Kelly and Conor Flannery moved to Portola Valley more than four years ago.
"(We moved) to be close to hiking trails and for the school system," says Mrs. Flannery, who has a young son. "And to be more in a rural area, quiet neighborhood."
The couple said they see deer, raccoons and foxes. But sometimes the wildlife can be a bit intrusive.
"We had a wild turkey trapped in our garage (once)," Mrs. Flannery says.
John Richards remembers when Corte Madera was a dirt road.
"Played in the dirt, mostly," Mr. Richards says, describing what it was like growing up in the neighborhood during the 1950s and '60s.
Richards, an architect, lives on land his parents owned and in a house he designed and built in 1985.
His do-it-yourself ethic extends to his backyard. He raises vegetables, grows fruit and keeps chickens, like his parents did. Richards said many of his neighbors do the same thing.
"I like the ability to go out and dig in the ground," he says. "That's a big one, be a little more self-sufficient."
Richards says the neighborhood was tighter knit when he was young. He recalls his dad and four other families building a pool together and his mother leading groups of carolers from home to home during Christmas time.
But he says that feeling isn't completely gone, and that his immediate neighbors get together for dinners and parties.
The u-shaped Brookside Drive is flanked by wood fences and a mix of single and multi-story homes.
"When I was in college I used to do (yard) work here and loved it," says resident Dan Cornew, who graduated from Stanford in 1984.
Mr. Cornew, a management consultant, arrived in the neighborhood more than 13 years ago with his wife and four children. When he moved in, he found himself sharing a fence with his college rowing coach, whose yard he had worked many years ago.
"(That's) a stranger part of the coincidence, because I didn't pick this house," he says. "My wife did."
Mr. Cornew says he felt he got more bang for his buck in Portola Valley than in neighboring towns.
"In Palo Alto, I'd get a house shoehorned on 6,000 square feet with rooms arranged so there would be everything the Realtor said there was."
Portola Valley's proximity to popular bike routes was another benefit for Mr. Cornew, who goes riding once a week with a cycling group.
-- Bryce Druzin
CHILD CARE & PRESCHOOLS: Windmill Preschool, 4141 Alpine Road, Portola Valley; Ladera Community Church Preschool, 3300 Alpine Road, Portola Valley; Carillon Preschool at Christ Church, 815 Portola Road, Portola Valley; New Horizons (after-school care), 200 Shawnee Pass, Portola Valley
LOCATION: between Portola Road, Willowbrook Drive and Portola Road
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Portola Valley School District -- Ormondale School (K-3), 200 Shawnee Pass, Portola Valley; Corte Madera School (4-8), 4575 Alpine Road, Portola Valley
Sequoia Union High School District -- Woodside High School, 199 Churchill Ave., Woodside
PRIVATE SCHOOLS: Woodside Priory School, 302 Portola Road, Portola Valley