In Northern California there are hundreds of redwood-studded enclaves, but nowhere like Kings Mountain, residents say.
When Ardyth Woodruff's husband returned from the hospital to die at home in 1985, word spread throughout the neighborhood.
"The whole mountain was there," she says.
"People came and says, 'I'm sleeping here tonight,' 'I'm cooking,' I'm doing laundry.' That's how people are here. Everyone's here for everybody else.
" It's been that way since Ms. Woodruff moved here 46 years ago; all that's changed are the names and the real estate prices. And some of the rustic homes tucked into the woods are being replaced, as some newcomers to this area stradling Skyline Boulevard south of Highway 92 build mansions. When Ms. Woodruff visited a mother's-group meeting at a home on a nearby lot, she was shocked to learn the seemingly average home was merely the guest house.
Happily, Ms. Woodruff says, those who have moved in are keeping the spirit of community in Kings Mountain alive.
"When values went up and different kinds of people bought million-dollar houses, you wonder if they came here for the same reason (we did) — and they did," she says.
Many, like Aeron Noe, come for the views. She and her husband moved here three-and-a-half years ago from San Francisco after getting to know and love many of the nearby hiking trails. "I'm looking at the redwood trees and the sun setting on the ocean all at the same time," she says.
Ms. Noe had a background in marketing and public relations and started volunteering for the Kings Mountain Art Fair, the annual fundraiser for the local school and fire brigade.
"What brought us here was the beauty," she says. "What we didn't realize was how tight nit the community is. That was a pleasant surprise." She was amazed at how many people — she guesses nine out of 10 residents, from ages 5 up — volunteer to help with the fair.
Ms. Woodruff helped start the fair 45 years ago and has been volunteering ever since. Back then, the fire brigade was a group of untrained volunteers with a mish-mash of surplus equipment stored in people's front yards. But now the volunteers all have formal training and a fire house with much more sophisticated equipment, she says.
The fair also helps fund the community center, which hosts classes for residents and serves as a central gathering point.
The only downside to living here, Ms. Noe says, is that there's some distance to go if you need something. And cell phone service and wireless Internet access can be spotty.
"I feel bad environmentally driving so much, but the payoff is so much greater for me," she says.
Ms. Woodruff, for her part, doesn't miss being close to stores and restaurants. She can get to San Jose or San Francisco for the theater in under an hour, and Costco is just down the hill on Highway 84.
"To me, it's utopia," she says.
CHILD CARE & PRESCHOOLS: Kings Mountain Children's Center at Kings Mountain School, 211 Swett Road, Woodside
FIRE STATION: CDF Skylonda Station, 17290 Skyline Blvd., Woodside; Kings Mountain Fire Brigade, 13889 Skyline Blvd., Woodside
PARK: Huddart County Park, 1100 Kings Mountain Road, Woodside; Wunderlich County Park, 4040 Woodside Road, Woodside; Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve, Skyline Boulevard, Half Moon Bay
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Kings Mountain Association, Cindy Phelps, president, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Cabrillo Unified School District — Kings Mtn. Elementary School, 211 Swett Road, Woodside; Cunha Intermediate School, Kelly Avenue and Church Street, Half Moon Bay; Half Moon Bay High School, Half Moon Bay
Woodside Elementary School District — Woodside Elementary School, 3195 Woodside Road, Woodside
Sequoia Union High School District — Woodside High School, 199 Churchill Ave., Woodside
SHOPPING: Crystal Springs Shopping Center, Half Moon Bay shopping district, Woodside
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $1,254,000
HOMES SOLD: 1