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Old 09-14-2010, 09:21 PM
 
5 posts, read 3,230 times
Reputation: 10
Default Help me find place to move, please

I live in Dallas. I am a single Mom with a 12 year old. I am ready to leave big city life for something much more laid back and with a feeling of community. I desire

friendly
warm climate
ocean or lake '
great schools
great for raising kids
I am single- so possibility of dating life s good
well educated area (I am a doctor)
pretty place
would love a neighborhood where neighbors know each other and kids could run back and forth to their friends
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:39 PM
 
981 posts, read 837,100 times
Reputation: 498
Irvine, CA
voted safest city in America and has some of the top public schools in the nation.
Somewhat expensive though, about 20 minutes from Beach.
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:48 PM
 
Location: Monterey County, CA
3,600 posts, read 6,431,025 times
Reputation: 3085
Quote:
Originally Posted by starry456 View Post
I live in Dallas. I am a single Mom with a 12 year old. I am ready to leave big city life for something much more laid back and with a feeling of community. I desire

friendly
warm climate
ocean or lake '
great schools
great for raising kids
I am single- so possibility of dating life s good
well educated area (I am a doctor)
pretty place
would love a neighborhood where neighbors know each other and kids could run back and forth to their friends
Hm,

California is a huge state with plenty of options that's for sure. So it's best to start with process of elimination as well.

Since you say it's time to leave big city life I'll rule out the larger cities like LA, SF, SD and Sac. The question is how small is too small or put another way how far from a major city with an international airport, etc... do you want to be? And the converse, how big is too big? For example Orange County is too big for us now after growing up in LA and living in Big cities most of our lives. But it definately has it's nicer parts with more room to breath like Southern OC (Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, etc...). Yet traffic on the 405/5 can be almost as bad as LA with millions of ppl on the road. So that part is definately Big City.

I'll start off with our personal favorite which meets most of your criteria, that is the Central Coast. We love the Monterey area for our family. And the Big Sur coastline is second to none for natural beauty in CA. It's small town living with all the amenities of most larger cities including Trader Joes!

We have a lot of educated people as well as a number of colleges and universities in the area. Plus San Jose International Airport is only ~ 70 miles away. Santa Cruz, our next door neighbor, is another good option. It's largely a university town. But close enough to the Silicon Valley that people make the commute over Hwy 17.

San Luis Obispo is a great little Central Coast college town town as are parts of Santa Barbara County. Santa Barbara borders Southern and Central Cal. So it would be both a bit warmer and somewhat drier depending on which part of SB county.

Ojai is a nice smaller town in Ventura County. Although it may be a bit too sleepy for you.

Other nice smaller towns in NorCal include Chico and it's neighboring communities of Paradise and Oroville. Check out the beautiful Fall conditions they recieve there: http://www.plumascounty.org/Tour%20Itineraries%202008/Group%20tour%201.pdf (broken link).

Then there is Sanoma County, wine country, with a lot of quaint smaller towns like Petaluma, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Windsor, etc... These cities are close enough to SF for pretty easy visits to the Big City when that is desired.

All these areas have different climates and even micro climates within them like Monterey for example. The temperature is pretty mild year round (60-70s). Although unlike most other places in the country we get summer fog right along the coast which cools things down quite a bit. But then 5-10 miles inland in Carmel Valley or San Benancio Canyon it is sunny. So you really get a lot of variation and depending on your preferences you can pick and choose.

Derek

Last edited by MtnSurfer; 09-14-2010 at 10:19 PM..
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:49 PM
 
Location: California
24,437 posts, read 14,808,784 times
Reputation: 16397
Start with the job, then the schools. Stay near a midsize city for social opportunities and a wider range of people who are educated like yourself. Most of CA is warm so that's already covered.

Friendly, great for raising kids, running back and forth in a neighborhood full of kids....well these things are not on a map. Too much depends on who else is living in your ideal neighborhood, whether you like them and they like you, if there are kids the same age as yours on the street, and if they have anything in common or not. And don't forget that this stuff changes every time someone moves in or out.

Someone mentioned Irvine in SoCal, so I'll add Walnut Creek in the Bay Area as another area that probably meets the requirements that can be met. Wherever you move it's going to be a struggle at first if you are on your own with no family, friends, or support network. Fortunately you can usually plug-in to the schools to meet people, and your daughter will have plenty of time to meet people to go through the teen years and high school with.
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Old 09-15-2010, 06:05 AM
 
5 posts, read 3,230 times
Reputation: 10
For whatever's its worth- I tend to prefer the weather in Southern California. Northern California is a bit cold compared to our very warm Texas weather. Anywhere near San Diego with a great small town atmosphere. Would San Luis Obispo be too sleepy in terms of the Central Coast? I will have to look into Irvine- I don't know much about it.
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Old 09-15-2010, 09:38 AM
 
Location: Aliso Viejo, Orange County, CA
2,385 posts, read 2,004,330 times
Reputation: 1515
 
There are a number of smaller cities in South Orange County (CA) that probably meet most of your criteria (“friendly” depends upon the individual neighborhood and not the city).
Aliso Viejo is probably the best bet for singles since it is an ocean-close ( 10 minutes to the beach) small master-planned community with fewer single family residences (lots of apartments, townhouses and condos), but a vibrant Town Center which attracts people from neighboring communities. It is also family-friendly, safe, clean, hilly, flowery and decidedly kid-friendly. The populace is well-educated and the city has Orange County’s lowest unemployment rate.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpN40_1h5NE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ylgdfrsew6k

YouTube - Aliso Viejo Town Center

YouTube - Swing dancing at the Neighborhood Cup

YouTube - Top of the World
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:01 AM
 
Location: Monterey County, CA
3,600 posts, read 6,431,025 times
Reputation: 3085
Quote:
Originally Posted by starry456 View Post
For whatever's its worth- I tend to prefer the weather in Southern California. Northern California is a bit cold compared to our very warm Texas weather. Anywhere near San Diego with a great small town atmosphere. Would San Luis Obispo be too sleepy in terms of the Central Coast? I will have to look into Irvine- I don't know much about it.
It sounds like warm weather is more important than a smaller town, less ppl.

If you are set on SoCal anywhere from Santa Barbara south should be warm enough. We lived in southern LA county and it got just as many sunny days as SD. Hermosa, Redondo, Torrance beaches are all good locations in LA County. They are a part of the South Bay which is further away from LA and a bit more laid back.

San Luis Obispo is warm as well, especially for the Central Coast. And it is a college town. So there are a lot of young single ppl. But overall it will be more sleepy than many other areas in SoCal simply because it is further from other larger cities. It's population is much smaller at ~44K.

Once in SoCal it is pretty much wall-to-wall ppl from LA to SD. But you can find pockets which are a little nicer and not as impacted in terms of the neighborhood layouts. Irvine has never impressed me. It seems kind of sterile, corporate, and any other town USA. But a bit further south is nicer like Aliso Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo, etc... The weather is the same as SD.

Derek
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Old 09-15-2010, 12:07 PM
 
Location: Aliso Viejo, Orange County, CA
2,385 posts, read 2,004,330 times
Reputation: 1515
…great small town atmosphere. Would San Luis Obispo be too sleepy in terms of the Central Coast? I will have to look into Irvine…

Irvine has grown over the years and it presently has a population of over 200,000 people.
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Old 09-15-2010, 04:11 PM
 
981 posts, read 837,100 times
Reputation: 498
yes but it doesn't seem like 200k and still has that small town atmosphere. Irvine was designed so that it would have mini villages within the city that make it seem like you live in a small town.

This is my opinion but I hate Aliso Viejo. I can not stand being in that place, many people are so full of themselves. That is my opinion though, others may like it.
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Old 09-15-2010, 04:16 PM
 
981 posts, read 837,100 times
Reputation: 498
Quote:
Once in SoCal it is pretty much wall-to-wall ppl from LA to SD. But you can find pockets which are a little nicer and not as impacted in terms of the neighborhood layouts. Irvine has never impressed me. It seems kind of sterile, corporate, and any other town USA. But a bit further south is nicer like Aliso Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo, etc... The weather is the same as SD.
yes Irvine is sterile, that is my dislike of this place. It is very boring if you don't have a license. But South OC I find to be much more boring.
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