It is said that "You have not really seen Woodside unless you have seen it on horseback." It is a unique, very up-scale Silicon Valley community where many of the locals sometimes kick around town in blue jeans and even muddy boots. It is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, off back from Hwy 280, in San Mateo county, and has enjoyed its equestrian heritage since the 1800s. In the 1880's prosperous San Francisco families began to establish country estates in Woodside. "It's the kind of place where city folks from Palo Alto, San Mateo, and Menlo Park like to come for breakfast on Saturday morning to soak up the very relaxed, rural, yet up-scale life-style,” remembers Marie Akin-Griffith, avid horse person and once very active bay area Realtor.
Saddle Up in Grand Style
Here you see horses sometimes tied up next to the town's favorite breakfast eatery. Some say it is the kind of town where if you are running for public office, you might well be asked, "Are you a horse person?" While many of the older generation of equestrians are vanishing, many new Woodside residents most often would rather have a swimming pool or a tennis court than a stable. However, there is a group of Woodside women working diligently to make sure that the equestrian way of life doesn't become extinct. They have formed the Woodside-area Horse Owners Association, or WHOA.
Actually Woodside doesn’t seem to have changed all that much these past 30 years. But, there aren't quite as many trails, nor as many horses as there used to be; however, "the long legacy of horse folks and their equine friends still lives on in Woodside." The number of horses stabled there has been declining in recent years, going from 765 in fiscal year 2000-01 to 675 in 2006-2007 according to town records. Although the trails are under siege, like many areas close to thriving metropolitan areas, they are in great shape in terms of maintenance “as good as they have been in 20 years” reports the town’s trail committee Chair.
Without the trail system, Woodside would be just a rural Atherton. Next generation: Part of keeping Woodside horse friendly is grooming the next generation of horse owners. WHOA members count among their past accomplishments the resurgence of the Woodside Junior Riders, a 10-week-long English riding summer camp.
Woodside Real Estate
Woodside real estate, in land only, is priced at about $1M per acre. Homes pictured below may sell from anywhere from $3M up to $28M, depending on the land, quality and horse and home amenities.
Woodside Area Trails
Woodside's trail system is a patchwork of dedicated trails (within the town where free passage is essentially guaranteed) and the permissive trails (where the right to pass is subject to the permission of the property owner.) As homes change hands, there is an increasing number of new owners who don't want to allow equestrians to use their property, whether for liability reasons, or just simply because they want their privacy.
Sand Hill Trail
NOTE: Above information gathered my various newspaper articles and from my own experience in visiting, eating, and riding in the Woodside area. --Marie Griffith
Copyright 2009. Marie
Griffith, Garden Valley Enterprises. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified.