateo County, Santa Cruz County, and Alameda County.) This is at the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area. The weather is mild – it’s a subtropical climate and the palm and redwood trees will back that up. At one time, during the orchard heyday, it came to be known as The Valley of the Heart’s Delight. Eventually the fruit and nut trees gave way to housing in the post World War II boom, and as high tech slowly took over as the regional industry, the moniker changed to Silicon Valley.
The people who live here love many things about the San Jose area and the Santa Clara Valley. The climate, of course, cannot be beat. The level of education is high, the population delightfully diverse, and crime is low. Add to that a close proximity to San Francisco (an hour north by car or train), Berkeley and Oakland (ditto the time up the East Bay by car or BART), the beach at Santa Cruz (about a half hour), Monterey/Carmel (90 minutes), etc. You can drive to Napa or Sonoma for wine tasting – or you could do it within a couple of miles of the airport at the J Lohr Wine Tasting Room just off The Alameda. Of course, our hills have plenty of wineries too, and they are found closer in (Los Gatos and Cupertino and the east foothills of San Jose in the Evergreen area). In other words, there are a lot of reasons why “The Valley of Heart’s Delight” still applies.
Silicon Valley is a heartbeat away from things happening elsewhere, but within this area there’s plenty to do too. In winter there are festivities in downtown San Jose (Christmas in the park and a parade the first Sunday in December) and in downtown Los Gatos (tree lighting the first Friday in December, parade first Saturday in December, the Fantasy of Lights at Vasona Park, the Carriage rides and more). In Spring, Summer and Fall there are free music concerts scattered throughout the valley – in Willow Glen, Los Altos, Santana Row, Los Gatos, and more. Want world-class concerts? You’ll find them in Saratoga at Montalvo and at the Mountain Winery, and in Mountain View at the Shoreline Amphitheater and in towntown San Jose at the Shark Tank, aka The San Jose Arena. Oh and the Sharks – we love our hockey team here!
San Jose – Los Gatos – Campbell – Saratoga – Santa Clara – and all of Santa Clara County is a great place to live. Whether you want horses (south county, the foothills, the west valley), redwood trees (the Santa Cruz Mountains), Palm Trees (Palm Haven in the Willow Glen area of San Jose), a short commute (Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Milpitas), there’s something for everyone.
We do have a good variety of neighborhood types and home types too, from entry level to truly luxurious. Want a historic district? San Jose has one of only three Japan Towns left, plus Old Santa Clara, New Almaden (which is old), the Vendome District, and Naglee Park. Like a certain type of architecture? Want a loft? Got that in San Jose. Sure, we have a lot of ranch style homes, but we also have some classics like Victorian, Craftman, mid-century modern (Eichler and similar), Spanish, Mediterranean, contemporary, log cabins (I have seen one in Los Gatos) and even geodesic domes (ok, admittedly hard to find, but not impossible in the mountains).
The view in the photo, above, by the way is from the top of Harwood Road in Los Gatos – actually at the very edge of Los Gatos, close to the Cambrian Park and Almaden Valley areas of San Jose. I live at the base of this hill and like to joke that when my house grows up, it will get an acre of land and have a great view. When I am feeling particularly hearty, I will climb to the top of this hill. The expansive vista makes it worthwhile!