Tuesday, September 2, 2014

RSVP for the Anniversary Dinner by September 17!

Invitations have gone out in the mail! If you're planning to attend the barbecue dinner on September 21, please RSVP here! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


With the dry summer ending and fall about to begin, we can still find lots of native plants and animals to enjoy in Portola Valley.  And as bad as this drought seems, there have certainly been worse in the past. 

Join Paul Heiple on a leisurely three to four mile walk to see how our California plants and animals can live successfully though the drought we find so difficult.

Meet at the Historic Schoolhouse at the Portola Valley Town Center on Sunday, August 24,
at 9:30 a.m. for a fascinating morning with nature.

Presented by:
The Portola Valley Nature and Science Committee

and The Portola Valley 50th Anniversary Committee

Saturday, August 9, 2014

50th Anniversary Celebration coming September 21 - RSVP Online!

The Town of Portola Valley invites its residents to join in a day of merriment for the grand finale celebration of Portola Valley’s 50th Anniversary of Incorporation.  The festivities include dinner, dancing and libations provided by the Town.  

The community barbeque dinner picnic is provided at no cost so your RSVP using the link below is greatly appreciated to help us plan for the event.  Please note that proof of town residency will be required for all adults on the day of the event.

Please respond here by September 17th or call 650.851.1700 ext 258

*Seating (tables and chairs) available for elders only

*Please bring your own picnic blankets or chairs

8:00 – 9:00 am         Interfaith Service
                                    Town Center Performance Lawn

1:00 – 5:00 PM         Library, Heritage & Art Rooms
                                    *Special Exhibits
                                    *Add to the Time Capsule
                                    *Imagination Playground
                                    *Tricycle Concert for Kids

3:00 – 5:00 pm         Old Fashioned Games for Kids
                                    Baseball Field

3:30 – 4:30 pm         Panel Discussion – Why We Live Here

5:00 – 7:00 pm         Dinner and Square Dance
                                    Portola Valley invites its residents to dinner,
                                    featuring PV Wines, beer and lemonade

RSVP for dinner before 9-17 here  or call 650.851.1700 ext 258

*Seating (tables and chairs) available for elders only
*Please bring your own picnic blankets or chairs

To RSVP, please click here.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

1964 Rock 'n' Roll Concert - June 19 6-8pm at Town Center

plays the music of 1964

featuring music by the Beatles, Diana Ross and The Supremes, We Five, Dean Martin,
 Johnny Cash, The Kinks, and Sam Cooke

Peter Sawyer, Nathaniel Rothrock, Cynthia Sleight, Ray Rothrock, Brazos Donaho

1964 was a great year for rock and roll.  Coming off the great years of Elvis, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly and many more, the Beatles made their American debut on Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9 and this changed everything.  They captured the top five on the Billboard Top 40, an unprecedented achievement.  Motown was cranking out the music of Diana Ross.  Elvis was well into his movie career, with his music still in the charts.  Johnny Rivers, Roy Orbison, Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, and many more were making history.   Sam Cooke was killed in L.A.  Ian Fleming's James Bond in Goldfinger and Bye Bye Birdie with Ann-Margret were on the silver screen.  Fiddler on the Roof premiered on Broadway.   The space race was well on with the Soviet Union and President Johnson escalated the war with strategic bombing of North Viet Nam.  And first lady, Michelle Obama was born January 17, 1964.

Up and to the Right has put together a 1964 playlist that will get you out of your seat and rockin' to the most memorable music of that era, and they'll perform many some great songs long forgotten.  The set also includes favorites you didn't know were in Billboard's Top Ten of that year such as Everybody Loves Somebody.  

The band members with three PV residents, Nathaniel Rothrock, lead vocal and guitar, Cynthia Sleight, lead vocal, Ray Rothrock on bass, Peter Sawyer on lead guitar and Brazos Donaho on drums.  Ray and Brazos actually went to college back in the day at Texas A&M.  The bands beginnings were when Nathaniel and Ray started taking lessons from Peter before Nathaniel went to college.  In 2012, they got added Brazos and Cynthia and had their Bay Area debut at the Great America Music Hall in May 2013.  The band plays school functions, parties, galas, and as often as they can at the Pioneer Saloon in Woodside -- but mostly for fun.

Don't miss other upcoming acts in the Summer Concert Series at Town Center, July 24 and August 21!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Celebration of the Horse - June 22

Come join us on Sunday June 22 for a morning trail ride through Portola Valley, and an afternoon educational horse fair.

Trail Ride, 9-12:00 PM

  • The staging area for the trail rides will be in the meadow in front of Spring Down, acrossfrom the Town Center, beg.inning at 9:00 am 
  • Three (3) organized rides will depart at 9:30 am. (The map on the back shows the 3 trail ride options.) 
  • Ride-in only (no trailer parking available) *Warning: Steep and irregular trails 
  • RSVP for the trail ride to pvhorseday@gmail.com 

Horse Fair, 2-5 PM

Come learn all about the horse at the horse fair located at the hitching rack in front of the Town Center tennis courts
  • Meet miniature horses and Icelandic ponies 
  • Learn how to conduct a vet exam and listen to a pony’s 
  • heart 
  • Decorate horse shoes and bob for apples 
  • Learn about a horse’s tack and embossing leather 
  • Climb on a wagon and play in an old governess carriage 
  • Learn about what horses eat and how useful manure is 

In 1964, the town of Portola Valley incorporated to preserve its tranquil, rural lifestyle. Today, we enjoy 36 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails throughout the Town’s majestic hillsides and pastoral meadows. Let’s join together to celebrate the horse and ensure continued access to this treasured resource.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

50th Anniversary Hike Was a Success!

by Phil Reilly

The hike was organized by the town's Trails and Paths Committee and we had an amazing turn out of over a 100 people, including lots of children, and about 20 dogs.  We hiked just under 4 miles of beautiful Portola Valley trails and ended the hike with a picnic at Portola Vineyards, with wine from Portola Vineyards, bread from Portola Valley Breads, cheese and meats donated by Roberts and various salads and desserts provided by committee members and friends.  The universal feedback was that it was a perfect day, showcasing the bounties of Portola Valley, and we had a special combination of young people and long-time residents hiking together.  We even had one 30-year resident who said that this was the first time they had been on the Portola Valley trails!!

It was amazing to see a line of 100 people hiking along the Portola Valley trails. Virginia Bacon took some lovely pictures, which you can see at http://www.pbase.com/beaucamera/community_hike, and I've included a few of the pictures below (after the cut). 

Among the many special attributes of Portola Valley, the trails have been a key part of the residents' experience for the last 50 years.  This hike was a wonderful confirmation that the trails remain a vibrant and important component of the town's character.  Portola Vineyards have indicated they are very happy to make this an annual event and to also do a similar hike and picnic at the end of the summer. This will be a marvelous way for people to celebrate everything great about Portola Valley.

A number of people at the hike asked about the availability of Portola Vineyards wine and Portola Valley Breads bread:  the wine is available at Bianchini's, Robert's PV, Alpine Hills Tennis Club, and at the winery; and the breads are available exclusively at the Portola Valley Farmers' Market.

Click the link for more pictures! 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Flight Night - May 16

The 4th annual Flight Night is presented by the Portola Valley Nature & Science Committee. There will be radio-controlled model demonstrations, exhibits with scale models, NASA rotorcraft, and career information. Visitors can fly a dual control model, use computer flight simulators, and build a glider among other activities. Food will be available. May 16, 6-9 p.m. Free.

PV On Stage - Saturday, May 17

The 50th anniversary of Portola Valley's incorporation as a town is reason to celebrate. Come join us for an evening of performing arts showcasing the talents of the people of Portola Valley. This is a joint venture with Woodside Priory, who have offered their wonderful performing arts center for the evening. There will be an exhibit of artwork by kids in the advanced placement studio program in the Kriewall-Haehl Gallery and an impressive line-up of talent in the Rothrock Performance Hall. 

We have some amazing artists living, learning and working in our midst, and as part of Portola Valley's season of 50th anniversary celebrations, a selection of our many talented residents will be coming together, young and old, professional and up-and-coming to entertain us and remind us of how truly remarkable this town is. Here are some of the wonderful performers who will entertain us that night. 

**Admission is free, but please reserve your seat at www.PV50thShow.eventbrite.com
Questions? Please contact Pamela Dorrell

Click through to see details!

Anniversary Hike - May 24

The PV Trails & Paths Committee invites you all to celebrate our town's 50th Anniversary with a hike, followed by wine tasting and a light lunch, Saturday, May 24 10:30am.

Two hiking routes will be offered, one 3 miles in length, the other shorter. Dogs are welcome! Bring your family and walk at your own pace, enjoying the beauty of nature and the tranquility that is Portola Valley.

 Afterwards, hikers will relish the beautiful setting of Portola Vineyards, as they enjoy a picnic lunch, featuring artisan loaves from Portola Valley Breads.

 Hikers should meet at Portola Vineyards at 10:30 at 850 Los Trancos Road.

 A special thanks to Portola Vineyards for sponsoring this event at their lovely winery!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Thursday, May 1, 2014

50th Anniversary Extreme Team Scavenger Hunt Starts May 10

Great Hunters of the Realm! Grab a team mate or two or up to six (perfect for families, friends and neighbors) and join the challenge to win a wonderful afternoon celebration picnic/ party in the gorgeous Jelich orchard sometime during apple season.

There are 50 challenging questions and tasks and a few extra credit questions which need to be accomplished over the course of six days. These questions will take you places, through history and flora and fauna of our beloved valley. All of challenges keep you in Portola Valley. You must take a selfie of your team or participants and enter this into your passbook. Passbooks will be available at the Town Center plaza on May 10 at 4pm, or downloadable from the blog. Prints of photos will be required for many answers to the challenge so make sure you have that capability on your team. Turn answers in by May16 to town hall. 

Let the games begin! 

Photos from April's En Plein Air Event

Artists of all ages enjoyed an afternoon of art and sun at the Alpine Inn! Join us for the next En Plein Air event on May 18.

Click the link for more photos. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

En Plein Air Painting Event - April 27

We are planning a FUN event for artists and would-be artists, of ALL ages, to come together and
sketch or paint Historic Alpine Inn ("Rossotti's") on Sunday,April 27 from 2 - 4.  Please bring Art
materials of choice, something to work on, a chair to sit on and your enthusiasm for our wonderful town.  If artists are willing, we hope to have a showing at the Sept. 21 grand finale.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Committee Profile: Cultural Arts

What does your committee do? 

We promote all forms of art in the Town

What do you enjoy about serving on your committee? 

Getting the town together in the summer to listen to the concerts and enjoy a picnic dinner.  Getting to know our local artists, musicians and authors.  Facilitating art shows for the community to enjoy.  Seeing cross-generations enjoying what PV has to offer in the way of the arts.

Are there any projects that your committee was involved in that you're particularly proud of?

We did a wonderful art show at the Priory with our local artists a few years ago.  We had the School House quilts that were in the windows restored and hung inside.  We host a wonderful Holiday craft fair in December that everyone looks forward to.  We also had the children's tiles restored for future enjoyment.

What issues do you foresee coming before your committee in the next fifty years?

We need new members.  We'd love to have some artists on our committee.

What role will your committee play in the future of Portola Valley?

We see ourselves providing opportunities and events for the community to enjoy around the arts.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

50-Year Residents Celebrate Portola Valley Together

We are an impressive group of people in this room today.

We are 50 year residents of Portola Valley. Many of us moved to this small tow around the time it was incorporated—1964. Some were already here. Certainly, the lands of Portola Valley didn’t need us to make it more beautiful. Our talent was to keep it that way.

Just by living here, raising our families here, sending our children to school here, we have tailored Portola Valley to be what it is today. And just as importantly, our collective interest have given Portola Valley its unique personality and character.

We’ve done our job well—fifty years. We have struggled with a changing environment. We agree, disagree, and then agree to disagree—but I believe in the end, we continue to keep our collective eye on the ball.

We in this room know that this is a special place to have spent some of our years. Now we are a larger population, have more challenges and there are new people to help define our future. 

We 50-year residents have taken our place as the cornerstone of our town. We have had our collective influence on our journey to the future. And we can all take pride in our participation. 

—Sue Crane 

See more in the San Jose Mercury News!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Bird Field Day - 4/6

Meet at the Old School House  
Hike will begin at 9 AM
Bring water, binos and good hiking shoes or boots  
The hike will be about two miles with only a few hundred feet of elevation gain  
Town Center to Windy Hill parking
Loop of Spring Ridge and Betsy Crowder trails  

Return to town center about 11:30 to look at bird specimens

Monday, March 31, 2014

Watershed Talk April 4

Celebrating the 50th
Come to the Portola Valley Library
Any day in April
To honor out creeks

On April 4th come creekside
and share stories of the creeks
A great fan of those waterways
Matt Stoecker will love to share stories.

3:30  Creekside   PV Library

Thursday, March 27, 2014

What I Love About PV: Garden Share

What I love About Portola Valley: The garden share and anywhere where kids make garden truffles--which are really seed bombs.
--Danna Breen

Garden Truffles

Truffle Maker

for info on the Portola Valley Garden Share, contact Rebecca Arora: rebecca at aligntheself.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Why I Volunteer: Yvonne Tryce

As a native of the Peninsula, I grew up in Millbrae exploring the creeks and picking wildflowers on the open slopes.  Summers I spent at Girl Scout camp in the redwoods of Big Basin.  I loved this beautiful area; and, at our local university, I majored in Biology, with the teaching credential coming much later.  Therefore, it is probably clear why I have been so involved in trying to preserve Portola Valley’s natural environment and teach others, especially our children, about its wonders and how they can enjoy and protect it.  Now my goal is to again see Portola Valley have a nature center for sharing the natural beauty, unique geology, and amazing plants and animals of this great place.

  • Following is how one volunteer activity led to another: 
  • Helped start a Ranger Rick club
  • Led Brownie and Girl Scout troops and directed day camp
  • School parent volunteer to teach science
  • E.C.E. chair focused on obtaining science curriculum for early grades
  • Grant writer for PV schools including seven for which I was Project Director, included: SMILE (Science Museum Involving Local Experts)
  • Started teaching nature and science classes at Town Center in a nature center
  • Joined Cultural Arts Committee which was focused on uses of Town Center
  • Nature and Science sub-committee evolved into Nature and Science Committee
  • Encouraging the use of MROSD Hawthorns with its creek, meadows, groves and existing buildings for a Nature Center along with other uses.   

Monday, March 24, 2014

50-Year-Resident Party

As part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of Portola Valley, all 50-year residents are invited to a festive gathering. It will be an opportunity to reminisce, reconnect with old friends, and have photos taken. Please join us!

When: Thursday, April 3, 2-4 pm
Where: The Sequoias Lounge

RSVP: Nancy Lund, 851-1072 or nlund at yahoo.com

A van will circulate from the Sequoias lower parking lot.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Committee Profile: Conservation

responses provided by Jean Eastman

What does your committee do?

The Conservation Committee reviews landscaping and lighting plans for new construction in Portola Valley as well as requests for tree removals.  It serves as an educational resource for the community regarding use of native plants, holding occasional workshops and maintaining a native plant list on the Town website.  Each spring the Conservation Committee conducts a Broom Pull to help control this invasive plant along Town roads.

What do you enjoy about serving on your committee?

It is a pleasure to serve with a group of people so knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of Portola Valley and dedicated to protecting the natural beauty and sustainability of the area.  It's a very "hands on" committee.  We have an opportunity to interact with homeowners and to witness Town development first hand.  I enjoy getting to see the results of our work and hope that it makes a real difference to the community.

Are there any projects your committee is particularly proud of?

The Conservation Committee has hosted several well-attended workshops in recent years on Native Plants and Living With Wildlife. I think that our presence on the Town website provides a valuable resource for those seeking detailed  information on native and drought-resistant plants for their landscaping.  We are now launching an exciting new Backyard Habitat project which will encourage and reward homeowners who provide a natural environment for native plants and wildlife.  Application can be made directly to the Committee.

What issues do you foresee coming before your committee in the next fifty years? What role will your committee play in the future of Portola Valley?

I believe that two major trends will continue to pose challenges for the Town as a whole and the Conservation Committee in particular.  Driven by the high cost of land, we have seen  constant pressure to develop residential parcels to the greatest  extent possible.  New homes cover the maximum area allowed and formal landscaping,  often with lawns and exotic plants ill-suited to the land and climate,  are too often the rule.  Chronic draught poses another challenge.  We will have to adapt our landscaping if it is to survive the climate change occurring during our lifetime.  During the next fifty years the Conservation Committee will be deeply involved in seeking creative responses to these trends.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

PV50 Celebration Calendar

Hello, residents!

This week you probably received the Portola Valley 50th Anniversary postcard in the mail, with a list of upcoming events. The blog calendar (in the right-hand column) will be keeping track of these events and we'll have added details for you as they approach. If there's a particular event you'd like to know more about right away, please email us at portolavalley50@gmail.com and we'll put you in touch with the organizers!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Committee Profile: Geologic Safety Committee

Responses provided by Sheldon Breiner

What does your committee do?

We report to the Town Council on matters related to geology and geologic problems such as landslides, earthquake faults and the like.

What do you enjoy about serving on your committee?

The five members of our committee are four geologists and one geophysicist. I enjoy the activities because I have worked in this geologic field for 50 years and did my PhD thesis on earthquake prediction. And, serving on such a committee in this town which straddles the San Andreas fault and has half the territory of the town underlain by potential landslide-prone terrane, makes this all so real - we live here and have to be made aware of the underlying conditions that govern the architecture, location of our homes and what can be done to live more safely.

Are there any projects that your committee was involved in that you're particularly proud of?

I'm very pleased to have our committee advise on the content and publication of the latest version of the Town official geologic map. We go into the field, confirm our understanding of the underlying geology and it directly helps all residents. Not actually part of our committee, I designed a seismograph which is the Town library and is online and can record earthquakes from all over the world--accessible anywhere because it is online.

What issues do you foresee coming before your committee in the next fifty years? What role will your committee play in the future of Portola Valley?

One day, maybe five or ten years from now, there will likely be an earthquake of a magnitude of 7 or 7.5 on the San Andreas fault here in the Town. This will cause the two sides to move past each other by as much as 15 feet (the amount the underlying two plates have already moved since 1906.

Then, there will be aftershocks of magnitude 6 within a day or week and many M 5 for as long as a year after the main event. We have to learn to live with that and plan both house and Town for such earthquakes.

Why I Volunteer: Marianne Plunder

I started out 20 years ago with Blues&BBQ as a new resident not knowing a single person in town - that changed really fast! I see it is an opportunity to influence the town's policy making.

Why I Volunteer: Megan Koch

I believe Portola Valley is a magical place filled with beauty and an incredible community. I want to help ensure this special place holds its splendor for generations to come. I feel blessed to live here.

Friday, February 28, 2014

30th Annual Broom Pull - Sunday March 9

The yellow flowers may look pretty but French Broom is one of the most nastily invasive local shrubs.  It quickly spreads, choking out both natives and other desirable plants.  It is quite flammable. This is especially a problem in our Open Space preserves.

Each year for 30 years a group of Portola Valley residents has gathered in the Spring with the guidance of the Conservation Committee to pull up this obnoxious intruder from Town right of ways.   In the spirit of the 50th Anniversary, please come join us.

Come spend a morning with your neighbors pulling invasive French broom along Portola Valley Roads.  We'll meet at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 9th at the Historic School House, Portola Valley Town Center, 765 Portola Road.  Wear long sleeves and gloves.  Tools and refreshments will be provided.

If you can’t join us, consider clearing your own property of this nasty invasive shrub. Pull it up by the roots - do not cut it off, it comes back tougher and harder to remove. This time of year, the smaller plants pull up quite easily from the rain-damp soil; the large ones need a weed wrench. Later, when our local soil gets like clay, they are almost impossible to pull out. 

If you are not the get-your-hands-dirty type, please join us in spirit by asking your gardener to focus on broom removal at his/her next visit.

Community Service hours are available for students.


Judith Murphy, Chair, Conservation Committee

Why I Volunteer: Marilyn Walter

It was a pleasure to serve one of the best little towns in the world.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Committee Profile: Town Planning Commission

Responses provided by Nate McKitterick

What committee do you serve on?

Planning Commission

What does your committee do?

Generally, we help shape the policies and priorities for land use in the Town, and consider applications that involve major changes to a property.

What do you enjoy about serving on your committee?

Meeting people in the Town whom I otherwise might not.  Portola Valley is filled with interesting, intelligent people who have done fascinating things with their lives.  I'm not one of them (though a man can dream, right?), but I enjoy them.

Are there any projects that your committee was involved in that you're particularly proud of?

Having been on the Planning Commission for the past 9 years, I'd say it's what you don't notice that I am most proud of.  In other words, the majestic beauty of our Town and our close-knit community have been preserved.  While there have been some Planning Commission issues that have seen respected townsfolk on opposing sides, our sense of community and public participation have not suffered from it.

What issues do you foresee coming before your committee in the next fifty years? 

In the nearer term, perhaps we will address more matters relating to the "western hillside," the west side of Portola Valley, the preservation of which was one of the catalysts for the founding of this Town.  Further out, I'd guess personal aerial vehicles.

What role will your committee play in the future of Portola Valley?

Ted Driscoll once told me "The Town Council decides what the Town can do now.  The Planning Commission decides what we should aspire to do."  So, I hope to continue to hear from people in the community about their dreams and hopes for the Town in coming decades.  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

PV Recipe: Peanut Butter Chocolate Tart

This week's recipe was submitted by Joanne Donsky through the PV Forum mailing list!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Tart

Submitted by Joanne Donsky

Medium heavy-bottomed saucepan
9-inch tart pan with removable bottom

7 oz (1 ½ cups) Famous Chocolate Wafer crumbs
5 Tb. unsalted butter, melted

1/3 cup reduced fat smooth peanut butter
8 oz. cream cheese (low fat), room temperature
½ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
½ cup whipped cream or Cool Whip

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
½  cup whipping cream
2 -3 Tb. chopped roasted and salted peanuts

Crust Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In the bowl of a food processor, chop the chocolate wafer cookies and add the melted butter.  Mix well.  Press into a 9-inch tart pan and bake 8 to 10 minutes or until firm. Cool. (Can be done a day in advance.)

Filling: If using whipping cream, whip cold whipping cream until stiff. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, (or by hand) combine the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Add confectioner’s sugar. Fold in whipped cream or Cool Whip. Spread the filling into the cool crust.

Ganache: Cut 6 oz. chocolate into small pieces and put in small mixing bowl. Heat whipping cream in a small saucepan and bring just to a simmer. Pour over the chopped chocolate and stir occasionally until chocolate is smooth and cool a bit.

To assemble: Pour the ganache over the filling and spread evenly. Chill tart until chocolate is set. Decorate with chopped peanuts. Unmold and serve cold.

Serves: 8

Why I Volunteer: Nancy Lund

Since I'm a non-native Californian, teaching California history to 4th graders was my introduction to the interesting stories of the past. Learning about, recording and sharing our town's story as well as volunteering in other ways have brought rewards I never would have guessed; meeting wonderful people I wouldn't otherwise know and feeling a part of community are key personal benefits.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Fifty Years of this Town of Portola Valley

By Sheldon Breiner

Portola Valley became a town in 1964, the same year we called this town our home. This year, we celebrate these two score and ten years of Town history. Thanks to the founding fathers and mothers of this town and the participative attitude of the residents, we have successfully maintained its Nature and the important aspects that make us love this Town. It is truly a product of all the residents' efforts to carry out the founding principles.                                         

Western Slopes of Town

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Why I Volunteer: Sue Crane

Maybe I didn't understand completely why I volunteered when i first moved here--I think I did because I was intrigued with this small town who relied mainly on volunteers and it was easy to participate and feel needed.  Now I can look back--50 years of volunteering --schools, town committees,  town council, etc.  I don't know who benefitted more--me or the town. I have had a stake and voice in our town and it has totally enriched my life.  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

PV Recipe: Angel Pie

In 1987, the Portola Valley PTA collected recipes from local residents and compiled them into a cookbook. We're going to share some of those recipes here on the blog, and we invite PV residents to send in their recipes to share, as well!

Send your recipes to erica at hughes-family.org.

Angel Pie

Submitted by Donna Mackowski

A favorite from my mother-in-law.

Serves: 8

Preparation time:  30 min 
Cooking time:  1 hr 
Refrigerate:  Several hours

1/2 C granulated sugar
2 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 C chopped walnuts

Sift sugar and cream of tartar. Set aside. Beat egg whites stiff, but not dry. Add sifted sugar gradually, while continuing to beat until smooth and glossy. Line well buttered 9" pie plate with this mixture. Keep center hollowed out to 1/4" thickness. Do not spread meringue on rim of plate.  Spread nuts on unbaked meringue rim.  Bake in slow (300) oven 1hour, or until delicately browned and crisp. Cool.

3/4 C semi-sweet chocolate  bits
3 T hot water
1 tsp vanilla
1C heavy cream, whipped

Melt chocolate in double boiler. Stir in the 3 T water and add vanilla. Cool slightly. Fold in whipped cream. Turn into meringue shell. Chill several hours.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Why I Volunteer: Sam Yount

I serve on a Portola Valley town committee because my wife and I love living here.  My goal is not to ensure that the town does not change, but to ensure that it does.  I see volunteerism as a way to ensure that the town remains current and relevant while still retaining the unique properties that make Portola Valley a great place to live.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Why I Volunteer: Ed Holland

I came to Portola Valley in 2006 because my wife (Meg Abraham, who grew up here) and I could not miss up the opportunity to bring up our son in this wonderful town. When Portola Valley announced the appointment of a new committee to tackle "Bicycle, Pedestrian and Traffic Safety" I decided to get involved, drawn by a desire to nurture safe healthy alternatives to motorised transportations for local journeys, such as to and from school and a lifelong pursuit of cycling. BPTS has been described as "the most active committee" and I'm proud that our enthusiastic team has worked hard to run events like the "Bike Rodeo" and to understand, and think out solutions to PV residents concerns. Thank you Portola Valley for giving me a chance to get involved.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Portola Valley Runs on Volunteerism

Did you know there are 400 Portola Valley residents who have volunteered their time to serve our community?  

Check it out.  If you know someone on this list - thank them today!  

Sally and Jeff Aalfs
Ken Abraham
Joy and Robin Adler
Douglas Aikins
Alison Alston
Rick Anderson
Barbara and George Andreini
Sherry and Domenic Andrighetto
Rebecca Arora
Heather and Dean Asborno
Ellen Ashley
Douglas Ayer
Agnes and Dean Babcock
Virginia Bacon
Tine Badger
Mari and Clay Baker
Karen Baker
Mia and Michael Banks
Barbara and Scott Barnum
Tamara and Craig Buchsbaum
Lorraine and Bernard Bayuk
Foster and Mike Beigler
Linda and Mike Benevento
Diana and Dan Bergeson
Beth and Alan Bianchi
Paige Fulkerson
Denise Blocker
Jay and John Boice
Karol and Robert Bondy
Patty and Greg Bonfiglio
Carol Borck
Jane Bourne
Nancy Bovee
Lindsay and Rita Bowen-Williams
Bob Boyle and Donna Wells
Larry Bradley
DeLeys and Craig Brandman
Julia B Brandman
Toni and Michael Bray
Danna Breen
Mimi and Sheldon Breiner
Dianne Brinson
Susan and Andrew Browne
Christopher and Bonnie Buja-Crater
Cathy and Mark Carlson
Linda C Carlson
Kathleen Carr
Sue and Gene Chaput
Laurie Chase
Nona Chiariello
Teri and Mike Chilton
Crystal & John Ciancutti
Deirdre and Jeff Clark
Frank Cody
Joe Coleman
Dottie and Kirk Comstock
Ann Hillman and George Comstock
Kristi and Chuck Corley
Rosalie and Dan Cornew
Laura and Hugh Cornish
Harriett Coulson
Tracy and Peter Cowperthwaite
Sue Crane
Ann Crevelt
Lynne Davis
Bunny Dawson
Yvonne and Michael Deggleman
Cathy and Pat Dempsey
Lauren and Alan Denenberg
Maryann Moise Derwin
Marge DeStaebler
Kelly Diedrich
Treena Diehl
Julia Dillingham
Anne Marie Draeger
Sue and Ted Driscoll
Sharon and David Driscoll-Savoca
Jocelyn Dunn
Stephen Dunne
Lorrie and Dave Duval-Cardinal
Susan Devork
Phillip and Jean Eastman
Leslie and Fred Ebert
Donald Eckstrom
Phyllis Eicher
Lynn and Bud Eisberg
Linda and Jerry Elkind
Jon Else
Nelly and Mark Emmerson
Kalani Engles
Mary Enright
Beth and Cole Erskine
Patty and Jerry Evans
Susan and Grant Evans
Deanna and Brooke Fabricant
Alice and David Falconer
Mary and Chuck Falore
Kathy and Bob Feldman
Ellie Ferrari
Leslie Field and Phil Barth
Joe Fil
Diana Fischer
Kathy and Peter Fitzgerals
Chrisi Fleming
Pam and Craig Flower
Rebecca and Alex Flynn
Liz and Mark Foster
Robert Fournier
Jeannette and Don Fowler
Susan and Tom Friel
Paige Fulkerson
Elise and Randy Gabrielson
Aruna Gambhir
Ellie and John Gardner
Diane Garver
Patty and Todd Gebhard
Maria and Mark Geenen
Ingbritt and Sam Gelpi
Denise Gilbert
Wanda Ginner
Karen and Paul Giordano
Susan Gold
Jon and Kwok Goulden-Lau
Maren and Jeff Grainger
Michelle Green
Karen Gregory
John Greswold
Sarah Hagadone
Cynthia and Brent Hamilton-Iverson
Lynn Hamilton-Lowengart
Louise Hamm
Jeanette and Carl Hansen
Wendi and Bill Haskell
Judith Hasko
Dar Hay
Melissa and Steve Hedlund
Paul Heiple
Racheland Andy Hewitt
Angela and John Hey
Diane and JonHillier
Becky and Ken Hirsch
Wendy Hoag
Mary Hodgson
Leo Hoenighausen
Daniel Hoffman
Ellen and John Hoffman
Edward Holland
Elizabeth Holmes
Lynn and Randy Holthaus
Jill Howard
Janet and David Howes
Mary and Daniel Hufty
Erica and Craig Hughes
Sharon and Phil Humphreys
Avery Humphreys
Meredith and Steve Humphreys
Andie and Jim Hutchinson-Fann
Jean Isaacson
Judi Jaeger
Sue and Kurt Jaggers
Monica Jenkins
Clair and Jay Jernick
Adeline Jessup
Kathy and Todd Johnson
Majda Jones
Karen and Jeff Jordon
Eva Juhos
Charlene and Derry Kabcenell
Mahnaz Kalanaki
Diane and Bill Kaspari
Nancy Katz
Ginny and Jack Kavanaugh
Ann Kearney
Marcia and Jeff Keimer
Sharon and Tom Kelley
Tricia Kelly
Indu and Raman Khanna
Anu Khatod
Victoria Klein
Stephanie Knott
Megan Koch
Diana and Bill Koin-Vermeere
Andy Koontz
Anne and Al Kopf-Sill
Katie Korman
Jackie Kubicka
Simone and Philippe Tregon
Dale and Dennis Lachtman
Bill and Jean Lane
Linda and Bill Lautner
John Law
Carrie and Kenneth Lavine
Tricia Law
Maggie Law
Grace and Walter Leclerc
Merijane and Lowell Lee-Sears
Sandy Lee
Debbie Lehmann
Jane and Howard Lewis
Judy and Jim Lipman
Sandy Littlefield
Shandon Lloyd
Sharon and Mark Lockareff
Lauren and John Lopez
Janet Lorenzen
Ann and Dick Lucas
Rosemarie and Ted Luce
Karen Lucian
Nancy and Tor Lund
Ellen and Jim Lussier
Tony Macias
Margie and Bill MacKenzie
Jane Mackey
Donna and Marty Mackowski
Marjorie and George Mader
Lynne Madison
James Malloch
Marie and Christopher Margolin
Andrea and Steve Marra
Joya Marsh-Reiner
Sonia Martinez
John Mashey
Robert Masi
Mary McCann
Natalie and Jim McClure
Bob McCowan
Ed McGavin
Kay and Chip McIntosh
Teri and Dorian McKelvy
Lynn and Neil McKinnon
Jennifer Hanley and Nate McKitterick
Adele McPartland
Karen and Paul Melnychuck
Judy and Andy Mendelson
Richard and Brad Merk-Peyton
Lee Middleman
Mahnaz and Ali Mikailli
John Miller
Roseann Miller
Al Minor
Susan and Steve Minor-Bourne
Joann and Kent Mitchell
Karen and Scott Mobley
Tina Molumphy
Ellen Moore
Max Moore
Katherine Moore
Jayne and Mark Mordell
Rose and Gary Moiseff
Vivien and Tom Moyer
Brenda and Greg Munks
Judith Murphy
Jon Myers and Beth Myers-Rubuczewski
Dorothea and Ted Nell
Eliane and Armand Neukermans
Don Niederhaus
Gary and Liz Nielsen
Holly Nybo
Julia Oleson
Linda Olson
Elizabeth and Babur Ozden
Mary and Ward Paine
Mark and Judy Paris
Iqbal Paroo
Ann and Dana Parsons
Sandy and Will Patterson
Ray Pestrong
Laura and Bill Pickering
Jan and Oz Pieper
Frances and Robert Pierce
Andrew Pierce
Marianne Plunder
Alison and Dave Polkinhorne
Leigh Prince
Ting Pun
Anne and Marty Putnam
Phyllis Quilter
Helen and Dan Quinn
Stellie Quinn
Chris Raanes
Diana and Gary Raines
Amber and Bob Ramies
Jeanette and Tom Ramies
Mike Randal
Michelle Rapp
Gina Rayfield
Kathy and David Reavis-Strohm
Sharon Reich
Sally Ann and Peter Reiss
Sharon and John Richards
Linda Rigas and James Jones
Connie and Bill Ring
Jan Robb
Shirley Roberts
Natalie and Tom Robertson
Nancy Robertson
James Robson
Cindy Rodas
Tom and Carolyn Stepien
Debbie Romani
David Ross
Ray Rothrock
Dene Rowell
Francine Roy
Pedro Ruiz
Kari Rust
James Sansbury
Minnie Sarwal
Ruthy Sarwal
Peggy Satterlee
Nancy and George Savage
Georgia Sovaca
Diane and Mike Schilling
Kris and Jason Schmidt
John Schulte
Barb and Win Seipp
Greg Semans
Ajit Shah
Julia and Fred Shepardson
Brook Shield
Amy and Dan Siegel
Catherine Siegle
Jon Silver
John Skadden
Kristi Skrabo
Sandy and Eric Sloan-Richert
Dr. Jay Ward Smith
Janet Smith
Mary Smith
Deb Smith
Joy and Dwight Somersett
Carol and Mark Sontag
Dana and William Starling
Laura Stec
Michele Stern
Marti Sterns
Jim Stoecker
Robert and Marvis Stoecker
Margaret Stone
Linda Strober
Tish and John Struthers
Norio Sugano
Liz and Michael Sweeney
Shelly and Scott Sweeney
Megan and Scott Sweet
Carrie and Jan Sweetnam
Jocelyn and Dan Swisher
Rowland Tabor
Ellen Tafeen
Jo and Bill Tagg
Michele Takei
Patricia and Peter Tapscott
Nicholas Targ
Colleen and Geoff Tate
Craig Taylor
Ruth and Mark Taylor
Susan Thomas
Nancy and John Thompson
Patricia and Andy Thorson
Steve and Janice Toben
Lewis Todd
Bud and Onnolee Trapp
Simone and Philippe Tregon
Sophie Tregon
Jeanie Treichel
Lisa and Jack Troedson
Yvonne Tryce
Patty and EricTurnquiest
Jenny and Stefan Unnasch
Crissy and Todd Untrecht
William Urban
Cort Van Rensselaer
Lance and Karen Vaughan
Diane and John Vedder
Ellen Vernazza
Barbara Vetter
Nancy and Ted Vian
Kelly and Ray Villarel
Linda and Tom Vlasic
Alexandra and Randy Von Feldt
Marilyn Walter
Sharon and Ron Walter
Susan and Dieter Walz
Tracy Wang
Tami and Carter Warr
Linda Weil
Elizabeth and Kevin Weil
Kevin Welch
Sandy Welch
Edward Wells
Ann and Leslie Wengert-Latham
Eric Wenzel
Debra and Tom West
Erin Whalen
Susan Whelan
Joseph Whiteley
Karin and Paul Wick
Nancy and Clark Wigley
Robin Willard
Erika and Kirt Williams
Patricia and Ray Williams
Nancy Wilson
Jane and Alan Wilson
Judy and Curtis Wozniak
Gerald Wright
Ruth Ann and Chet Wrucke
Jane and Don Yates
Linda and Paul Yates-Holland
Hannah Yelton
Stuart Young
Sam Yount
Jennifer and Bill Youstra
Lenora and John Yuen-Peters
Leah and Alex Zaffaroni
Charles Zaffaroni
Judy Zafran
Patti and John Zussman

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Flag Raising Ceremony - Thursday, January 16 at 4pm

Join us on Thursday, January 16 as we “Raise the Flag” for a year of celebration commemorating Portola Valley’s 50th Anniversary!

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Portola Valley’s incorporation.  For five decades, as a community, we have been able to preserve the unique character of Portola Valley that includes breathtaking land, extensive open space, abundance of flora and fauna, and frugality through volunteerism.   Now that’s something to celebrate all-year long!   

What:    Portola Valley’s 50thAnniversary Flag Raising Ceremony.
When:   January 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm.   
Where:  Portola Valley Town Center Old Schoolhouse, adjacent to Farmer’s Market.  

SFGate Admires the View from Windy Hill

"Each day brings a new canvas for nature's artwork at the Peninsula's Windy Hill Open Space Preserve."

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Incorporation of Portola Valley - Part One

by Nancy Lund

For most of the first half of the twentieth century, Portola Valley (or Portola as it was first known) was a sleepy little place at the end of the road. A few immigrants from many countries operated small farms.  Los Trancos Woods, Woodside Highlands and Brookside were neighborhoods of small cottages to which San Franciscans of humble means came in the summer to escape the cold, dreary fogs of the city. For the most part, there was no heat and only rudimentary water systems. Phone service was late in coming. But it was peaceful and beautiful. Most of the rest of the land was held in large parcels owned by individuals.

All this began to change, however, after World War II. The population of San Mateo County exploded as people began to arrive in huge numbers. Portola Valley began to grow so rapidly that residents worried about losing the rural qualities that they loved in their quiet little town. They began to talk about incorporation so that they could make decisions about local land use rather than relying on decisions by a distant county Board of Supervisors. Beginning in 1955, nine long years of study, discussion and debate were to pass before residents could make local decisions about local issues.
A quick survey of those large land owners and their lifestyles can help to explain the dynamics and the changes that would occur in those years immediately after the war when some of those owners began to sell their properties. Here’s how it was until the post war years.

A San Francisco hardware merchant, Stephen Mariani, owned the Mariani Ranch, known as Blue Oaks today, for most of the twentieth century. The little brown house still standing by the neighborhood swimming pool was their summer place.  A barrel of sturdy sticks stood by the front door; the Mariani children would take one when they went out to play for protection against rattlesnakes.

Portola Valley Ranch was known as the Bovet place.  Anthony Bovet was a nephew of Antone Borel, a wealthy banker of some local fame, for whom Anthony worked. But he really wanted to be a cattle rancher, so he kept a herd on his ranch in Portola Valley. The Bovets brought several fine pieces from the Borel mansion in San Mateo to furnish their house. Their house still stands although it can’t be seen from any public roadway.

The eighty acres between Portola Valley Ranch and Los Trancos and Alpine roads have been in the hands of only two families since rancho times.  In the 1880s, Judge James Allen and his family bought eighty acres from Antonio Martinez, son of the ranchero. The Woods family purchased the property in 1915; members of the family occupied the 1885 main house off Los Trancos Road and a 1950s house above Roberts Market until 2008 when Fred Woods III bequeathed the land to POST, the private land trust.

For some seventy years, the hills that give Alpine Hills its subdivision name were the possession of Mary Ann Stanton, as was the building we call today Alpine Inn (or affectionately, Rosotti’s or “Zot’s.) A widow, whose young husband died in a tragic buggy/train accident on Christmas Eve, 1887, she lived in Menlo Park and hired genial barkeepers to run her roadhouse establishment. She leased the hills for cattle.

The vast Ormondale Ranch, home to Ormonde, the most famous race horse of the nineteenth century (and his less illustrious son Ormondale,) occupied today’s subdivisions of Westridge, Oak Hills and Ladera. The Macdonough family, first Joseph and then Dent, had as many as two hundred horses and several barns. Horses eventually gave way to sheep, tended by a Basque shepherd.

William and Mary Fitzhugh, San Franciscans, kept a rustic vacation place on what we call Grove Drive, Grove Court and Stonegate Road. Their two main houses, which still stand, were once connected by a structure used as a dormitory for guests. They also had colorful tents on platforms for overflow company.  The area around Tintern was their farm. Strawberries, tended by Chinese workers, was a big crop.

The Morshead family owned El Mirador Farm, first home to Andrew Hallidie of cable car fame, for most of the twentieth century. Rising to the west (actually the south) above Portola Road, it is still in private hands. In the Morshead days, the first town picnics were held there, and children enjoyed the lakes and the model train on which they could ride. When Stanley Morshead rang the bell on non-picnic days, children knew it was in invitation to come and ride.

The most famous of these large landowners was John Francis Neylan. The lawyer for William Randolph Hearst, twenty-eight year member of the University of California Board of Regents, State Controller, he owned 1500 acres in the hills that form the backdrop of the town. In 1937, he had acquired the property from Herbert Law for $255,000. Earlier in the century, Law had amassed the estate, buying from small farmers in order to control the waters of Corte Madera Creek so that he could have sufficient water for his herb farm that extended along today’s Willowbrook Drive.

Neylan was an ardent and vociferous foe of the incorporation talk that began in the mid 1950s. And yet, it was a decision of his that made him responsible more than any other single person for the incorporation for the Town of Portola Valley.