A resource for folks living in or moving to Los Gatos, by Mary Pope-Handy

Parks in Los Gatos

Vasona Lake County Park on a warm, sunny, winter day

This may be an El Niño winter, but right now there’s a break in the precipitation.  As much as we appreciate the rain, we also appreciate the warm, sunny, dry days also.  Yesterday I broke out of work mode for an hour and enjoyed a walk at Vasona Lake County Park.  Here are a few photos.  To my readers in snowy climates, yes, Los Gatos really can be this nice in February!

Vasona Lake County Park in winter

Vasona Lake County Park in winter

 

Vasona Bridge View toward hills

Vasona Bridge View toward hills

 

 Vasona Bridge View toward Lake

Vasona Bridge View toward Lake

Continue reading

Visit the Los Gatos Farmer’s Market!

The Los Gatos Farmers’ Market is a community treasure and gathering point for the townsfolk.  Every Sunday, Los Gatans gather downtown at the Town Plaza Park area for a little shopping, casual munching and entertainment.    The outdoors market iss full of organic produce, plants and cut flowers, ready made food, include delicious crepes, and often music or other entertainment.  While many Santa Clara County Farmers’ Markets are seasonal or subject to weather conditions, this one is open year round, every Sunday, from 8am to 1pm (though some booths begin to break down around 12:30 or so)

The Los Gatos Farmers’ Market is located in Downtown Los Gatos at the Town Park Plaza on Main Street & N. Santa Cruz Avenue (Montabello Way & Broadway).  Pets are not allowed in the market, which wraps around the park on the paved roadway, but may be in the park itself.

Over the years, I’ve taken a number of photos of this local gathering spot.  Some are current images and others are 5-10 years old.

Kid friendly things to do in and near Los Gatos

Kids sailing at VasonaWill you be visiting Los Gatos for a day or weekend, or staying for a lifetime?  Either way, there are tons of things to do for children of all ages both in and near Los Gatos.

Outdoors

If the weather’s fine, as it often is here, you might start by introducing your kids to Oak Meadow and Vasona Parks, which are adjacent to each other.  Oak Meadow includes a great airplane that kids can climb on, a beautiful carousel and a small train that loops into Vasona and back. Vasona has paddle boats that can be rented (seasonally).  And of course there’s lots of playground equipment and sprawling lawn for those who want to toss a ball or frisbee around.  For time outdoors, these parks are hard to beat.  Read more about these very cool parks here:  http://liveinlosgatosblog.com/vasona-and-oak-meadow/

The Youth Science Institute is a program offered at Vasona to help educate students on nature.  This is not a one day event but is extremely worthwhile.  Check it out: http://www.ysi-ca.org/

If your little people like to hike and explore, the Montalvo estate and grounds in Saratoga is a great nearby option on a dry day, too.  Montalvo is an arts center but there are wonderful trails which can be enjoyed.  But no picnicing, sorry!  Learn more at my Valley of Heart’s Delight blog: http://sanjoserealestatelosgatoshomes.com/great-time-of-year-to-visit-villa-montalvo/

All ages: any of the free music events, all of which are out doors, virtually all summer long in Los Gatos!
http://liveinlosgatosblog.com/los-gatos-free-music-concert-series-music-in-the-park-jazz-on-the-plazz-and-vasona-vibrations-schedule-of-events-and-performers/

Touristy but still fun

Roaring Camp and Big Trees   http://www.roaringcamp.com/

The Mystery Spot http://www.mysteryspot.com/

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk  http://beachboardwalk.com/

California’s Great America in Santa Clara (amusement park, rides)   https://www.cagreatamerica.com/

Time to eat!

There are MANY great kid-friendly restaurants in Los Gatos.  A few of my favorites are these:

 Indoor Fun

The Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose https://www.cdm.org/

The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose  https://www.thetech.org/

Petroglyph (in Los Gatos, Willow Glen, and Santa Cruz locally) http://www.petroglyph.com/

More?

Looking for more ideas?  There’s a slightly longer list of kid friendly things to do on another of my blogs. Have a read:

http://sanjoserealestatelosgatoshomes.com/kids-in-silicon-valley-fun-places-to-go/

Vasona and Oak Meadow Parks

Kids sailing at VasonaSomething is always happening at the big and beautiful, 150 acre Vasona Lake County Parkand adjacent 12 acre Oak Meadow Park (belonging to the Town). These sister parks are connected and share the Los Gatos Creek, meandering trails, the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad at Oak Meadow. The parks enjoy beautiful scenery, both within the many acres and also looking up at the coastal range that separates this valley from the Monterey Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

It’s a wonderful place for a family or company picnic and is often the site for beginning races, walk-a-thons, and other charitable causes, and it’s also the location for many cultural festivals throughtout the year. Most recently, there was an enormous, two day Iranian/Persian New Year’s Festival called Norouz that drew several thousand people from all over Silicon Valley. The San Jose Mercury News covered it and had a great little video on their website on this event, take a look! As you can see, Vasona and Oak Meadow aren’t just a couple of nice parks, they’re places for the community to gather, enjoy themselves and nature and to do it in a gorgeous spot.

Here are some of the regularly scheduled, annual events at Oak Meadow and Vasona that invite us to enjoy some recreation time there:

 

June & July: Vasona Vibrations (free concerts Saturdays 5-7pm)
July & August: Shakespeare in the Park
August: In the Park After Dark Movie Week
Saturday evening on Labor Day Weekend: Los Gatos Park Dance (begun in 2013)
September: Screen on the Green
October: Halloween Train Rides (Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad)
December: Fantasy of Lights

And because these are parks, there are great learning opportunities and classes available there too. The Parks and Recreation Department offers sailing lessons – as you can see from the pic, my kids enjoyed these a few years ago (and may teach there this summer too). Paddleboats can be rented in summer as well. A hands-on approach to introducing kids to nature is provided by the extremely popular , which recently enjoyed an expansion at Vasona.

Historically, these parks are interesting too and there are some things you might not know about them. Continue reading

Mountain Lion Killed in Belgatos Neighborhood of Los Gatos

October 26, 2010

A rumor has been circulating in the Belwood – Belgatos – Surmont area about a mountain lion death earlier this week in or near Belgatos Park.  It’s been confirmed that a mountain lion was killed on Monday evening by a Belgatos resident.  The mountain lion had killed multiple animals or livestock on the resident’s property so the owner sought and received a permit to kill it from the state fish & game department.  This apparently happened on private property, most likely close to the park.

Related stories and updates:

Coyotes Roaming, Killing Pets in The Almond Grove and Glenridge Neighborhoods of Los Gatos (2008 post on Live in Los Gatos)

Mountain Lion Shot in Los Gatos (January 2008 story by Alastair Dallas in the Los Gatos Observer about a cougar shot in a backyard along Lora Drive)

Mountain lion killed on Hwy 17 near Cats Restaurant in Los Gatos (Jan 12, 2010, Santa Cruz Sentinel)

In late March, 2011, another mountain lion was killed in Redwood City. In the SF Gate article, it was relayed that:

“One of the big cats was treed in Palo Alto in 2004, a cougar showed up in a condominium complex in Pleasanton in 2006, and in September one was found roaming near Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto.” (All killed, as well)

Los Gatos Celebrates Arbor Day 2010 Beginning at Belgatos Park

April 21, 2010

Los Gatos celebrates Arbor Day and its 30th year as a “Tree City USA” on April 30th beginning at 10am at Belgatos Park (330 Belgatos Lane, and the end of Belgatos Road in Los Gatos). Several trees will be planted at the upper meadow of this park, and many more at other spots around town, thirty in all to signify the 30 years of being noted as Tree City USA.


View Belgatos Park in a larger map

If you’ve never had the pleasure of visiting Belgatos Park, now’s the time to go. Here’s a sneak peek of the park through my eyes. I hope you enjoy it!

See you there on Arbor Day!

 

What Part of the Los Gatos Park System Don't We Need or Use?

February 03, 2010

Belgatos Park, lower level, February 2010What part of the Los Gatos parks don’t we need or use

Unfortunately, Los Gatos is not immune from the massive economic crisis we’re now enduring.  And that’s also true for the Los Gatos Parks Department.

Budget cuts are coming to the Los Gatos Parks Department.  So what can be cut? 

It’s always easy to say “no one uses” this or that park if you’re not there to see or use it.  One item on the potential chopping block is the upper meadow at Belgatos Park (shown above is the lower area, not far from the playground, the photo below is of the upper meadow).  The argument being made is that the water is expensive and no one uses that part of the park, so perhaps we should plant some trees and forget about maintaining a lawn.  Is that true?  Not when I’ve walked up the trail toward the resevoir.  The upper meadow is a great place for picnics, throwing a frisbee or enjoying some peace and quiet away from the playground, restroom, and the hill where kids slide down on cardboard  – we jokingly call that lower meadow and hill “cardboard hill” (seen above). 

Belgatos Park is at the far eastern edge of the town boundaries, so perhaps it seems extraneous.  But it is also connected to the Heinz Open Space Preserve and lots of connected trails.  Altogether is is a magnificent place for locals to enjoy the outdoors.

Belgatos Park upper meadowIf you were going t cut services to one of Los Gatos’s many parks, which one would you cut, where and why?  At one time, the playground at Belgatos Park was also eyed as a place to be cut to save some money, but local residents voiced their objection and the playground was refurbished.

Hopefully there will be a hearing before any needed cuts are made.  Meantime, ponder the question – what should be cut? 

Good News: YSI Met Its Goal and Will Remain Open, Active and Working with Silicon Valley Kids!

February 08, 2009

The Youth Science Institute, which has facilities in Los Gatos at Vasona Lake County Park, in Saratoga at Sanborn Park, and in San Jose at Alum Rock Park, has met its campaign goal of $300,000 and will keep its doors open!

Read more at the YSI website:  http://www.ysi-ca.org/

Belgatos Park in East Los Gatos – a Great Place to Hike, Ride Horses, Picnic, Play or Just Spend Time

September 03, 2008

My family and I live in the east Los Gatos neighborhood called Belwood of Los Gatos, and the nearby park is Belgatos Park. We tend to visit it several times a week and spend a lot of time there. I confess, this isn’t my first post about the park, but it is my first using video. (Recently I got a flip video so am learning how to work this new medium.)

This park is unique for a Town of Los Gatos park in many regards. First, it is one of the only parks in town which can accomodate horses, joggers and mountain bikers. (Joggers and mountain bikers, don’t zone out! Horses may have gone before you.) Second, in addition to the niceties of a larger park, which include several grassy meadows, a playground, and a restroom, there are a myriad of trails that interconnect with Belgatos. If you are so inclined, you can spend hours chasing down the paths that wind through the Sierra Azule foothills.  Finally, it is one of the only town parks which, with a little effort on the visitor’s part, can provide stunning valley views.

With that introduction, I’ll share with you some video clips I took recently. It’s now the end of summer and Silicon Valley is dry and so are our parks. Below the video clip I will include other pics, from other seasons, of our beautiful Belgatos Park in Los Gatos.

 

Here’s a link to a prior post about Belgatos Park in this Live in Los Gatos blog: A Hike and a Photo Tour Through Belgatos Park.

And here’s a slideshow of Belgatos Park done through Real Estate Shows. I took the photos of Belgatos Park in spring, so it’s all very, very green and lush.

Permit for Los Gatos Skatepark Revoked: Now What?

March 19, 2008

Proponents for the Skatepark in Los Gatos laid out a plan to build, fund and maintain one on Miles Avenue in downtown Los Gatos, but when it went before the voting public in Measure D, was not passed. In fact, Measure D, “the skatepark initiative”,  was defeated by a 2 to 1 margin.

But does that mean that Los Gatans don’t want a skatepark at all?

Or did they just not want the particulars in Measure D?

This is an important question because there’s money being held by the town for the skatepark.

If the town considers the skatepark a closed issue, I believe it could use those monies for other things, but I hope not. There’s a lot of residual upset swirling around the skatepark vote, and I would maintain that although Measure D was defeated, the Los Gatos voters remain open to making a skatepark part of the town’s services.

Mary Pope-Handy

Realtor
ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at) PopeHandy.com
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