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Petaluma/novato/napa HELP with information

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

We may be relocating from New Hampshire to Petaluma area.  I really am looking for information on surrounding areas (within hour commute).  Any mamas that can help?  I'm a breastfeeding stay at home mom to 3 boys (ages 5,4, 2) and pregnant with my 4th.  I would like information on areas to look into and ones to avoid.  I'd like more of a small town feel, suburb/rural.  Any recommendations?  Where do I start?  AARRRGGG...so overwhelming!

post #2 of 5

Petaluma is a really great small town, with a lot of very nice amenities! We lived there for about 4 months before needing to move back to the Sacramento area, but I miss Petaluma. Many wonderful restaurants, unique historic main street and theater, 30 minutes to the beach, surrounded by small farms and rolling hills. I would live there in a heartbeat. Also, very safe, minimal crime (as far as I am aware), on the expensive side for cost of living though, but compared to the greater Bay Area, it is very reasonable. Oh, and about 30 minutes to San Francisco with all it has to offer. I really really like Petaluma. Oh, and the school systems there are very good too. If you are interested, Petaluma even has a charter Waldorf school! The weather is mild, and not too hot in the summer. I was amazed that the homes there did not have air conditioning (not needed). Coming from Sacramento, I am used to horrid heat, so the coastal temps in Petaluma were really a nice change. OK, now I am officially missing living there...

Sebastopol is another small town I would consider. It is maybe 20 minutes from Petaluma (Northwest direction), so it is closer to the ocean. Also, really nice even smaller town with a great feel.

I found that all towns closer to SF (San Rafael, Novato) were too expensive comparatively. Petaluma was doable financially. Napa is nice but also expensive, and maybe less amenities to offer families.

Hope the above is helpful!

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the info!  I am already blown away by housing costs there...let's just say the least expensive houses there are the most expensive houses where I live now! 


Are there any parts that are better than others?  any "bad side of town" areas?

post #4 of 5

Were in Novato right now and have lived in Petaluma and San Rafael. The schools around here are nice. We homeschool through a public charter school that is wonderful. There are also public waldorf and montessori schools in the area. It really is extremely expensive here and we are currently RVing full time to pull ourselves out of debt and save for the purchase of a home. There aren't many bad areas in the northbay. I would be happy to answer any questions you have about the area.

post #5 of 5

It is all pretty nice, as I remember. We lived on the east side of Petaluma, which is the "newer" housing area. Great parks and greenbelts, very family oriented. Downtown Petaluma is also very nice with older established neighborhoods and old victorians, close to shops and restaurants. The west side of town is highly desirable, more established, and I believe more expensive in terms of housing. I would probably choose to live on the east side again because it is newer, family-friendly, lots of parks and great schools, and a little less expensive. But, like I mentioned in my pp, I would definitely look at Sebastopol too!

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