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Old 08-08-2012, 05:21 AM
16 posts, read 39,180 times
Reputation: 28


Thinking of moving to either Napa/Sonoma area in a year or two (sooner if I hit the Powerball). From reading here the best places we could come up with are Petaluma, Healdsburg, or Sebastopol. Any recommendations or pros vs. cons on those areas?

Looking for "real town" feel not suburbia like Santa Rosa or Rohnert Park, although wife has friends there so we want something nearby. We have 2 teenagers so looking for decent schools and stuff for them to do, not too small of a town. I will be retired soon so I need a decent sized yard to keep me busy and somewhere that is easy to get around for an old codger driving a car or taking public transportation/walking/biking.

Currently live in DC area but have visited and like the area and the nearness to SFO and national parks, and CA101 even on a busy day is easier traffic then we have here. Don't really want to live in the Napa/Sonoma valley area just because of the dust/chemicals associated with the vineyards. Looks like we could get a decent sized home for around $500k any of these places although most of them have tiny yards.

Anybody got any advice? Thanks!
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:27 AM
386 posts, read 640,277 times
Reputation: 185
Petaluma is spread out and has a lot of commuters to SF. As a result, it does not have that small town feel for me. Healdsburg, which has a charming downtown square, thrives on tourists and tourism. It is similar to downtown Sonoma, which is also kept alive by tourists (at least for retail). Sebastopol has more of a "real" small town feel, but is more liberal and more like Berkeley. A lot of the Haight Ashbury crowd migrated to West Sonoma in the late 60-70's. So you have the tie dyed Grateful Dead vibe there.

A decent place up to 500k is indeed possible. If you see small yards, you are looking at newer developments within the last 15 years, where the lot size is 4-5000 sq ft max. Or the lot may be larger but it is all house. If you are looking at the better Sebastopol neighborhoods, check areas west of the Laguna and north of Highway 12. You may also want to consider Graton, which is mostly a suburb of Sebastopol now.
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