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Old 02-10-2019, 12:12 PM
 
11 posts, read 17,190 times
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Hi There!

We are a family of four (children are 5 and 2), who currently live in a small town on the Monterey Peninsula. We do absolutely love it here but due to various factors, my husband (I am a stay at home mom, for now) is considering an enticing career opportunity in the Sacramento Area; Rancho Cordova, specifically.

Here are some of the things we value about where we currently live and - in an ideal situation - would love to somewhat replicate:

1) The ability to get to a handful or two of places on foot/bike/stroller. Right now, we are able to take my eldest to school, visit green space & playgrounds, the ocean (I realize this is something we will leave behind, hah), the library and an old-fashioned main drag of shops and eateries, without neccesarily having to drive, every time.

2) Good schools and kid-friendly activites, as our eldest is in Kindergarten. Now, we currently live in a highly regarded district with great scores and ratings, but we admittedly lack a lot of racial and/or socioeconomic diversity in our schools. That said, I am actually *less* concerned with how a district formally tests, and more interested in nice neighborhood schools with caring teachers and an involved parent community. Opportunities to play sports or take classes right in town is also great.

3) Surroundings that encourage you to get outside and enjoy nature. Our family loves to spend our weekends exploring, whether it's going for a hike, bike ride, splashing around at the beach (I realize it will be lakes and rivers, up there), or simply heading to a park for a picnic.

4) Community spirit. We currently enjoy various annual fesitvals, traditions, and holiday events, where we currently live and really like that. We also like checking out the unique shops and local restaurants that give our town some character.

We plan to rent a while longer, as we continue to aggressively save to buy a house. Hoping to keep our rent less than $2400/month for a 3 bedroom home. Doesn't have to be huge but would love to finally have a yard.

Some of the places suggested to me have been Folsom, Fair Oaks, East Sac, Gold River, Placerville and Roseville. My husband is fine with commuting up to 45 minutes; less is better, of course.

My initial thoughts, knowing very little and mostly scoping online:

Physically, the old-fashioned charm of Placerville kind of reminds me of a foothill version of our own seaside town. I love that they occasionally get a little snow. However, I have read that it's very conservative and we are liberal. I don't mind a more conversative community, but would like to avoid a town fully going Trump 2020, if that makes sense.

Folsom and Roseville both seem to have historic downtowns, which reminds me of ours, too. However, would someone who never imagined themselves as the "suburb" type still dig it?

East Sac looks beautiful but a bit pricey for what we are hoping to rent.

The chickens of Fair Oaks is cracking me up, in a good way. I have a friend who recently moved there who really likes it.

I can't quite get a feel for Gold River. Is there a main drag or town square or...

Any advice or feedback is warmly welcomed and endlessly appreciated. We will have a little time to visit in the coming weeks to check things out, so recommendations are always awesome. Thank you!
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:28 PM
 
Location: Living rent free in your head
36,274 posts, read 16,878,573 times
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Folsom or Roseville would work for you. The schools are much better than Fair Oaks. Placerville would be quite a commute & Gold River is basically just a big HOA, nothing special about it. East Sac is ok but some of the schools are crappy. If you look at Roseville make sure that you move to an area where the kids will go to Roseville Schools, not Antelope or Citrus Heights. Of the places I mentioned, I like Folsom best for a family and it's closer to Rancho Cordova than Roseville.
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:48 AM
 
Location: Folsom, CA
506 posts, read 1,530,067 times
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When the OP mentioned the library, I immediately thought of Folsom. It is outstanding.
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:16 AM
 
Location: Midtown Sacramento
326 posts, read 561,483 times
Reputation: 360
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcrpg View Post
1) The ability to get to a handful or two of places on foot/bike/stroller. Right now, we are able to take my eldest to school, visit green space & playgrounds, the ocean (I realize this is something we will leave behind, hah), the library and an old-fashioned main drag of shops and eateries, without necessarily having to drive, every time.
If walkability is important, it sounds like you would love East Sacramento, Land Park, Curtis Park, or Poverty Ridge, although you would have to stretch your budget.

I would highly recommend River Park, a close-knit family-oriented neighborhood of 50s-style homes just north of East Sacramento. I have friends who live there and love it. River Park has a wonderful elementary school in the middle of the neighborhood and is close to the river and a community park with a pool, with easy access to the American River bike trail.

River Park Sacramento - A Great Place to Live!

Example of a home for sale in River Park: https://www.redfin.com/CA/Sacramento.../home/19441899

Additional Sacramento neighborhoods I think you'd like: Elmhurst, Tahoe Park, College/Glenn, South Land Park, Pocket.

If you go the suburban route:

Folsom has great schools, lots of family activities, an extensive paved trail system, and access to the American River and Folsom Lake. Historic Folsom along Sutter Street is quaint, but the rest of Folsom is pure suburbia and car-oriented.

Historic Folsom

Fair Oaks has Fair Oaks Village, a cute little historic area with a few restaurants and shops, but it may be difficult to find a home within walking distance. Gold River is an HOA community just across the river from Fair Oaks. It has no "town square," but it is across the river from Fair Oaks Village. I have friends in both places who are very happy. Your husband would have a very short commute to Rancho Cordova.

https://www.fairoaksvillage.org

Roseville is working on developing the downtown area and has great schools, but I think you would find it too suburban. Placerville would be a tough commute and is pretty conservative.

Keep us updated!

Last edited by la_cavalière; 02-11-2019 at 10:42 AM..
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Living rent free in your head
36,274 posts, read 16,878,573 times
Reputation: 26811
Quote:
Originally Posted by la_cavalière View Post
If walkability is important, it sounds like you would love East Sacramento, Land Park, or Curtis Park, although you would have to stretch your budget.

I would highly recommend River Park, a close-knit family-oriented neighborhood of 50s-style homes just north of East Sacramento. I have friends who live there and love it. River Park has a wonderful elementary school in the middle of the neighborhood and is close to the river and a community park with a pool, with easy access to the American River bike trail.

River Park Sacramento - A Great Place to Live!

Example of a home for sale in River Park: https://www.redfin.com/CA/Sacramento.../home/19441899

Additional Sacramento neighborhoods I think you'd like: Elmhurst, Tahoe Park, College/Glenn, South Land Park, Pocket.

If you go the suburban route:

Folsom has great schools, lots of family activities, an extensive paved trail system, and access to the American River and Folsom Lake. Historic Folsom along Sutter Street is quaint, but the rest of Folsom is pure suburbia and car-oriented.

Historic Folsom

Fair Oaks has Fair Oaks Village, a cute little historic area with a few restaurants and shops, but it may be difficult to find a home within walking distance. Gold River is an HOA community just across the river from Fair Oaks. It has no "town square," but it is across the river from Fair Oaks Village. I have friends in both places who are very happy. Your husband would have a very short commute to Rancho Cordova.

Roseville is working on developing the downtown area and has great schools, but I think you would find it too suburban. Placerville would be a tough commute and is pretty conservative.

Keep us updated!
I found a house within their price range on Moddison at the north end of River Park, so that could be an option. The other areas you names in East sac are all lovely but except for South Land Park I'm not sure which ones would have 3 bdrm homes for rent within their budget ($2400 or less). The other issue might be the local schools, some of them are pretty sketchy, that is also an issue with Fair Oaks. Orangevale schools are good and that could be an option but it's quite suburban. Folsom and Roseville have consistently better schools than any of the other areas.

Last edited by 2sleepy; 02-11-2019 at 10:49 AM..
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Midtown Sacramento
326 posts, read 561,483 times
Reputation: 360
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2sleepy View Post
I found a house within their price range on Moddison at the north end of River Park, so that could be an option. The other areas you names in East sac are all lovely but except for South Land Park I'm not sure which ones would have 3 bdrm homes for rent within their budget ($2400 or less). The other issue might be the local schools, some of them are pretty sketchy, that is also an issue with Fair Oaks. Orangevale schools are good and that could be an option but it's quite suburban. Folsom and Roseville have consistently better schools than any of the other areas.
You are right -- in most of the Sacramento neighborhoods I listed you would likely need to bump up the budget to $3,000, although there are exceptions. College/Glenn would also be cheaper and is an adorable neighborhood.

I found several nice 3-4 bedroom houses on Zillow not far from Old Folsom for under $2400.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Sacramento
524 posts, read 406,591 times
Reputation: 973
This is a good comment quoted below.

I would also consider Folsom over Roseville - much better commute to Rancho and I generally like Folsom better than Roseville/Rocklin. As other posters have said - Folsom is like the definition of suburbia, but it's very pleasant suburbia. I don't know Placerville well enough to comment.

While Folsom is generally more sought after in terms of schools - East Sac area and Sac Unified have many great school options as well. If you are interested in being closer to the Sacramento urban grid then you should definitely explore East Sacramento, River Park, Elmhurst, College Greens/Glen Park (College-Glen). Great access to bike trails along the American River, lots of nice parks, easy commute to Rancho. Most all of the elementary schools in the area are totally fine (Theodore Judah, Caleb Greenwood, Hubert Bancroft - to name a few)... and if you want something a bit more academic - Phoebe Hearst is a lottery/charter school that is well renowned. And there is a California Montessori Project school that is also a lottery/charter school that a lot of people really like. Sutter Middle School in East Sacramento is totally legit and I hear Kit Carson middle school is changing a lot and focusing on an international baccalaureate program that will actually go up through 12th grade eventually. McClatchy high school is good and I think it's reasonably easy to transfer into Rio Americano HS which is the next school district over which is a good school too. Plenty of time for that stuff to get figured out for your young kiddos.

Regardless of where you choose in the Sacramento area its gonna be quite a change from a small coastal town in Monterey. There are plenty of opinions on the weather threads on just how "pleasant" the Sacramento weather is for people -- but I can tell you for sure it is gonna feel really hot for you May through October. Keep in mind it gets even hotter as you get into Folsom and then into the foothills. The air quality will be a step down from the coast as well. And if you are near the urban grid of Sacramento and along the American river in East Sacramento area you will deal with A LOT of homeless and petty crime issues. This seems to be unavoidable in most places these days. You'll even deal with some of that in Folsom but to a lesser degree. Don't expect to be finding areas where you can leave your doors unlocked and belongings in your car overnight.

There's plenty of things to like about the Sacramento area (the American River and proximity to the Sierra are not to be understated) but it came across that you really love your current location -- and I can tell you firsthand that it's a difficult transition moving from coastal CA to the Sacramento valley.

Quote:
Originally Posted by la_cavalière View Post
If walkability is important, it sounds like you would love East Sacramento, Land Park, Curtis Park, or Poverty Ridge, although you would have to stretch your budget.

I would highly recommend River Park, a close-knit family-oriented neighborhood of 50s-style homes just north of East Sacramento. I have friends who live there and love it. River Park has a wonderful elementary school in the middle of the neighborhood and is close to the river and a community park with a pool, with easy access to the American River bike trail.

River Park Sacramento - A Great Place to Live!

Example of a home for sale in River Park: https://www.redfin.com/CA/Sacramento.../home/19441899

Additional Sacramento neighborhoods I think you'd like: Elmhurst, Tahoe Park, College/Glenn, South Land Park, Pocket.

If you go the suburban route:

Folsom has great schools, lots of family activities, an extensive paved trail system, and access to the American River and Folsom Lake. Historic Folsom along Sutter Street is quaint, but the rest of Folsom is pure suburbia and car-oriented.

Historic Folsom

Fair Oaks has Fair Oaks Village, a cute little historic area with a few restaurants and shops, but it may be difficult to find a home within walking distance. Gold River is an HOA community just across the river from Fair Oaks. It has no "town square," but it is across the river from Fair Oaks Village. I have friends in both places who are very happy. Your husband would have a very short commute to Rancho Cordova.

https://www.fairoaksvillage.org

Roseville is working on developing the downtown area and has great schools, but I think you would find it too suburban. Placerville would be a tough commute and is pretty conservative.

Keep us updated!
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:18 PM
 
11 posts, read 17,190 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you all, so much for the very helpful and specific advice! It sounds like we have our fair share of research ahead of us, which is awesome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnS_15 View Post

There's plenty of things to like about the Sacramento area (the American River and proximity to the Sierra are not to be understated) but it came across that you really love your current location -- and I can tell you firsthand that it's a difficult transition moving from coastal CA to the Sacramento valley.
I hear that! You know, it does pain me to consider leaving our little oasis by the sea, but there are some factors that are just making it more and more impossible to feel like we have a future, here. My husband has a great job now, but it's federally funded and layoffs due to budget cuts are on the horizon, with his department at nearly definite risk (sad). We are trying to get ahead of the game and start seeking opportunities elsewhere and he's being fairly heavily recruited for a position in Rancho Cordova. We currently live in a perfectly adorable two bedroom Victorian in a great district, buuuuuut with a toddler and a kindergartener running around, we are getting quite cramped. The price of a three bedroom in our area is nearly double the price of our ideal budget so we just feel like we are getting priced out.

I'll admit, the weather up there does scare me, a bit. I've lived either on the Central Coast or the Bay Area nearly my entire life, so I am, by default, a heat wuss and it'll be tough to get used to. It's something to consider, though, that Folsom (probably our front runner, all things considered) is going to be warmer than, say, Sacramento proper. Hmm....

Oh, and before, I forget - all the info about specific schools is FANTASTIC. We live in a two elementary, one middle, one high district right now and they're all highly rated, so heavy school consideration is fairly new to me. I am curious if any of you have any knowledge about the following schools, as we consider contacting two rentals in Folsom, today:

Natoma Station Elementary
Theodore Judah Elementary (Folsom)

Also curious about Waldorf inspired charters in the greater Sac area. Our family has loved our experiences at our local Waldorf preschool and initially applied to a K-8 charter in our area, but didn't make it off the lottery. I am still interested and would love to hear perspective from anyone with knowledge.

Thanks so much!
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:37 PM
 
Location: Sacramento
524 posts, read 406,591 times
Reputation: 973
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcrpg View Post
Thank you all, so much for the very helpful and specific advice! It sounds like we have our fair share of research ahead of us, which is awesome.



I hear that! You know, it does pain me to consider leaving our little oasis by the sea, but there are some factors that are just making it more and more impossible to feel like we have a future, here. My husband has a great job now, but it's federally funded and layoffs due to budget cuts are on the horizon, with his department at nearly definite risk (sad). We are trying to get ahead of the game and start seeking opportunities elsewhere and he's being fairly heavily recruited for a position in Rancho Cordova. We currently live in a perfectly adorable two bedroom Victorian in a great district, buuuuuut with a toddler and a kindergartener running around, we are getting quite cramped. The price of a three bedroom in our area is nearly double the price of our ideal budget so we just feel like we are getting priced out.

I'll admit, the weather up there does scare me, a bit. I've lived either on the Central Coast or the Bay Area nearly my entire life, so I am, by default, a heat wuss and it'll be tough to get used to. It's something to consider, though, that Folsom (probably our front runner, all things considered) is going to be warmer than, say, Sacramento proper. Hmm....

Oh, and before, I forget - all the info about specific schools is FANTASTIC. We live in a two elementary, one middle, one high district right now and they're all highly rated, so heavy school consideration is fairly new to me. I am curious if any of you have any knowledge about the following schools, as we consider contacting two rentals in Folsom, today:

Natoma Station Elementary
Theodore Judah Elementary (Folsom)

Also curious about Waldorf inspired charters in the greater Sac area. Our family has loved our experiences at our local Waldorf preschool and initially applied to a K-8 charter in our area, but didn't make it off the lottery. I am still interested and would love to hear perspective from anyone with knowledge.

Thanks so much!
I get it - I moved my family out here from San Francisco for similar reasons. Been here 5-years. I really miss the ocean terribly but everything else has been totally manageable!

I don't know much about specific Folsom schools as I have my kids in Sac Unified. I have heard good things about Alice Birney in South Land Park -- that's a public Waldorf lottery school K-8 in Sac Unified. I have also heard good things about Sacramento Waldorf School in Carmichael but I believe that is an independent school with a tuition fee.

You should take a look at South Land Park, Hollywood Park, and the Pocket areas - they are nice and they are close to Alice Birney. Although the commute to Rancho Cordova is not as fun from down there. It wouldn't be ideal to be commuting from other Sacramento neighborhoods down to Alice Birney but I imagine people do it.
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Old 02-16-2019, 01:13 AM
 
Location: California USA
1,351 posts, read 765,395 times
Reputation: 391
Folsom would be my suggestion. Good schools, a small but quaint old town and safe. It's on the conservative side but conservative around here is not the same as conservative in a deep red state. The commute to Rancho is relatively easy. However, don't discount living in Rancho Cordova entirely. Anatolia and the nearby neighborhoods of Sunridge and Kavala Ranch are worth a look. Anatolia has an HOA but it's not draconian as other HOAs can be. There's a clubhouse with pools, a gym and activities. Four parks including a 20 acre park and bike trail are part of the area. There's a shopping center nearby. Nothing exciting but its newish, clean and has basic amenities (groceries, sushi, burgers,pizza, tacos, cleaners, banks, urgent care, etc). People aren't aware but the two elementary schools are both high performing and the physical plant of both, particularly Robert J McGarvey, is quite nice.
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