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!
Originally posted December 07, 2006, updated Aug 2014 and Mar 2020.
Fairview Plaza feels like a step back in time – and in many ways, it is. This little neighborhood is so quaint and unique that it seems perfect for a movie set. Located close to downtown and equally close to huge expanses of open space, it enjoys its own park, has an interesting history and is enough off the beaten path that it goes largely undisturbed.
In 1880, Frank McCullough came to Los Gatos and bought 166 acres of prime real estate. From that land, in 1915 he donated a parcel to become a park, now Fairview Plaza Park. At one time it included playground equipment and a bird sanctuary too. Today it’s a little more congested with cars on the street, but it’s still quite pleasant. This little park is the heart of the neighborhood. Have a look at the video to get a feel for the area, then continue reading for more info on the neighborhood.
Being an older part of town, Fairview Plaza is an official historic district for the town. It gets some special attention for this, but also some restrictions so that the character of the neighborhood is not harmed by bad remodeling or additions.
A prized part of Fairview Plaza is not actually visible from the street. Tucked behind the other homes is the Clara Huntington Perkins house, which was designed by Julia Morgan in about 1918-1919.
To get to Fairview Plaza, you have two choices. You can make use of a walkway / staircase that rises from Bayview and makes a direct connection to the neighborhood, or you can arrive there via Pennsylvania Avenue, Fairview Avenue, and then Fairview Plaza. The street is really an enormous cul-de-sac, with no “through traffic.” But unlike the cul-de-sacs of suburbia, this one is an entire community unto itself. Make a visit up there and rest a bit in the community park. You will enjoy pretty architecture but also a glimpse back in time. Enjoy!
The Town of Los Gatos is home to many lovely neighborhoods with historic homes (Broadway Area Historic District, Fairview Plaza and others), but perhaps none is so quaint or popular as the Almond Grove neighborhood. (See video drive through this neighborhood near the bottom of this article.)
Location, location, location: the Almond Grove’s got it
The location itself could be very compelling alone as the Almond Grove neighborhood is as much “in town” as “walk to town” with so many activities and opportunities happening along North Santa Cruz Avenue, Main Street and University Avenue – all a stone’s throw away. Quite vibrant, downtown Los Gatos enjoys an inordinate amount of restaurants, shops, coffee houses, bars, places to dine , taste wine, stroll or take in a film. It’s also home to free musical concerts in the summer, a parade in December, a gorgeous new public library, a Farmer’s Market every weekend and many other events year round. Finally, the Almond Grove is set near two parks, Bachman Park and the Los Gatos Town Plaza, so there’s a good amount of open space nearby too. There’s something for everyone!
Traditionally designed neighborhood with good community results
The allure of the Almond Grove is more than convenience, though. There’s an old time friendliness that seems to come with the big, welcoming front porches on so many of the older houses. Dwellings are also set closer together than one might find in suburbia, too. Rather than live so much in the privacy of the backyard, there’s an invitation implicit with this combination of close neighbors and a front porch that seems to underscore that residents are part of the neighborhood community and a bit less secluded.
The Almond Grove displays that sense of community from October to January especially, when it steps out as the best decorated corner of Los Gatos with a huge percentage of participation in the effort. Halloween is a great example. People’s enthusiasm is evident in by the beginning of October as props come out for the spookiest day of the year. Sometimes even in September, “Land of the Giant” sized spiders begin to appear, life-sized ghosts start to swing from porches and trees, the normally tidy and trim picket fences become smudged with spider webs, and every manner of Halloween decor drapes the district. On Halloween night, the Almond Grove district becomes positively overrun with enthusiastic kids from all over Los Gatos. I’ve been told that some homes get as many as 1,000 trick-or-treaters on Halloween night there.
The Vista del Monte neighborhood is popular with Los Gatos home buyers as it offers close proximity to downtown Los Gatos (about a mile from Los Gatos High School), tree lined streets, sidewalks, and a beautiful neighborhood park. The terrain is mostly level but there are a few homes with views.
Like most of Los Gatos, there is some variation in the size of the houses and lots, but to describe the area generally, it’s fair to say that most are ranch style homes (single story, split level and 2 story homes) built in the late 1950s to mid 1960s, with some built in the late 70s. The average home size is about 2300 SF (most range between 1500 and 3000 SF) and the average lot size is about a quarter acre (many are 8000 to 10,000 SF, but a few are far larger). Most houses include attached 2 car garages, but a few of the larger homes or those built more recently offer 3 car garages.
This is a nicely maintained area where you’ll find pride of ownership in the upkeep of homes and yards.
Some facts about the Vista del Monte residential area:
Location – the Vista del Monte neighborhood is in in east Los Gatos. It is located off of Kennedy Road and Harding Avenue and is adjacent to Worcester Park.
Size & boundaries – neighborhood boundaries are not exact, but the area includes about 180 homes east of Worcester Park, between Kennedy Road and Alta Vista Avenue. Several of the streets have “Vista” as part of the name: Vista del Mar, Vista del Prado, Vista de Sierra, Vista del Campo, and of course Vista del Monte. Other included roads are Cerro Chico, Jared Lane, Worcester Loop, Worcester Lane, and Harding Avenue.
Schools – Vista del Monte is in the Los Gatos Union School District.
The Park – Worcester Park is an 11 acre park with 3 trails, one of which leads to a meadow with views of the hills.
Video drive-through of the Vista del Monte neighborhood
Recently I video taped some of this area while being driven through it. This was filmed in late September of 2014, so during the 3rd year of a drought, and you will notice that the neighborhood looks a little dry (lawns are a little more tan than usual). This is true throughout Silicon Valley and California as a whole during any prolonged drought, but is not the norm otherwise.
Homes for sale in and near Vista del Monte – browse by map:
What does it cost to purchase real estate in this area?
As of March 3, 2020, four homes sold in this area over the last year. Averaging these, a 4 bed and 2 full bath home in Vista del Monte lists at almost $2.6 million and sells at almost $2.7 million. The actual range for sales was between $2 million – $3.6 million. All homes over this last year sold at a blazing speed, never lasting more than 8 days on the market!
It’s not cheap but the neighborhood tends to hold its value exceptionally well as it enjoys scenic beauty, close proximity to town, great Los Gatos schools and much more. Browse the findings below to get a sense of the current pricing there. Feel free to also check out my post on Los Gatos Real Estate Market Trends and Statistics, updated monthly, for a view of the town’s real estate trends.
Would you like to learn more about buying a home or selling a home in this or any other part of Los Gatos? Please call or email me for a private, no obligation consultation to see if we might be able to work together to help you to achieve your real estate goals.
Just west and south of the intersection of Blossom Hill Road and Harwood Road sits a neighborhood of Los Gatos homes with three subdivisions: Belwood of Los Gatos, Belgatos & Surmont. 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 Starbucks coffee shop.
For many Los Gatans, all three of these east Los Gatos areas (and sometimes a broader one still) are generally referred to as “Belwood” or “Belwood-Belgatos.” (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.)
The terrain is nearly level, with very low, gentle hills over most of the area. With winding, mostly tree-lined roads and tidy houses, it’s a very attractive neighborhood overall. 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.)
Belgatos 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.
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 Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont?
The Blossom Manor neighborhood of Los Gatos is immensely popular as it is highly “walkable” to the well regarded Los Gatos schools, parks, shops, coffee houses, restaurants and much more. Recently I took some video of this area to share – and hope you enjoy it. A further description of The Manor follows below the video. (N we are in a drought – some yards are dry looking for that reason. Only a few streets are shown, so of course the whole area is not represented, but you get a general sense of it.)
Blossom Manor Los Gatos: County or Town?
One of the oddities about Silicon Valley is that the mailing address doesn’t always line up with the jurisdiction (and also doesn’t always correlate to the school district either). You can be in the city of San Jose with a Los Gatos mailing address. You can be in Los Gatos with a San Jose mailing address. Additionally, a property can have a Los Gatos address but not actually be part of the town, but rather in an unincorporated county “pocket”.