Bordered by Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Cupertino, South Los Altos features well-kept homes in a relatively affordable suburban atmosphere. The neighborhood's convenient location -- nestled between Grant Road and Stevens Creek -- offers residents a haven of calm minutes from Highway 85 and Interstate 280 and the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley.
"We love the location, not only for the convenience, but for the friendliness of the people in general. Our own community, or neighborhood, is wonderful. We all look out for each other, and take care of our needs, and get along great," Eunice Bertolotti said.
A resident since 1987, she and her husband chose the area for its convenient location and great sense of community.
"It's a nicely-knit neighborhood," Allen Wolman, a resident since 1970, said.
He and his wife moved to their current home on Clay Street in 1976, attracted to the Eichler designs that comingle with modern two-story Mediterranean, Craftsman-style and ranch tract homes.
Wolman said that this is one of two neighborhoods in Los Altos he knows to have a number of Eichler homes, updated residences with post-war designs offering ample light, outdoor access and indoor comforts.
"We like the contemporary styling of the Eichler houses, with their ease of indoor/outdoor living," he said. "Each house is different, with significant variety in layout and orientation."
Custom remodels are common. Wolman estimated that half of the homes in some areas are undergoing expansions and renovations.
Resident Pam Hennessey has herself remodeled twice, once in 1992, temporarily moving out of her home. While her family was among the younger ones when she moved to the area in 1974, South Los Altos is attracting young families in recent years, she noted.
"A lot of younger families are moving in, and that's nice," Hennessey said.
The neighborhood's diverse mix of young and established families come together for a variety of social events, including a book club.
"In 2005, a neighbor took it upon herself to learn more of her neighbors and started what was then called the Morton Avenue Book Club, which has become a very vibrant book club that attracts a diverse set of women," she said. The book club, which has grown beyond the borders of Morton Avenue to Hennessey's pleasure, has exposed her to a number of books she might not have otherwise picked up.
Other South Los Altos neighborhood events include annual holiday celebrations.
"Our neighborhood gets together once a year during the Christmas holidays, for a big brunch, usually. … Our street, Estate Drive, is known for our outside Christmas decorations on all the homes, on the cul-de-sac," Bertolotti said.
The neighborhood straddles two highly rated two school districts. Depending on their home addresses, children of South Los Altos are served by either Los Altos School District or Cupertino Union School District. Each district offers a strong education, according to Wolman, whose children attended Cupertino schools.
"We have two high schools, five elementary schools (two are private schools), and a junior high school, all close by, and that seems to add to the traffic during the school year," Karen Greguras, a resident since 1996, said.
Living in the friendly and well-kept neighborhood with easy access to parks, shopping and the wider community is worth the minor nuisance of traffic, residents said.
This is a real old-fashioned neighborhood in that everyone knows their neighbor, and we all help each other out, but we mind our own business. We truly care for each other. Everyone is friendly and welcoming," Greguras said.
-- Sarah Trauben
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: CCLC Preschool, 2310 Homestead Road; Enlighten School, 1919 Annette Lane; Mountain View Parents Nursery School, 1325 Bryant Ave., Mtn. View; St. Simon's Catholic Church Extended Day Care Center, 1840 Grant Road; YMCA -- Way to Grow Full-Day Preschool, 1501 Oak Ave.
FIRE STATION: No. 16, 769 Fremont Ave.
LIBRARY: Woodland, 1975 Grant Road
LOCATION: between Grant Road, Homestead Road Stevens Creek, Joel Way, Harwalt Drive, Oak, Truman, Miravalle avenues
PARKS: Grant Park, 1575 Holt Ave.; (nearby) Marymeade Park, Fremont Avenue at Grant Road
POST OFFICE: Loyola Corners, 1525 Miramonte Ave.
PRIVATE SCHOOL: St. Simon Catholic School, 1840 Grant Road
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Los Altos School District -- Oak Elementary School, Blach Intermediate School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District -- Mountain View High School; or Cupertino Union School District -- Montclaire Elementary School, Cupertino Middle School; Fremont Union High School District -- Homestead High School
SHOPPING: Foothill Crossing, Homestead Road; Greenhaven Plaza, Grant Road
MEDIAN 2013 HOME PRICE: $1,800,000 ($1,225,000-$2,925,000)
HOMES SOLD: 49
MEDIAN 2012 CONDO PRICE: $880,000 ($854,000-$950,000) (none in 2013)
CONDOS SOLD: 3