They say real estate is all about location, location, location, and residents in North Los Altos believe they have found their haven. Within this area, bordered by North El Monte Avenue, El Camino Real and Foothill Expressway, people can find a large library, community center, a performing arts center for children, a downtown filled with restaurants and shops, great public schools, and more.
Almost everyone in the area lives within easy walking distance of these attractions.
Deb Stricharz and her husband grew up in Southern California and moved to Los Altos after her husband finished his medical training at UCLA and landed a job at El Camino Hospital. She chose Los Altos because of its proximity to her husband's job in Mountain View and her job as a children's transplant nurse at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto. Even after leaving Los Altos for Kentucky, Strichartz knew she would return.
"We took a detour. This is where we felt at home. When we moved back, there was no question that we would live anywhere else," she said.
Strichartz moved back to Los Altos in 1996 after two years in Kentucky. She chose Sioux Lane because it was a cul-de-sac, close to downtown, and because she "wanted to walk to Peet's Coffee in the mornings." She also picked North Los Altos because of the schools her two daughters would be attending.
"We had an absolutely fantastic experience at the public schools," Strichartz said. "I feel the kids were really enriched by going to high school that was really diverse … and has such great opportunities."
Ginny Strock has lived in Los Altos for twice as many years as Strichartz. Even though she worked in the Palo Alto Unified School District, Strock moved to North Los Altos for the same reasons as Strichartz.
"We heard the schools were really good and also it was very close proximity to downtown," Strock said.
Strock moved with her husband and children to the quiet neighborhood on Frances Drive in 1978. She liked that her children could walk to school and be close to the Hillview Community Center, and her husband enjoyed being near his work in Silicon Valley. Every Fourth of July when her children were growing up, the neighborhood threw a block party with square dancing and a big barbecue.
Strock's children are now grown and all but two of her original neighbors have moved. The neighborhood is now filled with young families and very young children.
"We were the youngest people when we moved in and now we are the oldest people," she said.
While the neighbors have changed, families still organize a block party at least once a year.
"We love having young families in our neighborhood as it keeps us all young. … We continue to love our proximity to town, and our house, which always seemed small, is now just right," Strock said.
-- Lisa Kellman
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Children's Corner, 97 Hillview Ave.; Children's Creative Learning Center, 700 Los Altos Ave.; Los Altos Parents Preschool, 201 Covington Road (nearby); Tiny Tots Preschool, 647 S. San Antonio Road
FIRE STATION: No. 15, 10 Almond Ave.
LIBRARY: 13 S. San Antonio Road
LOCATION: bounded by Foothill Expressway, El Monte Road, El Camino Real and Adobe Creek
PARKS: Village Park, Edith Avenue at San Antonio Road; Shoup Park, 400 University Ave.; Lincoln Park, University at Lincoln Avenue
POST OFFICE: 221 Main St.
PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): Los Altos Christian School, 625 Magdalena Ave.; Canterbury Christian School, 101 N. El Monte Ave.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Los Altos School District -- Santa Rita or Almond elementary schools, Egan Intermediate School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District -- Los Altos High School
SHOPPING: Downtown Los Altos, Los Altos Village Court and San Antonio Center
MEDIAN 2013 HOME PRICE: $2,201,000 ($700,000-$5,000,000)
HOMES SOLD: 106
MEDIAN 2013 CONDO PRICE: $945,000 ($375,000-$3,750,000)
CONDOS SOLD: 54