Just between El Camino Real, Permanente Creek and El Monte Avenue, and walking distance from downtown Mountain View, Saint Francis Acres is a community where people know their neighbors and anybody is welcomed with open arms.
"Everyone on my street, we all know each other," Melinda Joffe said, a resident since August 2002.
Her first experience with that familiarity was during the open house for her future home, she said. When she saw all her neighbors talking in the living room, she knew that they were tight-knit.
When she purchased her home, her neighbors introduced themselves and explained that the neighborhood is like one big family.
Joffe describes Saint Francis Acres as "a Mountain View home with a Los Altos school district."
Since she moved in, the neighborhood has undergone a lot of changes stories, bedrooms and bathrooms have been added to homes, and older bathrooms and kitchens have been remodeled.
"We've seen a lot of movement in our street and our neighborhood," Joffe said. Because of individual renovations and changes, each house is unique from its neighbor, and according to Joffe, the community has become more ethnically diverse.
"Our neighborhood used to be seen as a starter neighborhood, but no longer. People are here to stay and want to have a home they can be comfortable in for the long term." Joffe said.
In her early years in St. Francis Acres, the neighborhood had five parties a year. Although the frequency has gone down since then, her cul-de-sac of 13 houses is still very active.
"When you're just walking in the neighborhood, people are just saying hi to each other, and the kids will be playing outside," Joffe said.
The neighborhood also gets together for Memorial Day and Halloween parties, Joffe said.
The Melba Court Memorial Day party has been going on for years. Joffe said one of her neighbors sets out decorations in his driveway so kids can decorate their bikes, and then he leads them in a bike parade around the neighborhood while blasting tradition American music from his convertible.
According to Joffe, that is followed by a "bring your own meat" barbeque where everyone brings a food dish and drinks to share and the "grillmaster" neighbors cook their food on a barbeque set up in a driveway.
A City of Mountain View neighborhood grant has enabled the Saint Francis Acres neighborhood to host get-togethers. According to Joffe, the grants of between $300 and $500, are allocated so that neighbors can get to know each other better.
Joffe said she found out about the program a few years ago and threw a couple of parties at McKelvey Park. After a few years, somebody else took over and has been throwing a Halloween party every year.
"They cut off Ernestine (Lane) and they have petting zoos and they have bounce houses and they have entertainers," Joffe said.
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Mountain View KinderCare, 2065 W. El Camino Real; St. Paul Lutheran CDC, 1075 El Monte Ave.
FIRE STATION: No. 1, 251 S. Shoreline Blvd.
LOCATION: bordered by El Camino Real, Permanente Creek and El Monte Avenue
PARKS: McKelvey Park, Park Drive and Miramonte Ave.; Eagle Park, Shoreline Blvd. and High School Way.
POST OFFICE: Mountain View, 211 Hope St.
PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): Canterbury Christian School, 101 N. El Monte, St. Joseph Catholic School, 1120 Miramonte Ave., St. Francis High School, 1885 Miramonte Ave.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Los Altos School District: Springer Elementary School, Egan Junior High School;Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District: Los Altos High School
SHOPPING: Downtown Mountain View, El Monte Shopping Center (El Monte Avenue near Marich Way), Clarkwood Center (El Camino Real)