Help--moving back to Sac and a bit scared! (Sacramento, Orange: appointed, apartment)
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I need some advice, and sorry in advance for the long post! The man's been offered a job in Sac, at American River College, and although I'm very happy to be near family again, I'm having a hard time figuring out where we'd be happy living. I lived downtown about 15 years ago or so after I got out of high school, but also lived in Davis for a few years after 2002 where I met said man, who's from Portugal. I lived in Santa Cruz for the other 10 or so years, and grew up between Auburn and Placerville in the boondocks--we live in Munich, Germany at the moment... All that said for a reason: We loved Davis (calm, friendly, bike heaven, although its a bubble isolated from the real world), I love Santa Cruz and would go there again in a heartbeat for so many reasons, Munich is pretty cool (terrible winters tho), and rural living is also awesome (I would also jump on an opportunity to settle in Nevada City).
I know Sac has a lot going for it and I don't expect to find another Davis/Santa Cruz/Europe/boondocks there. I just need help figuring out a place that approximates some of what we love about those places so that the we have a softer landing and can learn to love it as we do some of the places I mentioned.
We're liberally minded, are big on outdoor activities/opportunities, would ideally like to have within biking distance some cafes, bookshops, a farmers market, and being a plantaholic, after so much time in an apartment without so much as a balcony, I am yearning to be able to plant a couple tomatoes. I have a fear of suburbs due I think to my perception of a lack of a sense of community. Does such a place exist around ARC or should I focus on midtown/east sac/land park areas (or are those areas not a good idea for me?)
Again, it's been awhile, but I just remember it all being kinda the same east of East Sac (where his job is)--no city centers, just Carmichael turning into Fair Oaks turning into Orangevale turning into Folsom...I know Folsom and Roseville have quaint little 'downtowns', but I'm kind of put off by the new Roseville explosion of tract homes/strip malls etc, and Folsom maybe a little uppity and also a growth explosion? Am I totally far off here in all this? Has it just been too long since I spent any time in Sac? Do I have an irrational fear of suburbia?
We'd both prefer to drive as little as possible but realize we're going to have to get used to sitting in traffic again--again, he'll be working at ARC, I'm not sure yet exactly where I'll be working but I know I'll likely have to go to Davis on a fairly regular basis to learn Portuguese (why the entire Los Rios CC district doesn't offer it is a mystery to me!)
Unfortunately, Sacramento is neither Santa Cruz, nor Munich. And, the closest thing you're going to find to living in Davis, is to live in Davis. That said, if you want to walk or ride your bike, I think the best places are Land Park, East Sac and Midtown. I think Land Park is the most family-friendly of the three. So, if no kids, you should look at midtown and East Sac, particularly the area to the east and just south of McKinley Park is a good place to start. The park is great for hanging out, people watching and exercising, and you can walk down J Street either way to find plenty of good restaurants and shops, the Food Co-op, etc.
Alternatively, if your man-friend doesn't mind commuting, you could live more rurally in places like Grass Valley/Nevada City or around the wine country in the foothills (Fairplay, etc.) or even on the river in Clarksburg.
Wow, I can understand your dilemma. You sound how I sound. I have lived in the area and then moved away and lived in several places around the US and in Europe and then moved back. In some ways, I feel more settled even though I am not happy with living in Sacramento as a whole. I found when I moved away I talked about California alot. I would like to live in other parts of CA besides Sac.
The way you talk you might want to check out Land Park, Midtown or East Sac and Davis. I think they have alot to offer. Best of Luck moving back from Germany. I just think you may feel a bit disappointed in the area since you left. That is the way I felt for the most part but Sacramento is what I knew so it was like putting a pair of old shoes back on again.
Thanks guys I appreciate the words of wisdom, it's good to hear I was on the right track thinking midtown/land park/east sac.
@travelgirl: thanks--I'll be sure to check out around McKinley. We had actually talked about going back to Davis, but after a while everyone you know ends up moving away, and it is a bit of a bubble. And yeah, I'm down with Nevada City no doubt but I think in order to soften the landing a little bit back into car culture both hubby and I want to try to avoid too much of a commute--I haven't driven in 3 years and although I miss it on country roads, stuck in rush hour traffic is another story--I'll have to ease into that slowly...after being totally spoiled by some of the best public transportation the world over. I never even considered Clarksburg but I might just think about it anyway!
@mossy: yeah, I talk about Ca a lot too ...and occasionally go through pretty intense episodes of homesickness--especially over the impossible winters here--course now that spring has finally arrived here, and I know I'm leaving, I wish I had more time and am going through pretty intense episodes of not wanting to leave! I know Sac isn't my dream place either but it's sunny, there's family and I know there's some good stuff going on and, well, it's going to be home for awhile so all the better to land in the right spot. And yeah, it helps to have a little history there--old shoes=soft landing.
@citygirl: We don't have kids but it's on the to do list at some point We're already planning on moving to Portugal in 2-3 years (and then back again a couple years into that--total insanity!) but it's still good to know where the decent schools are.
I'd say look at renting an apartment in Midtown and see how you like it. The Blue Line light rail line runs to Watt/I-80, which connects to Bus 1 that goes straight to American River College. Yolobus picks up in downtown Sacramento to Davis, or you can take the Amtrak Capitol Corridor, or if you like to bike you can cycle there...or you can always drive. It's not too hard to find places for rent that have some kind of space for gardening, and if you can't there are several community gardens in the central city. East Sacramento and River Park are nice too, a little quieter, and Bus 30/31 will take you downtown to meet Yolobus or to the transit center at Sacramento State to catch Bus 82 to ARC.
First do you know at which ARC campus your man will work at? ARC has a bunch of campus centers. At this point do you really know where he is going to be working? Second will he be teaching only at ARC or will he be working at the other Los Rios Community Colleges and there respective campus centers?
[url=http://www.arc.losrios.edu/off_campus_centers.htm]ARC - Off Campus Centers[/url]
[url=http://www.losrios.edu/index.php]Los Rios Community College District[/url]
Depending on where is actually ends up, I think there is a good chance you could just as easily live in Davis as anywhere else in Sacramento.
@mossy: we'll stick around 2-3 years, then hopefully head to Portugal for his postdoc to be near his family. But life is full of curve balls so we may end up sticking around longer. Jobs are few and far between in our fields in Portugal (well, more his) so we'll likely land back somewhere in the states after that--hopefully it's Ca or at least the west somewhere. We shall see!
@wburg: thanks, a community garden just might save me. I see the lightrail/bus option takes a bit over an hour from downtown, which at least you can relax/work on during--better than sitting in traffic being annoyed! And I also see we'll be paying to live in the decent areas, we're both still starving students so it's still not intuitive recalling what it's like to actually have an income...sometimes I wonder what I was thinking going back to school. Thesis=not fun anymore...but there is light at the end of the tunnel...
@arnop: it's the main campus, and he'll only be teaching there. What do you reckon the commute from Davis would be during rush hour? There's a chance I will be working there actually.
Thanks again for all the comments!
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