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Old 01-23-2016, 05:41 PM
 
11 posts, read 36,043 times
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I've been living in Santa Barbara for a couple years and there is so much I love about the place, and I've gotten to know a lot of people here, but I'm not sure it's the right place for my wife and I to raise a family. Santa Barbara has amazing weather, beautiful scenery, good beaches, OK food, and excellent infrastructure, but the people element is not quite right for me. My wife and I lived here for a few years when we were younger and we knew what we were getting into when we decided to move back, but I'm questioning our decision at this point.

I don't think there's anything wrong with the people here at all, it's that I don't think the prevailing culture/customs/attitude will work for me in the long run. I work from home so I can easily isolate myself from it but I'm having a hard time coming to grips with the idea of raising my 1-year-old here (and more to come). The Los Angeles culture is probably the ultimate example of what doesn't work for me (I lived there for 3 years) and Santa Barbara has just a touch of it. Places I've been in California where I love the culture are north county San Diego most of all and also parts of San Francisco. Lots of open, happy, warm, laid-back people there, but both locales are too dense of me.

Within that context, how does Carmel compare to Santa Barbara? I've visited Carmel once but only for the day and only to Carmel-by-the-Sea. I thought it was nice but it seemed too touristy, and the beach was gorgeous. Now I realize there is more to Carmel than the touristy area and I plan to take a drive up there this coming week to have a real look around. Can anyone compare the prevailing culture in Carmel to Santa Barbara? How about the comparative prospects of raising a family in either place?

I hope I haven't offended any LA/SB folks. It's just different strokes.
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Old 01-23-2016, 07:16 PM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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I'm not sure why you are thinking of only Carmel. Consider Monterey and Pacific Grove as well.
The Monterey Bay is a wonderful place to live. Sadly, Santa Cruz county has become something like a bedroom community of Silicon Valley and it is overly impacted and with an ilk now that i don't care for ... hyper aggressive, status oriented, disrespectful, etc..
I'll always love Santa Cruz county but it's kinda done.
Monterey County has not been impacted in the same way.
I know that you wanted a comparison to Santa Barbara. I'm no good for that but just wanted to expand your thinking a bit to include the two other communities i mentioned.
I like Carmel in some ways. I particularly like it's close proximity to Big Sur. I don't like the Jaguar driving rude older snobby women that i seem to encounter every time i go south.

As you can see this sub-forum gets very little traffic. It's probably the silliest sub-forum on all of c-d-f. You might get more responses if you post this on the main California forum.
Although if MtSurfer comes along and if he knows Santa Barbara (i suspect he does) one post of his will be worth many. He knows Monterey county well. Maybe he's out surfin the mountains and will be back soon!
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Old 01-23-2016, 09:49 PM
 
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Ouch, if that old lady is the typical Carmel resident then that might not be the right place for me after all. One thing I like about Carmel is that it seems to be largely forested and I don't get the same impression about Monterey and Pacific Grove.
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Old 01-24-2016, 03:30 AM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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Originally Posted by cityrocks View Post
Ouch, if that old lady is the typical Carmel resident then that might not be the right place for me after all. One thing I like about Carmel is that it seems to be largely forested and I don't get the same impression about Monterey and Pacific Grove.
If that Carmel resident i mentioned really bothers you then you may want to consider coming north a bit to Santa Cruz county (not necessarily Santa Cruz itself). I dissed it but it's still "itself" ... just a little too impacted now by a lot of people who don't really get the place but whatever. If you were going to be able to afford living in Carmel then you can probably swing Santa Cruz county and so will be able to afford a good place in the county which can make all the difference ... having a good home / sanctuary.

I really like Pacific Grove and Monterey though. You should just come up and see and feel for yourself. Explore the Monterey Bay area, ie; both Monterey county and Santa Cruz county.
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Old 01-24-2016, 05:37 AM
 
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Will do for sure.

Is Carmel typically populated by people like that? Are there a lot of families there?
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Old 01-24-2016, 09:50 AM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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Originally Posted by cityrocks View Post
Will do for sure.

Is Carmel typically populated by people like that? Are there a lot of families there?
I'm so much more familiar with Santa Cruz county but i'd say that a lot of Carmel is like that.
I'm guessing that with a young family Monterey or Pacific Grove would be better.

I can say that there are many young families in S.C. county ... very kid friendly with a lot of activities for families and children. Towns like Aptos, Soquel and Capitola would be my preference if i were raising a family.
If you can find a good property in Soquel, i highly recommend it. Very kid friendly. Safe. I think the two elementary schools right in town are good ones (i pass both on a daily basis). Then there's the Mountain Elementary School in Soquel (Mountain Elementary School District: Superintendent's Message). If i had a family with young kids, i'd live in it's district because the school is a very good one, it's in the best part of Soquel (imo) and you'd be very close to the ocean but nicely "isolated" (or secluded is a better word) but in no way remote.

Santa Cruz proper is much more impacted. It's a small city with a lot of the difficult issues that cities deal with. It's funky, fun, a bit wild / chaotic but with lots and lots of nice little neighborhoods and nice streets but there are areas which you'd want to avoid but if you are considering Carmel, ie; can afford it, then the neighborhoods that are best avoided aren't ones that you'd be looking at anyway.

Monterey county is a bit "older" ... maybe more socially and politically conservative but not "red" ... just a bit more stayed, less frenetic.

Many, many people commute to Silicon Valley ... San Jose and beyond from S.C. county. Silicon Valley has effected / impacted (for good and for not good) the county in a way that it hasn't effected Monterey county.
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Old 01-24-2016, 10:25 AM
 
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I've read a bit about trouble from Salinas spilling over into PG and possibly Monterey which gives me pause. The thing that really draws me to Carmel is being able to live in the forest and near the ocean. PG and Monterey strike me as more dense and not as forested but maybe I have the wrong impression.
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Old 01-24-2016, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Carmel, CA
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We relocated to Carmel almost 2 years ago after living in LA for 26 years. To me Carmel doesn't have that LA vibe that you find in SB and we love it here. The entire Monterey Peninsula skews older and particularly Carmel so you won't find a lot of families here. Where we live on the north side of Carmel, it's mostly full time residents and we have 3 families with younger children in our immediate neighborhood. The closer you get to downtown Carmel, the more part time residents and vacation homes you'll find. Downtown Carmel can get inundated with tourists on weekends but we don't feel the effects of that where our house is. No one comes up here unless they live here or are lost.

Have you looked at Carmel Valley? It has a funkier vibe and the weather will be warmer and sunnier. It's very pretty and not that far from the coast. We looked there too while we were house hunting and had we found the right house, we may have ended up in the valley.

Some woodsier neighborhoods in Monterey are Deer Flats/Fisherman Flats (we really liked this area too) and the area along Skyline Dr. In PG try the area around Asilomar. You're right that parts of Monterey and PG can feel more dense and in the case of Monterey somewhat urban. The areas closer to downtown and the waterfront are like that to me. Being in a forested area definitely makes it feel more private.
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Old 01-24-2016, 10:49 AM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cityrocks View Post
I've read a bit about trouble from Salinas spilling over into PG and possibly Monterey which gives me pause. The thing that really draws me to Carmel is being able to live in the forest and near the ocean. PG and Monterey strike me as more dense and not as forested but maybe I have the wrong impression.
If you're drawn to the forest and want to live near the ocean than you're considering the wrong county. The forests are in Santa Cruz county and there they abound. Heard of the redwoods? I live in the midst of them and can get to the beach quickly and easily.
If you've got $$$ you can live in the redwoods with ocean views.
Carmel is not a heavily forested place. Monterey county is not a heavily forested county. You need to take a road trip and see for yourself.

And if you're going to let the crime in Salinas deter you from living in any 3 of those upper crusty communities (to varying degrees and depending on where in each town) on the Monterey bay then you should just abort the mission. That's not a clear perspective. There's crime everywhere along the coast. Santa Barbara isn't free of it either. A suggestion ... be smart, educate yourself about the various communities on the Monterey bay but don't be fear based.

Last edited by blueskywalker; 01-24-2016 at 10:59 AM..
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Old 01-24-2016, 01:20 PM
 
11 posts, read 36,043 times
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From what I can tell, the Carmel Highlands are exactly what I'm looking for as far as landscape. Doesn't it feel like you're in a thick, tall forest right on the ocean there? I grew up in Humboldt County and I miss that part of the environment. The lot sizes seem pretty nice which I miss too.

Carmel Valley looks really nice but it seems to be dominated by rolling hills and shorter (oak?) trees. That's a lot like the area around Santa Barbara and I'm hoping to get back to tall trees (redwood, pine, spruce, even alder). The valley could be an awesome escape from the fog though.

I'm sorry to hear there isn't much in the way of families in Carmel but there's a high school so there must be some, right?

I've been to Santa Cruz a couple times and I've never been able to see myself living there. I think it's always felt like a strange mix of cultures with the hippie thing and the punk rock thing. It must be even stranger now with Silicon Valley people in the mix. But I will have a look around when we visit Carmel. Based on what I've said above, which towns or neighborhoods would you suggest I check out?
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