Rinconada Hills, which sits on the northwest side of Los Gatos, adjacent to Saratoga and Cambpell, is a resort-like community with many luxurious amenities. It is one of the few gated communities anywhere in Silicon Valley, and one of the largest in the greater San Jose area.
Built in stages between 1968 and 1981, the homes here were built by Brown & Kaufmann in 5 different sections. The campus is quite large, 107 acres (almost as big as Vasona Lake County Park) and includes 394 townhomes (see floorplans here) and 40 houses, or single family homes. Approximately 1,000 people live here (in a town of about 30,000). Most everyone in LG knows someone who lives at Rinconada Hills!
The campus includes a remodeled clubhouse (Great Room, library alcove, commercial kitchen, lockers, showers), 10 pools (1 at the clubhouse), spa, and 3 tennis courts. The residents may utilize an extra parking lot for cars or the RV lot for boats/ trailers etc. – though there is a waiting list for that. Additonally, there are 3 ponds plus a lake, and great views to be enjoyed while walking up the hill in the private grounds.
What are homes like at Rinconada Hills?
All of the homes, whether townhouses or single family homes, have stucco exteriors and tiled roofs, although there’s quite a bit of diversity within the areas and styles. Home sizes range from small 2 bedroom townhouses to large 3000 + SF homes on big lots with views. There’s a little bit of everything, but a typical residence might be an 1800 SF 2 story townhouse with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, an attached 2 car garage. There are a few single story townhomes as well as single story houses, though.
Although locals refer to the Santa Cruz Mountains as “the hill”, the coastal ranges have seemingly countless hills, peaks, valleys, and gluches winding between the Santa Clara Valley and the beach. Several of the hills and peaks have names (if they all do, I’m not aware of it), one of them being Collord’s Peak, which you can read about at the corner of East Main Street and High School Court. In the image below, there’s a very tall peak, El Sombroso, with a nearer and lower peak in the foreground – that one is Collord’s peak.
It was not possible for me to show both the hills in the distance and the plaque equally well lit, so here’s a closeup of the plaque honoring Victor R. Collord.
And one more closeup of his good deeds named: Continue reading
The inventory of single family homes for sale in Los Gatos 95030, 95032, and 95033 (the mountains) has not been lower in recent memory. This morning I pulled the data and saw that we now have a critically low inventory of homes for sale in Los Gatos. Here are the numbers so that you can see what a more typical month in the Gem City of the Foothills looks like.
Of that low inventory of just 66 homes, which part of Los Gatos are they in?
Los Gatos 95030 (MLS area 16, excluding Monte Sereno) – 16 single family homes for sale
Los Gatos 95032 (MLS area 16, excluding Monte Sereno) – 34 single family homes for sale
Los Gatos Mountains 95033 (MLS area 23) – 13 single family homes for sale
PLUS one in the Morgan Hill / Gilroy area of the Los Gatos Mountains (MLS area 1) and 2 in the Saratoga area (MLS area 17)
In Los Gatos, it may be possible to dine out of doors year round, but it is always a popular option between March and October in the scenic town once referred to as “the gem city of the foothills”.
Today I want to highlight these establishments for diners and give a nod to a number of the Los Gatos restaurants which offer dining al fresco; we are lucky to have so many choices!
Those listed below are some which I’ve patronized and especially like. It’s not a 100% comprehensive directory of Los Gatos eateries with patio dining, only those which I have enjoyed myself with a few exceptions of some which are on my “must try soon” list.
Finally, I should mention that these restaurants with outdoor seating offer varied selection and pricing, from super casual (Happy Hound, Classic Burgers and Los Gatos Meats are all low key) to much more costly and formal. Not every one of these businesses is in downtown Los Gatos either. I’m providing links so you can check them out yourself.
Did I miss one that should be mentioned? Feel free to email me any updates!
|Campo di Bocce||http://www.campodibocce.com/|
|Chicago Steak & Fish||http://www.chicagosteakandfish.com/|
|Classic Burgers (no website, see review)||http://tinyurl.com/ClassicBurgers|
|Forbes Mill Steakhouse||http://www.forbesmillsteakhouse.com/|
|Los Gatos Meats & Smokehouse||http://www.losgatosmeats.com/|
|Oak & Rye||http://www.oakandryepizza.com/|
The Los Gatos Kiwanis Club again hosts an egg hunt in Los Gatos this spring. The event is the “Hippity Hop Hunt ‘Til You Drop” and it’s free for Los Gatos kids aged 3-10, happening Saturday April 20, 2019 from 10 am to 11 am at Oak Meadow Park. It is a BYOB event – bring your own basket. It starts right at 10 o’clock and is over fast – so be on time!
Read all the details here
If you took Driver’s Ed in Saratoga or Los Gatos, you were probably made to park on the steepest hill around – Nicholson Avenue with its 23 degree grade. Positively frightening! But local bicycle enthusiasts take on Nicholson not with motor vehicles, but on their bikes in a race that has become a Los Gatos classic – the Cat’s Hill Classic, which runs through the Almond Grove, Glenridge and Bachman Park neighborhoods of Los Gatos Saturday, April 27th, 2019. There’s even a kid set too.
Please get the full scoop here on the organization’s website.
Each spring, Los Gatos hosts a “Spring into Green” event. The next one will be at the Town Plaza Park on Sunday, April 14, 2019 from 10am to 1pm.
The town’s website states “Join us in celebrating Earth Day, Keep Los Gatos Beautiful Month and environmental awareness. The festivities will include a tree planting ceremony, the weekly Los Gatos Farmer’s Market, family-friendly activities, live music and more.”
There will be kid friendly events as well as interesting and fun things to do for people of all ages.
Full details on the town’s website:
By all standards, winter in Los Gatos is mild, and any rain we get is overdue and welcomed with gratitude. Even so, the colder and wetter temps can tend to keep us from some of our beloved outdoor activities – at least for a little bit.
Where do you like to go on a rainy day, or one which is unusually chilly? Here are a few suggestions:
- The Los Gatos Public Library is stunning, filled with natural light, includes WiFi and even has a little cafe on the first floor. One thing it doesn’t have is a whole lot of quiet, though (and this is before the high school let out, so no finger pointing at teens). Twice recently I’ve been in the quiet zone areas and had a variety of loud noises – mostly people talking on cell phones, but not only that. So go – but bring headphones or ear buds so you can listen to your own music and not someone crinkling bags or catching up by phone.
- Right next to the new public library… The Museums of Los Gatos recently combined and are now in the location where the old Los Gatos Library used to be – on the Civic Center campus. What could be better than a museum on a wet day? Check out the NUMU site and plan your trip – come rain or come shine!
- There aren’t many sports which you can play indoors in Los Gatos but Bocce Ball is one of them! How about lunch or dinner at Campo di Bocce, which has both indoors and outdoors courts? The ambiance and food are great, and it’s a super atmosphere for a family get-together or company party.
- How about a movie? The Los Gatos Theater has been renovated recently and is stunning! If you haven’t had a chance to visit there since it reopened, the inclement weather is your perfect excuse!
- Visit Petroglyph in downtown Los Gatos and make something beautiful!
There are lots of options in and around San Jose, too.
Do you love video games? Check out the AFK Video Game Lounge in downtown San Jose.
A rainy winter may just be the very best time to finally see all the local Silicon Valley museums you’ve been putting off seeing since the weather was just too good to be indoors:
- Children’s Discovery Museum
- The Tech Museum of Innovation
- San Jose Museum of Art
- Intel Museum
- Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
- San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
- De Sassiet Museum
- Los Altos History Museum
- Japanese American Museum of San Jose
- Portuguese Historical Museum
- Computer History Museum
- Silicon Valley Art Museum (“a virtual online art gallery”)
Have fun, and please email me if I’m missing anything that should be added to this list!
It’s February and, for couples, that means it’s time to plan your Valentine’s Day! And what better place to celebrate your love than in the Valley of Heart’s Delight (Silicon Valley’s old nickname), or more specifically, in the Gem of the Foothills – our very own LG! Here we’ll give you some ideas on how to celebrate a romantic Valentine’s Day in Los Gatos.
Valentine’s Day on a tight budget: picnic with your sweetie
Los Gatos is filled with beautiful parks, and lately the weather has been in the low 70s. If you want or need to be frugal, get a simple assortment of cheeses, crackers, grapes and wine and enjoy a picnic at Vasona Park or your favorite of any one of the lovely parks in town. It’s affordable, easy, and you can enjoy some lovely views.
How about a walking tour of Los Gatos?
Stroll through scenic downtown Los Gatos. The “village” area is full of neat shops. Head over to Old Town too, and while there, walk across the pedestrian bridge between Old Town and Forbes Mill. There is something about being still on this little bridge with the world passing by underneath that’s very special. Have a look at the old mill. This was the first commercial venture in Los Gatos – and it’s tucked away, off the beaten path. . . . But easy to find if you know what to look for.
You might also consider doing the “LOST Gatos” historic walking tour – just put it on speaker. Check out the free app the various tours you can hear at the link above.
After you’ve dined, head back to North Santa Cruz Avenue and pick up some dessert at Dolce Spazio.
Dinner out in Los Gatos for Valentine’s Day? Reserve early!
Need to do the official Valentine’s meal out? Los Gatos is oozing with great restaurants. Just don’t wait until the last minute to call in for a table. Some of my favorites include the Wine Cellar, I Gatti, Viva, and Pedro’s, Looking to totally “wow” him or her? A world class restaurant is Manresa. I haven’t eaten there yet but understand that it’s one of the finest restaurants to be found anywhere (it’s just not as affordable as the other places I’ve suggested). You might also try Flights – it’s fun to share your food with a sweetheart!
Shopping for Valentine’s Day in Los Gatos : Flowers, Chocolates, and Lace
Need flowers? Bunches in downtown is very nice. Do yourself a favor and visit a proper flower shop if you’re going to do it. The grocery store flowers just don’t tend to last very long. And Bunches has a bonus, the resident pet duck!
Need chocolate? I love Chocolate Dream Box on Union Ave by Safeway (this shop was previously in King’s Court Shopping Center after moving out of downtown), it makes mouth watering truffles in beautifully delicate shapes and prints. Another good option is Fleur de Cocao, which sells truffles, artisan chocolate bars, and cakes. Their downtown location is also a cafe, so you can sit with your sweetie over a cappucino and some sugary treats.
Need something sensual? Romantiques on University Avenue near Old Town, Los Gatos, is worth a visit! Ladies intimates line the wall, beautiful silk goodies that you are not likely to find in a chain store, with articles ranging from the luxurious yet practical to the, well… less practical and significantly more luxurious. Maybe don’t bring the kids on this shopping trip.
Wishing you all a wonderful Valentine’s Day, no matter where or how you celebrate it!
Related – please also read:
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, located on University Avenue (address is near the bottom of this article).
A few years back, when JCO’s was located on N Santa Cruz Avenue near the theater, I was strolling past this gallery with my daughter, plus my visiting niece and nephew, who hail from Boston, and noticed some beautiful, over-sized 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 an upcoming 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 in downtown LG, take a few minutes and stop by JCO’s Place. I think you will enjoy it!
JCO’s Place for Fine Art
805 University Avenue #E • Los Gatos CA 95032
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