With Rural Charm, Silicon Valley’s Menlo Oaks Offers the Best of Both Worlds

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A home in the San Mateo County community of Menlo Oaks.

A peaceful atmosphere, access to excellent schools, and a convenient location give the unincorporated San Mateo County community of Menlo Oaks much to recommend it, although home shoppers hoping to score a property there should expect to pay more than they might in Menlo Park proper.

Tucked between Menlo Park and Atherton — but technically part of neither — and adjacent to Highway 101, the small community is roughly bounded by Ringwood Avenue to the north, Middlefield Road to the west, West Perimeter Road to the south, and Bay Road to the east. Although the community’s location is ideal for those who commute by car, residents who prefer public transportation can access the Menlo Park Caltrain station less than two miles away.

The forested community got its start before World War II as a summer-home destination for wealthy San Franciscans. In recent years, many tech workers and venture capitalists have been drawn to Menlo Oaks thanks to its favorable location, as well as its beautiful homes and excellent schools.

The neighborhood is home to the Peninsula School, a private K-8 school housed in the Coleman Mansion, a 22–room Italianate estate built in 1882. Operated by the Menlo Park City School District, public Laurel Elementary School notched a 927 of a possible 1,000 on California’s most recent Academic Performance Index, published in 2013. Menlo-Atherton High School is a short stroll away from the community.

Nearby Stanford Shopping Center offers luxury big-box retail shopping, while Downtown Palo Alto and its amazing restaurant scene is a short drive away. Menlo Park’s main commercial corridor along Santa Cruz Avenue has all of the necessary stores alongside gourmet markets, chic bakeries, boutiques, and restaurants.

There are no sidewalks or streetlights in Menlo Oaks, giving the community a distinctly rural flavor not found in other Silicon Valley enclaves. Mature oak, eucalyptus, and evergreen trees that tower above the 300 homes add to its tranquil atmosphere.

Homes come in an eclectic array of architectural styles, include Craftsman; ranch; bungalows; a few Eichlers; and newer, custom-built homes. Most Menlo Oaks homes sit on large lots, another perk for homebuyers with children. The community is known for its tight-knit vibe, and neighbors formally meet up once a year for an annual picnic.

According to MLS data, the average median sales price for a single-family home in Menlo Oaks was $3.64 million between March 2015 and March 2016, compared with $2.1 million in the city of Menlo Park during the same time period. Just three homes in the community changed hands in the first quarter of this year, and all of them sold for more than their original prices.

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