Twin Creeks neighborhood in Monte Sereno

Twin Creeks Road near the creekThe Twin Creeks neighborhood in Monte Sereno (and a small number in Saratoga) enjoys an ideal setting away from busy commercial roads, with gently curving streets graced by creeks, an abundance of trees, and the coastal foothills as its backdrop. It’s a more rural community in that you won’t find sidewalks, curbs, gutters, or many street lamps – if any. Property in this area is impeccably presented, with nicely maintained or updated homes and often gorgeous landscaping. Both homes and land tend to be large, though not in every case.

The neighborhood does not come across as pretentious at all, although of course it is a very costly place in which to buy a home. I think it comes across as more low key because the homes seem proportionate to the land, and many are ranch style rather than something trendy. These lovely houses are in sync with the space around them, so you don’t end up with the McMansion effect. The houses are nice but do not crowd the land.

As with most of Monte Sereno, this charming neighborhood is served by the Los Gatos Union School District (or the Saratoga Union School District for the handful in Saratoga) and the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District.

What are properties like in the Twin Creeks area?

Read moreTwin Creeks neighborhood in Monte Sereno

Heritage Grove in Los Gatos

Heritage Grove is a younger east Los Gatos neighborhood which was developed by Summerhill Homes, a very highly regarded builder in Silicon Valley, in about the year 2000. It sits between the beautiful Heintz Open Space Preserve (with trails to nearby Belgatos Park and other open space) and a mini orchard along Blossom Hill Road between Union and Leigh Avenues. Recently I videotaped the community and think it’s a pretty good introduction to the neighborhood.

A few years back, I wrote about this area extensively, and included a map and slideshow, on another of my blogs (SanJoseRealEstateLosGatosHomes.com).  If you’d like more real estate information on the homes there, or the open space trails, please continue to learn more here:

The Heritage Grove Neighborhood in Los Gatos and the Heintz Open Space Preserve

Looking in this area and wondering what other neighborhoods are in this area? You might be interested in my article on this blog titled The confusion over the location of Surmont and Heritage Grove, Belwood and Belgatos subdivisions or you may want to browse the List of Los Gatos neighborhoods which is occasionally updated as I publish more posts about Los Gatos neighborhoods and subdivisions.

List of Los Gatos neighborhoods

The Town of Los Gatos is about 11 square miles and is comprised of dozens of neighborhoods in various parts of town, with different schools, zip codes, price points, plusses and minuses.  Here on the Live in Los Gatos blog there have been many, many real estate articles devoted Los Gatos neighborhoods.  Below please find links to neighborhood posts with descriptions and photos, primarily on “Live in Los Gatos” but in some cases on one of my other sites.
West Los Gatos neighborhoods
(More neighborhoods to come as time permits – I have about 25 on my list.  Want your subdivision included? Please email me and I will put it on the To Do list!)

Read moreList of Los Gatos neighborhoods

Virtual WineFest: Tasting Fundraiser by the Los Gatos Rotary!

Los Gatos Rotary Virtual WineFest & Auction 2021The annual CrabFest is postponed until next year, but the Rotary Club of Los Gatos has some new plans for 2021. Save the date for Saturday, January 30th at 5pm!

“Don’t be crabby come ‘wine’ with us.”

That’s the slogan for this year’s fundraiser, also called the Virtual Crab WineFest & Auction! This year’s main event centers around a local wine tasting guided via Zoom by professional winemaker and Los Gatan, Left Bend Wine‘s Gary Robinson. A Wine Tasting Kit for two is provided via curbside pickup 1-2 days prior to the event, which will contain 5 tastings, 1 full size bottle, and gourmet snacks. Live streamed entertainment, including a performance by the San Jose Youth Symphony, 2 door prizes, and a silent auction are served beside this deluxe wine tasting experience. And as always, proceeds benefit the Rotary Charities foundations.

Virtual WineFest & Auction

Registration is now open through the Los Gatos Rotary website. Check the Virtual WineFest & Auction event page for ticket sales, event details and updates, to view the silent auction catalogue, contact the event team, or donate directly to the fundraiser. Each ticket is for a two-person tasting experience at a cost of $150.

The event is also posted on the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce event calendar with easy links to save the date on your virtual calendar and view a video promotion for the event.

Los Gatos Carriage Rides

Los Gatos carriage ride graphic with night sky - making memoriesThe annual Los Gatos carriage rides are back this month, to the delight of many in and near town looking for a safe way to celebrate the holiday season.  To me there are few things so festive as seeing and hearing the horses clippity-clop down Main Street and North Santa Cruz Avenue each December.

It’s 2020 and nothing is really normal and that goes for these horse drawn carriage rides as well. For the safety of the driver and all, masks must be worn and riders must be all from the same household. The rides go on rain or shine unless the operator feels it would be unsafe for the horse. The dates run from Dec 4 to Dec 23, but not every single night, so please check the calendar via the link below.

What do the Los Gatos Carriage Rides cost?

This year, the horse drawn carriage ride will set you back $110 for a regularly sized carriage (4 adults, 2 kids max) or $130 for a larger one that accommodate up to 6 adults.

Where to book a reservation & pay for the Los Gatos Carriage Ride

This fun experience is sponsored by the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce, and you can purchase your tickets and read all the requirements and rules on this page.

Downtown Los Gatos is adorned with holiday lights and decor, and I’d encourage everyone to enjoy some time there, even if it’s just a socially distanced drive through the business district and nearby historic residential districts. If you can manage the horse drawn carriage rides, so much the better, but all visitors are in for a visual treat no matter how they see the area.

Vasona Park’s Fantasy of Lights (Light Festival)

21st Annual Fantasy of Lights logo, from the SCCP holiday event page 2020
22nd Annual Fantasy of Lights logo, from the SCCP event page.

The 22nd 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.

22nd annual Fantasy of Lights

When: The Fantasy of Lights runs from Friday, December 4th to Saturday, December 30th, 2020 from 6 – 9pm. This year there will be no Fantasy of Lights Walk-Thru, an opening tradition, only the drive-through spectacular. As always, the Fantasy of Lights is closed on Christmas Day.

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. Cost is $20 – per vehicle. One household per vehicle! As of this writing, November 30th, all dates and times for the 2020 Fantasy of Lights are already sold out!

More details:

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

This year the pandemic is bringing changes on this holiday tradition. However, the socially-distant nature of this event has made it especially popular in 2020! As mentioned above, there will be no walk-through event, no bus admission, limit to one household per vehicle, and nights will run an hour shorter than last year to comply with the mandatory curfew. Visitors health and safety is given top priority for this event!

The annual Holiday Train ride with the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad does not appear on the BJWRR calendar, and it is unclear whether it will be open for operation during the Fantasy of Lights Season. (In summer I learned the railroad was closed under the directive for Amusement Parks, however their social media pages show that they planned to be open the weekend of November 21-22, so they may be operating under different sector currently.) Check their social media or contact BJWRR for information on operations.

More questions? PLEASE do NOT call me about this event – I’m a Realtor in Los Gatos, I’m not in charge of this venue! 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. I’m both a Realtor in town and a resident myself, working full time in helping nice folks to buy & sell homes here and throughout the west valley.

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
Los Gatos real estate market statistics & trends for houses
Los Gatos realty trends and stats for condos & townhouses

 

 

Los Gatos duet homes

Likely the most misunderstood properties in town are the Los Gatos duet homes. This is some of the more affordable housing for buyers looking to get into Los Gatos schools, so is popular for that reason especially.  When offered for sale, they sometimes show up in the MLS as condos, at other times as townhouses, and at other times still as single family homes. If you want to buy one, how would you know where to look? And why is there so much confusion?

 

 

Los Gatos duet homes facing Lark Avenue

 

What are duet homes?

Let’s start with what a duet home is and is not. A duet home is also known as an attached single family home. Architecturally, it looks a bit like a townhouse, though usually larger, that is only attached on one side. This is not a duplex (which has one owner for both sides and is considered “income producing property” since either one or both sides is rented out). With duet homes, normally there is a different owner for each side.

A duet home is an architectural style, and in most cases it’s like owning a normal house – you own not just the airspace of the structure, but also the exterior and the land beneath it. Naturally, they can be exceptions. In the Cambrian area there are duet style homes which are held in condo ownership – the Lone Hill Highlands HOA. You’ll only know which type of ownership you’re getting if you carefully read the preliminary title report. A buyer’s lender will care which it is – if it’s a planned unit development and not a condo, it is often easier to get the loan as the HOA won’t need to get bank approval.

 

Tract 9069 – Los Gatos duet homes

 

Los Gatos Duet Homes - greenbelt view

The small community of duet homes is named Tract 9069 and is built around a pretty greenbelt area.  There’s a bit of grass, some walkways, lovely Japanese maple trees along one side, and a pergola and what appears to be a heritage tree on the side next to the Los Gatos Creek Trail. Sadly, this lovely tract of homes has no name! All three streets serving the two dozen or so properties here have the word Mill in the name – Mill Court, Mill Creek, and Mill Road.

If you want to purchase real estate here, the best best is to watch for streets with Mill in the name. Or do a “map search” on the mls (I have results at the end of this article).

Read moreLos Gatos duet homes