Los Altos: Beautiful Silicon Valley Suburb

Los Altos downtownLos Altos is a scenic town, semi-rural, conveniently located, with notably good schools (Los Altos or Cupertino schools). The charming old style downtown enjoys superior restaurants, shops, and is a pleasant place to stroll. The town enjoys a community college and a golf course. Its a great place for pedestrians and cyclists (lots of paths), and is a quick jaunt to both Palo Alto and Mountain View, both very popular peninsula destinations.

There’s a brief history of Los Altos on that city’s website that I found interesting. First, the land that started the community was originally 140 acres purchased from Sarah Winchester. Second, Foothill Expressway used to be a right of way for the Southern Pacific Railroad. The train line ceased operations in 1964, and the expressway was put in. Love local history from the Valley of Heart’s Delight? The Los Altos History Museum is a worthwhile destination.

The zip codes don’t stay within the city’s boundaries. Both 94022 and 94024 can be found in Los Altos and adjacent Los Altos Hills.

Los Altos Real Estate Market Conditions

Below please find first information from Altos Research, and then from the RE Report (we have subscriptions to both). Altos’ data is for the city and by zip codes. It uses list prices and its charts and reports are updated automatically each week. The RE Report uses data for each full month and provides it for the city as a whole and also by four distinct regions or neighborhoods. Both reports offer a subscription option if you click on the links.

The next 3 charts are from Altos Research and they are updated weekly, so check back often!  You can see the weekly report, with even more data, by visiting the link. Subscribe for Los Altos, for one of its zip codes, or anywhere else nearby by first entering the desired zip or city in the “Search Anywhere” button and then clicking on subscribe.

Whole town- both 94022 and 94024

 

 

94022

 

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Hakone, the oldest Japanese estate & gardens in the western hemisphere

Back in December, when we actually enjoyed a bit of rain, my family and I trekked over to Hakoke Gardens in Saratoga to introduce a visiting relative to the beauty of this park-like setting. I’ve been meaning to share the images ever since but am motivated especially now because of upcoming events there.

Hakone Matsuri Japanese Festival
Sunday May 17th. 11am – 4pm
There are more events to consider, which I will post below the slideshow.  Hakone is lovely year round, but even more stunning now in spring – so if you have never seen it, please go take in the sights!

Hakone Gardens photo gallery – images from December 2014

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Which areas in Silicon Valley are the most European feeling?

Beckwith Building in Downtown Los Gatos, CA

The beautiful Beckwith Building in downtown Los Gatos, California

I have been fortunate to have made 5 trips to Europe, one of them lasting 9 months, and will be returning again before the end of 2013 (this time to Belgium).  It is so diverse, beautiful and compelling! Having experienced a little culture shock myself (when living in Florence, Italy, for one year of university), I’m very sympathetic about how hard an international move can be, and I understand that for Europeans moving to Silicon Valley, there can be an acute culture shock, particularly for those coming from more rural areas.

The bulk of Silicon Valley is located in Santa Clara County, which is at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay.  In this county, there are approximately 1.8 million people, almost a million of them in the city of San Jose.  Some areas, or districts, of San Jose have a distinctive character and are almost like towns or small cities themselves.  So in this article I’ll mention both cities and towns, but also areas or districts of San Jose, which might appeal to our European transplants.   Most of my comments will reference Santa Clara County or “south bay” locations, but I will also mention others on the San Francisco Peninsula and SF Bay Area too.

Architecture, Urban Centers and Charm

It is an unfortunate negative in Silicon Valley that much of our housing consists of ranch style tract homes, and truthfully, they are not exactly a work of art.  New or newer homes tend to be on very tiny parcels of land (or “lots”) and for many people may simply feel too congested or crowded. But there are beautiful residential neighborhoods – you just need to know where to look!  In many ways, the areas with higher charm can make our global home buyers feel more comfortable than if they were faced with only track, ranch neighborhoods.

Do you value unique, older architecture with Victorian, Craftsman, Tudor or other home styles? Then check out these areas:

  • Within San Jose: the Japantown, Vendome, and Naglee Park areas of downtown San Jose. Also in central San Jose are the Rosegarden, Shasta Hanchett and Burbank neighborhoods which all boast some lovely older homes.  Or, if you love classic Spanish Revival style homes with views, consider the old Alum Rock area of San Jose near the country club (golf course).  The Willow Glen area of SJ (zip code 95120) is full of lovely old established neighborhoods with historic homes and tree lined streets.  If your job takes you to downtown San Jose, all of these areas will be fairly close.

Please read the rest of this article on the Move2SiliconValley.com website:

http://www.move2siliconvalley.com/which-silicon-valley-areas-are-the-most-european-feeling/

Great time of year to visit Villa Montalvo

Villa Montalvo, the former estate of Senator James PhelanIf 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.

Montalvo Arts Center Grounds

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. (more…)