One, two, three — Embarcadero Oaks, Leland Manor and Garland Drive stack up from north to south to form a parallelogram in eastern Palo Alto. Oregon Expressway, Middlefield, Embarcadero and Louis roads draw the area's peripheral boundary lines.
Residents can walk to Midtown, California Avenue, University Avenue and Stanford University for coffee, restaurants and shopping. Rinconada Park, the Lucie Stern Community Center and the main library are within a stone's throw for recreation and reading.
Christmas trees sparkle with festive rainbow-colored lights during the holidays on Fulton Street. It's been a favorite activity for residents since 1940 who enjoy the thousands of visitors walking along the tree-lined street to admire the homes.
Residents who move onto the street inherit lights and decorations from previous owners.
The area once covered with hay fields began growing in the 1930s. Homes styled from Tudor Revival to Monterey Colonial began sprouting. Birge Clark, a well-known Palo Alto architect, designed homes in the neighborhood.
A resurgence of families with young children has re-defined this well-kept neighborhood.
"The new people have come from all over the country and the world ... it's almost like a United Nations," Beatrice Hubbard, the area's self-declared longest resident, said. She moved into the area in 1951 and raised five children.
Many from her generation have moved on. And a new generation of families has begun, she said.
A Fourth of July parade, an Easter egg tree and a long-time resident who drops Christmas cards in her neighbors' mailboxes makes Leland Manor unique.
Homes on 9,000- to 10,000-square-foot lots were built in classic California design — ranch style. One home on Newell Road, the area's main thoroughfare, served as a model home in the 1939 San Francisco Exposition and drew more than 25,000 visitors.
Now the neighborhood nestles quietly around a circle formed by Northampton and Southampton drives. Every Fourth of July young children parade on decorated bikes in the center while parents barbecue, talk and share food.
Leland Manor also has a community bulletin board one neighbor volunteered to place in her front yard.
"Everybody can put things up — announcements, if they lose their dog, and various things that are coming up," Lorraine Barry said.
Magnolia trees line a quiet and curvaceous road adjacent to Jordan Middle School. Four cul-de-sacs along the drive hallmark a neighborhood where children who grew up 30 years ago return to raise their own families.
"It's nice for some of the older residents to see the kids running around," Sonia Kantor, a resident since 1967, said of all the new young families.
Neighbors mow each other's lawns, cook dinners for each other, and trust each other with car keys while on vacation. People care about each other, neighbors say.
"It's a really special place," Rob Henderson, who bought his home on one of the cul-de-sacs in 2000, said. Henderson grew up five blocks away as a boy. With three young daughters, he came back to Palo Alto to raise his family.
The houses, originally built in California ranch-style, are 1,500 to 2,000 square feet on 6,000- to 7,000-square-foot lots. Over the years many residents added second stories.
On occasional holidays the neighbors on each cul-de-sac bring out their grills and barbecue in the middle of the street.
"It's kinda like a family," Henderson added. "The family atmosphere is just amazing."
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (NEARBY): First Congregational Church Nursery School, 1985 Louis Road; Parents Nursery School, 2328 Louis Road; Walter Hays Kids' Club, 1525 Middlefield Road
FIRE STATION: No. 3, 799 Embarcadero Road
LIBRARY: Main Library, 1213 Newell Road
PARK (NEARBY): Rinconada Park, 777 Embarcadero Road
POST OFFICE: Cambridge, 265 Cambridge Ave.
PRIVATE SCHOOL: Hwa Chin School, 750 N. California Ave.; Stratford School, 870 N. California Ave.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Walter Hays Elementary School, Jordan Middle School, Palo Alto High School
MEDIAN 2008 HOME PRICE: $2,145,000 ($1,850,000-$4,150,000)
HOMES SOLD: 10