Elton Sherwin loves his Central Menlo Park home for many reasons: "great schools, great commute, great weather, the biking and the walking." And he especially likes the "smaller-town feel of Menlo Park," he says.
Mr. Sherwin is a cycling enthusiast and loves to ride his bike through the flat Stanford campus or in the nearby hilly trails. He also walks or takes his bicycle down to Safeway or Draeger's about once a week to fetch necessary items. "Being within walking distance of those things has been very nice. You can live here and work almost anywhere and have a great commute," he says.
There is a great sense of community in Central Menlo Park, according to Mr. Sherwin, who says he knows most of the people on his street.
Mr. Sherwin, who has lived on North Lemon Avenue since 1994, says residents of many streets in the neighborhood do an annual block party where they block off the street for festivities.
The tennis and basketball courts at the local Hillview Middle School are also a favorite activity for Mr. Sherwin and his daughters, he adds.
Bob Caletti, a Menlo Park resident his entire life, has lived on Wallea Drive since 1970.
"Menlo Park has a very small town feel," he says. The father of five children, Mr. Caletti says he was very pleased with the schools and all the local recreation his kids had growing up.
Each Halloween children come to see the famous "talking pumpkin," he says.
In general, the neighborhood is very walkable, he says. His only concern is that downtown may become over-developed. If he had his way, the city would refrain from putting in any more parking structures and work to maintain Menlo Park's small-town character, he says.
John Fox and his wife moved into Central Menlo in 1993 because, according to Mr. Fox, "We liked the local flavor."
A city commissioner for 10 years, Mr. Fox would like to see more bike lanes and paths throughout the city.
"There's tremendous potential here, because it's flat and because of the layout and structure," he says.
Mr. Fox is an avid cyclist and loves that he can bike to the Caltrain station. "There is a lot of discussion about the Caltrain and high-speed rail, but overall I think the Caltrain corridor is a good thing," he says.
-- Nick Veronin
CHILD CARE & PRESCHOOLS:The Kirk House Preschool, 1148 Johnson St., Menlo Park; St. Joseph's Montessori Preschool and Kindergarten, 150 Valparaiso Ave., Atherton; Littlest Angels Bethany Preschool, 1095 Cloud Ave., Menlo Park
FIRE STATION:700 Oak Grove, Menlo Park
LOCATION:Valparaiso Avenue to San Francisquito Creek; Cloud Avenue to Arbor Drive and Johnson Street
PARKS:Tinker Park, Santa Cruz Avenue at Elder Avenue near Hillview School, Menlo Park; Jack W. Lyle Park, Middle Avenue and Fremont Street, Menlo Park; Fremont Park, Santa Cruz Avenue and University Drive, Menlo Park; Nealon Park, 800 Middle Ave., Menlo Park
PRIVATE SCHOOLS: Menlo School, 50 Valparaiso Ave., Atherton; Sacred Heart Prep, 150 Valparaiso Ave., Atherton; St. Joseph's School, 50 Emilie Ave., Atherton; St. Raymond's Elementary School, 1211 Arbor Road, Menlo Park
Menlo Park City Elementary School District -- Oak Knoll School, 1895 Oak Knoll Lane, Menlo Park; Hillview Middle School, 1100 Elder Ave., Menlo Park
Sequoia Union High School District -- Menlo-Atherton High School, 555 Middlefield Road, Atherton
SHOPPING: Downtown Menlo Park, Allied Arts
MEDIAN 2011 HOME PRICE: $1,820,000 ($1,150,000-$4,100,000)
HOMES SOLD: 64