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

LG Lifestyle

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.

2019 10 27 Cornucopia Fruit Stand Los Gatos 2 - The Cornucopia Fruit Stand

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.

 

2019 10 27 Cornucopia Fruit Stand Los Gatos 3 - The Cornucopia Fruit Stand

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

Los Gatos: a town that loves dogs

Pizza My Heart dog tie ups in Los GatosThe irony is not lost on the locals that our town is named for cats (Los Gatos is Spanish for The Cats) and yet the townsfolk and the area’s businesses seem to cater to dogs and their human friends and family.  Much  of Silicon Valley is dog-friendly, but Los Gatos seems to be especially supportive to dogs.

If you are new to Los Gatos, and you have a canine companion in your home, you may be delighted to learn that there are many places where Fido will be welcome (even if left outside).

  • A stroll down North Santa Cruz Avenue or nearby streets reveals that this is a dog-friendly community. You can’t miss the number of dog water bowls available!
  • A few places, like Wells Fargo Bank and Pizza My Heart, have leash holders.
  • Los Gatos even shares a dog park with our neighbor to the north, the City of Campbell. (Here’s a list of a number of local dog parks, not just the Los Gatos & Campbell one.)
  • Patio dining is easy to find in Los Gatos. I believe that most or all of the restaurants, cafes, wine bars,  etc. permit dogs in the outdoor areas. I’m a little surprised that the chain restaurant, Lazy Dog, has not found a way to open a restaurant in Los Gatos. As far as I know, the nearest one is in Cupertino.
  • Periodically, there are doggie events, such as the Paws & Pedals fundraiser (or in the past, the Howling Halloween dog costume party – which sadly has been discontinued).

Due to health code reasons, the Los Gatos Sunday Farmer’s Market is not one of the happenings which can welcome pets. Luckily, if you bring along a friend, it is easy enough to spend time with your pooch at the adjacent Town Park Plaza and to have someone else visit the food stalls and make your purchases for you. The same is true for grocery stores or inside eating establishments. While service dogs or other animals are welcome, pets are not, again due to health codes.

Horsehoes in Los Gatos?

All right, neighbors, where in Los Gatos can you find these beautiful horseshoes embedded in concrete? The first individual to email me the correct answer / location will win a prize! See below for the details.

Horseshoe in concrete in Los Gatos

Although clearly this is in concrete, it’s not a sidewalk – the town does not embed items into the sidewalk. Here’s another one, if you look closely, you can see it’s not the same as the one above:

Los Gatos horseshoe in concrete

With this second one, you can see that the horseshoe is adjacent to a large tree. Does that help?  Maybe one more, yet another:

A third horseshoe in Los Gatos

With this last one, it does appear that the horseshoe is next to a walkway or maybe a sidewalk. What do you think?

The first person who emails me the correct answer will get a $10 Starbucks gift card  – please email me at mary@popehandy.com and put the word Horseshoe in the subject line. Please also provide your first name 🙂

Wildfire Evacuation Route signs being installed

Wildfire Evacuation Route in Los GatosThe Town of Los Gatos takes its responsibility for minimizing risk from flood, fire, earthquake, or other disasters seriously.  A few months ago, I began to notice “Flood evacuation route” signs.  First I noticed it along Blossom Hill Road, close to the Highway 17 over crossing, and later on Lark Avenue.  (Lexington Reservoir  is located further down the highway and a break in the dam would bring tons of water screaming down the highway 17 corridor.)  Seemed like a wise idea, given that we have that and also Vasona Lake right here.

Additionally, though, last week I saw a “Wildfire Evacuation Route” sign too.  It was located on Prospect Avenue and Kimble Avenue, across from the new Sorellas housing development which is currently under construction by Summerhill (formerly the Holy Names Sisters convent and Casa Maria Montessori School).

If you live in a woodsy or mountainous area, the odds are good that your property is located in a zone earmarked as high risk for wildfires, and you’ve been notified that brush must be cleared 100 feet away from your house or structure annually to create “defensible space”. (Some of the best Los Gatos real estate can be found in those areas!) What isn’t always so apparent is where to go in the case of a wildfire.  These new signs should help to improve safety in case of a serious fire.

You may not know that the town has some helpful resources online, too.  You can find them here:

http://www.losgatosca.gov/1359/Fire-Safety-and-Wildfire-Preparedness

CalFire flier on creating 100′ of defensible space around your home (pdf)

Other helpful info:

Flood evacuation information on the town’s website

72-Hour Emergency Preparedness Kit Checklist (pdf)

“Los Gatos Prepared” revised

Statement of purpose on the Los Gatos Prepared page:
Empowering Community Self-Sufficiency towards the ultimate goal of every resident and business in Los Gatos having the awareness, skills, and resources necessary to be self-sufficient in the event of an  earthquake, fire, flood, or possible flu pandemic

Los Gatos historical walking tour app: LOST GATOS

Michael Kane as Mountain Charlie 2007 Historic Walking Tour in Los Gatos

Michael Kane as Mountain Charlie in the 2007 Historic Walking Tour in Los Gatos

Locals may remember that a few years back, there was a wonderful “Los Gatos History Walk” put on every year or so.  Town residents would don garments from a bygone era and take on the persona of legendary Los Gatos figures for a few hours. Both fun and educational, it provided a sense of the town’s past – both the buildings and the people’s.  It was absolutely wonderful while we had it.

Today, there’s an app for that!  It’s called Discover LOST Gatos and as of this writing, there are 3 different tours:

  1. The Heart of Los Gatos (approximately a 35 minute walking tour with 12 stops)
  2. Los Gatos: The Gem City (a 45 minute walk with 12 stops
  3. The Cradle of Los Gatos (50 minute stroll with 13 stops)

The Mercury News did a nice article on this and will fill in the details on who’s behind this wonderful idea.

http://www.mercurynews.com/los-gatos/ci_30098778/los-gatos-discover-lost-gatos

As for me, I just downloaded it to my phone and look forward to getting to know our beautiful town a little more.  You can find it online wherever you get your phone’s apps – just search for LOST Gatos.

April is Green! It’s "Keep Los Gatos Beautiful" Month

DocumentDid you know that April “Keep Los Gatos Beautiful” Month? There’s a lot of emphasis on the town being “green” too. Events include:

For detailed information on these events and MORE, please see the Los Gatos town newsletter, “Keep Los Gatos Beautiful”. Check out the Town’s Environmental Services page or sign up for the Growing Greener newsletter to stay up to date throughout the year.

 

(Originally posted April 04, 2014, updated for this year April 5, 2016)

Holiday Encore Sale benefitting EMQ

EMQFFEMQ (previously known as Eastfield Ming Quong) is hosting a “Holiday Encore Sale” Oct. 10 and Oct. 11 2015 from 9 – 4 at the EMQ FamiliesFirst Community Room at its center in Campbell.  This fundraiser is being run by the EMQ Auxilary and the Butter Paddle (the Los Gatos store run by volunteers, many of whom are Los Gatans, with profits supporting EMQ)  in support of children and their families who are in crisis.  Locals know, but newcomers may not, that EMQ has a site here in Los Gatos, too.)

Donations are being sought for like new and very gently used holiday items.

Address: EMQFF Community Room 251 Llewellyn Avenue, Campbell, CA 95008

For more details:

http://business.losgatoschamber.com/events/details/holiday-encore-sale-3999

 

Learn more:

EMQ represents the merger years ago of two organizations: Eastfield and Ming Quong.

To learn about EMQFF’s work:  http://emqff.org/

Interesting history of Ming Quong: Ming Quong: A History of Rescuing Chinese American Girls (the stuff of movies!)

Info on Donaldina Cameron, who founded the Ming Quong Home for girls and the Chung Mei Home for boys.

Cameron House in San Francisco

Whole Foods in Los Gatos: don’t donate outside, donate at the cash register

Whole foods distraction free shoppingOn Tuesday of this week, I dashed into the Whole Foods in Los Gatos to pick up a couple of items. It was more crowded than usual, apparently due to the Labor Day weekend we’d just finished.   The staff was cheerful and moved fast.  But when it got time to pay, the requests for donations came one after the other.  I’d brought my bag from the trunk of my car and the first question I got was whether I wanted to donate the bag discount or take a few pennies off my bill.  Then I was asked if I wanted to donate to a charity.  And finally, I was asked if I wanted to “round up” my purchase price and give the rest to a worthy cause.

In short, within about 60 seconds, I was asked to donate three times.

That felt excessive, even though the amounts were small.

As I emerged from the store, I noticed for the first time a large placard, proudly notifying the consumers who shop at Whole Foods that they should ignore anyone asking them for money outside, that this shopping center, Cornerstone, supports a “distraction free” shopping experience.

What hit me, though, was the irony:  Whole Foods doesn’t want veterants, Girl Scouts, Teen Challenge, or anyone else volunteering for a worthy cause asking for donations outside of their store.

No, they want you and me to donate inside, instead, through them.

Does that seem right to you?

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/

Chocolate Dream Box – a Los Gatos Treasure!

Chocolate Dream box name and logoChocolate Dream Box has been a part of the Los Gatos landscape, in one location or another, for many years.  It first opened in downtown along North Santa Cruz Avenue, then was located on Los Gatos Boulevard and Blossom Hill Road at King’s Court Shopping Center, and now calls The Downing Center (at the corner of Union & Los Gatos-Almaden Road) home.

Today I stopped in to see the new shop, to buy a gourmet chocolate gift and see how the owner, Holly Westbrook, and staff are doing.  I’d blogged about it in 2011, back at the old location, and thought an update was in order, too, for their new location (and my blog’s new location).

Things seem to be great overall.  The new store is bigger and brighter than the former one was and feels comfortably roomy.  The decor is always beautiful, with a hint of Europe here and there to remind visitors of the inspiration.

What’s selling?  Old favorites, such as the dark and milk chocolate cats, can still be found, and as always, there’s an abundance of specialty candies and exceptionally beautiful and tasty truffles.    There are non-candy gift items too, pretty affordably priced also.  Today I saw a pewter fleur de lis that was quite tempting…

The move was, of course, a lot of work for them, and if you’re local, you know that they hadn’t wanted to move but got forced out by their former landlord.  Any business owner would be concerned about losing customers with a new location, but I imagine in time everyone will find their way to the new shop – it’s only 1.5 miles away from the old one.   An unexpected element, though, happened too – the Yelp reviews from the old location could not transfer to the new one – ouch! If you are a fan, cruise on over there and give them a shout out.  I did that today; it’s great to support our local Los Gatos businesses!

Truffles

 

Truffles, truffles, and more truffles.  The biggest problem with visiting the Chocolate Dream Box is figuring out which one(s) to buy! Continue reading

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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

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