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Author Topic: West Coast - best place to LIVE?  (Read 17433 times)
Lust4Life
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« on: April 05, 2009, 01:29:00 PM »
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For years people have been telling me where to go, now I'm asking for their suggestions.  :-)

We are going to move from Naples, FL to the West Coast.  Naples is a beautiful city but life here can get very monochromatic is a short period of time.
Own a camper that will be used for photo trips radiating out to photogenic landscape destinations from the new home site.

As an obsessed landscape photographer I've always wanted to live on the West Coast and have taken several trips to enjoy the area.

Potential sites to call home that immediately come to mind are:
Sequim, WA
Bellingham, WA
     Not sure I can handle the gray cold winter months of WA state.

Santa Rosa, CA  - seems like an area with good weather, close to San Francisco for culture, education and entertainment., Yosemite, Carmel, even WA state, Muir Woods, etc.

Morgan Hill, CA - looks interesting on the internet.

Monteray, CA - warmer than northern CA yet many good sites to explore from there with the camper.

Carmel Valley, CA - more of a village atmosphere from Monteray.

Santa Barbara, CA - Love the town, cost is a negative but so what - never saw a U-Haul behind a Hurst.
Oxnard, CA

Now, I want to have my permanent home close to the sea, no more than say an hour or so drive, as I find the sea very spiritually renewing.
One concern about the northern western coast is the cold water procluding swimming, at least enjoying it.

I'm planning a 6 week trip to the WC to inspect the towns that we come up with as potential sites.

Your input is appreciated but ask that you give consideration to some of the site specific factors listed below:
Where to Live
Priorities – list is order of importance.

1.   People - Intelligent yet open minded, creative, outdoors oriented, and courteous.

2.   Air quality – NO pollution in the area due to my allergies to hydrocarbons, etc.

3.   Healthcare – good doctors in the region – cardiologist, holistic practitioners.

4.   Weather - temperate
      Must not be oppressive in nature – can take some rain but not months of it.
         Avoid the 107 degree days we were having in N. GA

5.   Reasonable cost of living?  Not as important as it used to be when I was younger (now 62), quality of life and capacity to enjoy where I live is far more important – fuel cost, property taxes, state income tax, food, homeowners insurance, earthquake/flood insurance, association fees, housing.

6.   Activities in Region
      Photographic scenes, hiking/camping, jogging trails, ocean kayaking, College with open lectures and ability to take classes that continue my studies –econimics, philosophy, RC flying field, assortment of restaurants to choose from.

7.   Access to other regions of interest within a 2 day drive for hiking/photography/museums.

8.   Impact of Global Warming on the region?

9.   Water resources for community; good city planning/zoning.

OK, I'm listening,
Jack
« Last Edit: April 05, 2009, 01:31:49 PM by Lust4Life » Logged

eleanorbrown
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2009, 01:36:11 PM »
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Olympic penn. is wonderful....near Tacoma, Seattle.  you have the pacific coast, Olympic Rain Forest and Olympic Mountains to name just a few.  eleanor

Quote from: Lust4Life
For years people have been telling me where to go, now I'm asking for their suggestions.  :-)

We are going to move from Naples, FL to the West Coast.  Naples is a beautiful city but life here can get very monochromatic is a short period of time.
Own a camper that will be used for photo trips radiating out to photogenic landscape destinations from the new home site.

As an obsessed landscape photographer I've always wanted to live on the West Coast and have taken several trips to enjoy the area.

Potential sites to call home that immediately come to mind are:
Sequim, WA
Bellingham, WA
     Not sure I can handle the gray cold winter months of WA state.

Santa Rosa, CA  - seems like an area with good weather, close to San Francisco for culture, education and entertainment., Yosemite, Carmel, even WA state, Muir Woods, etc.

Morgan Hill, CA - looks interesting on the internet.

Monteray, CA - warmer than northern CA yet many good sites to explore from there with the camper.

Carmel Valley, CA - more of a village atmosphere from Monteray.

Santa Barbara, CA - Love the town, cost is a negative but so what - never saw a U-Haul behind a Hurst.
Oxnard, CA

Now, I want to have my permanent home close to the sea, no more than say an hour or so drive, as I find the sea very spiritually renewing.
One concern about the northern western coast is the cold water procluding swimming, at least enjoying it.

I'm planning a 6 week trip to the WC to inspect the towns that we come up with as potential sites.

Your input is appreciated but ask that you give consideration to some of the site specific factors listed below:
Where to Live
Priorities – list is order of importance.

1.   People - Intelligent yet open minded, creative, outdoors oriented, and courteous.

2.   Air quality – NO pollution in the area due to my allergies to hydrocarbons, etc.

3.   Healthcare – good doctors in the region – cardiologist, holistic practitioners.

4.   Weather - temperate
      Must not be oppressive in nature – can take some rain but not months of it.
         Avoid the 107 degree days we were having in N. GA

5.   Reasonable cost of living?  Not as important as it used to be when I was younger (now 62), quality of life and capacity to enjoy where I live is far more important – fuel cost, property taxes, state income tax, food, homeowners insurance, earthquake/flood insurance, association fees, housing.

6.   Activities in Region
      Photographic scenes, hiking/camping, jogging trails, ocean kayaking, College with open lectures and ability to take classes that continue my studies –econimics, philosophy, RC flying field, assortment of restaurants to choose from.

7.   Access to other regions of interest within a 2 day drive for hiking/photography/museums.

8.   Impact of Global Warming on the region?

9.   Water resources for community; good city planning/zoning.

OK, I'm listening,
Jack
http://www.shadowsdancing.com
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2009, 01:50:05 PM »
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How big a city/town?  I didn't see anything in Oregon in your list.
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Lust4Life
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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2009, 02:22:39 PM »
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Quote from: Tim Gray
How big a city/town?  I didn't see anything in Oregon in your list.


Not real interested in a big city for the sake of living in a big city.
But do require there be a big city within a 1.5 hour drive - thus the appeal of Santa Rosa, Oxnard, Carmel.

Thus size does not matter as long as there is a decent size town within a 1.5 hour drive.

Jack
« Last Edit: April 05, 2009, 02:26:29 PM by Lust4Life » Logged

blansky
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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2009, 02:55:11 PM »
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I live in Santa Rosa. Great climate, very wine country and beautiful. Only usually rains between January and March. The rest of the year its pretty sunny and warm. Even when  it gets hot in the daytime, we get a marine layer later in the afternoon to cool it off.

Morgan Hill is just a bedroom small community just outside of San Jose. Monterey area is generally cooler with more fog.  

All of California real estate is high. But there are deals to be had now.

There is more to allergies than polution. There are allergy sufferers everywhere due to pollen etc.

I lived in Portland Oregon for a years and the dull rainy days can be a downer. The good news is that everything is clean and green.
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2009, 10:32:33 PM »
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I'm a native southern Californian, and while my hometown of Los Angeles has many things going for it, air quality issues preclude my recommending it to you.

If you're interested in the San Francisco Bay area, check out Menlo Park.  The western regional office of the US Geological Survey is there, as is Sunset Magazine.  Since access to a cardiologist is a priority on your list, Stanford University Medical Center ranks high in this regard.  And one of the best photography stores in the Bay area IMO, Keeble & Shuchat, is in Menlo Park.

You get good access to Big Sur and other coastal locations and reasonable access to Yosemite and Lake Tahoe.  Access is also fairly good to the western Sierra (Kings Canyon and Sequoia NPs).  The eastern Sierra is a pretty long haul - shorter when Tioga Pass road in Yosemite  is open (roughly May-October).  And Death Valley is a very long day of travel.

One caveat: we're smack on the Pacific Rim's Ring of Fire and that means earthquakes.  We've had big ones (the last in SoCal was the 1994 Northridge quake) but The Big One is supposed to happen anytime from right now to 25 years from now.  Personally, I'd rather go through an earthquake than a hurricane or tornado.  But I guess we're all more comfortable with the natural disasters we grow up with.    

Paul
« Last Edit: April 06, 2009, 12:18:06 AM by PaulS » Logged

Anthony R
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« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2009, 10:44:21 PM »
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Oregon coast somewhere, lots to choose from. Rule out WA state other than Olympic Peninsula, but in comparison, rule it out. I'm biased, but while a lot of California is nice, it's California..
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Panopeeper
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2009, 10:51:04 PM »
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Quote from: Anthony R
while a lot of California is nice, it's California..
I guess Americans know what this means, but do you mind explaining it to a foreigner?
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Gabor
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2009, 11:17:29 PM »
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Most areas around L.A. can have bad air quality, and that extends down to San Diego, even inland now on the 15.  Going the other way, Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura - same problem to a lesser degree.  On the South side of Santa Barbara, you could consider Carpenteria - nice cliffs around there.  Avoid La Conchita - bad slides there.  From Carpenteria for example, you can get to Ventura in 20 minutes, Santa Barbara in 20 minutes, and easily get to Los Angeles Fairfax etc. in less than 90 minutes.  On the North side of Santa Barbara, you can go all the way up the 101 to Solvang and thereabouts, which is quite beautiful, and that's only about 45 or 50 miles from Santa Barbara.  I'm looking to move permanently to Camarillo in a few months, but have also considered the area above Santa Barbara.  About half of my photos are from the Santa Barbara area - very picturesque - and half from the L.A. area, which can be quite an adventure if you're willing to explore off the normal/tourist trails.
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dalethorn
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« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2009, 11:31:55 PM »
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Quote from: Panopeeper
I guess Americans know what this means, but do you mind explaining it to a foreigner?
Southern California (SoCal) has gotten a reputation in the past 25 years or so for having some (or even most) of the meanest people in the USA.  If you stay off of the roads, you'll experience a lot less of that meanness.  From my experience, about 27 years, I'd say Orange County (the OC) is the capital of mean, while the people climate in L.A. tends more toward the psychotic rather than pure meanness.  Other than in traffic, people in SoCal don't tend to be anywhere near as vocally rude as the folks in NYC, which I attribute to the weather mostly.  The political climate in L.A. is quite liberal, even moreso in Santa Barbara.  OC is the opposite of that.  No good deed goes unpunished in the OC, although there are a few islands of calm there - Fashion Island, South Coast Plaza, Seal Beach oldtown etc.

One other peculiarity of SoCal people is that they regard people in nearly every other state except NY as backward and ignorant.  There's a belief there that technology was developed in California, while the truth is most technology in the 20th century was developed in the deep South.

Why do people go there?  I like to spend a lot of time outdoors, and I don't like anything that cramps my photo shoots, namely cold and rain.  The time I've spent in Ohio has seen half the days lost due to bad weather.  The percentage is drastically lower in SoCal.
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2009, 12:52:03 AM »
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Quote from: Lust4Life
OK, I'm listening,
Jack

Vancouver Island... fits everything on your list!

Mike.
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« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2009, 04:33:36 AM »
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I'll throw my vote down for Caprinteria as well. I lived there for 6 years and it would be the only place I would ever move back to in CA. People, ocean, surf, mountains, Carp has it all.
Don't forget you also have a decent photo infrastructure with Brooks, SBCC, USCSB, MegaVision, Samys and Calumet all located in Santa Barbara only 20 minutes north. By car you are only 5 or 6 hours from SF, Death Valley or Vegas; good for an over night trip with both dusk and morning shots. I used to drive over to AZ and NM in a day, grab a hotel and stay a couple of days to explore.
All that said I think Carp is a great home base.
BTW Carp beach is usually deserted every morning till 9 or 10 from sept. through to feb. Awesome for morning walks with your coffee

rob
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Lust4Life
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« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2009, 07:38:25 AM »
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Thanks for your input.
Particularily interested in your feelings about Santa Rosa.  I'm finding numerous homes for sale there and prices seem reasonable by CA standards.
What don't you like about the Santa Rosa area?

I was there several times in the 80's when dealing with a software company called Time Arts.  Liked what I saw on those visits.
Particularily like the diversity of topography within a days drive of SRosa.

Jack

Quote from: blansky
I live in Santa Rosa. Great climate, very wine country and beautiful. Only usually rains between January and March. The rest of the year its pretty sunny and warm. Even when  it gets hot in the daytime, we get a marine layer later in the afternoon to cool it off.

Morgan Hill is just a bedroom small community just outside of San Jose. Monterey area is generally cooler with more fog.  

All of California real estate is high. But there are deals to be had now.

There is more to allergies than polution. There are allergy sufferers everywhere due to pollen etc.

I lived in Portland Oregon for a years and the dull rainy days can be a downer. The good news is that everything is clean and green.
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Lust4Life
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« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2009, 07:49:02 AM »
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Talked with a buddy last night who lives in Long Beach - after that chat I've ruled out anything south of Carpinteria, California.
Now looking at:
Carpinteria, California
Santa Barbara
San Luis Obispo/Morrow Bay
Monterey
Santa Rosa - was there in 80's and liked it.

Also Sequim and Port Townsend in WA/Olympic Penn.  But the more realistic I become, the less I think I can handle the months of gray weather and drizzle.

Though I love Carmel, it seems to become nothing but a tourist trap in the Spring-Fall and the traffic becomes a nightmare on 101 (last visit there was 2 years ago).

I also remember San Luis Obispo area as being nice - any feedback on this city?

Close friend suggests going between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe - say Cameron Park or Folsom Lake.
That would mean giving up the beach access but I'm finding beach access may have to be traded off for other attributes.

Jack



Quote from: dalethorn
Southern California (SoCal) has gotten a reputation in the past 25 years or so for having some (or even most) of the meanest people in the USA.  If you stay off of the roads, you'll experience a lot less of that meanness.  From my experience, about 27 years, I'd say Orange County (the OC) is the capital of mean, while the people climate in L.A. tends more toward the psychotic rather than pure meanness.  Other than in traffic, people in SoCal don't tend to be anywhere near as vocally rude as the folks in NYC, which I attribute to the weather mostly.  The political climate in L.A. is quite liberal, even moreso in Santa Barbara.  OC is the opposite of that.  No good deed goes unpunished in the OC, although there are a few islands of calm there - Fashion Island, South Coast Plaza, Seal Beach oldtown etc.

One other peculiarity of SoCal people is that they regard people in nearly every other state except NY as backward and ignorant.  There's a belief there that technology was developed in California, while the truth is most technology in the 20th century was developed in the deep South.

Why do people go there?  I like to spend a lot of time outdoors, and I don't like anything that cramps my photo shoots, namely cold and rain.  The time I've spent in Ohio has seen half the days lost due to bad weather.  The percentage is drastically lower in SoCal.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2009, 03:11:19 PM by Lust4Life » Logged

Paul Sumi
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« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2009, 08:54:46 AM »
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Quote from: Lust4Life
I also remember San Luis Obispo area as being nice - any feedback on this city?

College town (Cal Poly SLO), halfway between L.A. and San Francisco, annual Mozart festival, southern terminus of one of the prettiest stretches of Highway 1 (San Simeon (Hearst Castle) to Big Sur).  It's also home to Really Right Stuff (makers of quality camera and lens plates, tripod ballheads and more), XKs Unlimited (a parts purveyor to classic Jag owners), a small restaurant/bakery whose name I forget which makes awesome chicken pot pies, and the Madonna Inn (a tribute to kitsch and the color pink.  It's named after its builder, not the mother of Jesus nor the singer).

Paul
« Last Edit: April 06, 2009, 10:09:04 AM by PaulS » Logged

jimgolden
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« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2009, 10:25:15 PM »
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oly peninsula is a dream world - def. try to at least visit it before final decision. PT is a little too touristy for me, Sequim is a bit better but there are a lot of little towns in the area that are great.

Nothing personal to CA. residents, but I couldn't imagine moving to SoCal these days...
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Lust4Life
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« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2009, 05:52:16 AM »
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Can you be more specific on towns you like on the OP?
Jack

Quote from: jimgolden
oly peninsula is a dream world - def. try to at least visit it before final decision. PT is a little too touristy for me, Sequim is a bit better but there are a lot of little towns in the area that are great.

Nothing personal to CA. residents, but I couldn't imagine moving to SoCal these days...
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Daniel Browning
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« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2009, 04:56:10 PM »
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Quote from: Lust4Life
Bellingham, WA

If you're that close to British Columbia, you might as well move there.

Let me see if I can make a case for the Portland area.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portland,_Oregon


Quote from: Lust4Life
Now, I want to have my permanent home close to the sea, no more than say an hour or so drive, as I find the sea very spiritually renewing.

+1 Portland. Some of the most beautiful and enjoyable beaches.

Quote from: Lust4Life
One concern about the northern western coast is the cold water procluding swimming, at least enjoying it.

What? Can't enjoy a little hypothermia? Dislike wetsuits? -1 Portland.

Quote from: Lust4Life
1.   People - Intelligent yet open minded, creative, outdoors oriented, and courteous.

+1 Portland. It doesn't get any more open minded, creative, or outdoors oriented. Courteousness is not as good as the south or midwest, but better than NYC and LA, IMHO.

Quote from: Lust4Life
2.   Air quality – NO pollution in the area due to my allergies to hydrocarbons, etc.
3.   Healthcare – good doctors in the region – cardiologist, holistic practitioners.
4.   Weather - temperate

+1 Portland

Quote from: Lust4Life
can take some rain but not months of it.

-1 Portland.

Quote from: Lust4Life
Avoid the 107 degree days we were having in N. GA

Average year round temperate: 54 F.
Average Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar: 45 F.
Average Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep: 62 F.
Average High/Low in Jan: 45/34.
Average High/Low in Jul: 80/57.
      
http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/weather...89627&refer

Quote from: Lust4Life
5.   Reasonable cost of living?

+1 greater Portland area. If you live just across the river in Washington, you'll have no state income tax, but you can shop in Oregon and enjoy no sales tax (best of both worlds). Of course, technically, one is obligated to track, report, and send in sales tax payments to Washington state every month on all purchases made out of state, but no one does it. (99% of people aren't even aware they are obligated to do the same in any state with salestax.)

Flood insurance is required in some areas. Housing is about twice as much as you pay in the midwest (not 10 times as much, like California), depending on the area of course.

Quote from: Lust4Life
Photographic scenes, hiking/camping, jogging trails, ocean kayaking, College with open lectures and ability to take classes that continue my studies –econimics, philosophy, RC flying field, assortment of restaurants to choose from.

I think those are all +1 for Portland.

For photographic scenes, it's hard to find many areas with as much diversity. Mountains, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, oceans, abandonded Frontier buildings, farmland, hills, city, country, you name it. Rural Oregon has some of the darkest and most accessible night skies in the country. Everyone knows we have rain forests, but are often surprised to find that SE Oregon is covered with vast and beautiful high desert, such as the Alvord Desert which gets just 8 inches of rain a year:





Quote from: Lust4Life
9.   Water resources for community; good city planning/zoning.

+1 +1 Portland.

There are so many areas around Portland that I don't know which to recommend. Perhaps near Hillsboro? Good luck in your search.
--
Daniel
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--Daniel
blansky
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« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2009, 08:41:33 PM »
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Quote from: Lust4Life
Thanks for your input.
Particularily interested in your feelings about Santa Rosa.  I'm finding numerous homes for sale there and prices seem reasonable by CA standards.
What don't you like about the Santa Rosa area?

I was there several times in the 80's when dealing with a software company called Time Arts.  Liked what I saw on those visits.
Particularily like the diversity of topography within a days drive of SRosa.

Jack

What don't I like about Santa Rosa?   Nothing.
Everywhere you live has drawbacks. The entire bay area, roughly San Jose up to Sonoma County has traffiic issues, like everywhere else. The problem with the Bay Area is that there is no bypass to get through San Francisco, so travel can get bogged down. From Santa Rosa to the San Francisco airport is only 60 miles but can take an hour and a half to get there on a good day.

In the bay area there are micro climates so go 5 mile and you get weather change. San Francisco has the worst weather, if you are looking for warm and sunshine. 10 miles in either direction can be a great improvement. I can leave Santa Rosa on a warm day, say 80 degrees, and when I get to the Golden Gate bridge the temperature is 65 and foggy. Then when you get through San Francisco and head down to Palo Alto (Stanford) the temperature is back to 80.

For perfect climate, San Jose, up to Palo Alto/Woodside area is great. Then once you get through San Francisco and get up to San Raphael heading north, again great climate. Santa Rosa is a bit warmer than those areas and the grapes and I  love it.

If you want to discuss this in any detail, I will be back from Hawaii in a week, and we can talk on the phone or email.

Michael
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2009, 09:30:52 PM »
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Quote from: Lust4Life
Close friend suggests going between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe - say Cameron Park or Folsom Lake.
Air pollution can be a big problem here in the summer & fall, not only locally-produced and smoke from forest fires, but also the air pollution from the Bay area gets blown in here.  The foothills like Cameron Park, Folsom Lake, also up I-80 to Auburn get the worst of it especially ozone.

OTOH access to the mountains is GREAT.  Sacramento is 200 miles from everywhere, OTOH it's also 200 miles from anywhere  


Quote from: blansky
For perfect climate, San Jose, up to Palo Alto/Woodside area is great.
+1 on that, I grew up there.  Cost of living and traffic can be problems.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2009, 09:34:25 PM by telyt » Logged
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