Vasona Park’s Fantasy of Lights (Light Festival)

2022 Fantasy of Lights in Los GatosThe 24th annual Fantasy of Lights show at Vasona Lake County Park begins soon! Occasionally people call me to ask about it – please note that I do not run the event – I am only posting information about it. Full info can be found on the county’s park website, linked below.

24th annual Fantasy of Lights:

Get your tickets now, they sell out fast! Entry with prepaid tickets only!

What: The Fantasy of Lights

When:

Walk-thru Weekend Dec 3 & 4, 2022 from 4 to 9 pm

Drive-thru Nights Dec 6 – 30, 2022 with 30 minute slots from 6pm to 9:30pm

Open rain or shine. As always, the Fantasy of Lights is closed on Christmas Day (Dec 25).

Where: Vasona Lake County Park, 333 Blossom Hill Road (near University Avenue) Los Gatos, CA

How much: Tickets must be purchased in advance available online through EventBrite.

Walk through cost is $10 for ages 13 and up, $5 for ages 4 – 12, and free for 3 and under (tickets still required for free entry!)

Drive through cost is $20 per regular vehicle (up to 12 passenger capacity), $50 per oversized vehicle (13+ passenger capacity).

More details:

Please visit the Santa Clara County Parks page for the Fantasy of Lights to get more information and updates on this event.

Please check the county’s page for this event.

More questions? PLEASE do NOT call me about this event. Please contact the SCC Parks Dept and check out their website for the Fantasy of Lights! The Vasona phone number is (408) 355-2201.

Please visit Live in Los Gatos for year round events, neighborhood information, photos around the town, interesting real estate market data, haunted places and the occasional historical tidbit.

 

Los Gatos is a wonderful place to visit during the holidays, but it’s also a great place to live year round! If you are interested in buying a home in Los Gatos (or selling one), please contact me, Mary Pope-Handy (contact information in the sidebar). I’m both a Realtor based in the Town of Los Gatos and a resident myself, working full time in helping nice folks to buy and sell homes here and throughout the west valley and greater Silicon Valley communities.

If you aren’t familiar with the area, here are a few things to know!
Buy a home in Los Gatos (info on neighborhoods, school districts, homes for sale to browse online, links to important local sites & info)
Relocating and buying a house in Los Gatos
Los Gatos real estate on Facebook
Monthly Los Gatos real estate market update
Los Gatos real estate market statistics & trends for houses
Los Gatos realty trends and stats for condos & townhouses

 

 

 

Belwood, Belgatos, and Surmont neighborhood

The Belwood, Belgatos, and Surmont neighborhood in east Los Gatos is a tidy community at the base of the hills and close to beautiful Belgatos Park. It includes 4 subdivisions which all share access to the Belwood of Los Gatos cabana. They include:

  • Surmont, the oldest section of the neighborhood, with semi custom homes (“Class D” optional cabana membership)
  • Belgatos, which was built next and is on the west side of Belgatos Road (“Class D” optional cabana membership)
  • Belwood of Los Gatos, a large tract neighborhood with the cabana at its heart (mandatory cabana membership, many homes now extensively remodeled or rebuilt)
  • A small subdivision with 14 homes built between 1977 and 1979 that wasn’t given a name, unfortunately: Tract 5921 (10 homes) and Lots A – D. (“Class D” optional cabana membership)

 

Where is the Belwoood, Belgatos, and Surmont neighborhood?

The community is located on the south side of Blossom Hill Road, generally between Westhill Drive and Harwood Road.

Nearby public landmarks are Belgatos Park and the Walgreen’s shopping center (corner of Blossom Hill and Harwood), with a Mountain Mike’s Pizza and a newly added cake shop.

 

Belwood Belgatos Surmont Heritage Grove neighborhoods map

 

There’s a fair amount of confusion about what is or isn’t in this neighborhood or who can use or join the pool. Adding to the location confusion, The Los Gatos Monte Sereno Police cert map identifies the whole region plus the Strathmore neighborhood, which is across Blossom Hill Road, as “Belwood” generally.

What are the schools for this neighborhood?

The public schools for this area are Noddin Elementary, Union Middle, and Leigh High School.

What’s the neighborhood like?

The terrain is nearly level, with very low, gentle hills over most of the area. For those looking for an arduous climb on foot or bike, though, Harwood Road provides a nice challenge. At the top, you’ll see a fantastic view of downtown San Jose and Silicon Valley for your trouble. There are some challenges to be found in the open space trails, too.

With winding, mostly tree-lined roads and tidy houses as a rule (there are only a very few exceptions). It is a very attractive neighborhood overall.

Some streets have sidewalks, but many do not. There are not a lot of street lamps, which makes for wonderful night sky viewing.

Park and trails

At the middle of this community is the very inviting Belgatos Park, a scenic, setting which includes a playground near the parking lot, picnic areas, restrooms, trails into the hills (with some wonderful valley views), and access to the Heinz Open Space Preserve and its network of trails also. (And it’s not far to the Santa Rosa Open Space area either.)

One hill attracts kids who enjoy sliding down it on bits of cardboard, and thus has been nicknamed “cardboard hill” for decades. Most of the time these cardboard sledding enthusiasts are pretty good about picking up their “sledding vehicles” when done.

The paths are popular with people on foot, but also those on mountain bikes or horseback. As there are a few larger properties which are zoned for horses in the area, this is a very nice equestrian option. There are 2 nearby places for horse boarding, too.

 

Aerial view of Belwood of Los Gatos neighborhood 2016

 

For photographers, the park has abundant worthy subjects year round, both of the open space and the valley views below. In the early morning hours, or near sunset, you may see some deer too. But be careful: bobcats and mountain lions are in these hills also.

What are homes like in this part of town?

Read more

Glenridge & Bachman Park neighborhood

The Glenridge neighborhood of Los Gatos s one of the most scenic residential areas anywhere in Silicon Valley. It features beautiful, custom, mostly historic homes on meandering streets. Set just above the Almond Grove neighborhood on a gentle hill it, too is close to town but with a little more altitude and better vistas.

Bachman Park is set in this area too and includes several acres alongside a creek. The park offers picnic tables, a playground, basketball courts and a large grassy field for picnics or play. A paved path follows the creek on one side of it – making a wonderful place just for strolling.

Where is the Glenridge area?

This charming older Los Gatos neighborhood is set just up the hill from the Almond Grove Historic District and adjacent to Fairview Plaza.

Read more

Saratoga Highlands, Rio Rinconada, Granada Way and La Rinconada Park Neighborhood

Saratoga Highlands, Rio Rinconada, Granada Way and La Rinconada Park neighborhood are situated in west Los Gatos near the Campbell and Saratoga borders. As they are close to the large Safeway and surrounding shops along Pollard Road, this is a very convenient community.In this area you’ll find a beautiful park and tidy neighborhood with homes of varying sizes and price tags. From looking at the plat maps, I believe that originally this entire area was part of the Rinconada Hills tract of land, but today just part of the area, the gated community, bears that name. (Video below of a sampling of the area that I took from 2014!)

 

 

Please continue reading for much more information on the neighborhood!

Read more

What’s New? Changes and Re-Openings in Los Gatos

Open Sign NeonSpring has stretched into summer and while closure protocols remain in place, the Town of Los Gatos has been progressively re-opening.

Safe Summer Reading

Socially distant opportunities are ever-expanding. The Town Library is working hard to circulate your summer-reads safely. Residents can now check-out material online with safe patio pick-up for books, CDs, and DVDs. Virtual services include online classes and remote storytimes in addition to the virtual library services already in place.

Summer concerts have gone virtual, too, at least for Jazz on the Plazz.

Back in Business

Unfortunately, increasing virus spread has led to a rollback on opening many indoor services. Outdoors, however, there’s plenty to do!

Back in May the Town Council began work and the April-approved reallocation of $1.9M in surplus to bolster local COVID-19 economic recovery. Some of this has been used to help create the outdoor expansions into temporary parklets.

If you haven’t been downtown recently, it’s all hustle and bustle with the new setup. Patio dining is now available at many of your favorite restaurants. Personal services including hair salons, cosmetologists, nail salons, and barbershops are now also open for business – outdoors and by reservation only. The weekly farmers market is still open for business every Sunday.

While indoor malls remain closed you can still enter shops in outdoor malls or at standalone stores, so window-shoppers, follow the posted rules and enjoy stalking the shelves!

Re-Opening the Outdoors

Los Gatos Collage Re-OpeningTrails and parks remain open with social distancing requirements. Boating on Vasona Lake is open with plenty of safety protocols in place. County parks have yet to reopen playgrounds, water fountains, and group picnic sites, according to their website, so keep that in mind when you plan a Vasona visit. Town parks have reopened some sports equipment (such as tennis courts), and playgrounds, picnic tables, and BBQ areas are all open for use. The Town of Los Gatos is accepting picnic site reservations online again.

To keep track of what’s open and what’s changing in the Town of Los Gatos, check the Town Department Updates page, the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce Open Businesses page, or contact individual businesses for details.

Remember that the best practice is still to remain home as much as possible. When not possible, follow all safety protocols, wear a mask, stay physically distant, and wash your hands often.

Social distance hiking at Belgatos Park

In these days of staying home, I thought my fellow Los Gatans might enjoy photos of Belgatos Park taken this week. It’s our neighborhood park, so my family and I visit there often.

Coming in on the side at the Bacigalupi Connector, there is now a sign….

 

Sign at the Bacigalupi Connector in Belgatos Park advising visitors to stay 6 feet apart & practice social distance

 

The statement is a reminder to practice social distancing, to keep 6 feet apart from others during this shelter in place period due to the coronavirus outbreak.

 

Social distance hiking is allowed - sign reminding people to keep 6' apart

 

And just a few more photos from the day before along the Ridge Trail in Belgatos Park;

 

2020-03-26 Belgatos Park Trail 1

 

And a little further up the Ridge Trail

 

2020-03-26 Belgatos Park Trail 2

 

View of the water tanks, site still under construction

 

View of the water tanks and construction area just off the Ridge Trail at Belgatos Park

 

And a great shot of the valley below

 

Valley view from the Ridge Trail at Belagos Park in Los Gatos

Parks open, playgrounds closed

Today my family and I walked over to Belgatos Park (our usual haunt) and saw a number of people out on bikes or walking en route. We wondered if there would be kids in close proximity on the playground, but the answer is no – it’s cordoned off for public safety during the coronavirus “Shelter in Place”. Makes sense.

Belgatos Park playground closed Covid-19 - side view

 

The police tape prohibiting entrance to the playground comes with a sign about the closure.

 

Belgatos Park sign that playground is closed - coronavirus Shelter In Place

 

Please stay well, one and all!