Train Days At Los Altos History Museum

Posted on September 10, 2015 by  
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Los Altos History Museum Train Days 2015The annual Train Days event is scheduled to roll in to the Los Altos History Museum 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 19 and 20.

Train Days is designed to celebrate the joy and wonder of model railroading. Elaborate layouts, intricate scenery, scaled renditions of prototypes and whimsical engines and theme cars – complete with steam, lights and sound – will speed the rails. Visitors can explore the gauges and scales associated with model railroading as private collectors and clubs showcase their models and field questions about their American, European and Asian layouts.

Participants will include:

• Live Steamers from the Bay Area Garden Railway Society (G scale)

• Diablo Pacific Short Line (G scale)

• Golden Gate Lionel Railroad Club (O scale)

• Private Collector: BBF&FRR (O scale)

• Private Collector: Swiss Narrow Gauge (HO scale)

• AsiaNrail (N scale)

• National Model Railroad Association (N scale)

• LEGO Layout (L scale)

• Private Collector: Maintenance Railway Car (full scale)

The event will also feature California Operation Lifesaver with education on proper rail safety, a glitter tattoo station and an array of gourmet food trucks and carts.

“We’re thrilled to bring our visitors something new every year, and we have some special surprises in store,” said event chairwoman Kristen Fuller.

Fuller said Train Days will feature four new exhibits, including the private “Speeder” railcar of a local train enthusiast.

The museum sponsors Train Days to shed light on how integral trains are to the country’s and the region’s history. For more than 150 years, rail service has been transporting passengers along the Peninsula. In 1907, Southern Pacific put Los Altos on the map with its steam railway connecting Palo Alto and Los Gatos.

Mirroring railroad development through the years, Train Days visitors can see the transition from early steam locomotives and diesel engines to electric and high-speed passenger trains – all scaled in miniature.

Admission is $5, free for children 4 and under. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

The Los Altos History Museum is located at 51 S. Antonio Road, behind the main library. For more information, visit:


Draeger’s Prepares For Renovation

Posted on September 8, 2015 by  
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Draegers PlanDraeger’s Market in Los Altos is prepping for a face-lift following the company’s 90th anniversary this year.

The in-process plan for the 342 First St. gourmet grocery store includes an expansion, seismic upgrades, parking improvements, revitalized landscaping and a new onsite loading area.

The Los Altos City Council paved the way for the project this summer after approving an application for renovation and expansion. The project was among the first to put into practice the city’s revised policy for public noticing – posting a larger billboard in front of the store that illustrates impending changes.

“It’s actually been a pretty good thing,” said company owner Richard Draeger of the new policy. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive comments from our customers.”

Draeger said the company and Field Paoli Architects are collaborating on the project’s detailed drawings with the intent to apply for permits next summer.

“If all goes well, we could potentially start (construction) either before or after the holidays next year,” he said. “I think our design is going to reflect the small-town character of Los Altos.”

The company plans to complete the project in a 12-month construction timeline, with the store remaining open throughout the work.

Draeger’s – first founded as a deli and liquor store in San Francisco in 1925 – today operates four Bay Area markets in Los Altos, Menlo Park, San Mateo and Danville.

In September 1986, the company purchased the Whitecliff Market in Los Altos and fully modernized the space before taking over operations. But it hasn’t been refurbished in nearly three decades.

“It’s been quite a few years since we’ve remodeled the store,” Draeger said. “I think what customers are really looking forward to is just a new look.”

The existing site includes a 21,343-square-foot building and a parking lot with 72 spaces. The renovation adds nearly 3,000 square feet to the store by knocking out a vacant adjacent building the family owns. The added space also makes way for a new loading bay in the rear of the building, which Draeger said would improve traffic circulation.

The project features new bicycle racks, 15 more parking spaces and a new sidewalk along its frontage on First Street. To enhance safety, the sidewalk’s curb cut – where motorists enter and exit the parking lot – will be moved toward the center of the lot. Two sidewalk bulb-outs, designed to improve visibility for vehicles, will be added to the sidewalk. With some residents voicing concern over the bulb-outs, city staff will evaluate the need for street lighting and safety features for the bulb-outs.

For more information, visit:


Enchanté Starts Food & Beverage Service

Posted on September 3, 2015 by  
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Enchanté HotelLocal gourmands take note: Enchanté Boutique Hotel now serves beverages and small plates to the general public.

Their food and beverage service is from 4 p.m. to midnight on weekdays and 7 a.m. to midnight on weekends, holidays and for up to six special events per year. The bistro is now open from 4 to 10 p.m. daily, according to hotel owner Abigail Ahrens.

Ahrens developed the plaza as a public benefit in exchange for an incentive of no onsite parking. However, she added three curbside public parking spaces in front of the hotel. The plaza incorporates public land with private property, which has an easement for public use.

Unable to previously serve potential patrons, her revenue stream and business reputation have suffered. She said thousands of people have requested food service since opening the hotel earlier this year and she has had to turn them away.

Enchanté General Manager Josh Steinhart confirmed that the bistro would not be open during all of the permitted hours. “We just want the opportunity to do special activities, which would include serving on special occasions,” he said.

For more information, visit:



Montclaire Grads Travel In The Name Of Peace & Understanding

CISV VillageThree Los Altos students left the comforts of home this summer and returned with a completely different view of the world – not to mention a host of friends from such faraway places as Latvia, the Netherlands and Ecuador.

The students, who had just graduated from fifth grade at Montclaire Elementary School in Los Altos, attended the Children’s International Summer Villages (CISV) program, a volunteer organization with camps around the world that promote peace and cross-cultural understanding.

Students Kaz Posley, who traveled to Italy, and Caroline Kane, who traveled to Washington, D.C., first learned about CISV from classmate Katie Mehuys, who traveled to Prague.

Katie comes from a family rooted in CISV – both her mother and two sisters have participated in programs, and she wanted to experience it as well.

CISV offers a four-week camp for students ages 10-12 from different countries. Each “village” hosts two boys, two girls and an adult leader. The students participate in a mix of educational, cultural and sporting activities that emphasize cooperative global and intercultural living.

“There are kids from other countries who are just like us, and they are not different just because of their culture or their country,” Caroline said. “They are just the same as us. They are similar, they have the same emotions and feelings.”

All three students enjoyed making friends with fellow students from around the world. “Now I realize how special it is to say I have a friend in El Salvador and in Finland and in Sweden,” Kaz said.

Many CISV activities are designed around discovering and discussing what is unique about each student and his or her homeland. Each student hosts a presentation in which he or she shares characteristics and qualities about his or her country. From s’mores to grilled cheese, Amelia Earhart to George Washington and YouTube to the Thriller dance, Kaz, Caroline and Katie enlightened fellow students about life in the U.S.

Kaz said he especially enjoyed learning about the other countries and tasting different types of food. All agreed that the camp was educational – but didn’t feel like schoolwork. “It was kind of like you were learning about other countries without trying to learn, which was kind of cool, because it was more fun than school,” Katie said.

For more information on CISV, visit: