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We are a recent married couple in the low 30's, no kids and not planning to have one for the next 5 years. We have lived in New York (Manhattan) for the last 4.5 years and we are considering a move to Napa where one of us got an offer. We are looking for a better quality of life and a new and different experience.
While we are not club-type couple, we do enjoy going to bars, and doing international cultural activities when possible.
One of our fears is that Napa would be of a much older population, or a place where most couples have children, and the city would not be a good "fit" for us.
How is the nightlife and cultural events in Napa? Is it only wine-related?
We also like to work out. Are there good gyms in the city?
I loved doing outside activities and I have a feeling Napa would be great for hikings.
For those who have moved from NY or other metro areas to Napa, how hard is to get used to driving everywhere instead of taking subways and cabs? Do you regret moving to Napa?
We would appreciate to get advices, insights and opinion on what could be a great or crazy move from the East to the West coast.
Last edited by nycbra; 01-03-2009 at 11:15 AM..
Reason: explaining a point.
Living in Napa is much akin to living in Hamptons, though w/much better weather and better grub....cute to visit Yountville for lunch at a certain well-regarded restaurant (which has a NYC branch location), but deadly boring for more than a few hrs
Even the well-known restaurants in Yountville struggle w/rapid staff turnover...younger people will work there briefly for their resume, but quickly want to move to more interesting towns like SF or LA
May want to consider renting in areas like Novato...close enough to Napa for easy commute, yet close enough to SF for wkend dinner/drinks, etc
Lots of NYC transplants in SF or LA....obviously, a self-selected bunch, but have never met one who ever wants to again deal w/NYC humidity or cold/slush or NYC traffic or mass transit/cabs or NYC's weak produce quality, even in high-end restaurants
Those who properly position themselves (vs office) in either SF or LA have some of shortest, most civilized commutes in world; difference is that, in SF for ex., many live in PacHts and casually drive the ~2mis to office in FinDt or 1mi to dinner; modern garages and valet parking are a part of urban fabric of US outside Manhattan....and yet one enjoys convenient access to scenic mtns for all kinds of outdoor activities that simply aren't convenient anywhere in Eastern US, yet are ~30mins from one's office in midst of SiliconValley or LA's Westside....hell, Malibu is where many LA Westsiders have their summer beach houses....a lot more convenient than are Hamptons vs Manhattan....and Malibu is a lot less humid/hot/insect-ridden than Hamptons w/a more dramatic coastline
Check out Walnut Creek and vicinity - a nice upper middle class town with the amenities you're looking for. It's on the BART line BART - Station List for easy access into San Francisco for a little nightlife/culture. Being use to subways/taxis, you can get around SF using the same. But you will need a car for travelling to Napa.
Hi there. Thanks for the replies. This forum has proved really helpful.
We are looking at Napa (city) as midway town for both of us, since my husband would have to drive up 30 minutes north, and I would somehow work either in Oakland, Berkley or SF. I am assessing how bad those commutes would be, so we can see if it is feasible at all. I think Walnut Creek sounds like a great place but it would be too far for my husband. We don't want both to end up with an awful commute.
As of Napa itself, do you have more info on average age and type of family (with or w/o kids, etc) living there?
Is Yountville also a good neighborhood to live? I will also look at Novato as recommended.
Thank you all.
I do not personally think you will be happy living right in Napa town. I think after Manhatten you will find it boring. It's very beautiful, but very suburban with lots of families. Culture revolves around tourist-attraction winery events and then family events mostly. The younger set moves towards the City for their young adulthood before considering a move back there. I too agree with a compromise area like Novato (North Bay). And about the Walnut Creek (which is of course East Bay) commute -- I commuted for years from Walnut Creek living right at the interchange of highway 24 and 680 (so no 20 minutes to the freeway in the morning) and it took me exactly 60 minutes to travel to St Helena north of Napa. Exactly what town is his job in?
You need your job first before we can advise on the best place to live. What field are you in? There are some employment prospects in Oakland/Berkeley but not nearly what there is in SF.
And hiking abounds all around the Bay Area --- from Napa and it's surrounding mountains, to Marin with it's Mt. Tam (near Novato), to East Bay and it's Redwood Regional Park and the hiking behind UCBerkeley and in the hills towards Walnut Creek, to even more in the South and on the Peninsula. You will not be without hiking and outdoor opportunities anywhere and could probably never exhaust them, so focus first on your job location and keeping your commute reasonable.
As far as Napa being "midway," .... NOT! Sounds like the brunt of the commute will fall to you if that's the viewpoint. 30 minutes for him and hours for you? That's not halfway nor fair! 30 minutes is "no commute" around here, and please excuse me for calling him selfish if he thinks he can shoulder 30 minutes while you shoulder hours (and will you shoulder more cooking/cleaning? You may want the lesser commute if so!)...You could each plan on an hour 15+ commute from Novato to mid/north Napa Valley region (is his job actually IN Napa Valley, but North? Please define), and you from Novato to SF perhaps via ferry. (Sorry if my comments are rude....just want you to really look at what's being discussed!)
I'll second the recommendation that you look into someplace else in the North Bay.
Napa is NOT entirely what it's PR company & the Wine Industry have pegged it to be.
It's one thing to visit, but it's a whole 'nother thing to live there.
You may feel quite trapped in Napa.
Where exactly is your husband's job offer? 30 minutes North of Napa? Where?
Plus a commute from Napa to SF/Berk or Oak would be a total bear.
But SF & Walnut Creek IMHO is way too Stamford to your NYC.
I am up to hear all insights, advices and opinions. His job would probably be in St. Helena.
As per my field, I worked with non-profit management and just finished a Master in economic development and social responsibility. While my area of expertise is international development programs, I am open to local community development programs that are run by non-profits, foundations and corporations. I am looking to implement social responsible programs at the corporate level.
I would be willing to take a 1hr commute (each way) if I get a really nice job. We have stayed in NY till now so I could finish my Master degree. As per housework, we share house duties so cooking/cleaning time is the least of our worries. We want a move where we both can be happy with our jobs and get a better quality of life without being too bored.
We are doing research and looking at other possible cities to live in the Napa area. And I appreciate all the advices and information in this forum. Thanks.
Last edited by nycbra; 01-04-2009 at 02:18 PM..
Reconsider Walnut Creek, right at the border of Walnut Creek-Lafayette or Walnut Creek-Lafayette-Pleasant Hill, near the freeway interchange. It will be a one hour commute for each of you. Without traffic it is only 30 minutes or less into the City.
A more expensive but less commute for you option is Berkeley-Rockridge-Montclair, same commute for him but housing slightly more expensive.
Or again consider Marin County, North Bay, Novato-San Rafael area.
Those are your best bets. "Other cities in the Napa area" are not an option for you IMHO. Commute will be waaaaay too long for you and it will not be lively enough for you. That applies to anything North of Napa like Yountville (10 minute commute for him), or South like American Canyon-Vallejo-Benecia. Best of luck.
I lived in the City of Napa for one year and had to move because of seasonal allergies during spring..... moved to Oregon. Anyway, we went back to visit the Napa Valley last month, for a few days because family still lives there. We drove through the valley........ I love it ...... saw an "Open House" sign in St. Helena, so we went to see it (just for fun). Well...... it was a 3/1 with teeny tiny bedrooms, a microscopic kitchen, backyard full of mildew and mold, small tiny garage...... and would you believe the asking price is $825,000 !!! This will give you an idea of how outrageous the real estate prices are out there.
Still, I love the Napa Valley. I'm retired, 70 years old, and it would suite me just fine to move back there. But, for someone your age without children (coming from NYC - my hometown) you would find it very boring unless your main social activities revolve around eating out at gourmet restaurants and ....... wine tasting? Really, I don't know of much going on there for your age group!
Still, I love the Napa Valley
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