Ranch-style and Eichler homes with vast lawn space and quiet avenues are defining features of the Greendell neighborhood, which lies roughly between San Antonio Road and Dake and Ferne avenues. Most distinctive is the tract of Eichler homes lining Ferne Avenue, which are mainly one-story and completed circa 1955.
Greendell is a neighborhood in evolution, constantly expanding its boundaries, according to Srini Sankaran, president of the newly formed Greendell Neighborhood Association.
In October 2010, when the association was formally organized, Mackay Drive and Calcaterra Place were not included within its limits.
"Recently, we have had nearly 40 residents on Calcaterra, Mackay and sections of Ferne and San Antonio south of Dake, express interest in being a part of the association," Sankaran said.
The 70 current members vote on issues relating to the community, gain access to emergency information from the city and post on the community website.
"The website enables an intricate information exchange among residents. You can post about block parties, tickets to games and even concerns you are having," Sankaran said.
Households not yet part of the association can do everything but vote, he added.
An issue pulsating within the neighborhood involves plans for a 3-acre parcel of land along San Antonio Avenue, which was home to the Peninsula Day Care Center for 35 years.
SummerHill Homes, Palo Alto, has an option to buy the property, where they plan to construct 26 new homes. However, the Palo Alto Unified School District is also interested in the property.
Sankaran said the association is working with the district and developer towards a solution that is beneficial to the neighborhood.
"Actually, it was the day care issue and others which served as catalysts in forming the association. We were at a block party and realized that we need one point of contact, someone to represent the community when interacting with the city."
Block parties occur annually in Greendell and everyone in the neighborhood is invited.
"We attended the block party before we officially bought our house. That's the welcoming sort of neighborhood this is," Sankaran said.
What first attracted him and his family to the neighborhood were the playgrounds and community center, he said.
Gary Schwede, who has lived on Calcaterra Place since 1981, said he moved to the neighborhood for its tranquility and low-density housing.
"I prefer the ranch-styled homes to the Eichlers because they are a more familiar construction to me. I like to have space, to build things and to garden in my backyard."
The historic Eichler neighborhood, Greenmeadow, sits between Greendell to the south and Walnut Grove. Residents of the surrounding neighborhoods frequent the facilities run by the Greenmeadow Community Association.
"We offer swimming facilities, a community room, and yoga classes. We also have a private park with basketball courts and barbecue pits," Kimball Allen, administrative manager of the association, said.
Members from Greendell and Walnut Grove pay a fee for access to the association, although they are not allowed voting privileges.
Neighbors in Walnut Grove, which is located between East Charleston Road and Adobe Creek, maintain connections through an annual street party. The yearly "earthquake party" takes place along the cul-de-sac of Lundy Lane where all the neighbors are invited to a lively barbecue.
Longtime resident James Silver explained that the event is meant to be commemorative.
"It was after the earthquake of 1989 when everybody came out of their houses and started talking. We have continued it since."
"Walnut Grove is just a nice place. I like the parks being nearby and I use the library often," he added.
The area takes its name from a walnut orchard, which used to extend roughly from Ely Place to Alma Street.
"The trees have lowered in number to make room for newer developments," Silver said. Walnut trees can still be seen interspersed among homes.
Silver's neighbor Igor Khurgin, who moved to the area in 2007, also appreciates the green, but more importantly the convenience of having amenities nearby.
"This is a very livable neighborhood. I can walk to the park, store and gym and even take my kids on a bicycle ride to the ice-cream parlor," he said.
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Crescent Park Child Development Center (Peekaboo), 4161 Alma St.; Discovery Children's House - Montessori, 303 Parkside Drive; Palo Alto Infant Toddler Center, 4111 Alma St.; Peninsula Day Care Center, 525 San Antonio Road; Redwood Enrichment Center, 445 E. Charleston Road
FIRE STATION: No. 4, 3600 Middlefield Road
LIBRARY: Mitchell Park branch, 4050 Middlefield Road (temporary location during construction)
LOCATION: Greendell: between Ferne Avenue, San Antonio Avenue and Mackay Drive; Walnut Grove: between Charleston Road and Adobe Creek, Alma Street and Nelson Drive
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Greendell Neighborhood Association: Srini Sankaran, president firstname.lastname@example.org; 650-485-1335; Walnut Grove Homeowners Association: Tom Crystal, president, 650-493-3276
PARKS: Greenmeadow Park (private); Mitchell Park (nearby), 600 East Meadow Drive
POST OFFICE: Cambridge, 265 Cambridge Ave.
PRIVATE SCHOOLS (NEARBY): Palo Alto Prep School, 4000 Middlefield Road; Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, 450 and 470 San Antonio Road
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Fairmeadow Elementary School, J.L. Stanford Middle School, Gunn High School
SHOPPING: Charleston Center, San Antonio Shopping Center