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Where in CA to live? - Page 2

post #21 of 37

OP, what did you decide?  We are also investigating Santa Cruz currently, and this thread was helpful, very helpful.  Wondering where you're at in all of it now, 6 mos later?


post #22 of 37

Not SF.

post #23 of 37

I'm curious what you decided, too! I was going to reply that areas with a lot of IT jobs don't usually go hand-in-hand with affordable housing (unless you can work remotely or like a long commute). I know that's not very helpful other than perhaps more aligning expectations.

post #24 of 37
Thread Starter 
OP here. Thanks so much for all of your helpful input! DH had been looking and looking for jobs and not finding anything, and any possibility of moving was also delayed by choice so we could have our 2nd baby (now 2 months old) with our midwife here in MD, so until now I had nothing to report.

Now it seems something is finally happening! The San Diego area is looking very likely for us! DH has an interview with a company in Rancho Bernardo next week. They are flying him out there (a good sign, right?) and the kids and I are tagging along. I'm in contact with a realtor and we're mainly looking at homes in the Valley Center area, because that's where we're finding places with a bit of land (like 1-5 acres) in our price range. It all comes down to money...so please cross your fingers for us that my DH gets a job offer and they help us with relocation! (If this falls through it's back to square one.)

Can anybody tell me about living in Valley Center--the people, the schools, the food, what's there...? If we move there I'll be looking for new like-minded friends soon! Some of the homes we're looking at have big yards for our dog to run, and lots of orange and avocado trees, which just sounds amazing to me. I'm an oil painter so I can pretty much work from anywhere, and I figure I'd find good exhibition opportunities in SD. I'm SO hopeful that this could work out for us!

I'll know a lot more after next week.
post #25 of 37

I grew up fairly close the Valley Center but about 15 minutes south. I don't know much other than you can get more land and have a more rural feel and that it gets SO hot there. But no humidity so perhaps it won't be as bad as MD. It would be amazing to have avocado trees! My good friend's parent live there - they have a beautiful home. I'm sorry I can't help too much with food, etc. It's been years since I've lived in San Diego.  Though I do know that my favorite natural grocery (it's a local chain but family owned), called Jimbos, isn't horribly far away in Rancho Bernardo. Good luck to your DH!



post #26 of 37
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Vegan Princess View Post

I grew in up in San Diego and now live in Berkeley. While I much prefer the bay area and adore Berkeley, there were things I loved about San Diego as well. Did you consider living in a more rural part of san diego county, like Ramona or Jamul? You can get land and larger houses for much less cost while still only having a 30-45 minute commute from anything you'd want to do. Both are much closer to the mountains as well. 


This is what we'll probably end up doing! At least for a year or two to see if it works out...Our goal right now is just to make it to the west coast. Wish us luck!
post #27 of 37

Didn't read the full post before I chimed in! orngbiggrin.gif

post #28 of 37

Oops!  Didn't see you'd settled on San Diego area (love it there too!). 


Will leave my Sacramento raving up in case it is helpful to anyone else....



I'll second those who are saying Sacramento area.  I've lived there off and on throughout my life and I really feel like it's one of the better kept secrets in CA.  It's incredibly affordable to live there--my husband and I bought a house and our mortgage is a third of what we pay in rent for our apartment in SF (we moved here temporarily for me to finish grad school). 


The food & farming community is wonderful--great farmers markets, CSAs, local farms.  It's really one of the best places in the country in that regard.


I've worked with most of the midwives in the area and they are all fantastic.  Sacramento also has great schools--public waldorfs, a social justice high school, etc, etc.  Lots of free things for families to do too. 


Downtown/midtown Sacramento has plenty to keep most people busy.  There is a busy Second Saturday art walk each month, a decent amount of live music, GREAT and not too expensive restaurants...I actually really miss it living in SF.  I feel like it's just enough that you always have something to do (and can actually afford to do it), but not so much that you are overwhelmed or out a ton of $$


Neighborhoods I would look into include:

Central Sacramento:  midtown, curtis park, land park, north oak park/med center, tahoe park, east sacramento

Suburbs: Carmichael and Fair Oaks are both cute in areas


Davis is also a really cute college town, but has a little bit less going on in terms of entertainment and is slightly less affordable.


post #29 of 37
I live in central San Diego, near downtown. Generally speaking, once you get out of the city area it tends to get pretty conservative, but I'm sure you can find like minded souls anywhere- but how many, I don't know. Valley Center is really beautiful. Our CSA farm is up there, as well as a few other farms I have visited, so I've been there a fair amount, but never to town- not even sure if there is one, actually. But there are big lots, gorgeous scrub oaks, rolling hills, etc. You will have your hands full keeping your property fire safe, though. Get a goat! It does get hot, but it's true that it is dry heat so compared to back East I still think it's better (I grew up partially in Buffalo).

Occasionally there are big lots in an area called Encanto, just a few minutes east of downtown. Parts of the area are quite lovely and you wouldn't know you are in the city, other parts are not so nice. I know some people who just bought 2 acres there, so it's possible, and you would be just a few minutes away from the more liberal, crunchy, central city area.

I would strongly recommend renting for a little while and getting used to the area before you buy. If you buy in the country and decide you hate the area it may take quite a long time to sell. You probably will not have much trouble renting even with your dog, it's a pretty pet friendly city.

I bet you will love CA, it is really fun to live here! Even though I am not crazy about San Diego in some ways and would love to live in NorCal, just the fact that we get to hop in the car every summer and camp up and down the state seeing the most amazing and diverse natural places makes it worth while to me! And the weather is really, really nice here.
post #30 of 37
Thread Starter 
katroshka--could you share info about your CSA? What's the farm, what do you get & for how much?

We're back in MD now from our initial check-it-out trip and DH's interview. He has a verbal offer and will probably have it in writing within the week, along with some relocation help! joy.gif We will most likely make it out there in the next month or two.

I am so freakin excited I can't stand it! I was blown away by the beauty of the mountains in Valley Center and the Escondido outskirts. And the weather--omg!

Are there any crunchy mamas out there reading this who are in the San Diego area? After a little research I found some awesome-looking meetup groups but they're mostly farther north in Temecula valley.

Any and all resources would be welcome for someone moving to the area, and anyone is welcome to post here or pm me. Moms groups, ped & dentist & vet reccs, anything at all about artist communities, galleries, etc. in the area, best places to hike, fun stuff to do with toddlers...

I'm 30, a professional artist, have a 2-year-old boy and newborn girl, am a health nut and all-around crunchy hippie type (although that's always relative, but I tend to fit in with hippies.) orngbiggrin.gif We are active and love the outdoors. DH is a techie genius and it's thanks to him landing this job that we'll be able to move to this beautiful place.

LOL, I know that sounds like a personal ad but seriously, I want some new contacts in the area--we are coming from 3000 miles away and starting fresh! Reach out to me people!
post #31 of 37
Thread Starter 
PS we will definitely be renting for a bit at first--gotta sell our house here before we can buy anyway.
post #32 of 37

He might be further than you'd like to drive, but I can reccomend a pediatrician. Dr. Zaguli. He was my doctor growing up and my brother and cousin bring their kids to him and still love him. I can't speak to how he feels on vax bc my family (other than me) just follows doctor's orders. But he is a very experienced and kind doctor. He's all the way down in mira mesa - though I think he might have an office in Poway now. My family drives from Rancho Bernardo to see him. 


I'm glad you're so excited! :-) I'm excited for you.



post #33 of 37
Hey, congratulations on getting the job offer, that is really exciting! I'm really betting you will like CA a lot.

Our farm is JR Organics: http://www.jrorganicsfarm.com/

They are really great people, and great farmers. We've had a CSA membership with them for about 2 years and have really loved it. It's the second CSA we've had, we like them a lot better than the last, and comparing it to another farm some of my friends have used JR is my favorite. We pay something like $28/ week for the large box, it always comes with 11 different items (one item is actually 2 heads of lettuce), we pick up at a farmer's market and trade in our lettuce every week (we like pretty much all other greens for our salads), which is something most CSAs don't let you do. Also, we get fruit like avocados, apples, cherries, grapes, and raspberries, which is pretty unusual (in my limited experience) from a CSA. We never get inundated with a single item, which is why I stopped doing a different CSA. I have a family of four, we're vegan so we eat tons of fresh veggies, and I rarely buy any veggies beyond what's in our CSA box, besides potatoes and onions.

As I said, we live in the downtown area so can't really help with north county resources, but I'm sure you will find some great people up there!
post #34 of 37
Thread Starter 
Vegan Princess & katroshka--thank you both--very helpful!
post #35 of 37

I am living in Vista right now and get the Be Wise CSA...we get the large size (we're vegan too!!) and love it. We get a huge variety of foods....lots of fruit (today we got persimmons, plums, pears, avocados, grapes, tomatoes and apples) awesome veggies (lettuce mix, persian cucumbers, eggplant, butternut squash, carrots) and herbs (parsley, basil plant and cillantro). We pay $30 a week, and it is well worth it.


We love hiking in the Elfin Forest...It is by far my favorite place to hike in North County.


Instead of a ped we see Natasha Wolf, an AWESOME naturopath.


We also love Queen Califia's Magic Garden (and I'm sure you will really appreciate it, as an artist).


I play at the "Sketch Jam" at this gallery every so often.


Anyways, I think we'd be great friends orngbiggrin.gif . My husband and I are musicians and very much a part of the art scene. We should definitely have a play date when you move here (I have a 1 year old daughter)!

post #36 of 37
Thread Starter 
ahimsamom thanks so much for that info! I am psyched to have a like-minded friend in the area already. Will definitely be up for play dates etc. I will PM you once we make the move!
post #37 of 37
Thread Starter 
FYI everyone, we found a rental house in a beautiful location in Ramona and we'll be arriving in 2 weeks. Please feel free to pm me--I'm eager to make new friends in the area!
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