|Village Homeowner's Association|
|2655 Portage Bay East #2 , in West Davis|
|Mon-Thurs 9 AM-2 PM|
Village Homes was designed and built (starting in 1964) by Michael and Judy Corbett on 60 acres in West Davis. The development comprises 220 single family homes, 20 apartments, and Cooperative Housing at Sunwise. Most of the buildings incorporate solar power and design features. There is business space in the community center, an inn, an olympic-sized pool, and a large playing field. Village Homes is one of the nicest places in Davis to live. There is a playground near the Community Center and several smaller playgrounds designed and constructed by UC Davis landscape architecture students of Professor Kerry J Dawson, a Village Homes resident, with his family, for many years. It is also home to a large garden for residents, providing an example of edible landscaping.
Many of the streets in this neighborhood are named after places and characters in The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings books, causing some to refer to the neighborhood as "Middle-Earth." There is a continuous bike path on the western edge of Village Homes next to the gardens, and there is a geocache ("Gardens of delight: West"). There is a parallel bike path through the middle of Village Homes crossing all of the streets, with smaller paths between the backyards (there are few fences).
Village Homes was actually quite the place to be in the early 1980's. First lady Rosalynn Carter visited. In 1984, then-French president Francois Mitterrand visited Village Homes, arriving by large helicopter. Jane Fonda reportedly bought a house in her pre-Ted Turner phase.
The neighborhood was featured in Time magazine in 1999.
Village Homes is usually portrayed as idyllic in the media and on-line. Those who are critical of the community claim that the reality is that there is some serious dysfunctionality going on. There are many residents whose sole concerns are property values and the appearance of their well-manicured yards; they are not interested in gardening, solar energy, diversity, nor any of the principles that Village Home's original founders valued. They tend to operate by way of anonymous letters to the Homeowner's Association and unsigned notes left on the community bulletin boards. If you are considering moving to Village Homes, be prepared to be attacked because your yard isn't perfect, or because your kids left a bicycle laying on the lawn. Well maybe that's an exaggeration, but there has been this sort of transition over the years. Or maybe, like any neighborhood, there are some quirky and nit-picky residents. There used to be a community fire pit which was removed.
- Harvest Festival - Annual fall potluck. Held in mid-September in the Village Homes Community Center.
- Performer's Circle - A monthly folk music gathering in the Village Homes Community Center.
2011-08-10 09:52:09 I had the great fortune to grow up in this wonderful, unique neighborhood. There was actually a good story on Village Homes (VH) in the "Empty-prise" recently: http://www.davisenterprise.com/features/village-homes-2/ . Growing up here, I of course totally took it for granted, thinking nearly every neighborhood had open, caring neighbors, a great abundance of every fruit tree imaginable, and a million wonderful (and safe) places for kids to play. Of course, there were (and are) some issues when the neighborhood was built. Echoing some communities of today, Village Homes was designed to be free of "light pollution" (a "dark sky" community), thus very few city street lights were installed. This of course meant it was very dark once the sun went down, making it a requirement to carry a flashlight with you on night time walks. This situation was (and is) typical of the neighborhood's unique construction... any small negatives are far outweighed by all the positives.
Also, the visit by Francois Mitterrand is mentioned above, though it's worth noting that when he did arrive, it was not by limousine or any other ground transportation... no no no. He and his crew dropped several large, double propeller helicopters (looked like this: http://rotored.arc.nasa.gov/activity/chinook.html) straight down in the middle of the grass field, effectively destroying the local (wooden) gazebo. They lined all us kids up with French flags to greet him... there were secret service everywhere coming in and going out of the neighborhood. Very surreal to see an incredibly serious guy in a dark suit who was of course "packing", staring us down by where we used to play soccer and pick blackberries. Anyway, we also were visited (earlier) by then-first lady Rosalynn Carter. The history section of this site has a mention of this, and some more good info on VH: http://cityofdavis.org/cdd/cultural/30years/chapt04.cfm
As I have not lived in the neighborhood for many years, I can't speak to the criticism described on this page. It wouldn't surprise me necessarily, though I do know that there are still an abundance of original owners (and newer residents) that do treasure the unique aspects of the neighborhood, and share a love for the ideas and ideals that were the foundation of the VH charter. For my part, it was a wonderful place to grow up. —OldDavis73
2011-08-10 11:44:32 Ms. Carter didn't accompany Mssr. Mitterand? —BruceHansen
2011-08-10 12:08:19 Hi Bruce, no, I don't think she was there in '84 when Mitterand came... she had visited in 1979, a very different atmosphere then. She rode a bike around on the bike paths, and really seemed to enjoy the surroundings. Of course, I was only 6, so those were just my impressions. —OldDavis73
2011-08-10 12:16:03 Where do the grapes from the vineyards go? Anybody had wine made from those? —MikeyCrews
2011-08-10 12:16:03 Forgot to respond to Mikey's comment: I do believe some of the vines do carry wine grapes (don't know which type, I was told this as a kid), so it wouldn't surprise me if someone did try to produce wine from them. That said, there aren't that many vines there (maybe 1/2 acre in the spot pictured above), so if they could (or did) make any wine, it certainly wouldn't be very much. —OldDavis73
2011-09-29 21:40:25 I wish I could live there in the student co-ops! I'm quite disappointed that this hasn't inspired similar developments all over the world. It's been around since the 70's and we're still facing the same, if not worse, environmental issues. —ConsciousConsumer
2013-01-13 20:29:48 I loved growing up in Village Homes. My dad came from Mexico with just the clothes on his back he was able to live the AMERICAN DREAM out of all place Village Homes. He workd hard with wife and 6 children. Im so proud of my dad Salvador Castro and my mom Guadalupe Castro —Vivianacastro
2014-02-07 14:46:02 I am mystified by the criticism. There is no such thing as a "well-manicured yard" here. Almost the only lawns are cared for by the gardeners who take care of the community gardens. I am sure that interest in solar energy varies from person to person but there is a real spirit of community here in the Village where neighbors get together to do things such as play music, harvest almonds and build a bocce ball court. If anyone ever left an unsigned not on a bulletin board, it was an exceedingly rare occurance. Our main problem is that people from outside the Village come and harvest fruit from trees on both community and individual proptery. —rwoodman
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