While the neighborhood of Kings Mountain, located off the northern part of Skyline Boulevard above Woodside, is less than 20 minutes away from the rest of the Peninsula, its residents say it is a world away — and that's one of the things they love about it.
Lance Fung and his husband, John Talley, bought their home in late 2011. They love "the proximity to 280 but also having a little bit of a cathartic drive up the hill," Mr. Fung says. "You shed that city stuff very quickly."
He says they fell in love with their home as well. "We are surrounded by redwoods, but we also have a gorgeous view," he says, with the San Mateo Bridge and the twinkling lights of Silicon Valley visible in the distance.
Like many area residents, Mr. Talley and Mr. Fung work from home on their joint business, Fung Collaboratives, which creates art exhibits.
Also like many Kings Mountain residents they are involved in neighborhood activities. Mr. Talley is on the board of the Kings Mountain Fire Brigade, and Mr. Fung is on the board of the Kings Mountain Association. Both, like most of the rest of their neighborhood, volunteer at the annual Kings Mountain Art Fair.
"What will keep us here lifelong is this community of Kings Mountain. It's very special here," Mr. Fung says. "It's a very educated, open-minded, if not liberal, community. The income is varied."
The neighborhood has an active Yahoo group that helps counteract their isolation from a lot of services, he says, with neighbors offering one another things such as rides to the airport.
Eileen and Jon Fredrikson have lived in a home they built in Kings Mountain for around 35 years. "We still love it after all these years," Ms. Fredrikson says.
They first discovered the neighborhood when driving from a concert in Saratoga to San Francisco. Jon Fredrikson "noticed mailboxes and he said, 'Somebody lives here!,'" Ms. Fredrikson says.
The property they found offered them a location between their jobs in San Francisco and Saratoga, views and property. "What more came with Kings Mountain was quite the surprise," Ms. Fredrikson says.
Within a week of moving in, Ms. Fredrikson had been recruited to be in charge of publicity for the Kings Mountain Art Fair and Mr. Fredrikson was part of the fire brigade. "It was a little like your initiation, your way of paying back to the community, to volunteer," she says.
When their children went to the Kings Mountain Elementary School, a kindergarten-to-fifth-grade school with 60 to 80 students, they met even more of the community.
The nationally recognized art fair, which had its 50th anniversary celebration a couple of years ago, raises money for the school, the volunteer fire department and other community activities.
The Fredriksons also love the hiking trails and all the open space preserves the Kings Mountain area has to offer. "We really do feel like we're living on vacation all year long," she says. "It's phenomenal."
The neighborhood has lots of activities for those who want them. "We have a lot going on up here in our very quiet way," Ms. Fredrikson says, mentioning book clubs and a women's group. "You can be as involved or as private as you wish," she says. "No one will bother you."
Kathy Shubin moved to Kings Mountain three years ago, after marrying Elliot Shubin, who already lived in the neighborhood. She had lived all her life in the Lafayette area. "The first time I drove up here I had no idea where I was going," she says.
Now, she loves it. "When you get back home ... you just have a feeling of serenity. It's just the hustle and the bustle leaves you when you turn on to Skyline."
When asked what the drawbacks of her adopted neighborhood are, Ms. Shubin says, "I can't really think of any."
Except, maybe, how far away it is from Lafayette. "Some of my friends have been here once, and I don't think they'll ever come back," she says.
-- Barbara Wood
CHILD CARE & PRESCHOOLS: Kings Mountain Children's Center at Kings Mountain Elementary School, 211 Swett Road, Woodside
FIRE STATION: Cal Fire - Skylonda Station, 17290 Skyline Blvd., Woodside; Kings Mountain Fire Brigade, 13889 Skyline Blvd., Woodside
LOCATION: surrounding northern Skyline Boulevard and upper Kings Mountain Road, around Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Kings Mountain Association, kingsmountainonline.com
PARKS: Huddart County Park, 1100 Kings Mountain Road, Woodside; Wunderlich County Park, 4040 Woodside Road, Woodside; Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve, Skyline Boulevard, Woodside; El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve, Skyline Boulevard, Woodside.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Cabrillo Unified School District — Kings Mountain Elementary School, 211 Swett Road, Woodside; Cunha Intermediate School, Kelly Avenue and Church Street, Half Moon Bay; Half Moon Bay High School, 1 Lewis Foster Drive, Half Moon Bay
Woodside Elementary School District — Woodside Elementary School, 3195 Woodside Road, Woodside
Sequoia Union High School District — Woodside High School, 199 Churchill Ave., Woodside
SHOPPING: Crystal Springs Shopping Center, San Mateo; Half Moon Bay shopping district, Half Moon Bay