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Small town retirement-retire in Ukiah, CA?
Old 02-27-2008, 06:21 PM   #1
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Small town retirement-retire in Ukiah, CA?

The recent post about retiring in Sonoma, CA prompted me to start a new post about retiring to a small town. I live in Ukiah, CA, which, a while back, got some press as one of the best small towns in America. And even though we will leave here to retire to SW New Mexico, there is a part of me that doesn't want to go. Ukiah is simply a great small town.
It is about 2 hours north of San Francisco (farther than Sonoma) but you can easily run down for the weekend. The climate is incredible if you don't mind a lot of rain in December and January. Houses in decent neighborhoods have become affordable again, especially if you downsize your needs. It's cheaper than Sonoma County. Ukiah is less froo froo and more down to earth than Sonoma County-you don't have to fight tourists for parking in the downtown area, and if you want the trappings of yuppie-hood like great restaurants, you can always drive 40 minutes to Healdsburg for dinner.
Other pluses:
Very little traffic.
Great food shopping-5 grocery stores and an awesome natural foods coop.
Low gas bills-I hardly ever have to leave the valley so I only fill up every 2 weeks or so.
Good community college for taking courses.
Free concerts in the park during the summer.
Farmers markets May-Oct.
Wineries are less pretentious than down south.
Coast is only an hour away.
I'm sure there are other great small towns out there. We are moving because we want acreage and simply couldn't afford it here. But every February when the sun comes out and the days get into the 70's and the wildflowers bloom and the hills green up, it makes me pause and wish I had enough money to have both New Mexico and California!
Mango
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Old 02-27-2008, 07:10 PM   #2
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Wow! Life in Ukiah sounds so nice. You must really want that acreage.
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Old 02-28-2008, 12:07 AM   #3
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Thank you!!!

I'll put it on my list to visit sometime this spring -- I appreciate the tip.
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:16 AM   #4
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Mango,
I love small towns and that sounds ideal.
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:35 AM   #5
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Been meaning to visit Ukaih. If I remember right there are a lot of folks with solar electric there. Solar is an interest of mine...

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Old 02-28-2008, 08:50 AM   #6
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Been meaning to visit Ukaih. If I remember right there are a lot of folks with solar electric there. Solar is an interest of mine...

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PV Modules - Solar Electric - Solar Power - Real Goods
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Old 02-28-2008, 09:38 AM   #7
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Reading over my post, I realize I might have come off as dissing Sonoma County (the county just south of us) That was not my intent. The wineries there are first rate-we especially like to visit the Dry Creek valley area, about 40 minutes from Ukiah. And SC is a mecca for plant nurseries. If you are an avid gardener(like me) or a wanna be, SC has wonderful specialty nurseries, and most of my trips down there are to search for plants.
Yes, Real Goods is in Hopland near Ukiah, and makes for an interesting visit. Not sure about solar potential in Ukiah because of all the cloudy days in Dec and Jan. But we do get sun in Winter also. The main reason for leaving is we want a new adventure, want more solitude, but also want to be near family in retirement-I have a sister in Albuquerque, and we've become really close. But I urge others to consider Ukiah if you are thinking of retiring to a small town.
Mango
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Old 02-28-2008, 09:51 AM   #8
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One thing I forgot to ask, Mango -- what's the political climate like?

Would my having lived in Berkeley be held against me, or am I just a nervous ninny?
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Old 02-28-2008, 09:54 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mango1956 View Post
The recent post about retiring in Sonoma, CA prompted me to start a new post about retiring to a small town. I live in Ukiah, CA, which, a while back, got some press as one of the best small towns in America. And even though we will leave here to retire to SW New Mexico, there is a part of me that doesn't want to go. Ukiah is simply a great small town.
It is about 2 hours north of San Francisco (farther than Sonoma) but you can easily run down for the weekend. The climate is incredible if you don't mind a lot of rain in December and January. Houses in decent neighborhoods have become affordable again, especially if you downsize your needs. It's cheaper than Sonoma County. Ukiah is less froo froo and more down to earth than Sonoma County-you don't have to fight tourists for parking in the downtown area, and if you want the trappings of yuppie-hood like great restaurants, you can always drive 40 minutes to Healdsburg for dinner.
Other pluses:
Very little traffic.
Great food shopping-5 grocery stores and an awesome natural foods coop.
Low gas bills-I hardly ever have to leave the valley so I only fill up every 2 weeks or so.
Good community college for taking courses.
Free concerts in the park during the summer.
Farmers markets May-Oct.
Wineries are less pretentious than down south.
Coast is only an hour away.
I'm sure there are other great small towns out there. We are moving because we want acreage and simply couldn't afford it here. But every February when the sun comes out and the days get into the 70's and the wildflowers bloom and the hills green up, it makes me pause and wish I had enough money to have both New Mexico and California!
Mango
Mango: I'm very familiar with Ukiah. I was raised in a mill town in the north state, and we used to play Ukiah in football. (By the way, is
Marge Peterson, one of the cheer leaders still living there.).. Never mind, that was in 1952

Are you absolutely sure you want to move to New Mexico?

I spent 25 years in So. Calif. after Korea. For about 5 years, I traveled all over the country as a trainer for the company that I worked for, and mentally kept a tally on the spot that would be best suited for my wife and I to retire to, after the kids were raised.

I honestly never found a spot that I preferred to the North State of Calif.

(North State doesn't include Sacramento or San Francisco)

So far, it has been a pretty well kept secret. As far as I can figure out, the only other person on this board that, besides myself, is Trombone Al that lives on the northern coast. (We built a home up here 21 years ago when I retired.). (In the Sierras, East of your spot).

As we say in fly-fishing, "Match the Hatch", and if New Mexico works out the best for you, hope it will bring you many years of happiness.
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Old 02-28-2008, 10:24 AM   #10
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I would say the political climate is generally liberal, although there is a healthy mix of far left, far right and in between. Keeps things interesting.
Am I sure I want to leave northern California? Yes, pretty sure, but the option to stay here is there if we change our minds. We visit our land (near Hillsboro, NM) and my sister in ABQ every 6 months and try to see the land in every season so we can be sure we will enjoy life in the high desert. I do love the Southwest, have hiked and rafted there over the years, and I think it will be great. I also look forward to the adventure of moving to a new area, building a house and exploring the wilds of New Mexico. But I would be lying if I said I wouldn't miss northern Calif.
Mango
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Old 02-28-2008, 10:40 AM   #11
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How much are you selling your place in Ukiah for? I think you've sold me.
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Old 02-28-2008, 10:58 AM   #12
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Thanks, Mango, I've had Ukiah on my list forever! Or Northern Cal. in general. I'm looking to be close to a Kaiser Permanente Clinic, is there one nearby?
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Old 02-28-2008, 04:03 PM   #13
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Mango apparently didn't get the secrecy memo.
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:35 PM   #14
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Tricky, we don't have a price yet-we are 2-3 years away from pulling the trigger and at that time we'll come up with one. Mind you a 2 bdrm one bath bungalow may not be your cup of tea, so it could be a non starter. However, the house across the street (2 bdrm 2 bath) is on the market for 399K. 1/4 acre lot, older swimming pool. House is about 50 years old-been remodeled by a flipper after the former owner lost it in foreclosure.

Trombone Al, you're right, I didn't get the memo. But hey, we're always looking for new blood to move to town. Keeps things interesting.

Mango
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:37 PM   #15
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kam sahamnida!

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Old 02-29-2008, 06:32 PM   #16
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Boonville

Mango, I'm just over the hill from you in Anderson Valley, where I have a second home.

It does get hot!! in Ukiah. Don't forget that.

It doesn't get anymore small town than Boonville. Rossi's hardware has what appear to be the same Swiss Army knives in their glass case that I lusted after when I was five years old and barely able to see into the case.

They say you can't go home again, we'll see about that.

boont
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Old 02-29-2008, 06:44 PM   #17
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Hey Boont! Yeah it gets hot. But it's a dry heat, ya know? I guess I don't mind dry heat since I'm moving to the high desert...
The way I look at it, the "terrible heat" of Ukiah summers helps keep the Marin County riff raff out. We all have our pet peeves-one of mine is the fog-hate the fog, hate it! Don't see the so called "charm" of the fog. I think you guys get more of it over the hill, so maybe Ukiah is more for me. Although, I do love driving through Anderson Valley on the way to the coast-it's very beautiful, and a lot quieter than Ukiah, I will give you that.

Cuppa Joe, to answer your Kaiser question-no dice. There is a Kaiser in Santa Rosa an hour south of Ukiah, but it is too far. Kaiser won't cover you if you live in Ukiah as you would be outside the radius, which I think is 50 miles.
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Old 02-29-2008, 07:16 PM   #18
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Fog

Some morning fog, but gone by 9am. Love to watch it burn off.

The fog is why it's so great for the Pinot Noir grape here. And the Champagne, don't forget the Champagne.

I like to say that Roederer, the maker of Cristal Champagne, has two locations...just outside Paris, France and just outside Boonville California.

They have about a thousand acres and a tasting room here.

bahl gorm,

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Old 03-06-2008, 11:46 PM   #19
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Jarhead we are neighbors and feel the same way about Northern California. We built our home in the Sierra Nevada's about 27 years ago and retired to it 3 years ago and love it. We are on highway 4 east of the small town of Arnold. I must say if we had not built it 27 years ago we could not afford to buy it today.
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Old 03-07-2008, 03:46 AM   #20
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Northern CA is nice.

Being from the mid-west, the first time I visited CA, OR, WA... I was impressed by the natural beauty.

Get outside of the big cities and people are folksy and down to earth.
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