Driving northwest along Lincoln Avenue, you're greeted by a gold-and-red wall painting that reads: "SMILE, YOU'RE IN WILLOW GLEN." It's appropriate advice for this San Jose neighborhood. "Family cohesion and friendliness are still a part of the community," resident Cindy Fahrner says. Enhancing that feeling are the neighborhood's manicured lawns and charming homes, many of which can be toured this month.
GO: Founder's Day. WHAT: On September 10, see Spanish colonial revival, American colonial, and Prairie homes on a guided tour of the Palm Haven area. Antique cars and a party are also part of the festivities. On the 11th (Founder's Day), enjoy a self-guided tour and live jazz in Palm Haven Plaza. WHEN: Sep 10-11. HOW MUCH: Advance tickets from $20. WHERE: Palm Haven is between Bird and Coe Avenues and Riverside Dr.; www.palmhaven.org or 408/286-5555.
SHOP: Gussied Up Dog Boutique. WHAT: Spoil your pooch with canine couture or a decadent doggie truffle. WHEN: Open daily. WHERE: 1310 Lincoln Ave.; 408/279-2229.
TAKE THE KIDS: Hicklebee's. WHAT: Give kids a reason to turn off the tube at this children's bookstore. On the office door, don't miss Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling's autograph and illustration of the magical Sorting Hat. WHEN: Open daily. WHERE: 1378 Lincoln Ave.; www.hicklebees.com or 408/292-8880.
DRINK: The Grapevine. WHAT: Reserve seats for the bimonthly Cheap Date Night, where $15 buys you wine tasting and gourmet pizzas (Sep 14) or grilled-cheese sandwiches (Sep 28)―think mascarpone, white truffle oil, and aged cheddar. Dateless? Taste wine anytime (from $10). WHEN: 10-9 Tue-Sat. WHERE: 1389 Lincoln Ave.; www.grapevine-wg.com or 408/293-7574.
EAT: Aqui Mexican Grill. WHAT: Relax on the patio with a grilled-steak burrito and a margarita. WHEN: Lunch and dinner daily. HOW MUCH: $. WHERE: 1145 Lincoln Ave.; 408/995-0381.
Willow Glen Frozen Yogurt Co. WHAT: Enjoy warm September evenings with locals who convene at this corner shop. Try rich St. Louis Custard and yogurt in seasonal flavors like pumpkin and peppermint. WHEN: Open daily. WHERE: 1098 Lincoln Ave.; 408/292-5961.
INFO: Downtown Willow Glen lies along Lincoln Ave. between Minnesota and Coe Avenues; www.downtownwillowglen.org or 408/298-2100.