A graceful canopy of trees lines Fremont Avenue, the near-center line of quiet South Los Altos. Bounded by Cupertino, Mountain View and Sunnyvale, and flanked by Highway 85 and Foothill Expressway, South Los Altos offers more approachable real estate with easy access to nearby communities.
A family environment imbues South Los Altos, with hives of activity around the many schools. On mornings near Oak Elementary, children and parents stroll hand-in-hand to the campus, giving way to brisk-walking groups and joggers after drop-off time. Mountain View High School's field stays busy most days with athletics.
Vintage ranch-style homes mix with Mediterranean and Craftsman styles, with midcentury-modern homes sprinkled throughout. Remodels and new homes abound, with one-story-modern takes on the classic rancher that remains popular.
Paige Bennion moved to her South Los Altos home in 2011, and has remodeled her home twice, adding on square footage for her large family while maintaining the area's single story designation. "Everyone I know who has purchased here has remodeled," she confirms. "The area is so friendly — there are kids of all ages on our street, and they all hang out."
The school district divides on Fremont, which reduces overall neighborhood social integration, but families from all over the district meet up at popular local parks.
"Heritage Oaks Park was renovated a few years, and has an alternative playground with ropes and boulders as well as a large open field," said Bennion, "We also use Marymeade and McKenzie Parks."
For shopping, she usually heads to Nob Hill in Mountain View, but Cupertino and the local Rancho Shopping Center are also convenient.
Leafy Clay Drive and Alexander Way boast a subdivision of 37 custom large Eichlers, built during the famed architect's later years. Tracy Gibbons, 71, bought hers in 2012, fulfilling a longtime dream. A strong proponent of conservation, she is working toward historic designation for the homes. While there are purists who prefer keeping all parts of the homes original, she said, some renovations have to be made as the homes age. Her upgrades resulted in returning parts of her home to the original plan. Virginie Leborgne, 48, who purchased her Clay Drive Eichler in 2001, agrees. "We did some remodeling with the Eichler spirit," she said, " The house is artwork in itself."
Of the neighborhood, Gibbons adds, "It's an interesting mix of people — some here since the beginning and others just moving in."
She points out that while the residential parts of South Los Altos do not have streetlights or sidewalks, the Eichler neighborhood stands out with complementary modernist streetlamps created by the architect, as well as underground utilities.
"Moving to South Los Altos from Mountain View opened up other options for shopping," said Gibbons, "I gravitate to Cupertino, and the local shopping areas around Homestead and Foothill."
As if to describe the many facets of South Los Altos, the corner of Fremont Avenue and Grant Road boasts Taro Seesurat's "Convolute of the Square," an intricately entwined red metal sculpture.
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Children's Creative Learning Center, 2310 Homestead Road, Suite E; Enlighten School, 1919 Annette Lane; Mountain View Parent Nursery School, 1535 Oak Ave., Los Altos, St. Simon's Catholic Church Extended Day Care Center, 1840 Grand Road; YMCA, Way to Grow Full Day Preschool, 1501 Oak Ave.
FIRE STATION: Loyola Fire Station , 765 Fremont Ave.
LIBRARY: Woodland, 1975 Grant Road
LOCATION: Bounded by Grant Road, Homestead Road, Stevens Creek, Joel Way, Harwalt Drive, Oak, Truman, Miravalle Avenues
PARKS: Grant Park, 1575 Holt Ave.; Marymeade Park, Fremont Avenue at Grant Road
POST OFFICE: Loyola Corners, 1525 Miramonte Ave.
PRIVATE SCHOOL: St. Simon Catholic School, 1840 Grant Road
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Los Altos School District — Oak Elementary School, Blach Intermediate School; Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District — Mountain View High School; Cupertino Union School District — Montclaire Elementary School, Cupertino Middle School; Fremont Union High School District — Homestead High School
SHOPPING: Foothill Crossing, Homestead Road; Greenhaven Plaza, Grant Road
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