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Saratoga is a city in Santa Clara County, California, USA. This city is located in the southwestern corner of the Santa Clara Valley. Saratoga is known for its high living standards. It is a residential community with excellent schools for the children. The Saratoga community has a historic downtown district with unique shops, French restaurants and European-themed bakeries. Additionally, there are well-known vineyards in the Saratoga foothills.
The Money Magazine has included the City of Saratoga as number 26 in it's annual Best Places to Live in the United States survey. Saratoga was ranked as the 25th most pricey town and the 17th highest median household income by the Money Magazine for the year 2007. According to the census 2000, the population of the Saratoga city was 29,843.
The City of Saratoga is served by six different school districts. These schools that serve Saratoga residents, are among the best in the nation. Saratoga High School and Monte Vista High School have been ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 100 schools in the country.
The first European settlement of what is now Saratoga, occurred in 1848, when William Campbell (father of Benjamin Campbell, the founder of nearby Campbell, California) constructed a sawmill at southeast of the present downtown area. This area began to be known as the Campbell's Gap. In 1851, a road was built down to the Santa Clara Valley. With this, industries started to develop in this area. This place was later renamed as Saratoga in 1865.
Saratoga became agricultural, like the rest of the valley. A few vineyards and orchards from this period, remain till today. After World War II, the town quickly became urbanized. Today the city has flourished and has become a popular community for upper-middle class Silicon Valley tech workers.
In Saratoga, the organization and powers of the city are established by the state law. It has a council-manager form of government. The city council is made up of five members elected by the public. The council appoints a mayor and vice-mayor from its membership. The mayor has no veto power, but acts as chairman for council meetings, and serves as a visible head of government. Council members serve for a four-year term.
The city manager is the administrative head of the government, and also serves as city treasurer. In addition to the council and manager, the city has a number of commissions, which are permanent committees that serve to advise the council on various issues. Commission members are appointed by the council, and serve four year terms. Currently, the city has commissions for finance, heritage preservation, the library, parks and recreation, planning, public safety, and the arts.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.1 square miles, all of which is land. Within its borders, Saratoga has lush thick forests, orchards and foothills, ideal for wine grapes. You can see suburban homes, schools and churches lined in an organized manner.
It is strictly taken care that houses are spaced farther away from each other and the trees are properly grown and preserved to maintain the citys semi-rural appearance. This, in addition to the good quality schools, makes Saratoga to have very high housing costs. The Blue Hills neighborhood of Saratoga has many hiking trails that are privately owned by the City of Saratoga for use by residents.
Saratoga provides many recreational activities to suit the interest of people of every age group. Saratoga is popular for its many antique shops which boasts collections from Early American to Estate Period. The Saratoga Country Club lies on the beautiful foothills of Santa Cruz mountains.
People come to this club for playing tennis, golf and for swimming. Horseback riding is another activity, popular in Saratoga. The Garrod Farms Riding Stables are one of Saratogas original ranches. This ranch features miles of private, scenic riding trails and riding lessons for children and adults.
Saratoga, situated on the forested foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, is proud of its naturally beautiful city parks- including Big Basin Redwood State Park, the first state park established by the State of California.
Sanborn Park is a famous public park situated in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This park is spread on 3,688-acre forested land, offering hiking and other outdoor activities.
Hakone Gardens is a popular garden traditionally designed in Japnese style, located in Saratoga, California. It is the oldest residential garden in the Western Hemisphere. The garden features a bamboo garden, a Zen garden, a strolling garden and tea houses. A Cultural Exchange Center is also part of this garden which is designed like a 19th century Japenese home.
Travers is a popular horse racing activity, in which people all around the New York gather to see the ponies. This activity takes place in the months of July, August and September each year. Indoor gambling places are available for gambling during the winter months.
Arts, Music, and Theater in Saratoga
Outdoor theatres take place on the hillsides of Saratoga Creek. Some of the early productions launched the careers of handful of famous actors. Today, Saratoga is known for annual, internationally renowned music and drama events. Museums, Galleries and Historical Sites
Saratoga Historical Museum
The Saratoga Historical Museum contains a collection of artifacts and photgraphs from the early Saratoga. Guided tours are provided to give the visitors an insight of the historic sites.
Aegis Gallery of Fine Art
This gallery exhibits the work of amateur and renowned artists alike. The displays change on monthly basis with the gallery sponsoring the work of artists, including poetry readings, dramatic interpretation and chamber music.
The Gallery of Montalvo
This art gallery is built in a Mediterranean-style mansion and exhibits the work local artists. The objective of this exhibition is to encourage the amateurs.
Youth Science Institute Sanborn Discovery Center
This is a science institute displaying live samples of reptiles, amphibians and mamals.
Students come here on field trips. This institute also offers sceince camps for youth during the summers. An annual fair is hosted each May.
The climate of Saratoga is ideal for producing fine wine. This city is home to many world- class wineries. The variety of climate is suitable for many classic grape varieties, including chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel and pinot noir.
Saratoga is one the worlds best regions for producing fine wines and is occasionally named as the Chain of Gold. The cool ocean breezes and ample sunshine of the Santa Cruz Mountains create one of the worlds best regions for producing wines.
Saratoga is known for its well organized residential area. The good quality schools, structured communities and recreational parks make it one of the best places to live in the United States.