Whether you're looking to tour a classic Eichler, get a firsthand look at electric homes on the Peninsula, get some gardening tips or learn homebuying strategies, you'll find plenty of opportunities on the Peninsula. Check out our October home & garden events calendar.
Eichler Home Hour
10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday & Sunday, Oct. 14-15 | Check-in at Highlands Recreation Center, 1851 Lexington Ave., San Mateo | $80 per person. Tickets must be purchased for specific day. More information.
The public will have a rare opportunity to tour a dozen private homes in San Mateo's Highlands neighborhood designed and built in the 1960s by famed developer Joseph Eichler. The event, last held in 2017 and postponed in the following years due to the pandemic, is a fundraiser for the Highlands Elementary School PTA and has attracted visitors nationally and internationally, including from as far as Japan. The homes on this year's Eichler Home Tour have never been featured on previous tours.
Organizers said each Eichler offers something unique and special: This year's tour includes homes with an atrium garden, a floating door, edible landscaping, glass corner kitchen windows as well as some with a Japandi influence – a mashup of Scandinavian and Japanese design. Participants will have the opportunity to speak with and learn from industry leaders, such as builders, architects, designers and Eichler homeowners about their renovations, and restoration work.
Featuring more than 700 similarly styled midcentury modern homes (now known as "Eichlers"), the Highlands is the largest contiguous Eichler subdivision anywhere. The Eichler style is immediately recognizable: clerestory windows (often triangular) at the front, vertical exterior redwood siding, concrete fireplaces, post and beam interior construction, open living spaces with high ceilings, full plate-glass rear walls and flat or slightly sloped roofs.
Orchard Days at Filoli
10 a.m.- 5 p.m., Saturdays & Sundays, now-Oct. 29 | Filoli Historic House & Garden, 86 Cañada Road, Woodside | General admission $36. Tickets required.
Enjoy the jewel-tones and bounty of fall in the Gentleman’s Orchard at Filoli. Throughout the season, Filoli hosts special activities in the orchard, which is over 100 years old and holds more than 600 apple, pear, plum, apricot, walnut, fig and quince trees. Visitors can take a self-guided orchard walk, build a scarecrow, hear stories about cultural harvest celebrations during 11 a.m. family storytime, play in the hay maze and pose for photos with towers of pumpkins while listening to live music and enjoying spiced cider. Filoli-grown fruit and vegetable products are available for purchase at the farm stand.
Fall garden fair & plant sale
9 a.m.- 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7 | Martial Cottle Park, 5283 Snell Ave., San Jose | Free. More information.
UC Master Gardeners will be holding a plant sale and other activities in its demonstration garden as part of the Martial Cottle Park Fall Festival. Activities include talks by UC Master Gardeners; children's activities; and a help desk booth, where you can ask questions and bring in plant samples for diagnosis. There also will be a tool-sharpening booth, where you can bring your own hand pruner (must be in working condition) to learn to sharpen it yourself. The plant sale offers a bounty of winter vegetable, ornamental and native plant seedlings, plus low-water succulents and garlic/shallot bulbs. All seedlings are sold in six-packs unless otherwise noted. Arrive early for best selection. Some varieties may sell out quickly or be in short supply. Sales benefit the UC Master Gardener program.
Gamble Garden plant sale
11 a.m. - noon, Wednesday, Oct. 11, and 10 a.m.- noon, Saturday, Oct. 14 | 1431 Waverley St., Palo Alto | More information.
Choose from a wide selection of plants, many propagated from those at Gamble Garden. Perennials, herbs and vegetable plants will be available for purchase along with floral arrangements and container gardens created by volunteers.
Rising interest rates and your home
5:30 – 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 12 | ShowPlace ICON Theatre & Kitchen, 2527 California St. #601, Mountain View | Free. Registration required.
Learn more about rising interest rates and how they may affect your home value during this two-hour seminar, "Rising Interest Rates," presented by Michael Repka, LLM (taxation) and managing broker and general counsel at DeLeon Realty. The first half of the event will be a presentation followed by a question-and-answer session.
Electric Home Tour
10 a.m.- 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 | San Mateo and Santa Clara counties (addresses disclosed upon registration) | Free. Must register by Oct. 12.
Those interested in converting their homes to clean energy can get a firsthand look at how dozens of other homeowners have done it during the Electric Home Tour, when 40+ homes along the Peninsula open their doors to the public.
Sponsored by Silicon Valley Clean Energy, Peninsula Clean Energy and the city of Palo Alto, the annual tour provides the public an opportunity to explore a variety of homes that have been retrofitted, remodeled or newly built with electric conversion features, and gain insights about the process and the appliances from the homeowners themselves.
Residents will describe how they chose energy-efficient electric water heaters, furnaces, dryers, induction cooktops and stoves. Some homes have electric fireplaces and electric garden tools, along with other green features like native plants, solar panels and electric vehicles.
This year's tour includes homes from 20 cities along the greater Peninsula, including Los Altos, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto and Redwood City.
Read how one couple on the tour electrified their 1962-era rancher in phases in Los Altos and how another built their net-zero home from scratch in Palo Alto.
Guide to first-time homebuying
11 a.m.- noon, Saturday, Oct. 14 | Redwood City Public Library, 1044 Middlefield Road, Redwood City | Free. Registration required.
Whether you're just starting to explore the idea of homeownership or have wanted to be a homeowner for a long time, this seminar is designed to empower you with the knowledge and tools you need to navigate the homebuying process. Realtor Joseph Farfone of Keller Williams Realty, Palo Alto and Tom Banducci, branch manager of Cornerstone First Mortgage, will host this one-hour workshop, "Path to homeownership: Your first-time homebuyer seminar. "
Learn about Stanford's architecture
9 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday -Sunday, Oct. 14—Oct. 15 | Stanford University campus | Enrollment fee: $380. Registration required.
Stanford has one of the most recognizable campuses in the world. For more than a century, the university’s growth has been marked by examples of unique and intentional design choices, often blending contrasting styles or shrugging off dominant conventions of the period.
Learn about the development of Stanford University's campus through an in-depth architectural exploration of four iconic buildings: Memorial Church, Hoover Tower, Cantor Arts Center and Green Library. Sapna Marfatia, Stanford's director of architecture, will teach this two-day course, "Beyond Sandstone and Tile: Icons of Stanford Architecture," offered through Stanford Continuing Studies.
Students will learn why Stanford opted for a church as the focal point of its ceremonial entrance and why Hoover Tower, which dominates the campus skyline, is capped with a dome instead of a more typical pyramidal roof. They will examine Cantor Arts Center, an eclectic mix of architectural styles that reflect the tastes of the university’s founders, and how it symbolizes the value placed on diverse styles and perspectives. And instead of emphasizing the small windows and artificial light so prevalent in libraries at the time, Green Library boasts a large central rotunda that allows natural light to flood the reading room and book stacks.
Through carefully paired readings, engaging presentations, and fascinating walking tours, students will uncover the reasons behind these unique architectural choices and gain a fresh perspective on the rich history and innovation of Stanford’s campus design.
College Terrace neighborhood walking tour
10 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Oct. 21 | Starting point at 2310 Yale St., Palo Alto | Free. More information.
Explore the architecture and history of Palo Alto's College Terrace neighborhood during this guided walking tour hosted by Palo Alto Stanford Heritage. Originally developed in the late 1880s as a "collegiate" neighborhood with streets named after well-known East Coast universities and colleges to attract faculty from the fledgling Stanford University, College Terrace today boasts an eclectic mix of architectural styles spanning more than 100 years. There's a historic home on nearly every block of this neighborhood. Historian and author Bo Clark will be your host as you stroll the streets and learn about the neighborhood's tumultuous history with Leland Stanford and get a firsthand look at its historic houses, including Victorians built in the 1880s, as well as the house where noted Palo Alto architect Birge Clark was raised.
Composting with worms
6:30 - 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 24| Mountain View Public Library, 585 Franklin St., Mountain View | Free. Registration required.
Those eager to compost but who have no space and fear the smells can learn how to make vermicompost during this one-hour workshop, "Worms! The fun way to compost." Made from paper, food scraps and worms, vermicompost takes up less space, has little odor, is better for plants than other composts and costs almost nothing to make. UC Master Gardener Terry Andrewill lead this workshop put on by UC Master Gardeners Santa Clara County and Master Composters Santa Clara County.