John and Mary Reinhardt have lived in numerous American cities. But when it was time to settle down and retire, they chose Monroe Park.
"This is a country-like atmosphere," John said. "Not much going on. Not much happening. And we like it that way."
Other than Monroe Park's quiet feel, the couple decided to buy a house in 1961 for a number of reasons, such as the lack of traffic, a convenient Caltrain station located off San Antonio Road, the Milk Pail Market on California Street in Mountain View and the rural, farm-like community.
And though the Reinhardts are suckers for the peaceful neighborhood, they are also pleased when the silence is broken, like when dog walkers gather at 6 p.m. every evening in the park that gives the neighborhood its name.
"It's like a convocation of dog owners," Mary chuckles. "I suppose that's how you get the neighborhood gossip."
Along with the dog-walkers convocation, the couple has noticed an upsurge in walkers and runners around the Monroe Drive loop in recent years.
"At night, people must come from all over just to walk around this circle," John said. "It's loaded with little kids with their little helmets and bicycles."
Resident Donna Simonides has also noticed the whole new crop of families with young children. But when her family moved to the area in 1992 from the East Coast, they immediately discovered Monroe Park's most distinguishing feature: the neighborhood's split personality, with literal and personal lines drawn between three different cities.
Simonides' address may read Palo Alto, but she spends her free time in downtown Los Altos and her children go to Los Altos schools. Monroe Park also sits on the Mountain View border, which shifts the neighborhood away from the Palo Alto community.
"When we reached the age where my oldest child started kindergarten, we got our indoctrination to a big part of Los Altos," Simonides said. She said her kids ran into several problems because of this dichotomous setup -- especially when they wanted to play city sports with their Los Altos school friends.
"That is probably one of the biggest challenges," Simonides said of living in Monroe Park. "That's one of the things we didn't fully appreciate when we moved. ... You have to thread a little bit more in your life than you would otherwise."
That being said, Simonides said she has also noticed that the disconnect pushes more Monroe Park parents to volunteer in Los Altos schools to bridge the gap, citing multiple PTA presidents who have hailed from Monroe Park.
Resident Randy Berner also noticed the neighborhood's strange geographical location when he moved in with his two kids six months ago.
"When you look at the town borders, it does look a little strange," Berner said. "It doesn't seem like this section of Palo Alto should be in Palo Alto. It seems like it should be in Mountain View. But who knows why it is?"
He said that he hasn't felt any impact because his oldest child has not started kindergarten yet.
The issue for Berner's family, however, has been construction associated with the Palo Alto Bowl renovation, which will replace the bowling alley with 26 new homes and a hotel and has caused traffic and parking issues.
Nevertheless, Berner praises the kindness of his neighbors. When he lost his dog for a couple of days, many eagerly got on their bikes and helped him in the search.
All in all, he hopes his family will stick around in this neighborhood for a long time, regardless of its split personality.
-- Karishma Mehrotra
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (nearby): Children's Corner, 97 Hillview Ave., Los Altos; Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, 450 San Antonio Road, Palo Alto; Growing Tree Montessori Preschool, 450 W. Charleston Road, Palo Alto
FIRE STATION: No. 5, 600 Arastradero Road
LIBRARY: Mitchell Park branch, 3700 Middlefield Road
LOCATION: bounded by Adobe Creek, El Camino Real and Mountain View borders (near Silva Avenue)
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Monroe Park Neighborhood Association, Susan Diederichsen, [email protected]
PARKS: Monroe Mini Park, Monroe Drive and Miller Avenue
POST OFFICE: Cambridge, 265 Cambridge Ave.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Los Altos School District -- Santa Rita School, Egan Junior High School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District -- Los Altos High School
SHOPPING: San Antonio Shopping Center
MEDIAN 2014 HOME PRICE: $1,750,000 ($1,601,422-$1,825,000)
HOMES SOLD: 3
MEDIAN 2014 CONDO PRICE: $1,275,000 ($675,000-$1,738,888)
CONDOS SOLD: 5