Tucked between the Atherton Caltrain station and the edge of Redwood City, the winding streets of Lloyden Park create a quiet little haven that's close to schools, the library and Holbrook-Palmer Park.
No two homes are exactly alike, although most were built in the 1930s and 1940s on one-third-acre lots. One Streamline Moderne home was built for the 1939 San Francisco World's Fair.
Newcomer Sharon Herrell, her husband Kelly and son Jack tested out a variety of neighborhoods before settling on Lloyden Park. After living in Palo Alto, Napa and San Francisco, they decided to return to the Peninsula.
"We realized there were so many pocket neighborhoods," Mrs. Herrell says. The family rented in West Atherton and Vintage Oaks before starting to look seriously into buying in 2013.
"We felt that West Atherton was not neighborhoody enough," she says.
After losing bids on seven houses in the hot market, they went on hold for a year. But in 2014 the same house they had admired the previous year was back on the market and they jumped.
Lloyden Park has "sidewalks, street lamps, kids ... and it's quiet," Mrs. Herrell says. "We wanted Jack to have a neighborhood experience, to feel like we were part of a community."
Rosemary Sisson has lived in Lloyden Park since 1969, when she and her late husband John swapped their Menlo Park home for the home his mother had lived in since 1942. They raised their two children there.
"When we went outside, we could see El Camino Real," Mrs. Sisson recalls, noting how the neighborhood has filled in.
The Sissons were attracted not only by the house itself, but by its location near the train station. "Mr. Sisson worked for Southern Pacific and wanted to take the train to San Francisco," she says.
And it's very quiet.
"Sometimes I sit in the garage and wait and time how long it is until a car or person or dog goes by. Sometimes it's 15 minutes," Mrs. Sisson says.
The best part of the neighborhood, though, are the neighbors, Mrs. Sisson says. "They are all very, very nice and friendly. They walk their dogs."
The Herrell family, with its two Labradoodles, Zoe and Hunk, are among the frequent dog walkers.
And a favorite family activity on a Sunday morning is to bicycle to the Menlo Park Farmers Market, Mrs. Herrell says.
When the Sissons were raising their family, it was common to have Fourth of July gatherings, but many of the old traditions have diminished over time.
Mrs. Herrell, noticing the number of children in the area now, got together with longtime resident Nina Dimitreli to organize Halloween in 2014. The kids went house to house, passing out fliers, asking people to call if they wanted to participate in trick-or-treating this year. Twenty people called to get their homes marked as Halloween-friendly, and 65 trick-or-treaters showed up at the Herrells.
"We're talking about reviving the block party, maybe around back-to-school or Memorial Day," Mrs. Herrell says. "That's the next thing. I'm on a mission."
-- Carol Blitzer
FIRE STATION: 32 Almendral Ave., Atherton
LOCATION: between El Camino Real and the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks, and from Wilburn Avenue to Lloyden Drive.
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Lloyden Park Homeowners' Association, David Barca, president, 650-314-7201, [email protected]
PARK: Holbrook-Palmer Park, 150 Watkins Ave., Atherton
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Redwood City School District -- Selby Lane School, 170 Selby Lane, Atherton; Kennedy Middle School, 2521 Goodwin Ave., Redwood City; plus magnet schools
Sequoia Union High School District -- Menlo-Atherton High School, 555 Middlefield Road, Atherton
SHOPPING: Downtown Menlo Park, El Camino Real, Redwood City