In the early 1970s, Mark and Loretta Congress were looking for a peaceful place to live. Mark was a surgeon who had worked trauma care in Vietnam during the war, and whose daily work as head of various San Mateo County emergency rooms remained the stuff of crisis. At home, Loretta was raising their family of three children, and volunteering in the schools.
So they bought a house in sleepy Woodside, at 45 Roberta Drive, and lived in it for 36 years. Mark worked as ER chief, first at Kaiser’s Redwood City hospital and then at Sequoia and Mills hospitals, before starting his own Cupertino clinic in 1979. Loretta Congress volunteered, and served on the Woodside School Districtboard of Trustees for six years in the 1970s. Now their family is grown, and they’re ready to downsize.
"We bought it because it’s the one place he [Mark] could come that’s very calm, and quiet, and very lovely," Loretta Congress said. "The plan of the house lends itself to being very easy to use."
The house, a 1967 contemporary, has a lot of features to encourage outdoor life, such as the surrounding decks, the two-horse stable with tack room and the pool with the gazebo. It’s set on a 2.5-acre lot.
"The lot in itself is just a very beautiful piece of land," Alain Pinel Realtor Diane Carr said. "It’s very much traditional … Woodside land. A creek runs through the lot, and there are groomed paths with lighting, benches and dogwoods. It’s just very beautifully done. It doesn’t look sculptured or anything like that."
The gardener also managed to tame the blackberry bushes into an attractive-yet-tasty feature, Carr added.
The Congress family did renovations on the house, including recent bathroom and kitchen work and construction of a two-bedroom, two-bath guest cottage less than five years ago.
"We set it so that … the door frames the redwoods that are out there," Loretta Congress said.
The main house was also updated with new electrical systems, heating and double-paned windows, Mark Congress said.
Asking price: $7,950,000
Property tax: $103,350*
What: 4 bedrooms, 3½ baths, 2,419 square feet
Amenities: Two-bedroom, two-bath guesthouse, horse stable with two box stalls, master suite with private walled garden with a hot tub, exercise room, two-car garage, family room with vaulted ceilings.
*Estimate based on 1.3% of asking price