Pampered in Los Gatos
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.
Love fine art? A fun place to stop in and get tempted by the work of creative people can be found in downtown Los Gatos at JCO’S Place, which is just a few steps from the Los Gatos Theatre, literally under its marquee.
This afternoon I was strolling past this gallery with my daughter, plus my visiting neice and nephew, who hail from Boston, and noticed some beautiful, oversized paintings. I did a double take when I saw one of Tom Brady, # 12, as you don’t normally find a lot of Patriots art here in Los Gatos. Stepping in, that wasn’t the only piece from the Northeast. It was a surprising find!
Not everything is Brady, Patriots, and Boston – there was plenty of other football art on display to keep in the theme of the game for this season and the multiple celebrations of SuperBowl 50 here in Silicon Valley. To get a better sense of the diverse offerings, check out the blog portion of her website: http://www.jcosplace.com/art-blog .
Why the Tom Brady and Patriots focus? I wish it were because they would have been in tomorrow’s game. Instead, it turns out that the proprietor of the store, Julie Jenkins, hails from Boston. I had a fun talk with her. She is very warm and welcoming, and I’d love to come back to see what she brings in next.
The shop also had an artist painting and visible from the window, Nick Brown, a very talented guy. What I saw looked quite a bit like our eastern foothills, but I didn’t get a chance to talk much as my younger relatives were ready to continue our walk through downtown Los Gatos.
Next time you are out for fun on North Santa Cruz Avenue in LG, take a few minutes and stop by JCO’s Place. I think you will enjoy it!
JCO’s Place for Fine Art
45 N Santa Cruz Avenue
Hours: As of this writing, closed or by appointment Mon and Tues. Check the most current hours on the site: http://www.jcosplace.com/visit.html
Chocolate 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, and more truffles. The biggest problem with visiting the Chocolate Dream Box is figuring out which one(s) to buy! Continue reading
Visit Tradewind Spas in Los Gatos and you’ll find friendly, knowledgeable help with maintaining or purchasing a spa. Almost 2 years ago, we purchased one from them, and received excellent assistance and no pressure from Jeff, the owner, and Don, who’s often running the store. That exceptional customer service has continued as we have returned again and again with either questions or the need to purchase supplies. Our experience has been very positive and for that reason, I wanted to give them a little blog attention. (As always, I am not compensated for this in any way, and the article was my idea, not theirs.)
Their focus customer service and their expertise is in is portable spas and hot tubs. They sell those with the most reliable manufacturers and warranties that exceed California Energy Commission standards. The brands they work with the most are MAAX/Coleman and Freeflow. (We purchased a Freeflow and have been very happy with it.)
Per the store’s website: “We are a four-time recipient of the MAAX/COLEMAN spas or hot tubs “Outstanding Service after the Sale” award. A distinction given to only three dealerships in the country each year. If your spa needs repair, we will fix it quickly and professionally.” and “We will meet or beat any competitors deal on a spa of comparable quality, size and features.”
- hot tub and spa sales
- repair parts (for spas they have sold dating back to 1980)
- spa accessories
- chemicals and water testing
- spa removal and disposal
- used hot tubs and spas
- spa/pool service and repair
Opened in 1979, Tradwind Spas has survived multiple economic downturns and multiple droughts. While many other spa outlets have gone under, they have kept their doors open. I believe that this is a testament to their fair prices and excellent service.
15736 Los Gatos Blvd.
Los Gatos, CA 95032
Hours per their website:
Monday – Saturday
10am – 6pm
Sunday 10am – 5pm
June 21, 2007
Los Gatos is a town of about 30,000 people (around 18,000 registered voters) and about 40 hair salons. Additionally, there are places in Los Gatos for nails and others for a massage.
Truly, Los Gatos is a great place to be pampered. Maybe that is why so many people seem happy as they stroll the downtown!
With no shortage of choices, the difficulty isn’t whether or not to go to Los Gatos for that perfect haircut, but only where to go in Los Gatos for that perfect haircut. The whole gamut exists here in terms of the type of “do” available and the environment in which to get it done.
For the last five or seven years, my stylist has been “J”, who runs Work Shop in the Village Lane area of Los Gatos. J is a down to earth guy who’s been doing hair for more than a decade. He’s easy to pass the time with, but even more, he does a wonderful job.
Elsa and Shane work alongside J in this offbeat, non-stuffy salon where the decor is anything but standard “California fare”. If you are expecting to hear Bocelli and see a Tuscan theme (neither of which do I mind), you’ll be surprised. It’s more like a Dia de Los Muertos scheme, purple and metallic silver paint, and kidney shaped mirrors at the stations. It’s fun, but nevermind the decor. These folks are friendly, skilled, and will make you look your best when you step out the door. The atmosphere is lighthearted, but the attention to detail is not. Finally, you won’t feel like you raided your kids’ college fund to have your hair done, either.
I can’t recommend J or Work Shop highly enough. (And no, this is not a paid endorsement. It’s just something I wanted to post since I’ve been so happy with J’s work for so many years.) It’s not the kind of place you are likely to just stumble upon – it’s a bit off the beaten path in the Village Lane area of Los Gatos.
So the location raises a question: since Village Lane used to be where the old Los Gatos Cemetery existed, is the place haunted?
There are plenty of Village Lane shops that certainly are.
“There are no bodies under this shop”, says J with certainty. Asked how he knows – after all, utility workers and others occassionally still bump into coffins when excavating some of the area – J replies that the area under Work Shop has been excavated for a parking garage.
While I love to hear ghost stories, especially local ones in Los Gatos, I have to say, in closing, that the only surprises you’ll have at Work Shop are pleasant ones.