The Actual Size of Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley is a popular name for what is really Santa Clara Valley in Santa Clara County. The size, according to Wikipedia (search on Santa Clara Valley), is about 30 miles long by 15 miles wide.

Its northernmost point is at the southern tip of the San Francisco Bay. Its southernmost point is Gilroy, the garlic capital of the world. It is bounded in the southwest by the Santa Cruz mountains, and in the northeast by the Diablo range (Mt. Diablo).

When I lived in Mountain View (at the southernmost tip of the San Francisco Bay), there were still plenty of computer companies and other related industries in the area. In the past, the valley was very fertile and had many fruit and nut trees as well as other food products. I was born and raised in southern California but my dad told me that he used to travel to northern California and pick fruit in Mountain View in the summer.

It is because of the fruit trees that the two Steves called their company Apple. Apple is still in Silicon Valley along with Google, EBay, Yahoo! (I think), and many other computer, software, and Internet companies. The tech bust did not send the big companies running and they were not that strongly affected by it.

Just past Gilroy and west toward the ocean is a little town called Castroville. This is the artichoke center of the world. South of San Jose, the largest town in Santa Clara Valley, there is still lots of farmland and many products are still being grown there. There were still cherry trees in Mountain View when I lived there but they finally sold the land for condos.

San Francisco and points north are only 35-40 miles away. You can go up the west or east side of the bay to get there. Most people don’t realize that the S.F. Bay is very long. A quick hop over the Santa Cruz Mountains will bring you to Santa Cruz and the beach. A little farther north is half-moon bay. Going south from Santa Cruz you will come to Monterey, Pacific Grove (where the monarch butterflies gather), and Carmel (the hometown of Clint Eastwood, former mayor of Carmel). If you want to stop in Carmel, Clint has a nice hamburger joint there.

Silicon Valley on the northern end where I lived was not that attractive. The computer industry created a certain amount of smog. There were plenty of strip malls and other ugliness. Nevertheless, the beauty of the mountains and the ocean were very near and driving north for a couple of hours would put you into redwood forests.

Silicon Valley has a lot more going for it than computers, and it must have been quite beautiful in its hay day with acres and acres of fruit and nut trees and other produce.