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Old 02-22-2008, 11:23 AM   #21
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I agree with you. I left Minnesota a couple days ago (2/20). It was -11F. I am in the Bay Area today. The temperature is in the 50s with slight rain - not bad compared to the weather in frozen Minnesota.
Brrr!!! That is cold. Here in New Orleans we've got 73 degrees F, and a pretty cool thunderstorm going on today.

I really like the weather here, but so many things are higher priorities for me.
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:36 AM   #22
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Santa Rosa, Sonoma are nice places to live. Cost of housing has reduced somewhat recently. There are quite a few high tech companies from Petaluma to Santa Rosa. It might be a good thing in case one wants to return to work. I also consider other places such as Vallejo, Herc Fairfield or even Vacaville since those places may be more affordable.
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:43 AM   #23
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I really like the weather here, but so many things are higher priorities for me.
I agree - climate is only one aspect. A few more good points about the Bay Area are job and business opportunities, cultural diversities, great restaurants, universities, mountains and beaches despite traffic congestions and high costs of living.
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Old 02-22-2008, 01:08 PM   #24
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Minnesota is up in the 20's today. I haven't bothered to zip my coat and I even had the windows down while driving.

See, it's not all bad. Downright balmy actually.
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Old 02-22-2008, 01:24 PM   #25
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I also consider other places such as Vallejo...
Be aware that Vallejo is on the brink of declaring bankruptcy. About 80% of the general operating budget goes to police and fire salaries, which is placing a strain on the budget. Bankruptcy and possible mandated wage cuts may impact public safety there.
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Old 02-22-2008, 01:37 PM   #26
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Santa Rosa, Sonoma are nice places to live. Cost of housing has reduced somewhat recently. There are quite a few high tech companies from Petaluma to Santa Rosa. It might be a good thing in case one wants to return to work. I also consider other places such as Vallejo, Herc Fairfield or even Vacaville since those places may be more affordable.
I'd look at the quality of life issues before affordability -- up to a point of course. In Petaluma and Santa Rosa you have access to an excellent JC system and lots of other activities in the area. Santa Rosa has a large state park good for running, biking, and just strolling with many miles of trails. There are plenty of wineries in the area. There is the Monday morning's painters group, etc, etc. Not a fan of Vallejo although I haven't lived there in 40 years.
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Old 02-22-2008, 05:19 PM   #27
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I saw a headline on the ny times page "See what's on the market in Sonoma County" and thought of this thread. The first one on the list is for $11.5M.. not quite ER material!

Great Homes and Destinations - Luxury, Vacation, Second Homes - New York Times
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Old 02-22-2008, 05:42 PM   #28
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What's a few $1M buy you nowadays anyway? Seriously, most of those homes on the first pages are super high end and many have beaucoup arcreage. There are definitely some wealthy people around in the area, but these homes are not the norm. Anyway some of those wealthy types fund nice wineries that we can visit for free, and they contribute to local events. So their not all that bad to have around. Of course, California is not as affordable as other areas of the US.
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Old 02-22-2008, 08:05 PM   #29
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I saw a headline on the ny times page "See what's on the market in Sonoma County" and thought of this thread. The first one on the list is for $11.5M.. not quite ER material!

Great Homes and Destinations - Luxury, Vacation, Second Homes - New York Times
Thanks for the link. I started on page 76 from which price of a house starts from $500K in a descending order.
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Old 02-24-2008, 06:02 PM   #30
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I like the area... Sebastopol is especially interesting to me as an undercover hippie. It's like a small town version of Berkeley; every day the antiwar protestors stand on the corner, and everyone seems to be a healer of some sort. The only big chain store in town is Whole Foods.

There are a lot of homes that are seriously off the grid: built by the owners without regard to code, probably not paying property tax on improvements, and run off solar or other renewables.

But there are lots of downsides:

The main artery highway 101 simply doesn't have the capacity for all the development that has happened up there in the past couple of decades. The traffic jams would make it hard to get to San Francisco for evening or weekend events.

The real estate prices are declining faster than the Bay Area, because lots of homes were purchased by speculators from the Bay Area or hippies who were amazed that they could own a home with a subprime loan on the earnings from their wheatgrass shot stand.

The quirky housing is expensive and labor-intensive to maintain, which is a consideration for someone at retirement age.

It costs almost as much to live out there as living much closer to the city, in say the East Bay.
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Old 02-24-2008, 06:20 PM   #31
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I like the area... Sebastopol is especially interesting to me as an undercover hippie. It's like a small town version of Berkeley; every day the antiwar protestors stand on the corner, and everyone seems to be a healer of some sort. The only big chain store in town is Whole Foods.
Just to correct this impression a bit (1) it's very liberal yes but a small Berkeley it is not, (2) I've never seen protestors standing on the corner and we pass through Sebastopol several times a year, and (3) I believe there is a Safeway in town too and there is a McDonald's and a Burger King.
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Old 02-24-2008, 07:21 PM   #32
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The Sonoma valley is delightful but expensive. I once stayed at the Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa, which I could only justify because it had bargain rates during a renovation. I enjoyed biking but the roads were narrow and busy. There's something about wine country that's very relaxing, even if you don't imbibe. I think it's the dry heat and sunshine that vineyards require.

This photo, taken last summer, shows the 25,000 sq.ft retirement "cabin" that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is building. Anyone care to guess the location? Hint: it's in wine country.
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