When Jeanne Evilsizer moved to the Gemello neighborhood in 1977, there was a winery in the spot where today's Gemello Village retail complex now stands. The area was known for its red wines made from grapes from the surrounding cities of Los Altos, Saratoga and Campbell.
A few years later, the winery disappeared when Mario Gemello sold the family business to his niece, who renamed it Obester Winery and moved it to Half Moon Bay. The surname Gemello, however, has stayed as the name of the verdant neighborhood -- and so has the semi-rural feel from when most of the Ranch-style homes were built there in the 1950s.
Set back from El Camino Real near the Los Alto border, Gemello is quiet neighborhood with streetscapes blanketed by mature trees, white picket fences window boxes and large front yards.
"It's a quaint neighborhood still, and has a nice family atmosphere. That's why we're still here," said Rick Bonfert, who moved to the area in 1998, and by neighborhood standards is considered a "relative newcomer" compared to Evilsizer's immediate neighbors, who were there when she moved in 40 years ago.
Evilsizer said she's not surprised that the neighborhood has so many longtime residents. Gemello has a rare combination of convenience and peacefulness, she said.
"I love the location with quick access to shopping on El Camino Real and to downtown Los Altos," she said."I enjoy walking as often as possible, and I am able to walk to almost all of my necessary services."
Nearby are food stores, doctors offices, a veterinarian, a gym, restaurants and a library.
While most of the homes in Gemello are ranch-style houses, the neighborhood has seen a shift as more and more apartment complexes have been built there in recent years, according to Bonfert and Evilsizer.
"I don't mind the living units," Evilsizer said. "I'd rather have living units than businesses in the neighborhood. The only problem is the increased traffic... otherwise, this would be a perfect area."
One of the largest apartment complexes in Gemello is the Gemello Village Apartments and Townhomes, located behind Gemello Village Shopping Center on El Camino Real.
The gated apartment complex has 52 units -- all of which are currently rented, according to community manager Martina Tolbert, who said she's seen a rapid increase of higher-density housing in the neighborhood over the past seven years.
The monthly rent starts at $2,795 for a one-bedroom apartment to $3,995 for a three-bedroom apartment at Gemello Village. Despite the high costs, all the anticipated vacancies have been filled with reservations and down payments, Tolbert said.
"Most of the residents in the community are young families," Tolbert said.
Soltan Doganay and her family rent a two-bedroom condo about two blocks away from Gemello Village. They moved there from North San Jose to be closer to Stanford University, where Doganay works as a researcher.
While Doganay said housing costs are more expensive there compared to San Jose, it's worth it.
"Here, I can put my baby boy in a stroller and take long walks," Doganay said. "There are many trees and few cars in the residential area."
Gemello Park is among the places where Doganay frequently takes her 6-month-old son. The park is small but has a fully equipped playground that appeals to children, and the mother and son often meet other parents and children in the park, she said.
"This is what I really love about Gemello; it's a kid-friendly neighborhood," Dognanay said.
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (nearby): Childrens Learning Cottage, 675 Escuela Ave.; Mountain View KinderCare, 2065 W. El Camino Real; St. Paul Lutheran CDC, 1075 El Monte Ave.; Wonder World, 2015 Latham St.
FIRE STATION: No. 3, 301 N. Rengstorff Ave.; No. 1, 251 S. Shoreline Blvd.
LOCATION: bounded by El Monte Avenue, Jardin Drive, Karen Way and El Camino Real
PARK: Gemello Park, Marich Way and Solana Court
POST OFFICE: Mountain View, 211 Hope St.
PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): Canterbury Christian School, 101 N El Monte Ave.; The Waldorff School of the Peninsula, 180 N. Rengstorff Ave.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District -- Bubb Elementary School, Graham Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District -- Los Altos High School
SHOPPING: Downtown Mountain View, Downtown Los Altos, Blossom Valley Shopping Center, Gemello Village, Clarkwood Center, San Antonio Shopping Center