San Mateo County : Menlo Park
Menlo Park in the Peninsula area of the San Francisco Bay Area is located just north of Palo Alto and East Palo Alto. Menlo Park is known mostly for abundant high-tech employers. It encompasses portions of the Stanford University campus, including the Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC). Sand Hill Road is home to dozens of venture capital firms, who manage tens of billions of dollars for financing Silicon Valley technology companies that have become the economic backbone of the region.
Menlo Park was, during the 1970's, a very bohemian town. The town's main bookstore, Kepler's Bookstore, used to be located in a run-down Victorian house on the city's main strip. It had the largest collection of Mad Magazine publications this side of New York. Keplers is famous for allowing people to sit on one of their many old chairs and sofas to read without buying. Going from one section to another meant traversing a creaky, dilapidated wood floor. It had a cool poster section, with many drug culture references. Throughout time, it moved to various locations, and now has ended up on one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in Menlo Park (El Camino and Menlo Ave). Formerly catering to a mostly student audience, it now serves up non-discounted books to the wealthy elite of Menlo Park. Just outside of Kepler's doors is a coffee house (surprise!) that caters a variety of influential and not-so-influential types: Barrone's is the only place in Menlo Park offering a $10 mediocre breakfast.
The prices of real estate in Menlo Park have increased anywhere from 10 to 20 fold over the past 30 years, depending on the area. Formerly a nice retirement community with affordable real estate for middle class families, Menlo Park is now only affordable to the "option laden" wealthy. Don't even call a realtor unless you are able to spend a million; several million would be better. SUV's are a common sight, with soccer mommies preferring the Escalade to the Voyager mini-van. Mercedes Benz dealers love this area... it's the official car of Menlo Park (joke).
Walking downtown used to be a pleasant experience. One could experience the pleasures of an ordinary sleepy college town, while shopping a variety of stores. They included a hometown bakery, a coffee shop where the locals gathered, hair salons, furniture stores, health food shops, and more. Now you can only buy baked goods at Le Boulangerie; Coffee isn't so bad - you have a choice of two dozen different coffee shops. Taking a stroll downtown takes you past one of the many eateries with outdoor seating.
Take the Caltrain to Menlo Park Station, located conveniently behind Keplers.
SamTrans  has several routes which service the community including El Camino Real, Sharon Heights and Marsh Manor.
Be careful to check for ticks  after hiking in fields in the Bay Area. There is a high rate of lyme disease transmission in the Bay Area. If a bulls' eye rash develops at the tick bite site, immediately seek medical help and treatment with antibiotics.