The Cornucopia Fruit Stand

Perched at a slight angle on Winchester Boulevard, the Cornucopia Fruit Stand is a celebrated remnant of the town’s agricultural heritage that you can still enjoy. Established in 1976, Cornucopia continues selling seasonal produce almost year-round. Spring and summer mean fresh fruit and veggies, and for the holidays it’s a great spot for top-grade Christmas trees.

This weekend my family and I stopped by the Cornucopia Fruit Stand in Los Gatos to stock up on some Halloween pumpkins. If you’re still looking for a squash for your porch, Cornucopia has a plethora – from Sugar Pie Pumpkins for carving to the fancy Cinderella pumpkins! And what would a pumpkin patch be without some festivity? Los Gatos’ Original Great Pumpkin Patch (as they proudly call it) is decorated with painted pumpkins (also for sale), instagrammable photo spots, friendly scare crows, and classic Halloween stand-in cutouts for the kids.

 

14288 Winchester Blvd, Los Gatos, CA 95032

Hours: 10AM – 6PM
Phone: (408) 374-6453
2019-10-27 Cornucopia Fruit Stand Los Gatos 5 decorated pumpkins
You can also visit Cornucopia Fruit Stand on their Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.
2019-10-27 Cornucopia Fruit Stand Los Gatos 6 Betty Boop pumpkin

Sacred Heart Jesuit Center Grotto

The Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos is a place I visit frequently, as I have an elderly uncle, a retired Jesuit priest, in the infirmary there. (Another uncle, also a member of the Society of Jesus, passed away there in late 2017.) I try to go about once a week, but if he’s ill, I’ll pop in more frequently. We visit, attend Mass, and have lunch together.

This is private property, just past the Testarossa Winery, so I’m not encouraging people to wander up there. But it is very serene and beautiful, and often I’m taken with the peace and beauty of the place. Most Los Gatans will never visit in person, so I like to share some of my favorite photos of Sacred Heart Jesuit Center here from time to time. The link in the first sentence will bring you to another article about what used to be “The Novitiate” with a slideshow at the bottom.

At the end of the driveway is a lookout point, but before that is a Grotto honoring Our Lady of Lourdes and showing a statue of St. Bernadette in prayer.

Taken this week, below please find a closeup of the statue of St. Bernadette in prayer, gazing upward toward the apparition of Our Lady, surrounded by beautiful calla lilies.

Sacred Heart Jesuit Center - Bernadette of Lourdes statue
Sacred Heart Jesuit Center – Bernadette of Lourdes statue

 

Next, a photo of the Grotto taken in summer 2016 (during the drought), and found in the slideshow at my earlier post about SHJC. (If you Google Lourdes Grotto and see the photos, you’ll recognize the layout.) On crowded days, this area fills up with cars, unfortunately, as there are not a lot of parking areas. In recent years, two Jesuit provinces have merged and now all of the west coast Jesuits in a retirement home, assisted living, or infirmary living situation are here.  More care takers and other employees are here as well, hence the parking overflow.

 

The Grotto at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center - the Jesuit Novitiate in Los Gatos - 2016

Photo of The Grotto at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center taken in June 2016

I’m fortunate to be able to visit family here at Sacred Heart. An added bonus for me is seeing some of my former college professors and classmates there as well. It feels like an extension of home since I have been there countless times. And yet I often see something new, or see something in a new light.

There are moments where both the natural beauty and the religious meaning of artwork truly strike me. St. Bernadette’s feast day is April 16th, yesterday, the day I took the photo of her statue among the lilies. Getting in my car, parked right next to it, I was inspired by the way the light hit the statue and the flowers. I had not realized that it was her feast day when I felt pulled to photograph it. Isn’t life just like that sometimes?

 

You can read more about the Society of Jesus, also known as The Jesuits, here:

http://Jesuits.org/ (site for the order, which is the largest religious order of Catholic men in the world)

https://JesuitsWest.org/ the site for this province, which includes California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and Hawaii

You can read about St. Bernadette on the Franciscan Media website.

Rainy day things to do in and near Los Gatos

RainBy all standards, winter in Los Gatos is mild, and any rain we get is overdue and welcomed with gratitude.  Even so, the colder and wetter temps can tend to keep us from some of our beloved outdoor activities – at least for a little bit.

Where do you like to go on a rainy day, or one which is unusually chilly?  Here are a few suggestions:

  1. The Los Gatos Public Library is stunning, filled with natural light, includes WiFi and even has a little cafe on the first floor.  One thing it doesn’t have is a whole lot of quiet, though (and this is before the high school let out, so no finger pointing at teens).  Twice recently I’ve been in the quiet zone areas and had a variety of loud noises – mostly people talking on cell phones, but not only that. So go – but bring headphones or ear buds so you can listen to your own music and not someone crinkling bags or catching up by phone.
  2. Right next to the new public library… The Museums of Los Gatos recently combined and are now in the location where the old Los Gatos Library used to be – on the Civic Center campus.  What could be better than a museum on a wet day?  Check out the NUMU site and plan your trip – come rain or come shine!
  3. There aren’t many sports which you can play indoors in Los Gatos but Bocce Ball is one of them!  How about lunch or dinner at Campo di Bocce, which has both indoors and outdoors courts?  The ambiance and food are great, and it’s a super atmosphere for a family get-together or company party.
  4. How about a movie? The Los Gatos Theater has been renovated recently and is stunning!  If you haven’t had a chance to visit there since it reopened, the inclement weather is your perfect excuse!
  5. Visit Petroglyph in downtown Los Gatos and make something beautiful!

There are lots of options in and around San Jose, too.

Do you love video games?  Check out the AFK Video Game Lounge in downtown San Jose.

A rainy winter may just be the very best time to finally see all the local Silicon Valley museums you’ve been putting off seeing since the weather was just too good to be indoors:

Have fun, and please email me if I’m missing anything that should be added to this list!

California Cafe in Old Town is closing soon

Sad news on the dining front: California Cafe in Old Town, Los Gatos, has announced that it will be closing at the end of July on its Facebook page.  No reason was provided for the closure. This fine dining establishment once hosted then-president Bill Clinton.  For many Los Gatans, it’s a go-to place for special occasions.  This lovely restaurant will be sorely missed – and we wish the proprietors well in whatever venture they next undertake.

Here’s what the restaurant said:

“After 31 years of happily serving the Los Gatos community, we regret to announce the closing of California Cafe at the end of July. Join us tomorrow, July 9, for a special one-day offer featuring 31% off all food and beverage purchases. Check back here for additional farewell offers throughout the month.”

Hurry on down there TODAY, Saturday, July 9th, for a substantial discount.  Learn more at the eatery’s FB page:
https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaCafeLG

California Cafe at Old Town, Los Gatos - closing July 2016
California Cafe at Old Town, Los Gatos – closing July 2016

Sacred Heart Jesuit Center – formerly the Jesuit Novitiate

Perhaps you’ve driven over Highway 17 from Los Gatos to Santa Cruz and wondered about the large white building off to the left, perched on a knoll overlooking the valley and that same highway.   That’s the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, now a retirement home for Jesuit priests and brothers (members of the Society of Jesus) for the provinces of California, Oregon, and Washington (now collectively known as “Jesuits West”).  Many decades ago, it was the novitiate for the California province, meaning it’s where young men entered the order.  Two of my uncles did just that.   I am a fairly frequent visitor to this lovely place now, as one of my uncles has gone full circle and has retired where he first entered. Some of my old professors from Gonzaga University in Spokane are there, too, as well as Jesuits that I knew growing up in the area.

Pan of Santa Cruz Mountains toward Los Gatos
Pan of Santa Cruz Mountains toward Los Gatos – view from the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center (formerly the Jesuit Novitiate)

So today I wanted to share some photos with you, as many people living in Los Gatos would have no occasion to visit what my family still calls The Novitiate.   However, Testarossa Winery is next door (at what used to be the Jesuit Winery), so many of my readers will have been close.  Please enjoy the photos, which I took last Saturday while there to see my uncle.

I’ve learned that the Jesuits also have a wicked sense of humor. My uncles like to joke that “even the Sacred Heart has turned his back to the Jesuits!”

 

Please remember many people call this home, so please enjoy the winery and the public trails nearby and respect that the Jesuit Center grounds and it’s parking is for the workers, residents, and their guests.

Just moved to Los Gatos with kids?

Dolce Spazio Los GatosAre you moving to Los Gatos with kids? Or just arrived?  This is a wonderful town for young people and the cool things to see and do continue year round. Below please find a list of my personal favorite places (shops, restaurants, parks etc.) and things to do with children in Los Gatos.

Things to do year round:
Los Gatos Saratoga Community Education & Recreation (all ages – classes, camps, fun things to do)
Petroglyph – decorate ceramics
Beading classes (older kids) at Natural Expressions in the Opera House
Oak Meadow and Vasona Lake County Parks carousel and small gauge train
Local parks and open space trails for hiking – see town of Los Gatos website for link

Summer fun:
Hillbrook School summer camp (horseback riding)
Youth Science Institute at Vasona
Vasona Lake County Parkpaddle boat rides, Parks & Rec classes on sailing and more
Los Gatos Creek Trail

Shops:
Affordable Treasures (wonderful for party favors, piñatas and stuffing, little gifts and trinkets!)
The Wooden Horse (fantastic toy store – get kids to think)

Food & restaurants:
Classic Burger (very casual)
Happy Hound  (very casual)
Shangri-La – Chinese food (casual)
Andale – Mexican food (casual)
Purple Onion (2 locations) (casual)
The Diner of Los Gatos (hot dogs and hamburgers in cardboard “cars”)
Double D’s  Sports Bar
Los Gatos Cafe (cinnamon buns, breakfast for all)
Also: the Farmers’ Market on Sundays has a wonderful crepe booth!
—>Add link to article on patio dining in Live in Los Gatos blog

Desserts and sweet stuff:
Icing on the Cake – bakery and desserts
Dolce Spazio – gelato
Powell’s Sweet Shop

Seasonal events:
Holiday tree lighting (usually 1st Friday night in December)  & Holiday Parade (usually 1st Sat in Dec)
Screen on the Green – free movie night each September at Oak Meadow
Summer free music concert series: Jazz on the Plazz, Music in the Park, Vasona Vibrations

 

Another article which includes things to do NEAR Los Gatos with kids, and not just IN LG:
https://liveinlosgatosblog.com/kid-friendly-things-to-do-in-and-near-los-gatos/