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CA Portola Valley

In a forested valley crisscrossed with streams, less than two thousand households sit on land straddling the San Andreas Fault. What was first developed as a cattle ranch in the early 1800s became a logging town during the post-Gold Rush development boom, and has now become the wealthiest city in the nation. Housing here is more expensive and exclusive than anywhere else in the country. With both rich history and residents, Portola Valley offers quintessential small-town living for those looking to immerse themselves in luxurious Californian countryside.

Perhaps Portola Valley’s most attractive feature is its wide availability of breathtaking open spaces. The city is particularly dedicated to preserving the valley’s original rural character. Dozens of unique parks, trails, and wooded lands lay within the town’s borders, like the 347 acres of open space at Portola Valley Ranch. Other notable open spaces acquired by the city for preservation include Windy Hill, Spring Down, and Shady Trail. The city is bordered by Skyline Ridge, which offers miles of trails and, of course, scenic views. For fans of hiking, horseback riding, archery, and other natural recreation, Portola Valley is a haven. Nowhere else will you find modernity and style among pastoral serenity.

Preservation is an ongoing mission — according to the city, in the last decade alone it has preserved 19 acres of open space. This undertaking is, in part, funded directly by residents: in 1997, voters passed a Utility Users Tax that would provide a stream of revenue for the city’s preservation efforts.

Given its tiny population of under 5,000 people, Portola Valley is served by just two public primary schools: Ormondale (K-3) and Corte Madera (4-8). It also has two private schools, college preparatory Woodside Priory (6-12) and Woodland (K-8).

Despite the city’s secluded and quiet nature, it’s conveniently located within Silicon Valley when it comes to accessing city amenities. Highway 280 is mere minutes away, as is Stanford University and Shopping Center. San Francisco and San Jose’s airports are both just half an hour away.

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