This lovely little valley, nestled between two small ridges is one of the premier areas of San Jose. The schools have some of the highest scores in the state and are a magnet for families with children. With homes ranging from townhouses to estates with valley views, Almaden offers so much with homes priced less than neighboring towns.
Above the homes of Almaden is a richly historical park with hiking, off-road cycling and horse trails for all to use. Almaden County Park was once the site of mercury mines going all the way back to the days of Lincoln and a beautiful museum housed in the mine manager's home explains the area's history.
With great shopping and dining only minutes away and easy access to the freeways, it is easy to see why Almaden has attracted the executives of Silicon Valley.
Los Gatos is one of the South Bay’s most exclusive communities, the residential choice for many Silicon Valley executives. The reasons for its appeal begin with an outstanding location, one that allows quick commutes to high-tech companies in the valley - or easy jaunts to the beach.
Right at home are elegant estates with great views of the Santa Cruz Mountains and the serenity of wooded hillsides. Neighborhoods of carefully restored Victorian homes and 1940’s bungalows are a quick walk from the town plaza, where chic boutiques and four star dining await. Public school students are top scorers in state rankings, and town officials have moved quickly to make Los Gatos a showplace of municipal environmental responsibility.
The vintage architecture that abounds recalls a rich past. Students attend the 1925 neo-classical-style Los Gatos High School, and an excellent museum of town history is housed in an 1880 building that recalls logging and agricultural days.
Residents and visitors alike enjoy the fruits of the rich soil that surrounds the town: 11 wineries are located there and wine tasting is a popular activity. Los Gatos has developed beloved traditions through the years, many taking place in the centrally located plaza. During the holidays, a festive atmosphere prevails with a sparkling display of lights, a children’s parade and horse drawn carriages.
During the warmer months, residents flock to the concerts of the Music in the Park series, admire artists’ work at the Fiesta des Artes or tap their feet at Jazz on the Plazz.
The fun doesn’t end there: There’s also all-day Fourth of July activities; the Cat’s Hill Criterium bike race; Los Gatos Shakespeare Festival and a weekly farmers market.
The town's web site is:
Another resource is the Los GatosChamber of Commerce. Their web site also details the many faceted business community and what they offer. http://losgatoschamber.com
A mineral spring similar to the famous Saratoga Springs in New York state gave California’s Saratoga its name in 1865 and made it a popular resort for decades. Rich soil and the area’s Mediterranean climate proved a perfect environment for growing fine wine grapes. Famed vintner Paul Masson created an estate whose buildings and arboretum are now open to the public.
Saratogans have always fought hard to keep their town small and residential. It remains rural, with towering redwoods and bans on sidewalks and street lights in some neighborhoods. Zoning regulations support larger lot sizes - a recent residential development proposal included homes on 1.73 acre lots.
Saratoga, like its neighbors Los Gatos and Monte Sereno, is a quiet haven for the wealthy, who appreciate its excellent restaurants, antique stores, European bakeries, vintage architecture and first-rate schools.
For its size, Saratoga has an abundance of parks, including one with a town history museum. The Japanese-style Hakone Gardens, with bamboo and water-strolling gardens, is one of the largest of its kind outside of Japan.
The Montalvo Arts Center is 175 acres of well tended greenery and home to an active arts program. At the Paul Masson-built Mountain Winery, which dates back to the 19th century, visitors from all over the Bay Area come to enjoy wine testing and its annual series of concerts featuring well-known pop, rock, jazz and classical music performers. Drama fans have easy access to the Saratoga Civic Theater, Shady Shakespeare Theatre Company and West Valley College Theater. And the annual Saratoga Rotary Art Show is one of the oldest in the area.
The town web site is:
And Saratoga has a Chamber of Commerce as well. And they will be pleased to assist you with your inquires about all the town has. Saratoga's Chamber's web is can be found at:
The name Monte Sereno means "peaceful mountain" and indeed its residents enjoy a real serenity - and spectacular views - in the chaparral peaks of the Santa Cruz Mountains. This is a city of wealth with no business district and where every dwelling is a single-family home. Lot sizes of 10,000 square feet or more are in the majority.
Neighboring Los Gatos provides municipal services, not to mention the luxury shopping and restaurants. Another neighbor, Saratoga offers even more choices. Monte Seren is convenient to Silicon Valley; and keeps a low profile.
Still, within its borders, are remnants of important history. In the 1930's, John Steinbeck and his first wife, Carol, shared an 800 square foot cottage as the future Nobel laureate completed Of Mice and Men. Beat Generation icon Neal Cassidy his wife, Carolyn, entertained fellow literary legends Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Ken Kesey in their modest ranch house.
Monte Sereno appeals to those with an independent nature an the means to enjoy this relative obscurity with a rare quality of life.
The town web site is: