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Old 09-25-2015, 08:54 PM
 
Location: El Cerrito, California
263 posts, read 251,354 times
Reputation: 113

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Would love to hear comparison from people very familiar with both.

1) Asheville in North Carolina. And whatever cities touch it.

...versus...

2) Inner San Francisco East Bay which I'm kinda just defining here as the focus on Berkeley and Oakland, yet also including Alameda, Emeryville, Piedmont, Albany, Kensington, El Cerrito and Richmond.

---
Or for simplicity, just Asheville vs. Berkeley.

(I'm very familiar with #2 as I live there, but only visited #1 briefly years ago and hear about it from a friend living there.)

Thank you!
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Old 09-27-2015, 12:51 PM
 
6,944 posts, read 10,824,418 times
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Berkeley all the way. Diversity, weather, culture, architecture, and physical beauty are all superior.

But you're talking about probably a 200% cost of living difference.

So, that needs to be taken into account.
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Old 09-27-2015, 04:58 PM
 
5,419 posts, read 8,201,788 times
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A map or atlas will help you with your search.

How much rent are you paying in Berkeley? How much can you afford to pay?
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Old 09-27-2015, 08:02 PM
 
17 posts, read 19,407 times
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I'm from the Bay Area, lived in Asheville for a year and here is my perspective. The Bay Area has a culture and vibe that is difficult to find any place else in the world. While Asheville has a liberal, hippy-ish, alternative feel to it, it's still in the conservative South and sometimes that is very apparent. I loved the nature/hiking, low cost of living, 4 mild seasons although Summer is humid but any organic lifestyle felt very isolated to Asheville alone and vanished immediately in North Carolina. There was also a fake nice attitude and very SLOW place that's a deep South mentality. It kind of reminds me of a small Austin, Texas in that Asheville is a cool artsy town surrounded by nothing very hip. While the cost of living is very low the wages and job opportunities reflect that.
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Old 09-28-2015, 07:50 AM
 
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Cost of living will seem low by CA standards but it is not by NC standards.
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Old 09-28-2015, 10:43 PM
 
Location: where the good looking people are
3,437 posts, read 2,243,179 times
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Asheville is a college town. Berkeley is a city, with a college.
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Old 09-29-2015, 02:11 AM
 
Location: Zurich, Switzerland/ Piedmont, CA
31,575 posts, read 53,094,619 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WizardOfRadical View Post
Asheville is a college town. Berkeley is a city, with a college.
Preci$ely.

Berkeley Median Home Price Breezes Past $1M | NBC Bay Area
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Old 09-29-2015, 04:57 AM
 
Location: Bellingham, WA
990 posts, read 925,255 times
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I think Butterfly's description is pretty accurate- Asheville is an anomaly in the south, a quirky place and a refuge to those seeking a hippy-ish, progressive vibe with pretty surroundings. It would still be quite a culture shock to someone moving to the area from anywhere in the Bay Area, though. There are some other cute towns nearby- Black Mountain and Brevard come to mind, with others in the region, though once you get out of Asheville and the mountains, the landscape and people are very stereotypically southern. It's still in NC, after all.

A couple other little things worth mentioning: Asheville's not really a college town in the traditional sense, contrary to what several of the posters above have mentioned. In fact, the only real college in town is UNC Asheville, which only has about 3,500 people (though A-B Tech CC has a sizable enrollment). There are a couple small colleges in the region and a decent amount of young people in the area, but the demographic is actually a little older- a good chunk of college-educated people in the 25-45 range, with very few decent jobs to go around. Anyway, it's a far, far cry from a college town like Chapel Hill where a big university dominates the city. It's a desirable place to be in the southeast, to be sure.
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Old 12-13-2015, 11:51 AM
 
Location: El Cerrito, California
263 posts, read 251,354 times
Reputation: 113
Somehow didn't see these replies til yesterday. Thank you!! (Am strongly leaning towards Austin vs. Berkeley now and against Asheville.)
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Old 12-13-2015, 12:27 PM
 
Location: El Cerrito, California
263 posts, read 251,354 times
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Default Austin vs. Berkeley: public schools?

After months of seriously weighing options, am down to 2 top choices for long-term homebase to start a family in:

Austin, Texas
vs.
Let's call it "Berkeley area" to keep it simple (but specifically I mean certain parts of these cities in the inner East Bay of San Francisco, California: Berkeley, Richmond, El Cerrito, Albany, Alameda or Oakland...Berkeley or El Cerrito being most likely)

I've lived in SF's inner East Bay the past couple years, several months in Austin before that (couple years in Santa Cruz, CA, before that...and before THAT mainly Chicago and Washington, DC, Metro area). Have strongly considered many places...Oregon, Asheville, Carrboro, Hawaii, Sedona, Colorado, Santa Fe, etc., etc. But the 2 options above (Austin vs. Berkeley Area) have always stood out the most, especially now.

I'd LOVE to hear CURRENT info/opinions comparing Berkeley area vs. Austin from those who have recently experienced both!

By now I've developed some more flexibility, realizing every city has subjective "perks" and "flaws" and that a place is what you make of it. From living in both places I can imagine being quite happy in both long-term and have a basic understanding of each (cost of living, weather, general culture, food, geography...)...though much less so of Austin cause I wasn't there super long...and don't really have a parent's perspective on either (am not yet a parent).

The Texas summer heat is a concern, but I also didn't give it a long enough chance last time to let it grow on me and was living in a home without reasonable air conditioning and a bit far from swimming.

So yes, happy to hear anything you want to share even if I already know some of it...

******
...But above all curious to hear more about the part I know almost nothing about: specific public school districts (elementary, middle and high of each good or great district, especially in South Austin) and any insider scoop on raising children in Austin (especially South Austin). Positive, negative, anything. Are Austin public schools overall better, worse or same compared to Berkeley area public schools?
******

******
Also I cherish the ethnic/racial diversity and relatively low racism of Berkeley area. And its GLBT-friendliness. Does Austin value diversity and GLBT-friendliness enough that it won't be total culture shock? Seemed fine when I lived there but I just wasn't there long enough to fully feel that out. Also am hoping there is atleast one excellent Austin public school district that isn't homogenously white or wealthy...nor overly conservative.
******

Thank you SO much as always to this wonderfully helpful forum!!!!

Last edited by NatureYogi; 12-13-2015 at 12:54 PM..
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