Nestled against the rolling hills of Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve (replete with wildlife, hiking trails and a working farm), the neighborhood known as Country Club (part of the larger San Antonio Hills community) stands apart from, and between, the towns of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.
The neighborhood, which is bordered by Foothill Expressway, Interstate 280, Permanente Creek and Magdalena Avenue, is built on unincorporated Santa Clara County land and has not been annexed to the city of Los Altos.
Glen Balzer, who's called Magdalena Avenue home since 1993, said the majority of the home sites are on 1-acre parcels and maintain a rural, "woodsy" feel, with horse trails running nearby and not much change since the construction of the first pre-war cottages and 1940s homes that make up Country Club.
Balzer said the San Antonio Hills Homeowners Association, of which he is a board member, strives to preserve the unique qualities of the area.
"Our CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions -- bylaws set by the homeowner's association) were set up 60 years ago and they help the neighborhood stay the way it was and limit subdivisions," he said.
For Balzer, the access to the great outdoors is one of the most special attractions of his neighborhood.
"I hike in the preserve all the time -- once a week at least. I can do a 12-mile hike in three hours and be back home in time to have a beer or take a shower or both," he said.
As the name suggests, the Los Altos Golf and Country Club, founded in 1923 on former ranch land, is a defining feature of the neighborhood. The exclusive club (membership is by invitation only), along with "a few churches," provides the only commercial activity in the neighborhood, according to Balzer, contributing to a peaceful, low-key atmosphere.
New Country Club resident, Lisa Langston, knew about the neighborhood's great features after living in nearby Los Altos Hills since 1989.
"It's beautiful -- rolling hills, great nature and a wonderful golf course," she said.
Langston and her husband, both doctors, raised their five children in Los Altos Hills. With their youngest child now in college, they decided to downsize and move to a brand-new house in the Country Club area. Langston didn't want to move far away from her friends and neighborhood in Los Altos Hills, but said the families and children she knew in the Country Club neighborhood were "really wonderful."
The house in Country Club is larger than the one in Los Altos Hills, but it's a "smart home," with a localized air and heating system, and it's on a smaller property area.
"At my age, its too much to take care of for so long," Langston said of her 40-year-old home in Los Altos Hills, discussing some of the house's recent plumbing issues.
Langston likes being close to Rancho Shopping Center so she can "practically walk to get groceries." She plans on joining the Los Altos Country Club for the pool and not for the golf course.
"I'm just going to go sit there," she laughed.
-- Karla Kane and Lisa Kellman
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, 765 Fremont Ave.
LIBRARY: Woodland, 1975 Grant Road
LOCATION: bounded by Magdalena Avenue, Foothill Expressway, Permanente Creek and Interstate 280
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: San Antonio Hills Inc. Homeowners Association,Richard Blanchard, president, 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 2012 HOME PRICE: $2,010,000 ($1,302,000-$4,800,000)
HOMES SOLD: 32