Tucked away in a corner of the bustling Silicon Valley, Woodside Hills surprises visitors with lush woods, winding roads and an equestrian community.
"We joke that we have more horses than people," says Debbie Mendelson, vice president of the Woodside Hills Homes Association.
Ms. Mendelson says she doesn't keep horses, but quite a number of Woodside Hills residents do. Lot sizes here, northeast of Interstate 280, are generally more than 1 acre, considerably larger than home sizes on the other side of the highway in the same town.
Ms. Mendelson attributes the spacious landscaping of Woodside Hills to David D. Bohannon, a land developer who founded the community, and the homeowners association established in 1938 to preserve his vision by governing land use and architectural design.
"Property owners come and go, but we must keep the same quality of life here," she says.
In fact, Woodside was incorporated as a town in 1956 to prevent urbanization.
Ms. Mendelson recalls house shopping as a 21-year-old bride 38 years ago and says, "My husband and I liked the way the community was landscaped and homes were hidden away."
Generations of Woodside Hills residents stay for their love of rural living, and home ownership turnover is low, according to Ms. Mendelson.
Catha Hall, membership officer of Woodside Hills Garden Club, says the community consists of retirees, high-tech employees, doctors, lawyers and other professionals some of them new immigrants from all over the world, including China and Ethiopia. Both Ms. Hall and Ms. Mendelson say they've noticed a few Chinese property owners who purchased the homes for investment purposes and don't live here.
A Woodside Hills resident for 18 years, Ms. Hall finds the location of the quiet community convenient. She says it's a quick drive to shop at Whole Foods Market in Redwood City or even Trader Joe's in San Carlos, but her family prefers a nice olive oil from Roberts Market on the other side of I-280 in Woodside.
Ms. Hall says, "I would recommend Woodside Hills to home buyers, but couples with young children need to be aware that the community isn't in the Woodside Elementary School District."
For public schools, K-8 Woodside Hills students must go to Redwood City.
Another longtime resident Linda Vartanian says she and her husband built their home here in 1960 and have lived here since 1961. She is now organizing an emergency preparedness program on top of the seven neighborhood watch groups created in the past three or four years.
Mrs. Vartanian says the idea of neighborhood watch began when she and her husband were looking for the owner of a lost dog. She explains that it's really necessary to know which household has an elderly person or a baby as well as what resources and skills are already here in the community.
"With our low population density," she says. "We are not going to get help as quickly as Redwood City or Palo Alto residents if a big disaster hits. So, we must prepare ourselves for emergencies."
-- Crystal Tai
CHILDCARE & PRESCHOOLS: Woodside Parents' Nursery School, 3154 Woodside Road, Woodside; Woodside Preschool, 3195 Woodside Road, Woodside
FIRE STATION: 3111 Woodside Road, Woodside
LOCATION: north of Woodside Road and I-280 between Cañada College and Menlo Country Club to Las Pulgas Road
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Woodside Hills Homes Association, woodsidehills.org
PARK: Huddart County Park, 1100 Kings Mountain Road, Woodside; Wunderlich County Park, 4040 Woodside Road, Woodside
Redwood City School District — Henry Ford School, 2498 Massachusetts Ave., Redwood City; Kennedy Middle School, 2521 Goodwin Ave., Redwood City; plus magnet schools
Sequoia Union High School District — Woodside High School, 199 Churchill Ave., Woodside
SHOPPING: Woodside Road, Woodside; Woodside Plaza, Redwood City