Though it's just a few blocks off El Camino Real, Martens-Carmelita neighborhood has a rustic, rural feel that sets it apart from other areas in Mountain View. The atmosphere is reminiscent of the 1950s, when many of the homes were built.
Countless varieties of trees and shrubberies line the streets, which don't have sidewalks. And every few houses, there's a cluster of brightly painted mailboxes. This touch only increases the warm neighborly feel, according to Shirley Luna, who lives on Carmelita Drive with her husband.
"You really know your neighbors who are in that little group," she said.
That's not to say nothing's changed in 60 years. Since Luna moved to the neighborhood in 1989, there's always been one rebuilding project or another. Families today tend to add on behind their houses, cutting into the long backyard areas. But the country feel remains, in Luna's opinion.
"It hasn't changed a lot," she said. "It's still a very nice neighborhood."
Couples with young children have been another constant. As Luna's kids -- at one point there were five in the house -- grew up, young couples with new babies moved in.
"You don't realize how many kids are in the neighborhood," Luna said. "Then all of a sudden they go running for the ice cream truck."
Just down the street, Luna's neighbor Lisa Clifford is one of those young moms. She has three children age 8 and under.
Clifford and her husband decided to move to their current house in 2009. They have lived elsewhere in Mountain View -- within a one-mile radius of their current lot -- since 2001.
"We wanted a home in this same place but with a larger back lot," she said. The family has renovated most of the house, including landscaping the backyard so the kids have more room to play.
Clifford is originally from Ireland, and many of her neighbors also represent diverse countries and cultures, including Vietnamese, Filipino and Indian families.
"It's very Californian," Clifford said, "with the melting pot."
In the past, Luna said, the neighborhood has thrown a big Halloween party for kids. But Clifford said she doesn't remember the whole street ever hosting a full-on block party. She and her husband still keep in touch with the friends they made when they lived just around the corner, though.
Luna likes the neighborhood because it's within walking distance of her church, the library, shopping and the school her kids attended.
"If I don't want to use my car, I don't have to for those errands," she said, adding that Stevens Creek Trail was extended to reach Martens-Carmelita within the last year. Buses, banks and freeways are also very accessible.
The school can cause traffic, though, which is frequently dense on Grant Road just outside the neighborhood.
"It can just take you forever to get out," Clifford said. "I try to plan around when it's not exit school time."
Clifford enjoys the neighborhood's walking access to many amenities, but she has another wish, too.
"Maybe a movie theater," she said.
-- Emma Trotter
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Baby World, 1715 Grant Road; Montecito Preschool, 1468 Grant Road; St. Timothy's Preschool, 2094 Grant Road; YMCA -- Huff Kids' Place, 253 Martens Ave.
FIRE STATION: No. 2, 160 Cuesta Drive
LOCATION: Martens Avenue and Carmelita Drive and nearby streets
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Martens-Carmelita Neighborhood Association, Robin Iwai, 650-961-8257, firstname.lastname@example.org
PARKS: Huff Park, Martens Avenue
POST OFFICE: Blossom Valley, 1768 Miramonte Ave.
PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): St. Simon Catholic School, 1840 Grant Road, Los Altos
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District -- Huff Elementary School, Graham Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District -- Mountain View High School
SHOPPING: Grant Park Plaza, Grant Road at El Camino Real; Mountain View Shopping Center, El Camino at Grant Road
MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $1,100,000 ($931,000-$1,493,000)
HOMES SOLD: 11