Hello Friends and Family,

Los Gatos, Part 2

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Over the years, Los Gatos had evolved into one of the more affluent areas of Silicon Valley and is, in fact, home to a number of successful high-tech companies. When I lived there, I enjoyed walking or biking along the residential streets where the Crème de la crème reside.

This home is one of my favorites. According to Zillow, "This palatial masterpiece is considered by many as the most recognizable home on arguably the most desirable street in Los Gatos. Built in 1908, The Crider Mansion boasts 5 Bedrooms and 3 Baths on three levels, viewing across the Almond Grove Neighborhood and Downtown Los Gatos, towards the beautiful eastern foothills. Comprising nearly 5000 Square Feet of living space on approximately 1/3 Acre, the elegant architectural elements remain untouched throughout the home; from the 40 Foot Columned Entrance guarded by Marble Lions, the Grand Staircase, Spanish-tiled solarium, to the vintage Stained Glass adorning the Carriage House." Although it is not currently for sale, they estimate the current market price to be over $5M.

Next door is another fine residence — constructed in 2009, it features over 5,000 square feet with four bedrooms and four bathrooms. Zillow estimates its value at over $4M.

On the same street, we see another fine home. Zillow had incomplete information since it lists zero bedrooms. I doubt a zero-bedroom home would justify Zillow's estimated price of $4.6M. I really like the dormer windows and the landscaping.

Nearby is an interesting six-bedroom, two-bath residence which Zillow estimates to be worth $3.4M. Looking closely at the chimney, my eye suggests that this is an older home that Zillow confirms was built in 1911. I like the landscaping which appears to contain a sugar maple tree (or similar variety) on the left-hand side of the lot. The combination of landscaping and architecture is quite appealing.

Here we see a four-bedroom, four-bath, 3000 sq. ft. home on the same street. Realtor.com estimates its value as $3.2M.

I could not find a listing for this fine home but I did find something quite interesting — a website for the Los Gatos Historical Society. They are in the process of updating a historic survey — "The last time that the town of Los Gatos conducted a historic survey was back in 1991. Since then, over 16% of our historic homes have vanished, and at the current rate, 37% will be gone by 2030. This data spotlights a crisis that's threatening to rob Los Gatos of our unique, distinctive history and identity." And they are supporting action to preserve the historic homes by "demanding that the town council vote YES on adopting the Mills Act which would allow historic (pre-1941) residential property owners to access the funding needed to restore and rehabilitate the rapidly dwindling number of historic properties in Los Gatos." Good luck Los Gatos.

Well, this was my last day in the Bay Area and I did want to visit Apple Park, the corporation's new headquarters in Cupertino. As many of you may know, I am immersed in the Apple ecosystem with Mac Pro, MacBook Air, iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV. Additionally, you also may know I worked for Hewlett-Packard for 26 years and Apple Park sits on the site of HP's Cupertino campus where I worked for many of those years. Apple acquired the site and built this 2.8M square foot, four-story circular structure which many people call "The Spaceship". Steve Jobs insisted on the site looking like a nature refuge resulting in 80% of the site reserved for green space.

The average person cannot actually tour the facility but Apple has built a visitor's center on Tantau Avenue just across from Apple Park. I expected it to be the size of a 7-Eleven but it is quite a bit bigger with three floors and several levels of underground parking.

Here we see the area containing a raised topographic map of the site which Apple has paired with a virtual reality app on loaner iPads. When you point the iPad at the center of the map, it comes alive and shows landscaping, people walking on the campus, people moving around inside the buildings, plus vehicles coming and going. Really quite cool.

The center section of the visitor's center contains an actual Apple store. You can buy any of the products sold in any Apple store such as the Mac Pro (shiny black cylinder) sitting on the table in the foreground. (Editor's note: since my visit, this version of the Mac Pro has been superseded by a newer, bigger, more powerful, more expensive version that looks a massive tower with artistic cooling vents on the sides.)

Visitors can try out any of the Apple products, ask questions and obtain assistance from the Apple personnel ready and eager to help.

Here is one area in the store that is unique to this site — Apple t-shirts for sale. Since my little buddy, Johnny, is also into Apple products, I had to get him one. I chose the black shirt with a rainbow and an Apple logo (top row, third from the right).

At the opposite end of the visitors' center is a relaxing cafe where one can purchase coffee, tea, hot chocolate, chocolate, nutrition bars, and nuts.

On the third floor is an observation deck where one can see the spaceship. So close but so far. Oh look at the time, I need to head to the San Jose Airport to return to Phoenix.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com