Top Tips to Enjoy the Newly Expanded Highlands Eichler Tour

SMH Poster

The San Mateo Highlands Eichler Home Tour is still more than a month away, but as the weekend of May 3-4 nears, organizers are working feverishly to make the first such Eichler tour in half a decade comes together flawlessly. All that work is paying off, as the event promises to go up to 11 – literally.

A top-secret 11th stop has been added to the already-publicized 10 Eichlers  on the tour. The extra home is not an Eichler, organizer and chair Linda Siguenza tells me, but it's cool enough to be worth a visit.

"It's a three-story split-level where if [Joe] Eichler could have done a house that big, he would have. It's just mid-century modern eye-candy and happens to be in our neighborhood," Siguenza says.

In addition to the 11 houses on display, there will be nine notable artists present, each showing works at a different home on the tour. The documentary People in Glass Houses will screen, as well as another vintage photo series focusing on the Highlands itself. A vintage Airstream trailer will be on display for tours, and of course, there's lunch.

Those who hope to attend should think about buying tickets now if they don't already have them, Siguenza says. The event, which benefits the Highlands Elementary School PTA, is expected to sell out, and it may be a few years until the next such tour takes place.

Between organizing sponsors, participants, and some 100-odd volunteers, producing this event is a full-time job for Siguenza, who says future tours will likely take place every two to three years. In the meantime, this one is shaping up to be a first-rate event – and not just because Eichler Network is a sponsor!

To help attendees better plan and enjoy their day, I asked Siguenza for some top tips on making the most out of one's day at the Eichlers.

Highlands Brochure
An original Eichler brochure for the Highlands. Courtesy of the San Mateo Highlands Eichler Home Tour.

1. Take time to strategize according to your interests. "With all the best planning we've done to try to coordinate every ticket buyer's perfect day, we invariably throw in more than any one person can do, so my advice is, once you get your map and your tour book list, then stop and have a planning session with your tour mates to prioritize what you want out of the event," Siguenza says. 

2. Plan to eat lunch on-site. Either bring something of your own or pre-buy one of the box lunches available for $12, Siguenza suggests. With the densely packed activities on offer, a trip out of the neighborhood to find something to eat would cost too much time to be worth it.

3. Plan to spend the better part of a day walking, standing, and being active. While shuttle vans will serve the tour route between houses, and will be especially useful in sections where there's a hill, much of this tour is walkable, and participants will be on foot while in the homes, of course. The weather will almost certainly be nice, so it should be the kind of day that makes walking a treat.

4. Be open to purchasing some artwork. "You don't have to bring your checkbook, but I would come with the mindset that all these artists are making unique pieces for the event," Siguenza says. The artists are listed on the website. "We've hand-selected these artists to meet all the genera and sub-genera in our world. Some people like the quiet, Zen look, some like the edgy industrial, some like the atomic pop. So every one of our artists covers a different sub-category."

5. Know that there are two check-in locations, and extra parking. "When people are buying their ticket it says you're going to check in at the Highlands Rec Center. But people will get another email saying they can check in another location. If you drive by the Rec and it already looks nutty, go to the school. We'll have parking right on the track, and people can check in at the large group instruction room," Siguenza says. In addition to all that, there will be extra parking at the Crystal Springs United Methodist Church on Bunker Hill Drive, with shuttle buses operating in the morning and evening to ferry attendees to and from their cars.