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News

Spooktacular moved indoors


Due to rain, today's downtown Los Altos Halloween activities have been moved to the indoor courtyard of Play! at 170 State St. Enter from the back on the parking lot side to participate in crafts, games and fun. Activities continue until 4 p.m.

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Planning travel in Old England with television and the Internet


Photos by Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The charming English village of Burton Bradstock, left, features camera-ready backdrops like the Three Horseshoes inn, above, and the parish church, below.

OK, we admit it – we’re great fans of the British TV programs shown here in the United States.

One aspect of these BBC America and PBS shows we enjoy seeing is the locales. Many stories take place in historical country homes and quaint little villages with thatched-roof cottages clustered around a pub, a small store and an ancient church. We’ve been regular visitors to England over the years, so we know that the villages are not stage sets; they are real and are occupied by residents who take great pride in maintaining their traditions.

When we made plans with another couple to attend a classic-car event in southern England last September, we decided to spend an extra week visiting a friend and colleague who lives in Burton Bradstock, a village in Dorset approximately a four-hour drive southwest of Heathrow Airport.

Our friend told us that “Broadchurch,” which we’d recently seen on BBC America, had been filmed in and around his village and on the beach just to the south.

Learning from a TV special about great homes of England that the popular PBS series “Downton Abbey” had been filmed at Highclere Castle, not far from his village, we added that to our itinerary to make this an English television theme trip.

A charming village

One reason that Burton Bradstock is so charming is because it isn’t on anyone’s must-see list – no tourist buses clogging the village square or crowds to contend with. Yet we had no trouble getting Internet information about the village and environs to make our sightseeing plans.

What is there to do in a village like Burton Bradstock? Relax, mostly. Over the course of the week we walked every street in the village, admiring the thatched-roof stone cottages and speaking with neighbors tending their still-blooming gardens that displayed a spectrum of colors to contrast with the ochre-hued stonework. In the parish church that had its first rector in 1295, we photographed the interior and spent time reading the ancient inscriptions on tombstones that had been moved to the perimeter of the churchyard.

We spent a day on the beach where American GIs practiced climbing the cliffs in preparation for D-Day, and where 60 years later much of the “Broadchurch” action was filmed. There was the handiwork of plein-air artists to admire, and a steep footpath to hike past the World War II pillbox overlooking the English Channel. A pleasant canvas-roofed cafe on the beach, open during the warm months and known for its fresh-baked pastries and breads, provided tasty breakfasts and lunches.

Every pub and restaurant we visited during the week seemed to have an enthusiastic, talented young chef in the kitchen, as well as a cheerful young woman or man pulling the taps at the traditional bar. Our favorite pub was The Anchor in the center of Burton Bradstock, only two blocks from our friend’s home. We visited The Anchor twice, as much for the welcoming atmosphere as for its excellent food, and would have enjoyed staying in their guest rooms if we hadn’t already had accommodations.

‘Downton Abbey’ sites

Visiting the Highclere Castle website, we learned that the estate would be closing in October to allow filming of the next season of “Downton Abbey,” so we were pleased to be able to book our tour for the last day of our visit.

Our two-hour drive took us along two-lane country byways across the Salisbury Plain to Newbury, and our GPS directed us to the turn-off across the one-lane stone bridge leading to the castle. Like so many historic English estates, Highclere has been home to titled families for many generations and is currently home to the eighth Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, who are closely involved in the castle’s day-to-day operations.

We spent the morning exploring the extensive gardens, enjoyed lunch in a large, tented outdoor cafeteria and then toured the castle’s ground floor and upstairs rooms, all of which appear just as they do in the television drama.

The castle’s cellars contain a recently opened exhibit featuring many real and reproduced artifacts from the tomb of the Egyptian boy pharaoh, Tutankhamen, unearthed in 1922 by the fifth Earl of Carnarvon and his archaeological colleague, Howard Carter.

Enjoying our last meal of the week in a charming crossroads pub, we all agreed that our extra week in England, easily planned with the aid of the Internet, had been one our most relaxing vacations in memory.

You can enjoy the same type of make-it-your-own vacation. The village of Burton Bradstock has its own website, burtonbradstock.org.uk. Highclere Castle information and tour bookings are available at highclerecastle.co.uk. Bed-and-breakfasts, guest houses and country inns as well as local restaurants and other attractions are easy to find on the Internet, and there’s a wealth of other travel information.

There are many other castles, estates, cathedrals and villages and towns in the region waiting to be explored, and they’re all just a keystroke away.

Gary and Genie Anderson are longtime Los Altos residents.

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