This may be an El Niño winter, but right now there’s a break in the precipitation. As much as we appreciate the rain, we also appreciate the warm, sunny, dry days also. Yesterday I broke out of work mode for an hour and enjoyed a walk at Vasona Lake County Park. Here are a few photos. To my readers in snowy climates, yes, Los Gatos really can be this nice in February!
Looking for a neighborhood with attractive, younger homes that’s still close to everything in Los Gatos? The properties along Ohlone Court fill that bill as the community sits along the Los Gatos Creek Trail, across from Vasona and Oak Meadow Parks, and is equally near to downtown Los Gatos on one side and the main shopping district on Los Gatos Boulevard on the other.
Built in 1996 by Summerhill Homes, a very well respected local builder, the residences on Ohlone Court are relatively young by Los Gatos standards, and feature many elements prized in newer construction, such as open floor plans. It’s a pretty area where the neighbors all seem to care about maintaining their homes and yards nicely, and it enjoys the highly regarded Los Gatos Schools, too.
How’s the terrain? The road climbs from Roberts Road, where it is near the Los Gatos Creek, up a knoll. The top is of course sunny and some homes enjoy fantastic views. Some homes are nearer to the creek and toward the bottom of the hill, where it’s shadier. There’s an easy to miss staircase that allows pedestrians to take a shortcut to access Blossom Hill Road and the parks from the top of the court.
This is not a big subdivision. The 25 properties are mostly single family homes, but there are also a couple of duplexes. And the surprise element is that they are condominiums. That is, although most are houses, they are held in condominium ownership (local Realtors will recognize the same situation from the Villas of Almaden, though that community has the houses show up in the MLS under condos, whereas Ohlone Court appears under single family homes). Learn more on what the different type of ownership means here: What Is the Difference Between CID Ownership in a Condo, Townhouse or PUD?
A few weeks back, I did a “drive through” of the area. My daughter was at the wheel so I could try to capture a sense of the neighborhood for my viewers. Hope you find it helpful.
Every neighborhood has good and not-so-good features. What’s the catch here? It sounds too good to be true! One issue for some buyers is the close proximity of highway 17. Not all homes are impacted, and only a few back up directly to the freeway, but it is noticeable. This is especially true when you’re high up as there’s nothing much to block the noise. One other issue is that some of the homes are in very shady locations at the bottom of the hill. This may bother some people who want sunnier homes. Homes on the side of a hill or at the bottom of a hill sometimes have hill related water issues. These are not insurmountable problems but it’s very important to have good drainage, proper grading, and possibly other elements such as sump pumps to keep the water out from the crawl space.
Something is always happening at the big and beautiful, 150 acre Vasona Lake County Parkand adjacent 12 acre Oak Meadow Park (belonging to the Town). These sister parks are connected and share the Los Gatos Creek, meandering trails, the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad at Oak Meadow. The parks enjoy beautiful scenery, both within the many acres and also looking up at the coastal range that separates this valley from the Monterey Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
It’s a wonderful place for a family or company picnic and is often the site for beginning races, walk-a-thons, and other charitable causes, and it’s also the location for many cultural festivals throughtout the year. Most recently, there was an enormous, two day Iranian/Persian New Year’s Festival called Norouz that drew several thousand people from all over Silicon Valley. The San Jose Mercury News covered it and had a great little video on their website on this event, take a look! As you can see, Vasona and Oak Meadow aren’t just a couple of nice parks, they’re places for the community to gather, enjoy themselves and nature and to do it in a gorgeous spot.
Here are some of the regularly scheduled, annual events at Oak Meadow and Vasona that invite us to enjoy some recreation time there:
June & July: Vasona Vibrations (free concerts Saturdays 5-7pm)
July & August: Shakespeare in the Park
August: In the Park After Dark Movie Week
Saturday evening on Labor Day Weekend: Los Gatos Park Dance (begun in 2013)
September: Screen on the Green
October: Halloween Train Rides (Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad)
December: Fantasy of Lights
And because these are parks, there are great learning opportunities and classes available there too. The Parks and Recreation Department offers sailing lessons – as you can see from the pic, my kids enjoyed these a few years ago (and may teach there this summer too). Paddleboats can be rented in summer as well. A hands-on approach to introducing kids to nature is provided by the extremely popular , which recently enjoyed an expansion at Vasona.
Historically, these parks are interesting too and there are some things you might not know about them.
Get ready, get set, splash! The highly popular annual charity fundraiser, The Silicon Valley Duck Race, is returning to Vasona Lake County Park in Los Gatos on June 13 2010.
The duck race website says that “The race is sponsored by Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley (JFS SV), a United Way Partner Agency, which serves a diverse community with quality social, vocational, counseling, crisis intervention, refugee resettlement services, and programs for seniors without regard for race, religion, ethnicity, or ability to pay. ” There are other non-profit sponsors too – the Duck Buddy Charities.
They are still looking for more sponsors, racers and volunteers!