Tucked between the towns of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills is the secluded San Antonio Hills community of Country Club, a tree-shaded neighborhood named for the exclusive golf club that is its focal point and defining feature.
Built on Santa Clara County land that has not been incorporated by surrounding cities, the tree-lined neighborhood is notable for its relatively low housing density, a factor that allows residents to enjoy privacy among Country Club's ample greenery.
"People like the area, and it's quiet here," Pete McSweeney, a resident since 1973, said.
The San Antonio Hills Neighborhood Association's current historian and community liaison, he also volunteers on a committee that serves as the area's contact with the county for approving building projects.
To protect the special qualities of the neighborhood, the association has CC&Rs that protect lot size, McSweeney said.
"In the entire area, there are probably 900 parcels of the average size of 1/2 to 1 acre. This protects against tree takedown and ensures the neighborhood doesn't grow beyond its natural limits. The neighbors don't want to lose the 500-year-old oaks between their lot and the next," McSweeney said.
Although humble ranch homes line the base of the hill, upscale custom-built homes and renovations have become popular uphill. Those homes that overlook the fairways of invitation-only Los Altos Golf and Country Club -- a private, member-owned club established in 1923 -- command a premium price on the market, McSweeney said.
Residents of the exclusive neighborhood come together with residents of surrounding neighborhoods for a sense of community.
"For neighborhood events, the area comes together with the larger Los Altos and Los Altos Hills community," McSweeney said.
In addition to golf and Los Altos-area community events, Country Club's outdoor recreational options also include hiking and horse trails that weave through the nearby Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve.
While the area is primarily residential, and the club, along with several church congregations, is among the few commercial operations in the neighborhood, residents also appreciate its convenient location.
"Residents can walk to nearby Loyola Corners," resident John Huckins said. Raised in the area, he has lived in Country Club since 1990.
Along with neighborhood access to outdoor recreation and the wider community, life on Country Club's winding, tree-lined streets offers a private atmosphere that invites area children to play at ease. Like much of the surrounding area, the neighborhood lacks sidewalks. Still, the neighborhood is pedestrian-friendly, residents say.
"We used to play football on the street," Huckins recalled fondly.
Country Club attracts hundreds of revelers each Halloween and is a popular trick-or-treating destination, according to Huckins.
Its trees and "quiet nature," according to Mark Dalrymple, a resident since 1986, set the neighborhood apart for its walkability.
"A lot of exercise walkers go up and down Arbor Avenue," Dalrymple said.
One reason for residents' and visitors' attraction to the Country Club area is simple, residents said.
"Just look up," Dalrymple said, gesturing to the mature pines that shade tranquil Arbor Avenue.
-- Sarah Trauben
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (nearby): Los Altos Christian Preschool, 625 Magdalena Ave.; Los Altos United Methodist Children's Center, 655 Magdalena Ave.
FIRE STATION: No. 16, 769 Fremont Ave.
LIBRARY: Woodland, 1975 Grant Road
LOCATION: bounded by Magdalena Avenue, Foothill Expressway, Permanente Creek and Interstate 280
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Richard Blanchard, president, San Antonio Hills Inc. Homeowners Association, 650-948-3073
PARK (nearby): Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve, Cristo Rey Drive
POST OFFICE: Loyola Corners, 1525 Miramonte Ave.
PRIVATE SCHOOL: Los Altos Christian School, 625 Magdalena Ave.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Los Altos School District -- Loyola Elementary School, Blach Intermediate School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District -- Mountain View High School
SHOPPING: Loyola Corners, Miramonte Avenue and Rancho Shopping Center
MEDIAN 2013 HOME PRICE: $2,050,000 ($1,276,000-$3,175,000)
HOMES SOLD: 28