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Old 02-02-2012, 07:01 AM
 
46 posts, read 62,796 times
Reputation: 19
Question Thinking of moving to Santa Cruz County or Sonoma County-help!

Hi All,
My mom and I have had SAD for over 10 years in Seattle and this mother and daughter are ready to move! Even though we’re only a 20-30 minute drive from downtown Seattle for arts and entertainment, it’s all kind of “been there, done that” for us.

We’ve heard some great “general” things about Sonoma County that might meet some of our needs, but would need the help of others to nail that down. I know the weather is good, but how hot does it get in the summertime? We are looking for new experiences and new people in a diverse environment ethnically and LGBT wise.

This will probably be my mom’s final move as she is 70. As her daughter I want to make sure I talk to as many people as possible to get insight on this area to see if it is a good fit for both of us. So! I would love to hear from people who know things about Sonoma County about the following:

1. How hot does it get in the summertime there?
2. The arts and entertainment options (or how far you may have to go to get to them), my mom loves the theatre, opera & museums.
3. My mom is up there in age although very active: loves being outside walking by water, going to parks and such. She’s also a snowshoer, horseback rider and hiker. She likes to be outside particularly around water.
4. Diversity of lifestyles LGBT and ethnically
5. I love an artsy environment. Being around artists is something I would like to tap into for my own personal work.
6. If the air quality is good or bad there.
7. We pay $900/mo for a 2 bedroom apartment now and want to know if that is possible in Sonoma County. Note: Job isn’t a problem b/c we are on a fixed income, but am a little concerned about electricity bills there.
8. Is there a big senior community my mom could tap into?
9. Is Sonoma County considered a pretty safe area
10. Some specific safe, residential neighborhoods to look into for rentals.

11. Finally, are there wonderful hospitals and health care in that area?

I have spent countless hours on the internet reading posts and feel overwhelmed, to say the least.

Any insight is greatly appreciated! Pros and Cons of living there is also welcomed.
It might be painfully obvious that this is my first experience posting on forms, so I apologize if I've done something wrong.
Thank you so much for ANYTHING, no matter how little, you choose to contribute to helping us figure this out through this forum!


Denise


p.s. Someone should start a company that helps people with this stuff. I'd bet juuuust about ANYTHING they'd get a niche and make some serious bank! If you guys know of anyone that does this, pass it along, please!!!
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:57 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
349 posts, read 300,132 times
Reputation: 167
I only feel qualified to answer a few of your questions. Please regard this as just a start:

The air quality is pretty good.

In general, I think, Sonoma County is regarded as safe ... but of course, that's relative to other areas.

I hope those more knowledgeable of Sonoma pitch in to tell you more.
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:30 PM
 
Location: Pacifica, CA
254 posts, read 322,284 times
Reputation: 194
Default sonoma

See answers below; Note I lived in Santa Rosa for a couple years, that was in 1996, but have cousins in Healdsburg also.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deniseld View Post
Hi All,
My mom and I have had SAD for over 10 years in Seattle and this mother and daughter are ready to move! Even though we’re only a 20-30 minute drive from downtown Seattle for arts and entertainment, it’s all kind of “been there, done that” for us.

We’ve heard some great “general” things about Sonoma County that might meet some of our needs, but would need the help of others to nail that down. I know the weather is good, but how hot does it get in the summertime? We are looking for new experiences and new people in a diverse environment ethnically and LGBT wise.

This will probably be my mom’s final move as she is 70. As her daughter I want to make sure I talk to as many people as possible to get insight on this area to see if it is a good fit for both of us. So! I would love to hear from people who know things about Sonoma County about the following:


1. How hot does it get in the summertime there? Depends on where in the county, on the coast of course is cooler then inland, in Santa Rosa, it easily gets in the 80s in the summer.

2. The arts and entertainment options (or how far you may have to go to get to them), my mom loves the theatre, opera & museums. There is one big venue in the county that I'm aware of, I think its called Luther Burbank theatre, something like that. They have a variety of types of entertainment there. Museums, hm, probably not much, but definitely galleries, and even wineries have art shows. Other then that there are a few small venues for shows of various kinds, including the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma. Otherwise there is San Francisco which is about 50 minutes south of Petaluma.

3. My mom is up there in age although very active: loves being outside walking by water, going to parks and such. She’s also a snowshoer, horseback rider and hiker. She likes to be outside particularly around water. No snow in Sonoma, but plenty of parks and trails, also the Pacific Ocean, Lake Sonoma, the Russian River and probably other small lakes and parks I don't know. Also just to the south in Marin county is probably hundreds of miles of trails.

4. Diversity of lifestyles LGBT and ethnically Definitely a good sized LGBT community in Sonoma, but ethnic diversity is a little lacking, Sonoma is majority white, large minority of Hispanics and not much else.

5. I love an artsy environment. Being around artists is something I would like to tap into for my own personal work. Definitely some artists in Sonoma county, not sure they're in any specific community but scattered throughout the county.

6. If the air quality is good or bad there. Good
7. We pay $900/mo for a 2 bedroom apartment now and want to know if that is possible in Sonoma County. Note: Job isn’t a problem b/c we are on a fixed income, but am a little concerned about electricity bills there. Electricity shouldn't be an issue, you won't likely use AC, and heater in winter is only necessary on occasion. For rentals not sure if you'll find anything at that price, check Craigslist for listings. I would guess you won't get Petaluma or Santa Rosa for that price, but maybe one of the more remote towns.

8. Is there a big senior community my mom could tap into? I know there are at least 2 senior housing complexes in Santa Rosa and at least one in Healdsburg, otherwise I don't know.

9. Is Sonoma County considered a pretty safe area Generally yes. 2 areas I'm aware of that are considered sketchy are the southwest corner of santa rosa, basically south of hwy 12 and west of hwy 101, and the fairgrounds area. and I hear there is some crime committed in downtown Santa Rosa, but I lived there and never saw it.

10. Some specific safe, residential neighborhoods to look into for rentals.
Check craigslist, with your budget, you'll be pretty limited

11. Finally, are there wonderful hospitals and health care in that area? I believe so, there is a catholic hospital, Kaiser and I think a couple Sutter hospitals in the area.

I have spent countless hours on the internet reading posts and feel overwhelmed, to say the least.

Any insight is greatly appreciated! Pros and Cons of living there is also welcomed.
It might be painfully obvious that this is my first experience posting on forms, so I apologize if I've done something wrong.
Thank you so much for ANYTHING, no matter how little, you choose to contribute to helping us figure this out through this forum!


Denise


p.s. Someone should start a company that helps people with this stuff. I'd bet juuuust about ANYTHING they'd get a niche and make some serious bank! If you guys know of anyone that does this, pass it along, please!!!
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:50 PM
 
46 posts, read 62,796 times
Reputation: 19
I spoke with a guy in person today who suggested the Berkeley area. Any thoughts?
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Old 02-03-2012, 08:06 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
349 posts, read 300,132 times
Reputation: 167
I haven't lived in Berkeley, so please bear that in mind when considering my response.

That said:

Berkeley is a famously liberal college town. You should find the artsy atmosphere here that you're after, but crime could be an issue in some parts of the city. I suggest browsing around CrimeMapping.com - National Map and seeing for yourself. (Unfortunately, crimemapping.com doesn't yet serve Sonoma County.)

I know how difficult it is to research a faraway place online. I'm sympathetic. Really, though, I don't think there's going to be any substitute for visiting and looking around.
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Old 02-04-2012, 12:35 AM
 
Location: South Korea
5,245 posts, read 6,418,931 times
Reputation: 2824
Berkeley is pretty much the most expensive area in the East Bay. It's cheaper than San Francisco or the Peninsula but it's still expensive. Look on craigslist for 2 bedroom apartments in different areas to get a feel for what they are going for. In Berkeley you're probably looking at $1500 and up for a 2br, in cheaper parts of the East Bay maybe more like $1200 a month. Santa Cruz is cheaper than Berkeley but still pretty expensive, I dunno as much about Sonoma, it's probably similar.

Sonoma County and Santa Cruz County have some big cities but they are huge counties with a lot of empty space and houses in semi-rural areas, you'd really have to be into that. Berkeley is very urban--pretty dense and walkable and not a lot of empty space. There's a ton of other towns around the East Bay that range from urban like Berkeley to way more suburban or rural. I'd just hop on a flight and come down here for a visit and check out different towns and get a feel for what you can afford.
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Old 02-04-2012, 04:43 AM
 
46 posts, read 62,796 times
Reputation: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Vagabond View Post

Really, though, I don't think there's going to be any substitute for visiting and looking around.
Thanks! I wholeheartedly agree with visiting myself. Just trying to narrow down the areas that seem to be a fit before I fly down.
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:52 PM
 
2,147 posts, read 2,174,270 times
Reputation: 1486
Honestly, though, that budget will be tough for anywhere in sonoma county! Santa Rosa will show some options, but probably will not be in a recommended area. You could try forestville/guerneville in the russian river area, as well. [just north and west of SR.] Sebastopol is lovely and you both might like it alot; it's just the rental budget getting in the way of that option!

Last edited by lrmsd; 03-04-2012 at 08:52 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 03-16-2012, 07:40 AM
 
25 posts, read 43,287 times
Reputation: 41
Have lived in Sonoma County for a year now and IMO it has Santa Cruz beat for weather. It Rains a few inches more here a year and can a be a little cooler at night, but other than that I think it has the best weather in northern California. The LGBT community is here, and this has to be one of the easiest places to live in all of California. I had lived in Santa Cruz for 12 years, and though liberal, it is "to a fault". The political correctness is still in the "hysterical stage". Rents here are lower than Santa Cruz generally, though still high, and like Santa Cruz there are areas to avoid. Below the Fairgrounds and the southwest corner Santa Rosa...but with that said, Santa Rosa is still a feel good
safe area, with a real sense of cohesiveness and community...people are friendly. And why not, Bodega Bay, part of California's gold, is just a gorgeous 30 minute drive to the coast.
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Old 04-06-2012, 05:34 AM
 
1 posts, read 2,049 times
Reputation: 10
Hi Denise, I am just now reading your post, with it's questions and I think some of the folks have given you some incorrect information about Sonoma County. I have lived in Monte Rio, California for about 12 1/2 years, and Sonoma County for about 30 years.


1. How hot does it get in the summertime there? Depends on where in the county, on the coast of course is cooler then inland, in Santa Rosa, it easily gets in the 80s in the summer.

Sonoma County, especially the west county, has cool to warm weather in the summer (think layers, even in summer), but the inland part of Sonoma County (Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, the city of Sonoma, etc.) is hotter and drier. The weather in the west county is sunny, cool and beautiful. The west county has weather similar to SF, but usually, without the morning fog. (Mark Twain said of the weather in SF as "the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.")

2. The arts and entertainment options (or how far you may have to go to get to them), my mom loves the theatre, opera & museums.
The West county (as it is called) is different, very liberal and artsy. (People say "it's where old hippies go to die") There are a lot of small theatre companies here in Sonoma County. Santa Rosa Junior College (the BEST community college in the country!) host The Summer Rep Theatre, every summer. They put on some GREAT SHOWS, for a mere pittance. Added to that are a lot of other theatre groups, here. There is also a lot of musical talent, and there are little venues everywhere, But the big venue is in Santa Rosa. It is called the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. (It was called the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, but they renamed it a couple of years ago.)

3. My mom is up there in age although very active: loves being outside walking by water, going to parks and such. She’s also a snowshoer, horseback rider and hiker. She likes to be outside particularly around water. s.
The Russian River area, is one of the least expensive areas to live in the county. The river has the usually river stuff, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, swimming, etc. We get no snow here. The coastal areas are more expensive to live.

4. Diversity of lifestyles LGBT. The Russian River area is know for being highly populated with the LGBT community. Most of the population is white, hispanic.
5. I love an artsy environment. Being around artists is something I would like to tap into for my own personal work.
Artist are everywhere here. Every little city has its own art center. Artists are very active here and are supported with lots of activities and centers.

6. If the air quality is good or bad there.

Here is the redwoods, the air is some of the best in the world. The rest of the county has good air quality.
7. We pay $900/mo for a 2 bedroom apartment now and want to know if that is possible in Sonoma County. It is possible to find that here. Especially in the west county, river communities.

8. Is there a big senior community my mom could tap into? There are a lot of people in your mom's age group and there are a lot of senior centers here. YES

9. Is Sonoma County considered a pretty safe area.
Yes, it is very safe, but it does have a couple of areas (around Santa Rosa) that you should avoid.
10. Some specific safe, residential neighborhoods to look into for rentals.
Most of Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, (Guerneville, Monte Rio, Healdsburg, Jenner, Bodega Bay, Forestville, all in the Russian River area.) Petaluma, and lot's of other cities and communities.

11. Finally, are there wonderful hospitals and health care in that area?

Yes, Kaiser in Santa Rosa, Memorial Hospital (Santa Rosa) and Sutter (Santa Rosa). There are other hospitals in the area, one in Sebastopol and Petaluma. And there are other health care facilities here as well.

Sonoma County is one of the best places in the country to live. The weather is wonderful, the art community is alive and well here, and the lifestyle is very relaxed. And, the people here are some of the nicest you will ever meet. Feel free to write me if you'd like some more information. I can be reached at janish-info@yahoo.com

By the way, someone else wrote that you won't need to heat your house very much in the winter. That is NOT TRUE! It gets very chilly here and you will need heat in the winter, you don't really need air condition in the west county. But in the inland valley (Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, City of Sonoma), it can get hot, and you might want air conditioning there. On the river and in the West county, you won't need AC.



Any insight is greatly appreciated! Pros and Cons of living there is also welcomed. It is
It might be painfully obvious that this is my first experience posting on forms, so I apologize if I've done something wrong.
Thank you so much for ANYTHING, no matter how little, you choose to contribute to helping us figure this out through this forum!

Denise


p.s. Someone should start a company that helps people with this stuff. I'd bet juuuust about ANYTHING they'd get a niche and make some serious bank! If you guys know of anyone that does this, pass it along, please!!!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
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