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Vallombrosa Retreat Center
250 Oak Grove Ave
Menlo Park, CA 94025

(650) 325-5614


We are meeting at the Vallombrosa Retreat Center, on the Peninsula of the San Francisco Bay Area

Vallombrosa Center in Menlo Park is located on a ten-­‐acre site that wasoriginally the home of E.W. Hopkins, the nephew of Mark Hopkins. The Hopkins home, known as the Old Mansion, was built during the Civil War period.

 Originally a simple wooden structure, it was later expanded and decorated with its distinctive Italianate touches. Vallombrosa is graced by trees from all over the world. The gingko tree of Chinese origin, located in front of the Old Mansion, is the largest of its kind in the area. The trees, and the interplay of the sun and shadow throughout the grounds, undoubtedly influenced Mr. Hopkins in naming his estate.

 The name “Vallombrosa” means “shady glen,” and refers to a beautiful forested area southeast of  Florence, Italy. It was there in 1095 that St. John Gualbert established a monastery of Benedictine monks that survives to this day. At one point in his life, John Milton visited that monastery, and he wrote of the “shady glens of Vallombrosa” in his Paradise Lost.

Imagery International and the conference retreat center will, to the best of our abilities,  accommodate  the needs requested by any participant who has special needs. Please contact the administrator of Imagery International at office@imageryinternational.com to express your concerns.

To learn more about this beautiful center, visit their website.

Driving Directions:

From San Francisco

  • 101 (Bayshore Freeway) South to Marsh Road. Right one mile to Middlefield Road (dead end). Left on Middlefield. Two traffic lights to Oak Grove Avenue. Right on Oak Grove Avenue. Vallombrosa is on the right at 250 Oak Grove Avenue.
  • 280 South to Woodside Road. Turn LEFT on Woodside Road to El Camino Real south (three miles). Turn right on El Camino Real to Oak Grove Avenue (approx. 2 1/2 miles). Left on Oak Grove, over RR tracks, two more blocks. Vallombrosa is on the left at 250 Oak Grove Avenue.

From San Jose

  • 101 (Bayshore Freeway) to Willow Road WEST. Continue on Willow Road to Middlefield Road (large intersection, approximately 1 mile). Right on Middlefield to third stop light, Oak Grove Avenue. Left on Oak Grove Avenue to 250 Oak Grove Avenue on the right.
  • 280 North to Sand Hill Road exit. East to El Camino Real. Left on El Camino Real to Oak Grove Avenue (1 mile). Right on Oak Grove Avenue, over RR tracks, two more blocks. Vallombrosa is on the left at 250 Oak Grove Avenue.

Transportation From Nearby Airports:

San Francisco Airport (SFO)

Super Shuttle: From the upper level, use the crosswalk to the center travel island. Look for the blue Super Shuttle sign. Call 1-800-258-3826 (outside CA) for fares and reservations. Local calls 415-558-8500.

Bayporter Express: Call 415-467-1800 for fares and reservations.

BART SFO, BART Station is located in the International Terminal, Level 3. Board the Pittsburg/Bay Point-bound train, transfer at San Bruno station to Millbrae-bound train, then take Caltrain to the Menlo Park station, depart train and go right to Vallombrosa Center, 250 Oak Grove Ave. (.3 mile). For more information visit www.bart.gov.

San Jose Airport (SJC)

Otto Express: Call 408-234-2078 for fares and reservations.

South & East Bay Airport Shuttle: Call 1-800-548-4664 for fares and reservations.

Public Transportation from the San Jose Airport: take the VTA SJC Airport Flyer (Route 10) to the Santa Clara Caltrain Station. The Airport Flyer is free and operates seven days a week from 5:30 am until midnight. Buses operate every 10 minutes on weekdays and every 15 minutes on weekends. 

 For more information visit the airport website www.sjc.org.

Oakland Airport (OAK)

BART: Board the Daly City train, when you arrive at Balboa Park transfer to Millbrae train, when arrive in Millbrae depart BART and take Caltrain to the Menlo Park station, depart train, go right to Vallombrosa Center, 250 Oak Grove Ave. (.3 mile)

From Santa Clara Train Station

From the Santa Clara station take the train to the Menlo Park Station. Vallombrosa will be two blocks from the train station, going East, at 250 Oak Grove Ave. (.3 mile)

BART from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Oakland International Airport (OAK)
Board Millbrae BART train, when you arrive in Millbrae there is a Caltrain station next to the BART station. Take Caltrain to the Menlo Prk station. Depart from the train, go right to Vallombrosa Center, 250 Oak Grove Ave (.3 mile).

San Jose International Airport (Mineta Airport)
Board the VTA Airport Flyer (Free; Route #10) which will take you to the Santa Clara Station. Take Caltrain to the Menlo Park Station. Depart from the train, go right to Vallombrosa Center, 250 Oak Grove Ave (.3 mile).

Nearby Hotels:

Please note that if you choose to stay at a local hotel, you still must pay Vallombrosa’s commuter fee of $120.00, in addition to your tuition. You can’t beat Vallombrosa for cost and convenience, and we do not have special rates with any local hotels, but below are a few other options, if you need it. (Some local hotels were sold out as of June.)

Keep in mind that public transportation to and from a hotel may be tricky and time-consuming.

Best Western, Menlo Park:
Approximately $300 per night
Directions from Best Western to Vallombrosa: http://goo.gl/maps/b8TU7 (1.4 miles)

Holiday Inn Express, Redwood City:
Approximately $130 per night
Directions from Redwood City Express to Vallombrosa: http://goo.gl/maps/XRLNN (3.1 miles)

The Hotel San Carlos:
Approximately $79 per night
Directions from Hotel San Carlos to Vallombrosa: http://goo.gl/maps/B6T6j (7.8 miles)

Interesting Local Attractions:

The Hewlett Packard Garage and Museum (where it all started)
Address: 367 Addison Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301
Phone: (650) 857-1501

The HP Garage is a private museum where the company Hewlett-Packard was founded. It is located at 367 Addison Avenue in Palo Alto, California. It is considered to be the "Birthplace of Silicon Valley".

Garage Tours: While the HP garage is not open for public tours, visitors may view and photograph the property and landmark from the sidewalk.

Stanford University Memorial Church

Address: 450 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305
Phone: (650) 723-1762
Monday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Wednesday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday Closed
Sunday 11:30 am – 3:30 pm

Stanford Memorial Church was the earliest and has been "among the most prominent" non-denominational churches on the West Coast of the United States. Since its dedication in 1903, the church's goal has been to serve the spiritual needs of the university in a non-sectarian way.

Stone River and other art at Stanford
Address: 328 Lomita Dr, Stanford, CA 94305
Phone: (650) 723-4177
Monday Closed
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Friday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University has sought to disperse many beautiful pieces of artwork across diverse areas of campus – from the Stanford Equestrian Center parking lot to the Stanford Arboretum.

There are nearly 150 different pieces in the collection, which spans over 100 years and includes modern, contemporary, abstract and figurative works.

One of the most well known installations sits in a small clearing near the Cantor Arts Center. The spine-like structure, called “Stone River,” was crafted by British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy in 2001 and is made out of stacked broken sandstone from the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes.

One of the other most notable outdoor art attractions is Cantor’s impressive collection of Auguste Rodin’s bronze sculptures, located to the right of the museum in the Rodin Sculpture Garden and at Memorial Court.

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