On a Sunday afternoon at Burgess Park, Isaac Armenta outlined the benefits of living in Linfield Oaks as he watched his two-year-old son play on a swing.
"There's a lot of stores nearby ... lots of trees, easy access to all the freeways and transportation, like the train," he said.
But the quality of life comes at a price.
"It's a great place to live. I wish I could buy a house," said Armenta, a traffic signal electrician for the city of Palo Alto who rents a unit in a four-plex.
Linfield Oaks was developed in the 1950s and has a mix of single-family homes and multi-family units in addition to office space around its edges.
Stanford Research Institute, the U.S. Geological Survey and Sunset Magazine are all based on the outskirts of the neighborhood, which is bordered by San Francisquito Creek, Middlefield Road, Ravenswood Avenue and Alma Street.
Seeking a family-friendly environment to raise their children, Frank and Margaret Carney moved to Menlo Park from New York City in 1972. They bought their one-story ranch house in Linfield Oaks in 1979.
Frank said different streets in the neighborhood are characterized by the trees that line them: camphor trees on Claremont Way, liquid ambers on East Creek, and ash on Willow Road.
Today, there are fewer Camphor trees than when the Carneys first arrived. Frank remembers when their overhanging branches would cause logistical problems when he threw the football around with his two sons.
"You couldn't throw it too high, because it would hit the trees," he said.
The Carneys expressed some misgivings about development and the cost of homes. One of their sons is a schoolteacher, while the other works at Dreamworks, and neither can afford to live in the neighborhood they grew up in.
"In the early seventies, you didn't have to be wealthy to live in Menlo Park," said Frank, who worked as a probation officer and family court mediator for San Mateo County before retiring. "You had to have savings and a good middle class (job)."
A block from the Carneys, Roland Kelly lives with his wife and three children in a one-story home built in 1955.
Originally from Ireland, Kelly moved to Linfield Oaks in 2005 and spends some of his evenings in a detached home office built by the original owner. He believes it was one of the first home offices in Silicon Valley, predating the current widespread use of telecommuting.
Kelly, who works for SAP, said many of his neighbors also work in Silicon Valley and include a number of executives.
But he said residents have tried to maintain the character of the neighborhood.
"For the most part, homes are not completely demolished," said Kelly. "They are tastefully remodeled."
Kelly's children take advantage of their proximity to Burgess Park, using the swimming pool, baseball diamond and soccer field.
Other facilities at the park include basketball and tennis courts and the new Arrillaga Family Gymnastics Center.
Resident Louise Kim watched her nine-year-old son lift himself into the air while practicing on the rings.
"It's his favorite event," said Kim, an anesthesiologist at Stanford who lives in a subdivision built in 1999.
CHILD CARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Geokids Day Care Center, 345 Middlefield Road #204, Menlo Park; Burgess After-school Program, Burgess Kindercat Program, Menlo Park Recreation Center, 701 Laurel St., Menlo Park, Menlo Children's Center, 801 Laurel St. Menlo Park
FIRE STATION: 300 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park
LOCATION: West of Middlefield Road to Alma Street and San Francisquito Creek to Ravenswood Avenue
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: E-mail coordinator: JoAnne Goldberg, 650-327-4716
PARK: Burgess Park, Alma Street and Mielke Drive, Menlo Park
Menlo Park City Elementary School District -- Laurel School, 95 Edge Road, Atherton; Encinal School, 195 Encinal Avenue, Menlo Park; Hillview Middle School, 1100 Elder Avenue, Menlo Park
Sequoia Union High School District -- Menlo Atherton High School, 555 Middlefield Road, Atherton
SHOPPING: Downtown Menlo Park
MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $1,320,000 ($410,000-$1,565,000)
HOMES SOLD: 7
MEDIAN 2011 CONDOMINIUM PRICE: $370,000 ($300,000-$520,840)
CONDOMINIUMS SOLD: 9