Finding the right neighborhood in the Bay Area/Berkeley. - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-16-2011, 10:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all-

 

As of now I am currently living in Madison, WI, which many have called the "Berkeley of the Midwest". Very liberal and accepting, diverse and colorful. Being from a smaller midwestern area, I'd love a little insight into the neighborhoods. I have a 3 year old son, who loves his friends and being social. We hope to continue our lifestyle in the Bay area.

 

I'll just set my intentions as for what I am wanting, hoping to hear what you wise women have to say :)

 

I have built a lovely community here. Full of alternative parenting and lifestyles. Unschooling, homebirthing, non-vaxing, AP-ing, whole food loving people. These are my people and I am sure I will find the same in another area. Being close to natural markets, preferably a co-op is very important. Holistic health stores and healing care providers. Most of the people I know are homebirthers, I would love to settle into the same like-minded community. I am also a doula and student midwife, so I am always looking for ways to expand that part of my life. Making mama friends whom I can trust and swap child-care with is vital as I won't have family at all in the area. Either a place for a garden or a community garden plot would be incredible too. I love being able to walk a few blocks to local, organic centered cafes and community driven businesses. Anyway...I hope you get the picture...as I am putting this out there hoping to create it as my reality some time in the near future. 

 

Thanks for your precious time!

Warmly, Jessica

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Old 07-27-2011, 01:09 PM
 
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Hi, Jessica.  I live in Berkeley and what you describe can be found everywhere around the Bay Area.  That's probably no help, but it's true. 

 

The thing I've noticed around here (I moved here from the midwest, too, 2 years ago) is that a lot depends on personality, politics, and religion.  For me, it seems there is a huge consumer mentality around here combined with alternative, progressive ideas.  It's a weird, but good, vibe in this area, but the basics you're looking for can be found everywhere. 

 

Like most places, people tend to stick with who they know.  So, maybe finding a group of other transplants (like I was lucky enough to fall into) will happen when you move.  Or maybe you will have a personality and outlook that meshes really easily with folks.  It's hard to tell online how these things will work.

 

Maybe someone else will have something to say.  Good luck with the move!  Yay for adventure!


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Old 07-28-2011, 05:54 PM
 
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I am looking for a similar area myself, except that I have an 8 year old and a 1 year old, and previously lived in the Bay Area for 20 years (mostly before I had kids, I am a very late bloomer, lol). What kind of prices are you able to afford? That seems to make a big difference as rents tend to be quite high in the Bay Area. I previously lived in the Marina Bay neighborhood of Richmond, and while I met a couple of moms that lived nearby I wouldn't recommend it (it's mostly a commuter neighborhood, very quiet during the day). It is pretty safe for Richmond, though. El Cerrito and Albany as well as Oakland can be nice depending on where you live, but again it's quite expensive.

We can't really swing more than 1500 per month ourselves, so we are looking at more outlying areas for the most part.


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Old 07-28-2011, 06:50 PM
 
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Just wanted to throw out that the Berkeley Parents' Network has a lot of info about neighborhoods, though not necesarily about Natural parents.


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Old 08-04-2011, 04:06 PM
 
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I think most parts of Berkeley, especially North Berkeley, will have what you are looking for. Two great markets are Monterey Market and Berkeley Bowl. There are lots of community gardens all throughout Berkeley that you could try to get a plot in. And there are tons of great organic, veggie, etc places to eat, very easily to reach on foot. As for finding community, I don't think it would be difficult around here. I was fortunate to find a playgroup via berkeley parant's network when my daughter was tiny. Just my nature of who lives here, it turned out most mamas cloth diapered, extended breastfed, homebirthed and were pretty AP - though the group never mentioned any of those traits when it formed. 

 

I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have about the area.

 

Cindy


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Old 08-05-2011, 05:00 PM
 
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Cindy arent rents super high in Berkeley?


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Old 08-06-2011, 12:27 PM
 
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It's all relative and depends on what you are looking for. And there is a variation depending on which part of Berkeley you are in. I think I saw that you don't want to go over $1500. So for a family, it would be tight here. You could probably get a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment for that price, depending on which neighborhoods you are willing to look in. 

 

Cindy


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Old 08-16-2011, 05:30 PM
 
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Take a look at the San Pablo Park neighborhood and the Left Bank (West Berkeley) - Berkeley Bowl (a wonderful, locally-owned grocery) is nearby and both are very [diverse-]family-oriented, fairly tight-knit, and well-located (and potentially more affordable). We're buying a home in San Pablo Park and I couldn't be happier with our decision. The Berkeley Ecology Center is right in the neighborhood and they are a fantastic resource for growing, seed-sharing, and generally "greening" your home.

 

Take a look at Oakland - pay attention to Piedmont Ave, Upper Dimond, and the Adams Point areas. Temescal is nice, too, but there has been a recent uptick in certain types of crime and I'm not sure I'd be comfortable moving back there.

 

When we lived in Temescal, we had a 2 bedroom ~1200 sf cottage (behind the main house) and it was a 'bargain' at $1650. The insulation was terrible and our gas bill topped $500 in the winter. We recently looked at rentals in San Pablo Park and a similar type of unit was $2100. North Berkeley was no cheaper than $2800 for a 2-bedroom house.


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