Lying on the northeastern part of Portola Valley and reminiscent of small Midwestern towns, Ladera is a community of approximately 535 homes. Founded in 1946 by the Peninsula Housing Association, this hillside neighborhood has a fascinating history. Humbly beginning as a Spanish land grant farm and a ranch, the area soon turned into a cooperative housing experiment, and became the thriving, independent, unincorporated community it is today.
A great majority of residents in this tight-knit community are actively involved in neighborhood recreation. For instance, children compete on the swim team, attend summer camps, or train to become a lifeguard-all at the Ladera Recreation Center. Likewise, parents help organize community activities such as the Fourth of July Festival, annual garage sales, and Christmas caroling parties.
Of the 535 homes in Ladera, less than half are original. Many of the homes, sitting on lots ranging from a quarter-acre to two acres, retain their traditional Ranch-style designs. Some homes have excellent panoramas of the bay with views as far north as San Francisco, while others have unfettered views of Sears Lake and the Stanford hills.
Despite the close proximity to nearby commuting routes, noise from the freeway is buffered by the rolling hills dutifully surrounding this neighborhood. Though it seems remote, Ladera boasts Ladera Country Shopper, a neighborhood mall within an easy bike ride or even a stroll from most homes. This mall offers residents wonderful restaurants, Biachini’s grocery store, a coffeehouse, a dry cleaner, personal care, a gas station, and banking and mail services.