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

Saratoga

Sereno Group Annual Pumpkin Decorating Contest

Pumpkin Contest Sereno GroupIt’s time to decorate some pumpkins! Sereno Group is hosting its 8th annual pumpkin decorating contest and invites kids to transform a small pumpkin into a work of art! This is not a carving contest and there should be no punctures of any kind as these works of art will need to last, and any cuts will cause rotting.

Every child who enters will get a small gift. Voting on the best work of art will take place during office meetings for each of three age groups, with the winner of each getting a prize.

Small pumpkins are being given away at the Sereno Group office locations in Los Gatos, Saratoga, Willow Glen, Aptos / Santa Cruz, Los Altos and Palo Alto – please see flier for office hours. O[tionally, entrants may bring their own small pumpkin.

The deadline is Friday, October 20th, 2017. Have fun – we cannot wait to see the decorated pumpkins!

Sereno Pumpkin Decorating MailChimp 2017 01 e1507252769900 - Sereno Group Annual Pumpkin Decorating Contest

Silicon Valley Open Studios: Los Gatos Artists Share Their Work

svos_logoThe Silicon Valley Open Studios will take place May 7 & 8 from 11am to 5pm in Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga and San Jose.  This is the 30th annual “open studios” event in Silicon Valley (and more areas are covered the 2 weekends after this one too). It is a free event and a wonderful opportunity to meet the artists in their studios, see a diversity of art types and purchase some pieces too.

Directories for the event are found at a variety of places, the closest to Los Gatos being University Art, 456 Meridian Ave., San Jose and Triton Museum, 1505 Warburton, Santa Clara, although the website suggests that directories may be found at many libraries as well, so check the Los Gatos and Saratoga public libraries.

For more information, please see the Open Studios website:   http://www.svos.org/

Saratoga and Los Gatos prune orchards – a piece of living history

Prune Orchard in Saratoga, CASilicon Valley living history

When you think of prunes, you probably don’t stop to think about Saratoga’s history. Yet you may well know that Santa Clara County was once the prune capital of the world.  And Santa Clara County’s prune epicenter was Saratoga.

My parents moved around a few times, and their last home, just off Sobey Road in Saratoga, was on 1.5 acres of prune and walnut land.  (I have a vivid recollection of the malathion spraying and trimming needed on all those trees with the medfly invasion.)  We loved the prunes and walnuts but never associated them with anything significant.  However, these orchards, which we all know are shrinking, are a piece of our collective “living history” in the Valley of Heart’s Delight…now known as Silicon Valley.

Awhile back I did a little session on the history of fruit in the Los Gatos and Saratoga area – thought my readers might enjoy it too.  Please naviage through the following slideshow manually – click on the dots below to move the images ahead (because some slides would be quick and others take a minute to read). Hope you enjoy it.

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Aerial views of west Los Gatos

Last Friday, my husband, Jim, enjoyed a flight over much of the south bay area with his brother, John, and our niece, Christine.  I’m the lucky winner who gets loads of fantastic photos to share (with abundant gratitude to John Handy!)! Today I’ll begin with a shot over west Los Gatos.

Here’s a view from the plane that my wonderful brother-in-law shared with me.  Can you tell what you are seeing?

West Los Gatos aerial view

 

The biggest hint I can offer is to point out that the major road running along the right side is Highway 85, and what is off to the upper right hand side is north.

Can you tell where you’d see these things:

  1. Downtown Los Gatos?
  2. La Rinconada Country Club (golf course)?
  3. Rinconada Water Treatment Plant?
  4. Any of these schools:   Rolling Hills Middle, Marshall Lane Elementary, West Valley College?
  5. Downtown Saratoga?
  6. Vasona Lake?
  7. How about Quito Road?
  8. Pollard Road?

The first 6 I’ve put onto the same image but mapped.  Have a look….
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What does a million dollars buy you in Los Gatos 95030, Los Gatos 95032, and nearby areas: Saratoga, Almaden, Cambrian, Campbell, Cupertino?

How far does your money go in Los Gatos, whether 95030 or 95032, and how does that compare to our nearby neighbors of Saratoga, Almaden, Cambrian, Campbell, Cupertino or San Jose, generally? Today I am snagging a chart from my Altos Research Reports which give a good sense of what a million dollars (or other amounts) can get for you in these areas. These charts use LIST PRICES, and remember, the sales prices are often different (frequently more!). Let’s have a look.

Los Gatos 95030

This is the more central part of town, the area closest to downtown Los Gatos and most of it is “in the schools”. Here a million dollars is unlikely to get you a house at all, though it could be something small that needs a lot of work if not in the downtown area…maybe….

Los Gatos 95030 profile of homes by price quartile

 

Los Gatos 95032

Conversely, although about 1/3 of this area is in the Los Gatos Union School District, most of it is not, and this area is usually (though not always) further out so less expensive for both reasons. Interestingly, the high end prices aren’t so far apart between 95030 and 95032 from this vantage, but the gap widens a lot at the bottom quartile. In 95032 a million will get you a small house, most likely in east Los Gatos (west is a little more expensive, usually) – and it will probably need work. Something to note is that all of the elementary and middle schools in Los Gatos, no matter which school district, are high scoring, high performing institutions. The scores do change at the high school level pretty noticeably. But the improving schools in the further out areas of LG, especially in east Los Gatos, is causing the pricing gap to shrink somewhat.

Los Gatos 95032 profile of homes by price quartile

So in Los Gatos, $1 million is unlikely to get you a house, though it may if it is small and not too close in to downtown (or if you are buying land value).

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Where are the high voltage power lines in Los Gatos?

Power lines and tower behind residential neighborhood in Los GatosA few years ago I made a study of Google maps, looking at the “earth view” or satellite photographs to locate the high voltage power lines in the west valley and Los Gatos.

There’s an embedded google map below, but for those who would prefer a narrative, here’s a summary of the trail of these lines (deemed reliable but not guaranteed, and not every street is mentioned, this is only a very general description):

These towers and electric lines are fairly parallel to Highway 85 on the west and north side of town, adjacent to Pollard and Wedgewood (near the Rio Rinconada neighborhood) and following both the highway and train tracks immediately.

Heading south, the power line trail courses through the Wimbleton townhousecomplex, moves across Winchester Boulevard near Lark Avenue, and then continues its distancing from the freeway by cutting in further just north of the Vasona Dam (between there and Lark Avenue).

From there, the lines are seen over the the Live Oak Manor Park & play ground, and makes its way down the middle of Blackwell Drive, emerging near Mission Oaks Hospital (a campus of Good Samaritan Hospital nearby), then across Los Gatos Almaden and the Los Gatos Village townhome community.

Now the meandering path will straighten out and lie between the backyard fences of residential streets, such as between Coronet and Blossom Valley Drive in the Alta Vista neighborhood, behind Anne Way (the Strathmore neighborhood) and into the Drysdale tract in San Jose’s Cambrian area, moving toward Camden Avenue and behind the Oak Canyon neighborhood at the beginning of Almaden Valley.

The trail of the high voltage lines somehow gripped me so much that I ended up tracing it all the way from the hills in Cupertino into Saratoga before Los Gatos, then on through our town and into Cambrian, Almaden, Blossom Valley and Santa Teresa (areas of San Jose for any newcomers). Just to be complete, I tracked them all the way to the substation in Coyote Valley and then up into the Santa Cruz Mountains near Montevina Rd and through the Lexington area. (You can see all of this on my Valley of Hearts Delight blog.)

Below is the embedded map. If for any reason it’s not working, you can see the same info by clicking on this link.


View High Voltage Power Lines in Los Gatos and the West Valley in a larger map

Annual Great Race from Saratoga to Los Gatos is this Sunday

April 24, 2014

Great Race 2014This Sunday, April 27th,  will be the 37th “Great Race” between Saratoga and Los Gatos.  The scenic four mile run draws thousands of runners who will traverse the scenic highway between these two towns, ending up on North Santa Cruz Avenue in Los Gatos.

The Rotary club offers this fun event each year with the help of a number of sponsors.  For many years in a row, Sereno Group, where I work, is the “presenting sponsor”.  Many other local business back this great fundraiser too. See the list here: 

http://losgatosrotary.org/the-great-race-sponsors/

Find registration info on the Rotary Club’s website here – 
http://losgatosrotary.org/event-registration-info/

How does crime in Los Gatos compare to other parts of California?

February 15, 2013

There are several websites which allow consumers to compare and contrast things like home prices, cost of living, crime statistics, and other factors.  This morning I was looking on the Neighborhood Scout site and was interested in seeing how various parts of California compared to Los Gatos.  The site has several ways of viewing the info, including a color coded map which indicates the crime rate by shades of blue (darkest being the safest).  Here are a few areas in the state, including our town. 
 
Neighborhood Scout – Los Gatos info (once there, you can also see various parts of LG with their different crime ratings too)
 
 
California 1 in 243
Santa Barbara 1 in 274
San Jose 1 in 297
San Luis Obispo 1 in 332
Los Gatos 1 in 712
Saratoga 1 in 1900 (one of the safest 100 cities in the US)

Another good resource is Sperling’s Best Places: http://www.bestplaces.net/

Santa Clara Valley Wineries Passport Weekend

October 05, 2012

Red grapes (from the Los Gatos Famer's Market)The Santa Clara Valley Wineries are hosting a passport weekend again Oct 6 & 7 2012 from 11am to 5pm.  For $30, it’s a great reason to stop by a number of local, fine wine tasting rooms, including Testarossa, Byington, and The French Cellar (in Los Gatos or LG mountains), Cinnabar, Cooper-Garrod, and Savannah-Chanelle (in Saratoga) and several more. 

What’s offered?  The website for the association says “Barrel Tasting – BBQs – Winery Tours – Special Discounts – New Releases – Music – AND GREAT WINES!” 

Passports can be purchased at any of the participating wineries.

 For more information, check out the website (small print indicates that this weekend applies too – initially it looks as though it’s for a similar event in March only).

http://www.santaclarawines.com/index.php/wsdevent/eventview/action/view/frmArticleID/57/

Los Gatos Residents Love Their Clothes: Spending Per Capita is 2nd Highest in the Nation

March 31, 2011

Infiniti Botique in Los Gatos (click on image to view related post)Newcomers who settle in Los Gatos have noted to me many times that our town is the “most European feeling” of any in Silicon Valley – or perhaps the Bay Area. (And that is a major draw.)  

One reason might be that folks here dress well.  It’s not Milan, Florence, or Paris, but Los Gatans spend a lot of money on clothing.  In fact, it’s the second highest per capita in the nation, just after the tony city of Danville in the east Bay, according to the US Census Bureau and reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Also ranking high on the list of big spenders for threads in the US in Santa Clara County are nearby Los Altos (#3), Saratoga (#6) and Santa Clara (#8).

As a region, Silicon Valley is not known for high fashion – or fashion at all, actually (pocket protectors are long gone, but the jokes continue).  But step into Los Gatos and it’s a little different… a little more European….  Los Gatos lives in two worlds: its own town, history, events and activities but also the broader, high tech, Sharks loving community of Silicon Valley and the South Bay.  And it’s equally comfortable with both.

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
License# 01153805

Selling homes in
Silicon Valley, with
special focus on
Los Gatos

and nearby areas,
including
Monte Sereno,
Saratoga,
Campbell,
and the San Jose areas of
Cambrian and Almaden Valley

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