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.
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.
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.
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
By 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:
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.
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!
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.
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!
Visit Petroglyph in downtown Los Gatos and make something beautiful!
There are lots of options in and around San Jose, too.
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.”
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.
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 its parking is for the workers, residents, and their guests.
NB: I am related to Jesuits but do not work for the province. The number for the reception desk at Sacred Heart is 408-884-1700.
Are 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.