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Old 10-20-2018, 06:25 PM
 
215 posts, read 203,160 times
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Due to perks of my job, I have been fortunate to live in areas of California I wouldn't have ordinarily been able to afford myself. One of these areas was Marin County, California. ( Larkspur, to be exact) It was literally one of the most beautiful areas I have ever even visited, much less lived in. I'm saying this as a person who was traveled throughout Europe, and was born and raised in southern California. The problem is, Marin County, along with places like Newport, and Laguna are prohibitively expensive, at least for me! So, it had me thinking, are there any other areas, in States cheaper than California, that have cities similar to what's found in Marin County, or Laguna, Newport, etc,? I'm talking about areas with a upper-income for that area) population, good schools, beautiful scenery, preferably near a body of water, low crime, numerous amenities, village like feel, decent weather , etc.? Trust me, I know California cities are expensive for a reason, because it's hard to find all the things I mentioned above wrapped in one city, unless you're in California. However, I'm hoping there are other areas people have found that are similar in other states, with a slightly lower price tag.
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Old 10-20-2018, 09:17 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
80,952 posts, read 73,997,511 times
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OP, these "is there a location like _____ (favorite city name) that's affordable, and has all the amenities and beauty of my favorite place?" inquiries never go well. Because each place is unique. There's no place like anyplace in or near Coastal California, IMO.

HOWEVER, I, myself, have been checking out locations in WA State. You didn't mention jobs, so I assume you work from home, and wouldn't need to find a local job? If that's true, you might pay a visit to Port Townsend, WA, on the Olympic Peninsula. Instead of giant redwoods, the area has giant cedars. Pt T is quaint and small-townish, the same way Larkspur and Mill Valley are. It's cheaper than the Bay Area, though because it's popular with retirees and also young people, RE prices and rents are going up. It's a tourist town, with festivals from late spring through early fall, so some of the rentals have been converted to Air B & B's. But it's still much cheaper than the Bay Area. It's not as affluent as Marin, but there is that element there, and in nearby smaller towns.

Extremely scenic! Interestingly, it has a few hills, like San Francisco, and even some of the street names are the same as in SF. It has a nice little waterfront and marina.
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Old 10-21-2018, 12:56 AM
 
Location: Orange County... Arizona bound
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St Augustine Florida has a lot of what your looking for.
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Old 10-21-2018, 01:48 AM
 
215 posts, read 203,160 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
OP, these "is there a location like _____ (favorite city name) that's affordable, and has all the amenities and beauty of my favorite place?" inquiries never go well. Because each place is unique. There's no place like anyplace in or near Coastal California, IMO.

HOWEVER, I, myself, have been checking out locations in WA State. You didn't mention jobs, so I assume you work from home, and wouldn't need to find a local job? If that's true, you might pay a visit to Port Townsend, WA, on the Olympic Peninsula. Instead of giant redwoods, the area has giant cedars. Pt T is quaint and small-townish, the same way Larkspur and Mill Valley are. It's cheaper than the Bay Area, though because it's popular with retirees and also young people, RE prices and rents are going up. It's a tourist town, with festivals from late spring through early fall, so some of the rentals have been converted to Air B & B's. But it's still much cheaper than the Bay Area. It's not as affluent as Marin, but there is that element there, and in nearby smaller towns.

Extremely scenic! Interestingly, it has a few hills, like San Francisco, and even some of the street names are the same as in SF. It has a nice little waterfront and marina.
First of all, thank you for the information! Going up towards Washington makes the Weather colder and colder, but I guess you can't have everything.

To address your comment about the asking of these questions, you're right. I know there's no way I will ever replace places like Marin County, with an affordable version, without totally leaving the country. However, I'm hoping that maybe someone knows of some little Gems here and there. I'm of the opinion just about every state has some Goldilocks areas and, and I just need to know where they are. I consider Marin County to be one of those Goldilocks areas. It's just terribly expensive!
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Old 10-21-2018, 10:15 AM
 
1,842 posts, read 3,883,193 times
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I've traveled extensively around the US. The first thing you have to keep in mind is that nowhere else in the US besides California has the mild Mediterranean climate where you have scenic ocean views, boutiquish towns and laid back vibe. As you state, this comes at an incredible cost. On top of that, you're seeing increasing congestion and stress. So, you're going to have to give up something to move elsewhere, but here are several places I've visited that would have many of the things you're looking for:

-Bellevue/Mercer Island, WA
-Bend, OR
-Boulder, CO
-Scottsdale/Paradise Valley, AZ
-Sedona, AZ
-Moab, UT
-Park City, UT
-Santa Fe, NM
-Greenwich, CT
-Alexandria, VA
-Bar Harbor, ME
-Summit, NJ
-Doylestown, PA
-Traverse City, MI
-Aspen, CO
-Vail, CO
-Jackson Hole, WY
-Alpharetta, GA
-Austin, TX
-Key West, FL
-Charleston, SC
-Asheville, NC
-Kailua Kona, HI
-Lahaina, HI
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Old 10-21-2018, 11:36 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
80,952 posts, read 73,997,511 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troy Troy View Post
First of all, thank you for the information! Going up towards Washington makes the Weather colder and colder, but I guess you can't have everything.

To address your comment about the asking of these questions, you're right. I know there's no way I will ever replace places like Marin County, with an affordable version, without totally leaving the country. However, I'm hoping that maybe someone knows of some little Gems here and there. I'm of the opinion just about every state has some Goldilocks areas and, and I just need to know where they are. I consider Marin County to be one of those Goldilocks areas. It's just terribly expensive!
OP, you still haven't answered that crucial question: will you need a job or will you be bringing your job with you?

Now, as to weather, CA is unique, of course. But WA isn't that different. The main thing is that it's cool in the summers, like the Bay Area, so you can enjoy being active outdoors. I don't know of anyplace else in the US that's like that, but the West Coast. WA is rainier in the winters, but that's a good thing. Think about it--more rain = more water. It also means there's more variety in the weather, which is something I find enjoyable. WA isn't that much colder in the winters: no snow at the sea-level locations, or only light snow for a couple of days, if any at all.

Someone suggested CO. CO is in the 90's most of the summer, and has long, deep winters. The resort towns are unaffordable to mere mortals. Florida? Humidity, much? Hurricanes. Rising sea level. (This already is resulting in salt-water pools forming in some people's front yards.). East Coast--Asheville, NC? Possibly. It's far enough away from the coast to not be directly in the path of hurricanes, and is at sufficient elevation (I think?), to mitigate the summer heat & humidity that characterizes all of the East Coast except maybe ME. Santa Fe, NM? Not what you're looking for. Cute town, a fair amt. of culture, yes. Too hot in the summers, though. And the SW is drying up. AZ--even hotter in the summers, same with TX. Wealthy Texans come to Santa Fe to escape the summer heat in TX. That tells you something. Taos, NM? Another cute, unique town, beautiful setting. Slightly cooler summers than Santa Fe, but still hot. Unlike Marin, there's quite a mix of rich and poor. Spend some time there (more than just a long weekend), before you decide. Anyway, IDK if you're looking for landlocked places, or places on an ocean or other body of water.

So, if you're looking for livable summer and winter weather, the NW is the only option, IMO. Bend, OR, other small towns in WA or OR.
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Old 10-21-2018, 12:34 PM
 
215 posts, read 203,160 times
Reputation: 350
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
OP, you still haven't answered that crucial question: will you need a job or will you be bringing your job with you?

Now, as to weather, CA is unique, of course. But WA isn't that different. The main thing is that it's cool in the summers, like the Bay Area, so you can enjoy being active outdoors. I don't know of anyplace else in the US that's like that, but the West Coast. WA is rainier in the winters, but that's a good thing. Think about it--more rain = more water. It also means there's more variety in the weather, which is something I find enjoyable. WA isn't that much colder in the winters: no snow at the sea-level locations, or only light snow for a couple of days, if any at all.

Someone suggested CO. CO is in the 90's most of the summer, and has long, deep winters. The resort towns are unaffordable to mere mortals. Florida? Humidity, much? Hurricanes. Rising sea level. (This already is resulting in salt-water pools forming in some people's front yards.). East Coast--Asheville, NC? Possibly. It's far enough away from the coast to not be directly in the path of hurricanes, and is at sufficient elevation (I think?), to mitigate the summer heat & humidity that characterizes all of the East Coast except maybe ME. Santa Fe, NM? Not what you're looking for. Cute town, a fair amt. of culture, yes. Too hot in the summers, though. And the SW is drying up. AZ--even hotter in the summers, same with TX. Wealthy Texans come to Santa Fe to escape the summer heat in TX. That tells you something. Taos, NM? Another cute, unique town, beautiful setting. Slightly cooler summers than Santa Fe, but still hot. Unlike Marin, there's quite a mix of rich and poor. Spend some time there (more than just a long weekend), before you decide. Anyway, IDK if you're looking for landlocked places, or places on an ocean or other body of water.

So, if you're looking for livable summer and winter weather, the NW is the only option, IMO. Bend, OR, other small towns in WA or OR.
Well, I'm fortunate enough to be able to retire in about 3 years. Additionally, the government job I work here in California I'm actually able to retire at 50, so I'll still be relatively young enough to actually enjoy my retirement. (provided the accumulated stress from the job doesn't send me to an early grave!) Since we only receive 85% of our pay after retirement, I will have approximately $6,000 a month retirement check for living expenses. I will have an additional $200,000 in 401 savings, that I'm planning on pinching off of each month to supplement my retirement check. I do not own any property, and unfortunately it looks like I may never own any. Certainly not here in any part of California I would want to live. However, I should have about $7,000 a month total in retirement money, that will follow me anywhere in the world. That's just not enough to live in the scenic, posh areas of California.

I appreciate your recommendations. You mention places I had never thought of before, but sound pretty good. Like I said, I would like some place where people of upper middle-class status reside, because generally they keep their neighborhoods in towns looking good. Additionally, it would be nice to be someplace that has a tourist element, so the town isn't totally boring. One of the drawbacks about small, nice towns, is they tend to be boring. I don't necessarily want to have to drive 2 hours to the big city to find a date. So, a town that's somewhat of a tourist attraction would help alleviate some of that boredom. I guess a college town would help with that as well. It would be nice living someplace Progressive, but not necessarily raving liberal! That was the beauty of Marin County. It definitely had raving liberals, but there was also enough money to keep some conservative values alive. In my opinion it was just a perfect blend of both. Enough liberalism to keep the place from being racist and to save the trees, but enough conservatism to keep the place upscale and relatively crime free.
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Old 10-21-2018, 12:39 PM
 
215 posts, read 203,160 times
Reputation: 350
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
OP, you still haven't answered that crucial question: will you need a job or will you be bringing your job with you?

Now, as to weather, CA is unique, of course. But WA isn't that different. The main thing is that it's cool in the summers, like the Bay Area, so you can enjoy being active outdoors. I don't know of anyplace else in the US that's like that, but the West Coast. WA is rainier in the winters, but that's a good thing. Think about it--more rain = more water. It also means there's more variety in the weather, which is something I find enjoyable. WA isn't that much colder in the winters: no snow at the sea-level locations, or only light snow for a couple of days, if any at all.

Someone suggested CO. CO is in the 90's most of the summer, and has long, deep winters. The resort towns are unaffordable to mere mortals. Florida? Humidity, much? Hurricanes. Rising sea level. (This already is resulting in salt-water pools forming in some people's front yards.). East Coast--Asheville, NC? Possibly. It's far enough away from the coast to not be directly in the path of hurricanes, and is at sufficient elevation (I think?), to mitigate the summer heat & humidity that characterizes all of the East Coast except maybe ME. Santa Fe, NM? Not what you're looking for. Cute town, a fair amt. of culture, yes. Too hot in the summers, though. And the SW is drying up. AZ--even hotter in the summers, same with TX. Wealthy Texans come to Santa Fe to escape the summer heat in TX. That tells you something. Taos, NM? Another cute, unique town, beautiful setting. Slightly cooler summers than Santa Fe, but still hot. Unlike Marin, there's quite a mix of rich and poor. Spend some time there (more than just a long weekend), before you decide. Anyway, IDK if you're looking for landlocked places, or places on an ocean or other body of water.

So, if you're looking for livable summer and winter weather, the NW is the only option, IMO. Bend, OR, other small towns in WA or OR.
Are there any cities in Washington in particular you would recommend? I think you understand what I'm looking for. Especially if you've ever been to the Bay Area, or the beach areas of Los Angeles and Orange counties. (Somewhat upscale, cute and quaint, with the touristy vibe) Honestly, I do prefer areas near the ocean, but if not near the ocean, then near a major river or lake.
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Old 10-21-2018, 01:18 PM
 
1,842 posts, read 3,883,193 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post

So, if you're looking for livable summer and winter weather, the NW is the only option, IMO. Bend, OR, other small towns in WA or OR.
I disagree that the PacNW is the ONLY place to live other than California, due to weather. Yes, you don't have temperature extremes but you have a TON of days where there is no sun for months on end. Its damp, cold and dark. Many people would prefer some colder weather and/or hotter summers vs this PacNW climate.
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Old 10-21-2018, 01:32 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
80,952 posts, read 73,997,511 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troy Troy View Post
Are there any cities in Washington in particular you would recommend? I think you understand what I'm looking for. Especially if you've ever been to the Bay Area, or the beach areas of Los Angeles and Orange counties. (Somewhat upscale, cute and quaint, with the touristy vibe) Honestly, I do prefer areas near the ocean, but if not near the ocean, then near a major river or lake.
I'm with you, there. The problem is, that you won't get "upscale" or "somewhat upscale" in WA or OR. It's the "upscale" that's costing you, in CA, to some extent. You can't afford "somewhat upscale". You might find that in the greater Seattle area, but there you're running into skyrocketing RE prices and rents, that will soon reach the Bay Area's level.

The other thing is, frankly, that parts of the Bay Area have beautiful architecture (this goes for Larkspur & Mill Valley, as well as large parts of Berkeley, parts of Oakland, and SF (mediterranean, high-end Arts-and-Crafts period, etc.). It's easy to take that for granted, until suddenly, you're someplace where it doesn't exist. This is the Northwest. Sorry--brutal truth; much of it looks shabby. This goes for most residential areas of Seattle, Portland, or almost anywhere. In Santa Fe & Taos, you don't have the shabbiness, because traditional adobe architecture styles are the standard. That sort of harmonious architectural look is rare in the US, though.

So, I invite you to consider Port Townsend. It has lots of open, undeveloped space scattered around town, so not urban-feeling, at all. Population: 5000. There's a picturesque section of town with old Victorians. The town bans chain stores, btw. For people who MUST have a big-box store to shop at, another small town about 1/2 hr. away has those. Pt T is on both Puget Sound on one side, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca on another side. Beautiful views, and the Olympic National Park on another side. I don't know if you're looking for something closer to a major urban area, but that will cost you. If you need that, consider Olympia, and surrounding areas. (Pt T is in the Olympic Mountain rain shadow. Olympia gets a lot more rain.) Also be aware that in some parts of the Puget Sound area, you'll be dealing with ferries to access the cities.

One caveat, is that the NW has been having issues in the summer, with heavy smoke from fires in British Columbia. But fires will catch up with you anywhere, on the West Coast. The Bay Area (except for Santa Rosa) has been fortunate to avoid that so far, but I'm afraid that phenom is coming soon to a community near you. Pray for rain.

Again, you're not going to find anything like Larkspur or Mill Valley, or anywhere in Marin elsewhere in the US, unless you go to a quaint historic upscale-ish town in the NE, and there, you'll be dealing with snowy winters, and hot, humid summers. IDK, maybe Boston? Parts of CT? But the winters have been harsher in the NE the last few years, causing some people to migrate to WA in search of milder winters. So, you'll have to compromise. You won't get your exact dream place transplanted to a cheaper location. Have you looked at Humboldt County? Or CA Gold Country? Placerville?

Last edited by Ruth4Truth; 10-21-2018 at 01:46 PM..
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