The popular Cambrian – Los Gatos border area: a newer resident raves about it

Alta Vista School SignOne of my client families is coming up on their one year anniversary of home ownership locally, and I received this lovely note from them (unsolicited) a few days ago:

“About a year ago, we were in contract for our new home (in the Carlton – Alta Vista area of the Cambrian or San Jose & Los Gatos border). We love our new home and the neighborhood so much! There are lots of kids in the neighborhood, we love our walks to and from Alta Vista Elementary School, and love the community here. We often host spontaneous play dates at our house. There are kids of all ages who come and play with my kids and have them over to their houses. We and our next-door neighbors have already celebrated Christmas, Easter and birthdays together, and we have a little “walk-pool” to school each day. 

“If you ever have buyers with children looking in this neighborhood, please share with them what a wonderful, kid-friendly place it is! Thank you so much for your help in purchasing our home here. The home value has gone up since we bought, and we plan to stay here for a very long time!”

A lot of times, newcomers to the San Jose and Silicon Valley area ask where to live.  Nothing says it like an unsolicited testimonial, so I thought that my readers might enjoy this wonderful neighborhood endorsement.    I have sold many homes near Carlton and Alta Vista Elementary schools over the years, and they have been consistent “winners” since I got into the business in 1993.  Some things seem to never change, and that’s good!

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(all data current as of 4/15/2024)

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Kids in Silicon Valley: Fun Places to Go!

Fun Places for Kids In and Near San Jose - Winchester Mystery HouseWhat’s Are The Fun Places for Kids In and Near San Jose?

There are oodles of fun things for kids and the young-at-heart to do in San Jose and the greater Silicon Valley area. Here are a few of the more dramatic highlights!

In San Jose, Santa Clara and nearby

 

Happy Hollow Zoo and Park This is a great place for younger kids. It features a petting zoo, non-scary rides, and places to run off steam. Happy Hollow is undergoing a giant renovation and will be closed for part or all of the summer of 2008. Please double check the website or phone the park prior to visiting to make sure it’s open! Tel 408 277-3000.In Los Gatos: Oak Meadow Park (12 acres) and Vasona Lake County Park (150 acres – these are adjacent, interconnected parks).  Oak Meadow is a town of Los Gatos park, Vasona is a county park, but they are connected!  Of special note at Oak Meadow are the real Air Force jet that kids can climb on (local kids often refer to it as “the airplane park”), the hand painted carousel and Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad train which begins in Oak Meadow but mostly rides through Vasona, and the paddle boats on Vasona Lake. (Post on Live In Los Gatos about these 2 parks.)  There is a fee to park at Vasona.  Los Gatos town residents can park for free at Oak Meadow – but places fill up fast!

The Children’s Discovery Museum in downtown San Jose can’t be beat, especially on a too warm, too cold, or too rainy day! It is a hands on, fun place for kids. One of the most popular items is a stagecoach which kids can climb into. Warning to parents: the acoustics could be better and sometimes it’s overly loud in there.

The Tech Museum of Innovation Recommended for kids ages 7 and up, but especially for kids 10 and up. There’s an IMAX theater as well – fantastic shows! Great downtown San Jose location.

California’s Great America in Santa Clara. Suitable for all ages but teens will like this best! This park does offer some water play areas and some little kid areas (but it’s expensive for that). Shows in air conditioned theaters will be welcome on warm days. Check out the Wow Card (or VIP Pass if you want to park close) if you’ll be back again in the same season.

The Winchester Mystery House:  This is a beyond-unique 160+ year old Victorian Mansion build by Sara Winchester with the thought that if she never stopped building, she would never die. Interesting but odd architectural accents throughtout the home!This historic landmark sits near the lovely Santana Row shopping center, just off 280 and near Stevens Creek Blvd. (It is a “half exit” from 280 – you can exit 280 southbound to get to Winchester and you can enter 280 northbound from Winchester, but not vice versa.)

List of Attractions Throughout Santa Clara County and Beyond
Gilroy (south of San Jose)
Gilroy Gardens (formerly Bonfante Gardens)Want to make a bigger trip of it to The Garlic Capital of the World? Gilroy offers great shopping to dress up those kids (or yourself)! . And maybe when that’s all done, do some wine tasting. If you can take a tour, the kids may not even get bored. List of wineries (and breweries) in and near Gilroy. And lastly, don’t forget the Garlic Festival! It happens in late July every year. Yes, it’s hot. Yes, they do really serve Garlic Ice Cream. You need to try it at least once! The Gilroy Garlic Festival – information, recipes, calendar, fun stuff for kids.

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Sereno Group Annual Pumpkin Decorating Contest for Kids

Sereno Pumpkin Decorating contestHalloween is almost here and it is time to get creative! Sereno’s in on the spirit too.   Each year, Sereno Group Real Estate offices in the San Jose and Silicon Valley area have a Halloween pumpkin decorating contest for kids.  Winner’s pumpkins (and names of winners if parental permission is received) will be advertised in our local papers after the contest is finished.

Contest Rules:

No Carving

Decorate your own small pumpkin, or pick up a complimentary pumpkin at one of our offices in Los Gatos, Saratoga, Soquel/Santa Cruz, Los Altos, or Palo Alto.

3 age groups: toddler, early elementary, late elementary

All contestants will receive a gift goodie bag

One grand prize per age group, per office, will be awarded

Any carved or punctured pumpkins will be disqualified due to rotting

All entries must be dropped off at your nearest Sereno Group Office by Friday, October 21st at 5pm.  Judging will happen the week of October 24th during our regular real estate marketing meeting.

Where and when can you drop off a pumpkin?  Please find the office locations and hours below.  We are looking forward to seeing some wonderful kids’ creations!

 

 

 

 

WildwoodStock 2010 Free Music in Saratoga, CA, August 8th

Stop by downtown Saratoga’s Wildwood Park (20764 4th Street off Big Basin Way) on Sunday 8/8/2010 from noon to 6pm to enjoy an afternoon of free music plus activities & entertainment for kids, including an appearance by a magician!  A variety of bands will be onstage, and Saratoga’s own Mike Gurley will be performing too.

This is a benefit for the Susan G Komen breast cancer research fund, so will be a live auction and donations would be very much appreciated.

 

 

 

Wildwood Park in downtown Saratoga, CA

Wildwood Park is downtown Saratoga’s quiet getaway spot. Situated on Fourth Street, just off Big Basin Way in Saratoga Village, it’s a stone’s throw to great dining and shops, but borders a pleasant residential neighborhood too. For people fortunate enough to buy or rent a home in the downtown area, the park is a wonderful plus.

What makes Wildwood Park in Saratoga so special? In addition to a nice play structure and an open, grassy area (which you might expect in any city or town park), Wildwood offers a sandy volleyball court, restrooms (many smaller parks don’t) and perhaps best of all, Saratoga Creek. Tall Eucalyptus and Sycamore trees grace this downtown retreat too, so there’s no shortage of shade on warm days.

As a teenager, I attended Saratoga High School (class of 1977) and visited the park with friends or to work on my photographic skills. This is a great location for shooting pictures. What could be cuter than a child or pet by the creek? [Sometimes my girlfriends and I used to watch old movies in the quonset hut theater, The Vitaphone (it was at Big Basin Way and Third) that was then a part of downtown Saratoga’s charm. I wish I had thought to take pictures of that theater when I was downtown – it’s long since gone. Happy downtown Saratoga memories.]

Recently I stopped in to try videotaping the park since I was in the neighborhood on the real estate broker’s tour and literally was on 4th Street already. About 2 weeks ago I got a Flip Video so am learning (critics be gentle!) and hope that these couple of clips give you a sense of the tranquility and beauty of the park if you have not had the pleasure to visit it in person yourself. If you live elsewhere in Silicon Valley, perhaps next time you dine in Saratoga, you can make a side trip to see the quaint little park nearby. It’s a worthwhile visit, especially if you have a camera in hand!