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What does Fall in Palo Alto mean to you?

Original post made by Veronica Weber, Evergreen Park, on Nov 17, 2009

Hi everyone, I'm the staff photographer here at the Weekly and I'm working on a photo story covering "Autumn in Palo Alto." Obviously photographing the brilliant trees which are changing colors is a given, but I'd like to cover more than that. So I'm asking you all to help and maybe give a little input about what Fall in Palo Alto means to you. Whether it's a specific event, moments at the schools, a certain scene in your neighborhood, a landscape, decorations, anything -I'd like to know about it. You can either respond on here, or feel free to shoot me an email at:

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Comments (17)

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Posted by JW
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 17, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Hi Veronica: I received an e-mail from the City Arborist giving a list of locations of some lovely Autumnal trees in Palo Alto. The list included some very special streets and parks all in North Palo Alto. As a South Palo Alto resident I would like to add that the newly planted red maples in Mitchell Park are looking marvellous right now in their brilliant red autumn colors. Also Gailen and Corina Avenues lined with Chinese Pistache trees are also a mass of brilliant colors.

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 17, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Don't miss the gingkos on Parkinson and also parts of Walter Hays Drive and Homer between Guinda and Palo Alto Avenue.

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Posted by Pat Markevitch
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 17, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Stanford Football.

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Posted by Ken
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2009 at 1:35 pm

I love going hiking in the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve during the fall. Lots of different color foliage. I regularly see coyotes, hawks, and vultures. The cleaner air during the fall gives you a great view Palo Alto and much of the rest of the Bay Area. Even got a few inches of snow during the fall last year.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2009 at 5:50 pm

The closure of the pedestrian/bike tunnel under 101 by paloaltojoes/kikis/gym.

Sorry to be negative, but it does affect our ability to get to Baylands which is a wonderful place to go in the Fall.

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Posted by Ken
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Isn't there a proposal to upgrade the pedestrian crossing under Hwy 101 in south Palo Alto so it can stay open year round? Anyone know the status of that? I think the city council approved a study last spring, but I haven't heard anything since then. The current bike path is closed 6 months every year, which is a big hassle.

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 17, 2009 at 7:36 pm

Oops. Those gingko trees are on Greenwood, which is one block south of Channing between Newell and Melville.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 18, 2009 at 9:54 am

Hi Veronica,

here are my suggestions, impressions and recent memories of Autumn:

-Bixby park, the baylands at San Antonio Rd and by the duckpond. Seeing all the slough plants change color, watching the horizon, the hills, some of the sunsets recently have been spectacular!

-There is an incredible pyracantha (Web Link Woodland Ave in Menlo Park. If you're heading towards Pope from Middlefield, it's on the right side, very visible from the street. It's before Woodland Court, and just past Concord Drive.

Here are moments that I and my partner enjoy when we're in Palo Alto/Menlo Park area:

-Farmer's Markets in the fall - the colors are rich and dense, the varierty of produce and products amazing. So much emphasis is on the summer and spring produce, but here in Calif., we have an abundance of fall fruit and veggies.

-Roger Reynolds Nursery (Web Link) - so fun to visit any season, they had a fall event recently which was lovely. Their carriage house also recently was filled with specialty pumpkins and gourds - quite a feast for the eyes! Sitting under their spectacular kiwi vines is also a treat.

-Seeing youth outside the MP trader Joe's the other night, collecting non-perishable food items for donation. Seeing their smiling faces, hearing their passionate "thank yous" when we donated some goods - really made my hear swell.

-Being out in the wind last night, watching the sky change from clear to cloudy, hearing my windchimes tinkling, feeling those first drops of rain and smelling that ozone smell. Wonderful!

-Having to remember to have a coat or sweater w/me in the evenings, whether we're going to dinner, taking a walk or shopping. It's a nice feeling to know that the season has changed, that it's darker earlier, it has cooled off, that the earth seems to be napping more often.

-Seeing all the pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn in people's yards, on their porches and front steps, seeing fall decorations. It's such a great reminder that no matter how fast and technically savvy we've become, the pull of the seasons is still strong, still inevitable, and still so beautiful.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2009 at 10:03 am

The darker evenings mean more bikes without lights and even electric wheelchairs without lights. Whether they are in bike lanes, riding on the side of the road, or on sidewalks, they need lights so that they can be seen. And in the dark, it is even more important not to ride on the wrong way of the street.

The wet leaves on the sides of the street are also very dangerous for bikes, so be more alert when cornering or braking on bikes as the leaves can cause a bike to skid.

The darker evenings mean some of my elderly neighbors don't venture outside after 5.00 pm so it is important to check on these neighbors, particularly if you don't see their lights on.

My favorite part is walking through the crunchy leaves, I am just a kid at heart and will go out of my way to walk through a particularly dense path to go crunch, crunch, crunch.

Like this comment
Posted by Don G
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 18, 2009 at 10:10 am

Sunrises and sunsets in the fall are spectacular. My wife and I walk in the morning and see some great colors when there are a few clouds in the sky in the morning.

Frost on the grass.

Looking down a long street crowned over with trees while leaves fall like large snowflakes.

Like this comment
Posted by Ken
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 18, 2009 at 10:26 am

The Palo Alto bay shore is a pleasure that most residents ignore. The fall migration season brings a lot of different birds through this area and many nest or at least rest in the baylands. The dirt levee out along the bay between Embarcadero Road and San Antonio Road is a great walk.

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Posted by Steffi
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 18, 2009 at 10:57 am

People who are from areas with a lot of fall color thnk we have no fall here. We have a beautiful fall here if one takes the time to notice, to jump in the leaves, etc. The change is more gradual and worth watching for.

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Posted by PA mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 18, 2009 at 11:32 am

For me it's a time of turning inward to home and family, of poignant past memories and a time to create new ones. I also notice a sort of group mind effect of people honing in on holiday seasons from ages in past history, not just American history but from times beyond.

Like this comment
Posted by caitlin
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 18, 2009 at 1:14 pm

the smell of my bike tires in the rain.


my mom's lasagna.


the lovely shade of charcoal that the pavement turns after it rains.

little kids playing basketball.

the creek in bol park?

the library!

Like this comment
Posted by janisw
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 18, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Gunn high school's annual Turkey feast which benefits the Ecumenical Hunger program to help people who are less fortunate have a better holiday.


Families gathering at Thanksgiving to look back over the past year, count our blessings and reconnect as the Christmas season starts.

Hearing the raindrops on my roof and windows when the first storms of the season come our way as I'm feeling warm and cozy in my new home.

Like this comment
Posted by caitlin
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 18, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Hi Veronica,

yeahh I was going to say the Gunn turkey feast, because it is a really good cause, but it' On the outside, not on the inside.

you could take pictures of kids doing theatre! Kids in costume are always adorable. And full of autumnal vigor. Palo Alto Children's Theatre or either of the high schools.

Like this comment
Posted by Lindsay
a resident of Ventura
on Nov 18, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Dark beer
Roasted root vegetables
Persimmons ripening on my windowsill to be made into a Christmas pudding
Switching to flannel sheets
Dark evenings provide an excuse to go to bed early with a good book
More time to knit!

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