As the Santa Cruz mountains move south down the San Francisco Peninsula, some flatten into small hills and plateaus. The Bay hills rise to the east, the mountains to the west, and in between sit Portola Valley, Woodside and the Crystal Springs Reservoir. Surrounded by wooded hills, this pristine and picturesque town of 4500 residents is located in a green and gold valley astride the world-famous San Andreas Fault.
The town values its environmental and historic heritage, its excellent public schools and its economical town government supported by a multitude of volunteers. An extensive trail system, scenic roads, open space and natural views contribute to one's feeling of being in the country, as do architectural guidelines that stress 'blending in'. Commercial activity is encouraged to the extent that it primarily meets the needs of residents of the community. These factors have enabled the town to retain a rural ambiance reminiscent of earlier days.
Portola Valley is a pretty town, high income, considered a prestige address. Great deal of attention is paid to its schools. Its elementary school rankings are among the highest in the state.
You will find big lots, tall trees, big homes, a few small vineyards. Woodsy hills mixed with open space. Majestic oaks. Quail flit across the road. There is a library and a town hall.
Miles of trails in the hills. Playing fields at the town hall and at several other places. Some small shops in town.
Every once in a while a mansion will come on the market for $10 million or $15 million or more. Most homes, however, fall into the category of large suburban. Many are content to nestle in the trees but some command great views of countryside and Bay. Horse country. Corrals and ranches. You will find stop signs that say 'Whoa'. There is an equestrian center and an Annual Equestrian Festival (hunter/jumper competitions) that draws about 500 horses and riders from around the world. Portola Valley is a very active conservation -and environment-friendly city. And showing it walks its talk, a new town center under construction uses ultra-low-flow plumbing, waterless urinals, and drought-tolerant landscaping.
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