A topiary golfer stands sentinel on the lawn of a stately home overlooking the Los Altos Golf and Country Club, as if enjoying the view of the verdant rolling hills of the private, member-owned club that gives the neighborhood its longtime moniker. Formally known as Loyola, the area was nearly the site of Santa Clara University; the 1906 earthquake derailed the plan, giving way to the golf course and home development.
Richard Blanchard, current president of the San Antonio Hills Neighborhood Association, arrived in 1978.
"The area was incorporated in the late '40s," he said, "and the single-family dwelling provision has helped Loyola maintain this country charm."
The association website offers local information and provisions for building requirements and updates on current construction projects.
The neighborhood has a variety of home styles. Blocky modernist homes are comfortable amidst classic ranchers, newer Craftsmen and singular architectural designs. Mature trees line the streets, and heavily laden branches of well-tended fruit trees grace yards.
Jennifer Stasior has lived in Loyola/Country Club for five years.
"We wanted more space for guests, a more private setting and buffer between homes," she said. "We discovered this unique area that was close to downtown and walking distance to Loyola Corners, but with larger lots and a more private wooded setting."
Bounded by Interstate 280 and Foothill Expressway, the neighborhood is a close hop to neighboring cities and shopping, but popular local spots include the Los Altos Golf and Country Club, a classic vintage diner at Loyola Corners, and the Rancho Shopping center, where kids gather for after-school treats. The Country Club is one of the few commercial entities within Loyola, along with several church congregations.
The Loyola Bridge widening project, due for completion in May 2016, is currently impacting traffic, and locals often use back roads to cut their commute time. The association website urges drivers to use caution, as the narrow winding lanes of Loyola merge and divert frequently, with setback stop signs. With an eye to the road, area residents and children use the streets for play and exercise.
Towering pine trees line Arbor Avenue, the neighborhood is a hot spot for Halloween.
"The people on Arbor take Halloween very seriously and make it super fun for both children and adults," Stasior said. "People come from all over to enjoy the festive decorations."
"Our community is vibrant," she added. "In summertime, children are selling lemonade on corners, there are always families out walking, and lots of dog walkers and bikers." Josh Stasior, 11, said he enjoys riding his bike up side streets to get to the big hills and to Loyola Elementary School.
The aptly named Fairway and Country Club drives circle the neighborhood, and walking the hilly golf course loop is popular. In the cool evening air, the grassy fields of the golf course scent the breeze, and walkers in the hills are gifted with magnificent views of the sunset over the valley and golden hour lighting on the hills above. Honks of geese wading in the course pond sound out. As Blanchard puts it, "Loyola is a hidden pocket of serenity within a sea of change."
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Los Altos Christian Preschool, 625 Magdalena Ave.; Los Altos United Methodist Children's Center, 655 Magdalena Ave.
FIRE STATION: 765 Fremont Ave.
LIBRARY: Woodland, 1975 Grant Road
LOCATION: bounded by Magdalena Avenue, Foothill Expressway, Permanente Creek and Interstate 280
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Richard Blanchard: President, San Antonio Hills Inc. Homeowners Association, 650-948-3037, sanantoniohills.com
PARK: Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve, Cristo Rey Drive
POST OFFICE: Loyola Corners, 1525 Miramonte Ave.
PRIVATE SCHOOL: Los Altos Christian School, 625 Magdalena Ave.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Los Altos School District %#151; Loyola Elementary, Blach Intermediate, Mountain View; Los Altos Union High School District %#151; Mountain View High School
SHOPPING: Loyola Corners, Miramonte Avenue, Rancho Shopping Center
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