My wife and I currently live in New York. We moved here from San
Francisco so that she could complete a medical fellowship. We're
considering relocating back to California in exactly one year and
we're researching locations to purchase a home and put down roots. We
realize no place will be ideal, but since we have some freedom to
select our new spot, we'd like to choose something that meets a few,
if not many of our ideal qualities. I'm looking for a comprehensive
list of as many towns as possible to consider -- no less than 30 --
that meet some or all of the criteria below. I've already done
research on 'money.com' 'best places to live index' and the milken
foundation 'best places' list. I'd like to obtain more thoughtful,
unique, and independent research based on more knowledge of specific
towns in California. Below is a list of the criteria
that the ideal spot will meet:
A little more background on us. My wife is a doctor specializing in
geriatrics and I am a non-profit executive specializing in economic
development and markeitng. We have one child on the way.
1. VALUES: we're not looking for LA glitter and fake Hollywood values,
although if there is a suburb of LA that's got a small town feel,
could be fine.
2. TRAFFIC: the less the better -- half hour commutes to and from
3. OCEAN: we love the sea and would prefer to be as close as possible
4. LAND: our dream would be to buy something with 15+ acres so we can
someday have horses and a little farm.
5. HOUSE: we're not looking for the fanciest house on the block --
rather, something comfortable for a family of four and an occasional
visitor. I'm handy and would be able to renovate myself.
6. CLIMATE: moderate is great. the only thing we don't love is extreme
7. CULTURE: we like 'quaintness' and a small downtown area with a
couple places to eat is ideal -- we don't need to be really close to
major theaters and museums. we enjoy arts and crafts, so a gallery or
two, or a lively local arts program would be terrific.
8. NEIGHBORS: we're friendly and we're looking for a place where the
people are too. guess we're looking for midwestern values in
9. RELIGION: we're jewish and we'd like to find a place that has at
least one synagogue nearby or in town. lots of small california towns
have only churches and although we have many friends that aren't
jewish, our preference is to meet some other jewish families.
10. JOBS: ideally we'd like to be within a half hour of a research
university hospital, or a medical research institute. proximity to
some kind of growing industry, besides tourism, -- manufacturing,
biotechnology, software, is also ideal.
11. OUTDOORS: we love hiking and wide open california spaces.
12. LOCATION: although being near the sea is a preference, the other
preference is to be within 2-3 hours of los angeles. we will
definitely consider locations outside of this perimeter, but being
close to los angeles --specifically manhattan beach, is ideal.
13. PRICE and LIFESTYLE: my wife and I earn a decent combined salary,
but work and having material things is DEFINITELY NOT our top
priority. we're looking for a location that hopefully will allow us to
afford a decent home and lifestyle at a reasonable price. We're
looking for purchase a home for 450-550k.
14. INVESTMENT: of course we'd like to buy something where the value
will likely increase over the next ten years.
15. TOWN SIZE: not really an issue if we're able to purchase a large
size of land -- however, ideally town would have at least 15,000
16. ARCHITECTURE: we love the old victorians of san francisco but we
don't have our hearts set on a specific type of home. however, as for
the downtown of the actual city, we would like something that has some
character and few or no chain stores and 'big boxes' like walmart and
17. EDUCATION: a decent public k-12 system is ideal.