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Old 01-08-2013, 12:20 PM
 
1,030 posts, read 1,537,990 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by easybay View Post
From what I've heard it dates back to the Hippies of the 60's. It doesn't fit with how you describe yourself professional/educated/kids - you sound as if you'd fit better in Menlo Park/Palo Alto.
Or even Los Gatos, if they want to be closer to the beach
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:24 PM
 
Location: Studio City, CA 91604
1,076 posts, read 798,531 times
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Have you also considered Monterey and maybe CSU-Monterey Bay for a career? It is just 15 miles south of Santa Cruz.
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Old 01-08-2013, 04:35 PM
 
1,030 posts, read 1,537,990 times
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Originally Posted by mattk92681 View Post
Have you also considered Monterey and maybe CSU-Monterey Bay for a career? It is just 15 miles south of Santa Cruz.
More like 30 miles south, but still doable
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:03 PM
 
8 posts, read 47,898 times
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I did some research about Monterey, but we decided that ultimately we would like to remain closer to San Francisco. I will definitely revisit it, though. One concern that both my wife and I have, both being in education--she in higher ed. and I in secondary, is the state of hiring in CA right now. I have heard that it is quite difficult to secure a job in education. We are currently in NJ, and two of my past colleagues were back and forth between NY/NJ and CA for a couple of years before landing a secure job. Thus, we may have to be flexible in our search. I'm thankful to receive all over the suggestions from you and previous posters. If you have any others, please keep 'em coming! Thanks.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:14 PM
 
14,085 posts, read 11,709,491 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awregar View Post
My wife and I are considering a move to Santa Cruz and would like to hear from people who live or have lived in Santa Cruz for an appreciable time (3 years or more). We have two young children (a 3-year old and an infant). It would be great if you could format your responses as "pros" and "cons." We are particularly interested in responses that involve education, cost of living, recreation, and overall quality of life.

We are in our late 30s, professionals (both with Masters degrees) in education and the arts, and liberal. We are moving from California from the NYC area.

I have read other threads that unfortunately have devolved into arguments between posters. I hope to keep this tread positive and on task rather than let it become a flashpoint for personality conflicts. If you find yourself going on the offensive or defensive against another poster, please consider pulling away from the conversation. Even if you have a lot of "cons" about the area, it would be helpful to discuss them frankly but not begrudgingly.

Many thanks in advance to all for helping us learn more about Santa Cruz!
Here is my .02. I live in San Jose (downtown area), but of course, like most people in SV, visit Santa Cruz with some regularity.

Pros:

--Great weather. Warmer & sunnier than other NorCal coastal communities because it's a south facing beach. Cooler in the summer than SJ (although is somewhat more overcast & foggy).

--Outdoor recreation opportunities are great.

Cons:

--Overpriced and somewhat dumpy housing stock, even by California standards.
--The homeless is definitely a problem. The worst part is the way their behavior is tolerated by the "anything goes" crowd.
--A lack of good paying jobs. Your wife might have a good job in SC...but you may have to commute to SV for a decent paying job. The commute is a grind, although there are buses than run from SC to downtown SJ (not sure if they go to other locations).
--Has a lot of traffic congestion for a relatively small city.


I am not blind to the negatives of Santa Cruz, but I think easybay is overstating them. But it sounds like Easybay has kids and I am single without them. That definitely makes a difference in your outlook. I personally love going over there. I was just over walking on West Cliff Drive yesterday and it was great!

But I do agree....the area around the boardwalk is not appealing. If you are from the East Coast, you will think their "Boardwalk" is a joke (It's asphalt and cement. How can they even call it a boardwalk?)

I like the downtown area, although it does have its homeless.

I would definitely research the schools.

I also agree that Aptos and Capitola are nicer and if I had kids I would live in one of those nearby beach towns over Santa Cruz, hands down. You get all of the same benefits of Santa Cruz in those towns without nearly as many issues with the homeless & drug addicted.

If you can afford it and both of you can get decent paying jobs there, I think Aptos or Capitola would be close to ideal. But the bar for living a comfortable lifestyle in that area with kids is quite a high one. Think $150K unless you are die hard frugal or don't care if you live payday to payday you whole life. If you are one of the lucky people who can pull it off, more power to you. Most people can't. If one of you has to commute every day to San Jose/Silicon Valley, that takes the quality of life factor down by several notches. If both of you have to, I'd say it's definitely not worth it.

I think the other issue with kids is the drug/pot culture is pretty strong there, and I don't know if I'd want my kids around that. I know there are issues with drugs everywhere...but the drug culture in SC is worse than other places.

I personally would not want to commute from Monterey County. It's just too far and there aren't a lot of good paying jobs there, plus the weather is a lot foggier and colder in summer.
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:36 AM
 
8 posts, read 47,898 times
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Thanks for the informative post, mysticaltiger. You voiced many of the concerns that my wife and I have been discussing, primarily how to land jobs that are within a reasonable commuting distance from where we will live. Right now, she commutes about 1 hr 10min each way, and I about 30min each way. Though mine is tolerable, we want to reduce her commute and thus extend the amount of time she can spend with our kids.

Schools are definitely an issue for us. Although we have seen a few schools that have good ratings on great schools.net (which I don't consider an ultimate authority--all test score driven ratings), there is still some research that needs to be done.

Still, the allure of the SC area for us is in the beaches, the hills and hiking. Yet, although we are open minded, I'm not sure I would feel comfortable dropping our two kids into a culture that seems a little too open when it comes to drug use.

We are expanding our search to areas closer to San Jose, as well. This might aid in the job search. Road Warrior 101 had mentioned Los Gatos in a post. Would you recommend other towns proximate to San Jose that are nestled in a more wooded area? Also, Google Maps says that it takes about 45 minutes from SC to San Jose on Highway 35. Does that sound right to you, or is it an underestimate?
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:08 AM
 
748 posts, read 971,196 times
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Quote:
Still, the allure of the SC area for us is in the beaches, the hills and hiking.
I guess this was what I was getting at in my original question. The idea of being close to the ocean in beach sounds nice, but what do you envision? Living here in San Jose, we occasionally drive down south of Santa Cruz to Manresa beach to walk our dog. In the summer it will be 90 here in San Jose, and find that it is cloudy and 50 at the beach. So it's stinking cold. I have been at the beach here once when the temp. was in the 70's and I could wear a bathing suit. And forget going in the water - it's freezing cold and really rough. Perfect for wetsuits and surfing. Anyhow....back to walking the dog. Down at Manresa there are people picnicking by the lifeguard station and parking lot, so we walk away from them to let the dog run off leash to chase his ball. (Even he hates how cold the water is). Makes for a great image until the beach patrol drives up and tells us to put the dog back on the leash. We haven't been fined....yet.

As for hiking, hope you don't have a dog because you can't take your dog to many public parks here (on or off leash). Funny how you can take a dog INTO a restaurant in Carmel (you must have a dog as an accessory in Carmel) but you can't take one on a walk in a state park. So we don't do much hiking here either.

Sorry if I sound like a Debby-downer, many will tell you to chase your dreams - I'm more of a realist, and tell you it sounds sexy, but it really isn't.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
108 posts, read 74,415 times
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Hi there. I lived in the Santa Cruz Area from 2000-2010 (7 years in Capitola and 3 in Scotts Valley), so will offer my thoughts here for what they're worth I moved from San Jose, commuted to San Jose the whole time I was there, and moved back to San Jose (now in Houston, but that's another story).

Pros:
-I moved there for one reason, the coast, and lived very close to it in Capitola. There is nothing like hearing waves crashing, watching dolphins play in the surf, etc. Amazing.
-In the Spring and Fall there can be amazing weather. In the winter the weather can be bad, but the beach areas are empty and still beautiful.
-Beautiful redwoods and lots of public space.
-Some really good restaurants.
-Personally, I would not live in Santa Cruz itself, but Capitola/Aptos/Soquel are on the coast all have nice areas and quaint downtowns. I also like Scotts Valley.

Cons:
-Limited job opportunities and the ones that are there don't pay well but the area is still pretty expensive, so to afford to live there, I had to commute to a better paying job in San Jose.
-What you get for the money there tends to be older, smaller and in worse shape home wise.
-The public schools in Santa Cruz are not good, except they do have a highly ranked public charter school you have to get into by lottery (Pacific Collegiate School). Scotts Valley schools are better.
-Weather sucks most of the year IMO. Summer is cold and foggy. Winter is wet, cold and foggy. The weather is generally better in Scotts Valley, but you are in the redwoods there, and not right on the water.
-Very limited shopping. For the most part, you have to go "over the hill" to shop.
-The entire area is crawling with tourists all summer. The traffic even on city streets can be awful, and that coast/beach you want to enjoy is overrun.

Eventually the ocean was just not enough to keep me there.
Also, just a bit on the other suggestions, Los Gatos is very nice, but VERY expensive. I would suggest some of the nicer areas in South San Jose as a similar feel, weather and decent schools, but more affordable, still expensive but not as bad as Los Gatos.
Good luck!
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:39 AM
 
1,030 posts, read 1,537,990 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awregar View Post

We are expanding our search to areas closer to San Jose, as well. This might aid in the job search. Road Warrior 101 had mentioned Los Gatos in a post. Would you recommend other towns proximate to San Jose that are nestled in a more wooded area? Also, Google Maps says that it takes about 45 minutes from SC to San Jose on Highway 35. Does that sound right to you, or is it an underestimate?
There are a few other towns, but Los Gatos is the closest. Most of these are in the West Valley area and are considered highly desirable and therefore expensive. I'd also include Saratoga, Los Altos, Palo Alto and Menlo Park.

The drive from Los Gatos to Santa Cruz can be 45 min or less if the weather is good and its not rush hour. If you're commuting at rush hour in the pouring rain, it would be much worse.

Honestly, I've lived in both Northern and Southern California. In Southern California, you really want to be right on the ocean, since the weather is so nice. Its a bit different in NorCal. Yes, Santa Cruz does have better weather than other NorCal beach communities, due to its south face. However, it is chilly and foggy most of the time. I personally would rather live in one of the west valley communities, where you get more of a warm, sunny summer and do day trips to the beach on weekends.
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:08 PM
 
Location: Liminal Space
479 posts, read 308,700 times
Reputation: 589
Have you thought about Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo? Both are beautiful locations with beaches, outdoor opportunities, great downtowns and colleges, and significantly fewer drug/crime issues than SC.
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