One in a series of stories from the Almanac's annual publication, "Our Neighborhoods."
By Angela Swartz
Bay Area residents often venture out to Lake Tahoe or the Santa Cruz Mountains to get a little fresh air and some peace and quiet. But one Menlo Park neighborhood has all that and proximity to everything else the Peninsula has to offer.
Stanford Weekend Acres, named for the cottages in the heart of the neighborhood originally built as vacation lodging, is flanked by Stanford University, Interstate 280, loads of outdoor activities like running along The Dish trail, shopping and nearby jobs.
The chunk of unincorporated San Mateo County land is close to everything urban, but you might see a goat or two – they're neighborhood residents – while strolling around the neighborhood.
Chris Rubin, who bought a 1920s-era home in March 2010, finds himself living a bit of a country, storybook life on Happy Hollow Lane with his family, two goats and chickens. Bike rides to the nearby Ladera Shopping Center and walks through the neighborhood with the goats are a huge part of their daily lives.
"We love living near the San Francisquito Creek," he said. "We love that the streets are quiet, all the neighbors are friendly. It's a really nice, quaint community."
A unique feature of Stanford Weekend Acres is its 500- to 600-square-foot, one-room cabins located on a cul-de-sac at the end of Homer Lane. Charlie Martin lives in one of 10 homes that are collectively owned by him and his neighbors. Fourteen residents live there, many of whom, like Martin, who moved there in 1969, are longtime members of the neighborhood. They share a laundry room, storage space and an acre of land.
The "Tenants in Common" land was purchased in 1929 for $200, Martin said, noting it was a family summer vacation spot for baseball, dancing and barbecues.
"I enjoy the rustic nature; it's a very forested land," he said. "It's isolated, but you're able to easily get to all the activities in the area, including the campus (Stanford University). I like the cooperative ownership; our friends are our neighbors."
Martin does have growing concerns about bigger homes being built that he says don't quite fit into the neighborhood of formerly modest single-story homes.
Meanwhile, Homer Lane resident Ginger Holt moved to Stanford Weekend Acres 22 years ago, looking for a special kind of neighborhood that felt close to nature.
"It's an incredibly diverse neighborhood, multi-generational and multicultural," she said. "We all band together and support each other."
A negative? "It's been found by the developers," she said. "We're seeing a fair amount of development. Our secret got out; I don't know who told!"
Another concern has been the traffic on Alpine Road caused by a new entrance at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, the growth of Stanford University and Bay Area population growth in general.
"We can't get in and out of neighborhood," she said. "It's tough for bicyclists and for people who live here. The county is working on it and there's been some Band Aids, but we need bigger solutions like signal lights. It takes years. We appreciate the help they have given so far."
• CHILD CARE & PRESCHOOLS: Trinity School, 2650 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park
• FIRE STATION: CAL FIRE, Highway 84 & Skyline Blvd; Coordinated support with Menlo Park Fire Protection District, closest station is 3322 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park
• LIBRARY: Menlo Park Main Library, 800 Alma St., Menlo Park
• LOCATION: between Alpine Road and San Francisquito Creek, bordered by Stowe Lane on the north and Piers Lane on the south