Saratoga is a beautiful, rolling backdrop for custom homes here in the South Bay. Thibault Builders continues to work with many Saratoga homeowners and over the years we have learned some of what folks love and appreciate about living here. Saratoga is a picture-perfect town nestled in the heart of nature’s abundance. We thought you might like to know some of what we have learned from the locals.
Saratoga Then and Now
Settled in 1847 and then incorporated in 1956, Saratoga is one of the earliest non-indigenous communities established in the Santa Clara Valley. It was a hub of California’s early booming lumbering industry, became a focus of the local emerging horticultural development of the twentieth century, and then grew into a suburban community – incorporating in 1956 to avoid annexation by San Jose. For those who want to dive deep into the history of the town, we encourage you to read more here via the Heritage Resources Inventory
It all began with a sawmill on the creek on the banks of Saratoga Creek in 1948. 180 years later, Saratoga is thriving in lock-step with the other small “village” type towns in the Silicon Valley area; like neighbors Monte Sereno and Los Gatos.
Saratoga is brimming with art studios, wine cellars, spas, fine dining, and natural beauty. The stone steps of Hakone Gardens, pictured here, is but one example. The City of Saratoga is very committed to keeping that “small town feeling” to maintain its charm and prestige. It’s tucked away in the Santa Cruz mountain foothills and on the western side of Santa Clara County.
City of Saratoga – Nuts & Bolts
- Boundaries of the Survey Area – The survey area consists of the land within the jurisdictional boundaries of the City of Saratoga, Santa Clara County, California, established formally by incorporation in 1956, and as subsequently expanded. The city consists of 12.11 square miles, at an average level of sea level of 410 feet (125 meters). Source: Heritage Resources Inventory
- Coordinates – WGS84 37 degrees 16’ 21”N 122 degrees 1’10”W 37.2725, -122.019444 UTM 10S 586935 4125553
- Remodeling in Saratoga – If you are looking for zoning maps, conditional use permits or village design guidelines, the City of Saratoga has a portal for all things related to doing any kind of business or construction on their website. The links are here for all of your permits and zoning questions/needs.
- Opening or Buying a Business in Saratoga – The City of Saratoga’s website has all of the details for doing business in Saratoga. From business plans, business structure, licensing, and more, this link to their document provides detailed steps.
- Beekeepers in Saratoga – Contact a local beekeeper if you need to move a swarm of bees from your property. Not sure if you have bees or wasps? Use this document from the Santa Clara Valley Beekeepers before you call. Do not spray the hive. Call the beekeeper for your area and this service is often free of charge. BeeGuild.com
- Recycling & E-Waste – West Valley Recycles is the collection and recycling company in Saratoga. Their telephone number is 408-283-9250. Information about their services, what is acceptable for recycling is on their website West Valley Recycles. If you would like information about renting dumpsters, bins, getting rid of concrete and dirt can be found here.
- Metal Recycling – Scrap metal, CRV warehouse Open 7 Days a Week. They also buy glass, aluminum CRV and plastic CRV. MetalRecycling
- Disposal of Hazardous Waste – Battery recycling, light bulbs and other household waste contact the S.C.F.D. website Hazardous Waste Disposal of medical waste like sharps can me brought to: West Valley Fire Station – Drop Box – 19800 Cox Avenue, Saratoga 95070. Approved Sharps Container Size Requirement: 1 or 1.5 quart size for drop-off box.
- Ignitables, Corrosives & Reactives – Recycle your old paints, dry or wet, petroleum products, polishes, gasoline, pool cleaning chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, propane, smoke detectors and other dangerous items can be recycled at the County of Santa Clara drop off points. Check their online calendar for the dates. Do not bring your pets but do bring your proof of residency.
- Emergency Preparedness (CERT) – Saratoga is divided into 4 formal divisions. The Saratoga CERT program is administered by the Saratoga Parks and Recreation Director and Risk Manager (CERT is Certified Emergency Response Team.) For more information in case of an emergency or if you would like to be CERT trained, the dedicated website for the Saratoga CERT has classes and events regularly.
- Habitat for Humanity – Looking for home improvement products like new cabinets or gently used appliances and furniture? Or want to find a home for your cabinets, building materials or appliances you are replacing? Habitat For Humanity has stores in the Bay Area where they sell gently used items and can also take donation. Check their website and enter your zip code for the closest store to you. Their stores are called Habitat For Humanity ReStore. Your donations can also be considered a tax deduction.
Various & Sundry in Saratoga
- Famed Food – Since 1952, sleepy little Saratoga has been the home of The Plumed Horse restaurant, which is on Big Basin Way. The Plumed Horse is also a One Michelin Star restaurant with an extensive and beautiful wine cellar. Their Michelin Star has been continuous since 2008 thanks to Chef Peter Armellino. Chef Armellino has also recently opened a new pasta restaurant and chocolate shop in February 2018.
- Historic Gardens – Montalvo Arts Center is a 1912 Mediterranean-style Villa, its formal gardens, and two-acre Great Lawn; the historic Claire Loftus Carriage House Theatre and the Lilian Fontaine Garden Theatre; and 175 acres of trails through redwood trees make up Villa Montalvo. Below the Villa and across the creek are hidden ten free-standing live/work studios and the Commons of the Sally and Don Lucas Artists Residency Program (LAP), which hosts over 100 artists each year from diverse backgrounds across the nation and the world. The LAP is the third-oldest artist residency program in the United States.
- Cultural Beauty – Saratoga is the home of Hakone Gardens which is over 100 years old and is also on the oldest Japanese estate, retreat and gardens in the Western Hemisphere. Hakone has also been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2013. 18 acres of gardens in the hills of Saratoga overlooking Silicon Valley. Stroll the hills and koi pond garden, the moon bridge, have tea overlooking the landscape garden or enjoy quiet reflection in Hakone’s tea and bamboo gardens. For hours and events: Hakone.com Sunset Magazine also wrote about Hakone for their own website and created this video about their meditation retreats. Great spot for unplugging and meditating.
- Claims to Fame – Saratoga’s Hakone Gardens was a filming location for the Academy Award winning film Memoirs of a Geisha, released in 2005. The legendary movie producer, Steven Spielberg, creator of “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan” spent his senior year at Saratoga High School and attended his 50th high school reunion in 2014. (He graduated with the class of 1964.)
- Historic Homes – Saratoga has 24 homes and buildings that are official “Designated Landmark Structure.” They range in styles from Mission Revival, Craftsman Shingle, Queen Anne, Pioneer, Neo-Classic and Mission Style. The Saratoga Chamber of Commerce has also created a historic walking tour and mapped out the homes online. For the Designated Landmark Structure list, the City of Saratoga has each one listed on their website.
Saratoga Bank Building, 1913 – Classic Revival Style. This brick building Big Basin Way represents the work of master architect Charles McKenzie. Originally it was created for Saratoga Bank and was built as a brick building and was constructed to withstand fire and included a ‘first class fire and burglar proof vault.”
Read More – https://saratoga.ca.us/DocumentCenter/View/833/14421-Big-Basin-Way-PDF
Joseph Cox House, 1915 – Craftsman Style (Vernacular Craftsman). This home was built by William Cox, the father of Joseph Cox. William was an early pioneer and rancher in Saratoga. Joseph was also known for planting lots of French Prunes in Saratoga which were very popular and sought after by the Pacific Coast prune industry.
Read More –https://www.saratoga.ca.us/DocumentCenter/View/841/19161-Cox-Avenue-PDF
Meagher/Smiley House, 1941-1943 – Spanish Eclectic Style. This home is also known as “Casa Tierra” and was designed and built by two women. They created all of the bricks on site and they are all sun-dried bricks. The roof was originally built with roof tiles from the Santa Barbara Mission. The designers also used recycled materials from discarded windshield glass for the windows. The home is 17 rooms and is built in a “U” shape.
Read More –https://www.saratoga.ca.us/DocumentCenter/View/916/15231-Quito-Road-PDF
Things To Do in Saratoga
- Fremont Older Preserve – Dogs on a leash are welcome on all of the Fremont Older Preserve trails. Hunter’s Point is a 900’ hilltop that is the highlight of this trail and it does give you sweeping views of Saratoga and much of Silicon Valley.
- Equestrian Families – Garrod Farms and Riding Stables is a family-owned and operated establishment that welcomes riders of all skill levels. They also board horses and teach riding lessons for all levels. Family owned and operated. For their hours and rates and rules about pets and minors, check their website or give them a call at Tel: 408-867-9527 Garrod Farms
- Wine – In 1890, Paul Masson planted French champagne grapes in the rich Saratoga soil and opened his winery on the land where the Saratoga ranchers use to grow cherries, apricots, figs and French prunes. The town’s Mountain Winery was made famous in part by legendary actor and director Orson Welles (Citizen Kane), who voiced the famed slogan, “We will sell no wine before its time.”
- Wine Tasting Rooms – Over 20 wine tasting rooms in Saratoga. Lots more nearby in the Santa Cruz mountains and Los Gatos, as well. Testarossa, The Mountain Winery (formerly Paul Masson), Savannah-Chanelle, Conrado Cellars and Cinnabar, to name a few.
- Saratoga Country Club, Golf, Tennis and Weddings – One of Saratoga’s best kept secrets – there is a beautiful 9 hole golf course nestled in the Saratoga hills. From Ron Salsig in his article “Nine-Hole Masterpiece” in NCGA golf Magazine: “I heard the rumor for some time. A golf course that could truly be called a masterpiece sat somewhere in the hills directly above Silicon Valley. but nobody knew it existed. It was a secret.” Saratoga Country Club
- Festival and Events Calendar – Saratoga is well known for their Blossom and Apricot festivals. They have a fantastic wine stroll each year and holiday tree lighting. The community calendar can be found on the Saratoga.ca.us website. Since 2013, Saratoga has a fundraiser every summer called SaratogaEats.com along with various activities throughout the year. They also have a Facebook page where they announce their moveable feast and other family fun.
- Historical Walking Tour – 26 historically important buildings, churches, parks and architecture preserved and organized by the Saratoga Historical Museum. The map and the 26 locations are all detailed here on a map from the Museum and the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce.
- Activities – Docent led walking tour and historical bike tours. The bike tour is 11 miles of easy riding which is perfect for a family outing. Find the details on the Saratoga History website.
- Walking Tours – Castle Rock Trail to Saratoga Gap Trail is often mentioned by residents and online guides when it comes to picturesque walks/hikes. Skyline-to-the-sea is also a favorite and this takes over 10 hours to hike as it is 30 miles in total. It is between Hwy 9 and Hwy 35. Check out more information about the best trails in Saratoga on the Best Trails website.
- Enjoy the Weather – In the winter months, the average is around 60 degrees and during the summer months, the high is 83 degrees. Late winter months, Saratoga averages about a 23% precipitation. Perfect weather and soil for growing wine grapes! Much less rain during the spring and summer months.
- Wilderness – Saratoga boasts a Land to Ocean Hike with Waterfall called Skyline to the Sea. Saratoga also has a variety of trails, a dog friendly trail and riding stables. The Fremont Older Open Space Preserve has a variety of trails, too. More info here about the Open Space Preserve. If your family likes to hike, bike or go on long walks with your dogs, be sure to check out the Traillink page for Saratoga.
- Farmers Market – 50 + farmers and vendors every Saturday 9:00 am to 1:00 pm – West Valley College, Parking Lot 2 – Allendale Ave & Science Wy, Saratoga, CA 95070. Farmers Market, West Valley College, 14000 Fruitvale Ave, Saratoga, CA 95070. Saratoga also has a smaller Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays from 2 to 7pm. It’s held at 12770 Saratoga Ave, Saratoga, CA 95070. You can park at the Price of Peace church parking lot adjacent to the market. Check their Facebook page for special announcements and seasonal hours.
- Geocaching Trails in Saratoga – There are 69 trails in the Saratoga area for fans of geocaching trails. Use your GPS to “cache” and search for the hidden treasure. There are millions of geocaches hidden around the world—including Saratoga trails.
Thibault Builders – Custom Home Builder in Saratoga
If you live in Saratoga or are considering a move to the area, Thibault builders is a name to keep close at hand. From your custom home build, full remodel, basement build-out, or complete kitchen or bath renovation, please start by reading our reviews or simply give us a call at 408-866-6647. We look forward to hearing from you!