Hidden Menlo


Fr. Reginald Martin O.P announced that Vallombrosa Center in Menlo Park is closing at least until January 2021.

“This difficult decision has been made due to health concerns and social distancing protocols which have taken a toll on our regular activities,” he wrote in an email. “Most notably, we are unable to host groups on site at this time, a primary function of the Center.”

The Center will continue to host some virtual retreats. A calendar is available online.

The email announcement also detailed a number of fundraising efforts currently underway. They include:

-PGE- LED Environmental Green Initiative – $70,000 to pay off the zero-interest loan for investment in low-cost lighting.

-Grounds and Trees Initiative – $100,000 to support improvements to the Center’s irrigation system, tree pruning, and grounds maintenance.

-Lourdes Shrine – $25,000 to meet a matching grant dedicated to completing construction and landscaping of Gaffey Plaza.

-General use – $250,000 to underwrite ongoing fixed costs.

To make a donation using PayPal ( you can use your credit card, you don’t have to have a PayPal account),  visit the Save Vallombrosa page.

Volunteering at Vallombrosa: Volunteers can assist with a number of essential tasks to help us at this time. Care of the 11-acre yard is an ongoing effort. To support any of these important causes please visit Vallombrosa.org/Save or contact Dave Fencl, [email protected]

Read more about the history of Vallombrosa in this InMenlo post.

Photo of interior of Vallombrosa Chapel by Scott R. Kline (c) 2019

{ Be the first to comment }

Neighborhood walking: A visit to the last surviving Grand Dame of Menlo Park

Editor’s note: We received an email from neighbors of this small lane today and ask that you read about but not visit this historic home: “We had an influx of people today. Many residents on this small road are in high-risk groups for coronavirus & would prefer not to be a tourist attraction at this time.” […]

Click to read more →

Vallombrosa Center in Menlo Park is building new Lourdes shrine

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, Vallombrosa Center in Menlo Park has embarked on a project to renovate its Lourdes grotto and build around it a shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes. A retreat center visitor in 2018 noticed the grotto, built in the 1950s after the Archdiocese acquired the property, was in […]

Click to read more →

Menlo Park Historical Association hosts walking tour featuring oldest structures on Aug. 3

On Saturday, Aug. 3, the Menlo Park Historical Association is hosting a walk that will cover the oldest structures in Menlo Park: the Railroad Depot built in 1867, the Timothy Hopkins Gatehouse built in 1864 and the Edgar Mills Bright Eagle mansion built in 1869. The mile-and-a-half tour will also include “Religious Row” with the […]

Click to read more →

Saga of early Menlo Park farmer (yes!) and his Stanford Dairy – and why there is a jog in Avy Avenue

John Murray and his wife Mary were both Irish immigrants who came to New York City in 1848 or ’49 and met and married there. Mary was pregnant with their first child when the decision was made for Murray to go to California to seek the family’s fortune, while Mary stayed in New York City […]

Click to read more →

Hidden delights of Vallombrosa Center in Menlo Park

One of the more enjoyable aspects of publishing InMenlo, is getting to dive deep into some of Menlo Park’s more hidden treasures. Such was the case when we toured Vallombrosa Center with Public Events and Marketing Coordinator David Leech accompanied by contributing photographer Scott Kline. Tucked behind a wall on Oak Grove Avenue between the […]

Click to read more →

Remastered 1964 films by Menlo Park filmmaker show origins of SLAC

A pair of 1964 films detailing the construction of Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, later renamed SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, were recently remastered and are now available for viewing on YouTube thanks to a partnership between the films’ producer, J. Douglas Allen (pictured), and the SLAC Archives, History & Records Office. The films provide a fascinating […]

Click to read more →

When a dairy farm existed in Menlo Park close to where Avy is today

Editor’s note: With the new year, we’ll be looking at some of the historical roots of Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside and Portola Valley. This post originally ran in 2012. John Murray and his wife Mary were both Irish immigrants who came to New York City in 1848 or ’49 and met and married there. Mary […]

Click to read more →

Bo Crane leads MPHA tour of Holy Cross Cemetery on Saturday, May 19

This year the Menlo Park Historical Association (MPHA) annually sponsored tour of Holy Cross Cemetery will be led by MPHA secretary, Bo Crane, on Saturday, May 19 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. The Cemetery is at 1100 Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park, located at the street’s bend. Parking for this event is not allowed […]

Click to read more →

Junior League of Palo Alto•Mid Peninsula hosts historic Barron-Latham-Hopkins Gatehouse tours

The Junior League of Palo Alto•Mid Peninsula (JLPA•MP) is opening up the historic Barron-Latham-Hopkins Gatehouse to the public for tours on Saturday, May 13. The Gatehouse is the oldest existing structure in Menlo Park and the last surviving gatehouse in the state of California. The Gatehouse is one of only three buildings in Menlo Park […]

Click to read more →

Taking down a giant: 699 tons of SLAC’s Accelerator removed for upgrade

For the first time in more than 50 years, a door that is opened at the western end of the historic linear accelerator at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory casts light on four empty walls stretching as far as the eye can see. This end of the linac – a full kilometer […]

Click to read more →