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Old 04-19-2011, 07:12 PM
 
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My family and I will be moving to the Bay Area in the coming months. We're looking for a safe community with great public schools that's a reasonable commute to Downtown. We narrowed it down to Orinda or North Bay, like Sausalito, Mill Valley, or Belvedere-Tiburon.
Can anyone tell me about these (or other) communities?
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Old 04-20-2011, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Northern California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newyorker19 View Post
My family and I will be moving to the Bay Area in the coming months. We're looking for a safe community with great public schools that's a reasonable commute to Downtown. We narrowed it down to Orinda or North Bay, like Sausalito, Mill Valley, or Belvedere-Tiburon.
Can anyone tell me about these (or other) communities?
Ever think about the peninsula (Between San Jose and San Francisco) where you don't have to cross any bridges to get to SF? Check out Burlingame, San Mateo, San Carlos and others in the area.
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Old 04-20-2011, 04:14 PM
 
Location: Bay Area
3,163 posts, read 4,649,035 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newyorker19 View Post
My family and I will be moving to the Bay Area in the coming months. We're looking for a safe community with great public schools that's a reasonable commute to Downtown. We narrowed it down to Orinda or North Bay, like Sausalito, Mill Valley, or Belvedere-Tiburon.
Can anyone tell me about these (or other) communities?
Both are really upscale beautiful areas. I'm more familiar with Orinda however so I'll only comment on this area.

Orinda has a BART station which is handy if you need public transportation into San Francisco or Oakland. My husband uses it all the time to get to the airport. The public schools are excellent here. The top high schools in the state are located in Orinda (as well as Lafayette and Moraga--all belong to the same district). There's huge local support for the schools here.

It's a fairly quiet and wooded town--semi-rural with houses on larger lots. Many of the houses on the north side of highway 24 are on steep hills and on really windy roads. The flatter neighborhoods tend to be on the other side of the freeway. The downtown area is quaint with nice restaurants, but unfortunately feels disconnected from the town since it's split by the freeway.

The weather in pretty ideal--you will get some of the Bay Area fog, yet it nearly always burns off by midmorning, then warms up a lot more in the summer.

You might also want to look into the neighboring town of Lafayette (also a BART station)--very similar to Orinda, but a more interesting and lively downtown and closer to the main shopping hub of Walnut Creek.
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Old 04-21-2011, 03:11 PM
 
75 posts, read 250,820 times
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Originally Posted by humboldtrat View Post
Ever think about the peninsula (Between San Jose and San Francisco) where you don't have to cross any bridges to get to SF? Check out Burlingame, San Mateo, San Carlos and others in the area.
We have thought about those places, actually. We thought that Burlingame was too close to the airport. Don't know if the noise would travel that far, though. But, for places like San Mateo and San Carlos, they seem kind of far.
Also, despite having to cross a bridge, the wonderful views when crossing would make up for it.
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Old 04-21-2011, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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Originally Posted by newyorker19 View Post
Also, despite having to cross a bridge, the wonderful views when crossing would make up for it.
I think the $6 per day could make you hate that view in time, plus a lot of times it's a foggy mess anyway, so you won't always know what view you're paying for part of the time.

Burlingame / Broadway is a terrific idea, IMO. Most arriving and departing flights into SFO and out of SFO come in from the southeast and I can't say for sure, but I can't remember ever hearing a plane when I was in downtown Burlingame/Broadway areas eating lunch or walking around.

When I want to see/hear the planes, I like going down to Bayside Park and even then, they're not that loud.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/...entry_id=78984 It won't be a bridge toll, but keep in mind that driving into SF from the south could also cost you.

So, all bets are off - find the homes that interest you most at the prices you want to pay, and then go visit and see which one is for you! Good luck!

Last edited by llowllevellowll; 04-21-2011 at 03:47 PM..
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Old 04-21-2011, 03:47 PM
 
1,795 posts, read 1,276,457 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newyorker19 View Post
My family and I will be moving to the Bay Area in the coming months. We're looking for a safe community with great public schools that's a reasonable commute to Downtown. We narrowed it down to Orinda or North Bay, like Sausalito, Mill Valley, or Belvedere-Tiburon.
Can anyone tell me about these (or other) communities?

Those are super nice places with very good public school system. You've obviously done your homework. If you can afford it, why not?

I doubt there's anything anyone can tell you that you don't already know. Rich, nice, established, quiet, sleepy and not culturally diverse suburbs are pretty much the same all over. The only thing to keep in mind is that California is broke so even though the schools are public, expect to be constantly solicited by the schools and other parents for donations. It's no accident that the riches area with the highest donations have the best schools.
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Old 04-21-2011, 04:42 PM
 
Location: South Korea
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For one thing, from those places in Marin your main commute option would be the ferries, which would drop you off at the ferry building. If your office was more inland, like around Montgomery, it would be a bit of a hike from the ferry terminal. Or you can take GGT buses, but I don't know how pleasant they are, traffic over the GG bridge can be heavy. From Orinda you can take BART which is pretty painless, your commute would be around 25-30 minutes, and BART has a lot of stations in downtown SF. If you were driving I would say go with Marin, at least from there you'd only have one major bottleneck over the bridge. From Orinda you'd deal with the Caldecott Tunnel and then the Bay Bridge.

Other than that there's not a huge difference between the Orinda area and Southern Marin in terms of schools and safety. Both are upscale suburban areas. Marin has its own vibe, you'd have to visit and see if you like the vibe compared with Orinda. I expect housing in Orinda should be cheaper than in Sausalito and Tiburon and Mill Valley which are some of the most expensive towns in one of the most expensive counties in the US, so you might be able to get more house for your buck in Orinda. I think Orinda might be warmer in summer but people here say it's not that hot compared with places more inland like Walnut Creek which gets baked in summer.
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:41 PM
Status: "Mr. Frou-Frou man." (set 24 days ago)
 
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If Belvedere-Tiburon is on your short list and you can afford it, do it. I would live there in a heart beat if my life situation allowed for it. Absolutely beautiful. Like others have stated kind of a crappy commute to downtown SF depending on the hours you travel.
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:42 PM
 
Location: Northern California
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Originally Posted by newyorker19 View Post
We have thought about those places, actually. We thought that Burlingame was too close to the airport. Don't know if the noise would travel that far, though. But, for places like San Mateo and San Carlos, they seem kind of far.
Also, despite having to cross a bridge, the wonderful views when crossing would make up for it.
I've never noticed the jet noise when I was in Burlingame. Burlingame and the area of San Mateo that join Burlingame and Hillsborough are quite nice up-scale areas with good schools. It's not as far out from SF as Orinda. Forget about Hillsborough - it's all $million+ mansion$! The closest BART station is in Millbrae BART - Station List which has a large parking garage. There is also Caltrain System Map but the train station is about 6 blocks from downtown. There is light rail between the station and downtown.

I wouldn't recommend driving into San Francisco. Parking is very limited and/or very expensive thanks to the liberal/progressive city government that wants everybody out of their cars and on public transit.

Driving from Marin county (Sausalito, Tiburon, etc.) is a pain. Traffic on the Golden Gate bridge is usually terrible and as others say, there is a $6 toll (one way). Between the GG bridge and downtown it's all city streets with traffic lights every two blocks - a real crawl!

Last edited by humboldtrat; 04-21-2011 at 05:57 PM..
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:03 PM
 
Location: Zurich, Switzerland
25,341 posts, read 33,173,101 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newyorker19 View Post
We have thought about those places, actually. We thought that Burlingame was too close to the airport.
I've been called out on this statement before and I understand people's opinions, but that's always been the one drag about the Northern and Mid-Peninsula for me. Its awesome but the airport is too prevalent and has too much of a presence. IMHO.

And then once you get past the realm of the airport, its too far from SF for my personal tastes. Still, spectuclar areas-Billionaires and Centimillionaires agree(LOL) but for me, its too far. If Silicon Valley was the center of my world than yeah, Palo Alto or Menlo Park or Woodside-but I like being closer to the City.

Marin is very nice and so is Orinda. I would prefer either of those to the Peninsula.

Orinda is my preferred out of the two tho. I think its better for raising kids even though Marin is excellent too.

Quote:
Also, despite having to cross a bridge, the wonderful views when crossing would make up for it.
The views never get tiring but the traffic does. At least in Orinda you can always hop on BART---however Marin has a beautiful ferry.
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