A resource for folks living in or moving to Los Gatos, by Mary Pope-Handy

school

Old Town shopping center in downtown Los Gatos

Old Town shopping center July 2014There have been a whole lot of changes over at Old Town in Los Gatos during the last decade or two. Some shops moved in, others moved away, some folded entirely due to the prolonged recession or simply the way some businesses have to compete today.

Borders was a casualty and I think everyone in town still misses it. Steamer’s used to have a free standing building in what is now part of the parking lot, but moved across the street to the ‘new’ part of Old Town that was built in recent years. The Wine Cellar added patio dining. Chico’s moved from one side to the other recently.

Before the most massive remodeling in 1996, Old Town had a tremendous number of wonderful topiary plants. It was a great fit with The Wooden Horse, which was located at this former school campus, back then. It was a more kitschy, less upscale place – but quite honestly, I preferred it that way.

There’s a great article on the changes at Old Town – if you’re interested, have a look:

Los Gatos Magazine article on Old Town from March 2014

The shopping center’s website is here: http://www.shopsatoldtowncenter.com/

Never been? Old Town is located on University Avenue (near Main) in Los Gatos.

Why Live in Los Gatos?

June 22, 2012

Why Live in Los Gatos?

All of Santa Clara County (the San Jose and Silicon Valley region) has great weather, low crime, beautiful hills in sight and excellent schools. So why chose Los Gatos to call home in particular?
 
Los Gatos enjoys all of the features that most people want, such as good schools, nice neighborhoods and low crime. The  downtown area is nestled into the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains, making it especially scenic.  It’s more than that, though: it’s a fun place in which to live.  It’s got great community involvement. There’s truly something for everyone in this lovely town which was once dubbed the “Gem City”.

Beautiful architecture in Los Gatos

Beautiful downtown Los Gatos, California (Silicon Valley)In a valley full of tract housing and strip malls, Los Gatos offers several historic neighborhoods with lovely Victorian architecture. While most of the town’s subdivisions are not so old or distinctive, the downtown area includes several districts you’ll enjoy seeing, among them these: Edelen, Almond Grove, Fairview Plaza, Broadway, and Glenridge.  The downtown commercial district includes a few historic buildings, too.

Outdoor living

The outdoors is well appreciated in Los Gatos, and it is a big part of what makes this town special. The Los Gatos Creek Trail pleases athletes, who can enjoy fabulous scenery for biking, rollerblading, running, or walking.  We have great parks throughout the town, and they have everyone in mind from little tots to people on horseback. Our county park, Vasona, has boating and kids and adults can take sailing lessons. Doglovers even have a dog park which is shared with neighboring Campbell. 

In summer, the townsfolk enjoy free music on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays with Jazz on the Plazz,Vasona Vibrations and  Music in the Park Oak Meadow Park features Shakespeare in the Park under the stars too. 

Outdoor wintertime festivities include the tree lighting ceremony the first Friday evening in December, carriage rides through the historic downtown, and a holiday parade the first Saturday in December plus a beautiful  Fantasy of Lights display each night at Vasona Park from about Thanksgiving through the last day of the year.  There is a Plein Art show, an arts & crafts fair, a Fourth of July town picnic, and an annual fall carnival too – you name it!

Downtown Los Gatos, CA

More Ghosts in Los Gatos

May 09, 2007

Mary Pope-Handy's Los Gatos Ghost Tour (Translucent Guide)
Los Gatos has no shortage of haunted places, the old cemetery (now covered with shops), a former mortuary turned restaurant and also the Opera House are all reputed to be a little spooky.

But that’s not the whole list.

Border’s, a fabulous store for books and music located in “Old Town”, seems to have two ghosts of its own.

The stories about these ghosts are that one is a small boy and one is a man in his 20s or so, wearing jeans, I believe a pullover sweater and a baseball cap.

Who are they?  We’re not sure. The young man is a complete mystery, at least to this writer.  But there is a rumor about the child, that he fell off a balcony when the building was a school.  (This was the site of the town’s school from the 1880s until the 1950s. Later it was developed into a shopping center. For awhile, the old auditorium was a theater. That spot is now Border’s.)

View of California Cafe in Old Town, Los GatosIf you ask the people who’ve worked there a long time about the hauntings, some will say they don’t believe, and some will say they’ve heard things.  When it is a matter of the books moving off the shelves, you can argue that they were squeezed in too tightly and were pushed by natural force.

I did, though, meet a few people myself over the years who told me of their own personal experiences in the store.  One gal told me that she and two other employees were chatting one day when they all saw the apparition of the grownup spectre out of their peripheral vision.  When they turned to look straight on, he vanished. But all three had seen him.  And a person I know well had an experience of the child ghost when we visited the store one day which could not be explained away.

Borders Books in Old Town, Los Gatos, CA - haunted?And no, they weren’t actually scary happenings overall. Just weird.  And that is normal for hauntings – they are usually more weird than anything else. 

Borders is arguably one of the very best places to hang out in town.  There are books, magazines, and papers of course. And there’s a coffee bar, with seating both inside – at tables or comfy leather chairs – and outside on a sunny deck.  It’s got a comfortable ambiance, a bit of history, and that “little something extra”. I have never felt that it was a creepy place in the least.  If the place is indeed haunted, which I believe it is, they are not bad ghosts. Nothing to fear.

So go to Borders, buy a great book and have a seat in a comfy leather chair. Who knows, maybe you’ll learn something about the place…and if so, fill me in!

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Mary Pope-Handy

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214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at) PopeHandy.com
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