Real Estate

Central Portola Valley


Back when Ted Lamb attended Stanford University in the 1950s, he would tell his now wife, Jean, "Someday I am going to live up the hill from this beer garden." And by beer garden, he meant the Alpine Inn Beer Garden, which has been around for almost 165 years and has been a favorite of Stanford students since the school opened.

In 1961, his proclamation came true when the couple moved into their Central Portola Valley home. Their home was built in 1957, Mrs. Lamb says.

"The boom of houses came in right after they built roads," she says. "There was nothing really out here before that."

When they first moved in, the neighborhood had more children, she recalls. They raised their own son there, who is now 53, and he would play in the woods with neighborhood friends and then come back home for lunch. Today, Mrs. Lamb says the neighborhood is not as full of children, mostly because they grew up and all that's left are the parents, like themselves, who don't want to move.

"People just tend to move in and stay," she says.

But just because the neighborhood isn't bursting with youth doesn't mean there aren't opportunities for them. Back near the Alpine Inn, Rossotti Field has space for soccer games, and from time to time the Lambs go watch a match. And then, down Alpine Road a little farther, Alpine Hills offers tennis, swimming and more for all ages. Plus, if the outdoors are more of an interest, the area has many hiking, walking and biking trails, Mrs. Lamb says.

"Our grandkids from Redwood City just love being down here on the weekends," she says.

They are also not far from the Ladera Country Shopper, which has general shopping and fuel needs.

"When I run into the store, I always see people I know," she says.

Because the area can be more isolated that other parts of the Peninsula, Mrs. Lamb says they have an active neighborhood association and emergency preparedness teams.

"If anything ever happened," she says, "we'd really have to rely on one another."

Mrs. Lamb herself is a committee member for the Alpine Hills Association, which started in 1958, six years before Portola Valley was incorporated in 1964. The group focuses on informal social activities, letting residents share information and common interests. Residents of the neighborhood host parties throughout the year, which gives everyone a chance to meet and spend time together, she says.

Originally from Rapid City, South Dakota, Mrs. Lamb says the most recent shock has been the home prices. In their 50-plus years in the neighborhood, they have seen the prices go up and up and up.

"We feel our house was such a good investment," she says.

That investment also comes with a 180-degree view of the Bay Area, which Mr. Lamb keeps visible by pruning their trees. Mrs. Lamb appreciates the efforts of her husband of 59 years -- and his idea to move there in the first place.

-- Brenna Malmberg


CHILD CARE & PRESCHOOLS: Carillon Preschool at Christ Church, 815 Portola Road, Portola Valley; Windmill Preschool, 4141 Alpine Road, Portola Valley

FIRE STATION: 135 Portola Road, Portola Valley

LOCATION: south of Westridge Drive to Portola and Alpine Roads, and west of Alpine Road

PARKS: Little People's Park at Portola Valley Town Center; Windy Hill Open Space Preserve

PRIVATE SCHOOLS: Woodside Priory School, 302 Portola Road, Portola Valley

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

SHOPPING: Portola Road, Valley Center (Portola and Alpine Roads), Ladera Shopping Center


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