Possibly moving to the Bay Area...help! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 14 Old 05-04-2010, 09:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband received a job offer from a company in Santa Clara. We have been living in the Philadelphia suburbs for 9 years now. I totally love it here. I'm part of a wonderful group of AP mamas where my children and I have made great friends. My kids are in an amazing Reggio-Emilia inspired preschool that we adore. We live in a 100 year old home that we have completely remodeled and that I love. Also, I'm pregnant and planning a homebirth with a great midwife and doula. I don't want to leave! But I'm trying to be supportive of my husband. He's not happy in his job here and that negatively affects our family. Also, he's originally from CA and would like to go back. So I'm posting here in hopes of learning more about the area and trying feel more positive about this possible move.

So, where are some good places to live? All the houses I've looked at online are boring ranch-style. Are there any neighborhoods that have a little more charm? A walkable downtown? CSA's and good farmer's markets would be good too. And since housing is soooo much more expensive, we'll probably have to go with public school, so good public schools are important. I'd love to be near a good progressive preschool as well. Any suggestions?

I'm due in September and we may not be moving until July so I do worry if I would be able to find a homebirth midwife who has openings in her calendar. Do you think this will be a problem?

Alright, I'm going to go take some deep breaths and tell myself it will all be alright. I really appreciate any info or advice you wonderful CA MDC mamas can give me. I'm sure it's a great area and we'd be really happy there. It's just very hard to think about leaving what has become, for me, home.

Jen Mama to Luke (9/04) Dex (5/06) and a new little one in September
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#2 of 14 Old 05-05-2010, 12:34 AM
 
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Hi Jen
Neighborhoods with charm: the Rose Garden area of San Jose, and the town of Los Gatos
There are several great CSAs right over the hill in Santa Cruz, and I know that Blue Moon Organics delivers over to this area.
Check out Christa McAuliffe school in Cupertino--a great progressive school. My daughter goes to a new preschool that is nature-based and Waldorf-inspired. I think it is listed in the Los Gatos Recreation Center schedule, and I can get you the teacher/owner's contact info so you can get in touch with her directly if you'd like. One day a week the school meets in the mountains and the kids get to hike, do art outside, etc.
As for finding a midwife--Blossom Birth in Palo Alto and Harmony Birth in Campbell are great resources. Harmony has a once a month meet-the-doula night and you might have luck seeing if you are compatible with one who happens to be available. I am a non-practicing childbirth educator so I can try to help connect you with someone if it gets desperate--don't worry.
Hope this helps a bit. It's really nice here!
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#3 of 14 Old 05-05-2010, 01:45 AM
 
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I second the Rose Garden neighborhood. I actually live in "downtown" Santa Clara where there are also many cool old homes. Unfortunately there is no longer a real downtown as it was torn down in the name of urban renewal in the 1960's and later replaced with an apartment complex. But the old cool neighborhood is still there.

Hmmmm...there is also a fun neighborhood called Shasta/Hanchett just south of Rose Garden in San Jose. There are some cool shops/restaurants on the Alameda that are right by there. Its close to Downtown San Jose where there is other fun stuff (including a farmer's market on Fridays and a new local foods "urban market" that they are building at San Pedro Square). Check out Redfin.com zip codes 95050 and 95126.

I can't really tell you much about schools since my kid is under a year old, but I have heard good things about Washington Open Elementary school in Santa Clara. It relies heavily on parent participation and so has some strong links with the local community.

There are some great farmers markets around here. My favorite is the one in Mountain View, but nearly all the towns have one (including old Santa Clara...I can walk to this one from my house which is always cool). We get a CSA through Santa Clara University which is great.

I've only lived here for eight months but I like it. The Bay Area has tons to offer; its an amazing place, truly!
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#4 of 14 Old 05-06-2010, 12:08 AM
 
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I second Blossom Birth as a great resource!

Anyway...welcome to a wonderful area!

Best wishes to you!

In love with Dh since 1998. We created Ds (7.1.03), Dd (10.16.06) and Dd (3.16.09).
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#5 of 14 Old 05-06-2010, 07:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for your replies thus far. OK, here's what I don't get...how do people afford to live in the Bay Area??? I mean, my husand makes pretty good money. We have a lovely home here and live well below our means. Our home here should sell for somewhere in the low to mid 300s. We are looking at homes in the 600s in CA and they are really nothing exciting. Very boring. When I look at the area mentioned in this thread or wherever there seem to be good schools, it's even worse. I mean, there are million dollar homes that are nothing to get excited about. I just don't want to be scrimping and saving and struggling when we have it so good here. How do people do it out there?

Jen Mama to Luke (9/04) Dex (5/06) and a new little one in September
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#6 of 14 Old 05-06-2010, 01:09 PM
 
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We rent and live (well) on one salary, so it can definitely be done! Trader Joe's offers great groceries for much less, we walk and bike almost everywhere local (saving money on gas), there are so many free/cheap activities (especially with yearly memberships), we've found great used clothes/toys/bikes on craigslist!
The many, many positives that this area offers outweighs this one downside (for us at least).

In love with Dh since 1998. We created Ds (7.1.03), Dd (10.16.06) and Dd (3.16.09).
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#7 of 14 Old 05-08-2010, 01:19 AM
 
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The old COL issue is alive and well here in the Bay Area! My DH makes a good salary (for the rest of the country) and I stay at home. We have a good amount of money in the bank to put down yet we still can't even afford a small 3 bedroom in the areas we want to live. That's just how life is here. But on the flip side, the area has many great things to offer. So we are living very tight for the time being and enjoying all the things we love and in the back of our minds we are thinking about moving out of state at some point so that we can buy a nice sized house with land for half what the tiny house here costs. It must be very difficult to come the other direction!

Cindy

Mama to my veggie girl hearts.gif(1/09) and my sweet rainbow baby rainbow1284.gif (9/12). 

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#8 of 14 Old 05-08-2010, 01:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jenjenfirenjen View Post
Thank you so much for your replies thus far. OK, here's what I don't get...how do people afford to live in the Bay Area??? I mean, my husand makes pretty good money. We have a lovely home here and live well below our means. Our home here should sell for somewhere in the low to mid 300s. We are looking at homes in the 600s in CA and they are really nothing exciting. Very boring. When I look at the area mentioned in this thread or wherever there seem to be good schools, it's even worse. I mean, there are million dollar homes that are nothing to get excited about. I just don't want to be scrimping and saving and struggling when we have it so good here. How do people do it out there?

Well I suppose it depends on what you think is worth getting excited about? A home in the 600's around here is going to be average...two or three bedroom bungalow with a smallish yard. But as someone who will probably never be able to own a house, I think just being a homeowner is something exciting...personally. I'm also thinking that historic homes where you are now are going to be overall older and larger than around here, because most "older" neighborhoods here were built in the twenties and thirties. The truly cool historic homes are going to mostly be in San Francisco as more people have been living there longer. But houses there are almost completely, insanely, unaffordable.

Here is an older San Jose home in the 600's.
Here is one in the 700's that sold recently. I drooled over this home when it first came onto the market and it sold very very quickly.
Here is a cool San Francisco home from 1900 for under a million dollars (rare).

It sounds to me like you really like where you are though, so that has to be coloring what you see here .
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#9 of 14 Old 05-10-2010, 01:51 AM
 
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Jen, Can I piggyback on your thread for a moment, as I think we may have similiar questions/interests. My husband, too, is getting an offer in Santa Clara. Ironic! As we'd also be coming from out of the area I am wondering the same things! Where can we live with charm, affordable (haha...relative term I know), safe, etc.?

In our case, our children's school would be in Los Altos Hills, with my husband working in Santa Clara. Some names I hear thrown around are Sunnyvale, Willow Glen (in San Jose) and Mountain View. I hadn't heard of Rose Garden before. I wish I had when we were up there so I could have gone exploring.

For those who live there...what do you think of these other areas? Or any others? We couldn't dream of buying right now as we would have a home to sell first and may wait on it a couple of years until, hopefully, the value bumps back a bit. So we'd be renting a 4+2 with a yard for a big puppy (I know, poor timing, right?). I wonder if there's any hope for doing this less than 3K? It even looks bleak less than 4K. I'd rather not be renting a 60s ranch house, since that's where I'm happy to leave to go there.

When we were there, I have to say, I did enjoy it. I'd never traveled to your area, before, only San Francisco which seems like a different world and hard to imagine it's actually nearby.

Everything was so lovely and green, tons of Trader Joe's (I Live for Trader Joes!). I also noticed a bike shop everywhere I went. LOL. All the Expressways will take some getting used to, though. Where I live it's either a freeway or it's a street.

Thank you!
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#10 of 14 Old 05-10-2010, 02:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post

It sounds to me like you really like where you are though, so that has to be coloring what you see here .
I picked up on that too...I hope you can get excited about this move, ...it really IS a wonderful area!!

In love with Dh since 1998. We created Ds (7.1.03), Dd (10.16.06) and Dd (3.16.09).
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#11 of 14 Old 05-10-2010, 04:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jenjenfirenjen View Post
Thank you so much for your replies thus far. OK, here's what I don't get...how do people afford to live in the Bay Area??? I mean, my husand makes pretty good money. We have a lovely home here and live well below our means. Our home here should sell for somewhere in the low to mid 300s. We are looking at homes in the 600s in CA and they are really nothing exciting. Very boring. When I look at the area mentioned in this thread or wherever there seem to be good schools, it's even worse. I mean, there are million dollar homes that are nothing to get excited about. I just don't want to be scrimping and saving and struggling when we have it so good here. How do people do it out there?
I think the bottom line, is that home ownership (big home, nice yard, cute and safe neighborhood) around here is for: people with two really great incomes or one gigantic income, people who bought before the boom, or people who inherited a home from parents.

For people like us (single average income and one stay at home parent), renting is the only viable way to live in a home in a great neighborhood. We pay $2125 rent per month for a 1200 sq ft, 3/2 house w/a great yard. Our street is quiet and safe, but there really is no charm. For that, you have to be in Los Gatos, Saratoga, Willow Glen area. And those locations automatically double the rent prices.

You really have to adjust your perception of normal and toss out everything you are used to thinking about housing when you move here from almost anywhere else in the country. It was really hard for me, coming from the south, to wrap my mind around it. $600,000 where I come from buys you a gigantic mansion on acreage w/pool and top of the line everything. $600,000 here gets you a tiny fixer-upper on a small lot.

The good news is that the prices are so high because this is an awesome place to live.
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#12 of 14 Old 05-10-2010, 05:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Melaniee View Post
In our case, our children's school would be in Los Altos Hills, with my husband working in Santa Clara. Some names I hear thrown around are Sunnyvale, Willow Glen (in San Jose) and Mountain View.
For those who live there...what do you think of these other areas? Or any others? We couldn't dream of buying right now as we would have a home to sell first and may wait on it a couple of years until, hopefully, the value bumps back a bit. So we'd be renting a 4+2 with a yard for a big puppy (I know, poor timing, right?). I wonder if there's any hope for doing this less than 3K? It even looks bleak less than 4K. I'd rather not be renting a 60s ranch house, since that's where I'm happy to leave to go there.
My recommendations if size of your home is most important: Redwood city is nice (woodside plaza- off of woodside road) and (emerald lake hills)...and Los Altos is pretty nice too!

In love with Dh since 1998. We created Ds (7.1.03), Dd (10.16.06) and Dd (3.16.09).
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#13 of 14 Old 05-10-2010, 05:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post
Here is a cool San Francisco home from 1900 for under a million dollars (rare).
NICE...now I'm drooling,

In love with Dh since 1998. We created Ds (7.1.03), Dd (10.16.06) and Dd (3.16.09).
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#14 of 14 Old 05-12-2010, 12:45 AM
 
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My recommendations if size of your home is most important: Redwood city is nice (woodside plaza- off of woodside road) and (emerald lake hills)...and Los Altos is pretty nice too!
Thank you. What happened to the rest of your super informative post!? I had kept it open in a window to pour over it today, but now it's gone.

I did get to check out those areas, thank you. Unfortunately I think Menlo Park and Redwood City are too far from my Dh's intended work.

Mind if I ask you what you do not like about Willow Glen since you're the only person who's said they didn't find it high on the list of charm and walkability?

Size isn't necessarily tops on my list, it's just what we consider a necessity. LOL. I admire that you can happily exist in a smaller home in the location you love, but I think we'd kill eachother in short order. Techinically, we could do with a 3+2 but I am really hoping that family and friends will visit and we've never been able to accomodate that in the past so it's been on my 'wish list' for a while.

Thank you for your help!
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