Car Collecting 101: Local auto mavens share the stories behind their passion

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Inspired by a childhood surrounded by autos, Los Altos resident Marlene Zimmerman found a passion in collecting Franklins like this 1927 model with her husband Chet.

Saturday mornings, Los Altos reveals its classic-car core as a dozen or 20 old-timers and their owners gather in the parking plaza behind Main Street Cafe & Books. The automobile enthusiasts find each other to share practical tips on maintenance and restoration, but also just to be together.

Car people, it turns out, tend to like each other. And Los Altos has a lot of them, whether they’re participating in the Fall Festival, driving in city parades or just joining the "Donut Derelicts" on Saturday mornings.


Solo sports go social as groups offer fitness, friendship

Van Houtte/town crier Near-perfect weather year-round makes running and cycling popular local recreational options.

As downtown streetlights power off in the early morning, a dedicated group of runners hits the streets of Los Altos to chase the sunrise as it reaches the hills.

"It’s so much fun to get up in the morning and know that there are going to be other people there," said Los Altos Hills resident Allison Tilley of her motivation to run with a group rather than by herself.


Neighbors find club connections

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Pat Booth, from left, Debbie Machlin and Marilyn Lipson join friends to play American mahjong.

Los Altos and surrounding towns offer bicycle clubs, traditional civic clubs like Kiwanis and Rotary, and plenty to keep hobbyists and game enthusiasts happy and busy.

While physical fitness trainers have urged people to exercise more for years, a Stanford Medical School study published in the August American Journal of Medicine revealed that 55 percent of the subjects tracked in 2010 reported "no physical activity." That was up from 30 percent in 1999, according to Los Altos resident Ken Smith, Ph.D., director of mobility at the Stanford Center on Longevity.


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 add color to the season.


Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host of five-star resorts, a Los Altos Hills couple chose "simple elegance" as the design concept for their new custom home construction.


Los Altos family prioritizes comfort over size

Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Looking to build a contemporary home for their growing family, Aditi and Pooneet Goel razed a dilapidated cottage on their Los Altos property and replaced it with a California Mission-style home with a tile roof and large, arched windows, above, that allow natural light to stream into living spaces, below.

For many hardworking young couples living in San Francisco, there comes a time when it’s nice to return to your roots.


Create inviting spaces bylandscaping in the round

Courtesy of Astrid Gaiser
The half-circle design placed in a triangular garden space, above, creates an inviting and relaxing backyard atmosphere. The side yard, below, is divided by half-circles to offer a more intimate escape.

When thinking about your landscape, shapes matter a lot, especially when the lot itself has a challenging shape.


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