Hiking at Hidden Villa

By Carol at 8:10 am on Saturday, March 22, 2008

Roots sign

The former home of Josephine and Frank Duveneck, Hidden Villa is a paradise, especially in the spring, for its lovely woodland and chaparral trails, its nature center and farm all devoted to education and sustainability. The Duvenecks were members of the Palo Alto Quaker Meeting which I attended through the 70’s. They established the first youth hostel on the Pacific Coast, in 1937, and the first multiracial camp.

Our group hiked along the creek, then up the mountain to the hostel trail. We lunched in the sunny chaparral before descending back down through the woods, to the farm.

Larry at the beginning of the hike.

Larry and our group, at the beginning of the hike.

early spring vine in bloom

An evergreen clematis blooms near the farm house.

The Duveneck home

The Duveneck home, built in 1924.

The Duvenecks front garden

The front garden of the original house has flowering fruit trees, euphorbias and a flowering quince.


The creeks were full and woodland was still soggy from recent rains.

False Solomon's Seal

A stand of False Solomon’s Seal.


I never expected to see trillium growing in California, but it was blooming in abundance on this particular trail.

Hound's tongue

Hound’s tongue is easy to find this time of year. The flowers resemble those of its relative, Forget-me-not.

Valley view

A valley view from the Hostel Trail.

Back at the farm.

Back at the farm, olive trees line the Education Garden.

The education garden.

garden plot

Winter flowers and herbs.

Ewe with lambs

The ewe and her day old lambs enjoy the spring grass in the pasture.

Bird in brambles

A small bird sings at the top of the blackberry vines.

Sun power

Something new: using sun to power the farm.

old machinery

Something old: machinery from early farming days at Hidden Villa.

Next year, the Heifer Foundation is planning to build a model village on about ten acres at Hidden Villa. Several of the subsistence farm cultures supported by Heifer will be represented. This will be the third village to be created in the U. S., by Heifer, for the benefit of school children learning about life in other cultures and the relationship of food to the land.

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