An eco-conscious rural town with expansive views of nature
Just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley sits the tranquil, rural town of Portola Valley. Endelved in relentless nature preserves that go as far as the eyes can see, this small, rural town perpetuates a stillness and serenity that is much desirable.
The town’s desire for serenity is sustained by low density housing and this dates back to its origins. Portola Valley laid its roots as a logging town, but the logging industry was soon replaced with farmland and sprawling estates. After World War II, there was a push for residential development in the area, however the community pushed back to preserve its bountiful nature and peaceful aesthetic. Incorporated in 1964, Portola Valley became an affordable location for artists and progressive academics looking for close proximity to Stanford and Palo Alto.
The experience of Portola Valley is unique, in that it is easily accessible from neighboring Silicon Valley communities, yet it remains secluded for peace and privacy. To this day, the great outdoors continues to influence the character of the town, as there are many parks and trails that are well-supported and protected. A town-trail system lies at the heart of Portola Valley to provide walking, hiking, biking and equestrian opportunities for its residents. An equestrian community, many boarding and riding clubs stretch throughout the landscape.
Portola Valley serves as an outdoor sanctuary to those who call it home. It offers a perfect melody of privacy, connection to nature and a convenient commute to surrounding areas. Crime is nearly non-existent and the school systems are highly rated in this quiet, bucolic community.
With a median sale price of $4.1 million, Portola Valley is one of the most affluent towns in the country. The town hosts substantial homes that sit on large lots. Homes vary widely from single-family to rustic cabins to luxurious estates. Lots are surrounded by lush forests, open grasslands and nature preserves.
The residents of Portola Valley are drawn to their place of home for its community oriented small-town feel and its abundance of sensational nature. Although the town is rural, it remains at the cutting edge of environmentally friendly design and at the foreground of this is the Leed Certified Town Center and Library, which has won numerous awards for sustainability. Residents are of all ages and range from professionals with their young families, to retirees.
Founded in 1852 under the name Casa De Tableta, Rossotti’s Alpine Inn is a roadside eatery with an outdoor picnic area that boasts its history with carved tables. Rosotti’s offers traditional American fare including burgers, sandwiches, pizza and beer. Their beer garden menu and rustic ambiance attracts locals and tourists alike.
Konditorei was established in 1980 as a local’s gift shop and now serves the community as a relaxed neighborhood cafe. This family-friendly establishment serves fresh coffee, pastries and other baked goods all in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. An artists’ wall is featured and a greeting card collection that features local and regional artists is available for purchase.
For housemade pasta and thin-crust pizza, visit Portola Kitchen. This eatery was established in 2012 as a hardware store and has since evolved to become a kitchen that specializes in hand-crafted Italian food with American sensibilities. Everything is made from scratch, from the pizza dough to the pasta.
Experience East Coast-style seafood at Old Port Lobster Shack. Serving the freshest lobster on the West Coast, Old Port Lobster Shack offers a comfortable and enjoyable setting with outdoor seating available. You will feel like you are in the home of Maine with music, video and interior decor that gives a wharfside vibe.
Parkside Grill invites you to experience “the perfect Northern California setting”. Tucked away in the Redwoods, this family owned restaurant has stunning views of Portola Valley and serves up bold, simple dishes that feature fresh locally sourced ingredients. Parkside grill takes pride in delivering superb customer service and highlights dishes such as wood oven roasted Pacific Oysters, crispy garlic Ahi Tuna and Greek-marinated lamb chops to name a few.
Koma Sushi Portola Valley is a family-owned and operated Japanese restaurant serving authentic Japanese cuisine. A talented culinary team pairs freshly made sushi with a wide selection of sake and craft beer. Catering is available for special occasions.
*This is a partial list of restaurants. If you are a local restaurant and would like to be listed, please reach out to collaborate.
Alpine Hills Tennis and Swimming Club is a member-owned club that offers a wide array of athletic and social activities for adults, children and families. The club sits in the beautiful and peaceful setting of Portola Valley. Alpine Hills Tennis and Swimming Club is a home away from home for its community and offers swimming lessons and workouts for all ages, a fully equipped fitness center and a restaurant to socialize in.
Overlooking Los Trancos Creek, Ladera Oaks Fitness Club offers a tranquil atmosphere for its members to focus on improving their fitness. Soaring high-vaulted ceilings and full length windows surround a spacious area for stretching or working out on the wide selection of cardiovascular and strength training equipment. The fitness center is open to all ages and is WiFi enabled.
Ladera Recreation District proudly serves the residents of Ladera Community and surrounding communities in the Bay Area. Facilities of Ladera Recreation District include a six-lane 25-yard pool with a diving well, as well as a spacious baby pool with an adjacent “Laderaland” play area. Additionally the facility boasts four tennis courts, a bocce ball court, a volleyball court and a small skateboard ramp. The LRD hosts many programs and activities, which can all be found on their website.
Serving the Peninsula for over 14 years, Pacific THERx Physical Therapy, Sports Medicine & Fitness provides excellent, professional and knowledgeable physical therapy and fitness services. Pacific THERx bridges the gap between progressive, client-focused primary Orthopedic Manual & Sports Physical Therapy and optional one-on-one personal fitness training.
For an acupuncture and bodywork treatment, Portola Valley Acupuncture is a local establishment that extends expertise in the healing arts. Specialties include pain and stress management, women’s health and general wellness.
*This is a partial list of health and fitness related businesses. If you are a local health and fitness related business and would like to be listed, please reach out to collaborate.
The Portola Valley Farmers Market takes place on Thursdays, year round. A quaint and scenic market features local vendors that purvey produce, honey, bread, pastries and more.
Built with an organic design that emphasizes a seamless blending into the surrounding landscape, the Portola Valley Town Center has been the recipient of numerous awards relating to sustainability and green building. In November 2009, the Town Center received the highest recognition for achievement by the U.S. Green Building Council. It is one of only a handful of municipal projects in the nation to have won Platinum certification under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards of the USGBC. The town center provides its residents with a warm and inviting library with WiFi access, classes for all ages and recreational activities.
Located in the undisturbed redwoods, sits the Portola Valley Theatre Conservatory, which strives to create quality theatrical experiences for other artists and audiences throughout the Bay Area Peninsula. It is owner Cheryl Goodman-Morris’ goal to extend an arts program that would open its doors wide to the community. Students from kindergarten through high school have the opportunity to take performing arts classes weekly on campus. Plays and musicals feature kids and adults and focus on messages of hope and transformation.
To enjoy a glass of hand-crafted vintage wine that reflects the terroir of the Peninsula Foothills, visit Portola Vineyards. This family-owned micro-winery teaches its guests of Silicon Valley’s rich and fascinating viticultural history.
Portola Art Gallery exhibits a wide range of work of eighteen award-winning artists. Works of art include painting, pastels, ceramics and photography. A selection of greeting cards displaying local artists work are available for purchase.
Miss Scarlett's Flowers is a team of floral designers who specialize in weddings, events, parties, memorials and individualized local floral orders. A passion for the beauty of flowers shines through each creative and unique arrangement.
*This is a partial list of events and arts. If you host a local event or art production and would like to be listed, please reach out to collaborate.
Alpine Trail (Trailhead)- A 7.6 mile paved trail that at the Santa Cruz Avenue/Alpine Road/Junipero Serra Boulevard intersection in Menlo Park and extends through the Stanford Golf Course, later coming back to Alpine Road and passing through the Ladera Community and finally entering the town of Portola Valley where it becomes Dwight F. Crowder Memorial Bicycle Path and is maintained by the city of Portola Valley.
Little Peoples Park- A renowned children’s playground, located adjacent to the Historic Schoolhouse. Children are able to enjoy wings, slides, monkey bars, a playhouse, a sandbox and other one-of-a-kind play structures. Picnic tables are additionally available.
Portola Redwoods State Park- A 2,800 acre drop from a ridge top into a deeply shaded redwood forest. Eighteen miles of tails follow meandering creeks offering a serene getaway from the bustle of nearby Silicon Valley. Scenic points include soaring trees, lush vegetation and waterfalls.
Windy Hill Open Space Preserve- a regional park located in San Mateo County. It is readily identifiable from the flatlands of the South Bay as the only “naked” part of the peninsula range.
Razorback Ridge Trail- A moderately challenging trail that climbs a steep hillside. Popular for bird watching, hiking and running, this trail is open year round and is a nature destination for locals.
Lee Grove/Orchard Glen- A park with hiking trails and boundless native foliage to observe. At particular points of the trails, the scenery ushers breathtaking views for enjoyment.
Portola Valley is served by the Portola Valley School District and is highly rated.