The Fremont Older Open Space Preserve in the Saratoga/Cupertino CA foothills overlooks the valley that has been home for most of my life. From the top of Hunter's Point I can see most of the places where my family has worked and lived, from Moffett Field where Dad was stationed in 1964 to the converted prune factory where I experienced the dot.com boom more than 30 years later. To come here isn't to get away from it all, but rather to see the bigger picture. Wild places like these, made safe and accessible to everyone, are resources to be treasured (and supported!)
Fremont Older was a well-known newspaper editor in San Francisco at the turn of the last century. In 1914 he built his home, Woodhills, on this land, catching the train at the bottom of the hill each morning to his office in the city. His wife, Cora Baggerly Older, was a writer, and oversaw the building of the extensive gardens around Woodhills.
The preserve includes Woodhills and its lands, and truly does exist at the urban fringe; one end borders a golf course, and luxury homes dot the skyline. Within its 739 acres you won't necessarily find nature untouched; the land was previously cultivated and is surrounded by roads, neighborhoods, vineyards, a reservoir, a quarry, stables, and mansions, which all have an impact. What you will find is a beautiful example of wild land restoration, and a great place to meet our lovely native plants growing among reminders of previous generations.
Here's a little tour of this unique corner of the world, where California natives and California history make for an interesting walk in the woods!
the Quintero family, Italian stonemasons that Cora Older hired to build her gardens. Their touch is everywhere; this is but a small part.
some of the most well-known writers, politicians, lawyers and artists of the time attended parties, sometimes with music provided by the San Francisco Symphony from a stone (of course!) grandstand.
Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. It is dog, bike, and even stroller friendly in parts. They do a great job. Happy Trails!