We are thinking of relocating to Northern California. SWMBO has expressed
interest in two areas: Davis and Grass Valley/Nevada City. Anybody have
'inside info' on either of these areas pro or con? We are retired, so
commuting, job availability, etc. are not of primary concern. I know Davis
is a college town, but that's about all. Woodworking friendliness would
appeal to me. Education, friendliness, moderate weather, reasonable real
estate values, etc. would appeal to both of us.
Web sites have not been too forthcoming with the kind of info we need. Your
input would be greatly appreciated.
I've visited Grass Valley a couple of times. Nice small town
atmosphere. And it's close to Lake Tahoe if one desires a little
gambling and/or some entertainment. It's big drawback for me is the
I live in Sacramento, which is between Davis and Grass Valley. Davis
has more services and shopping, but it's a college town, populated by
academics and students, vegans, and hardcore liberals. Davis is an
extremely liberal community...it's been described as a smaller version
of Berkeley (I spent my last two years of college in Davis, and I liked
it when I was in my twenties). Grass Valley is popular with people who
have reached the apex of their careers, so it's growing rapidly. You can
still get a big lot at a reasonable price there, but keep in mind that
there isn't a lot of service or shopping in the city. If you're looking
for furniture or tools, you'll have to do a bit of driving. It's not too
far from Auburn and Sacramento though.
The weather can get a bit on the cool side in Grass Valley, but they
are immune from the valley's legendary smog. The whole area is blanketed
in conifers and some oaks. My dad inherited an old sawmill just outside
of Grass Valley five years ago and he's planning on moving there when he
finishes his house. I may retire there myself if it's still affordable
when I retire. If you like sub-alpine areas, you would probably also
like placerville, which is on US 50 heading east from Sacramento.
If you move to Grass Valley, you will not regret it. I would live
there myself if I could stand the commute to Sacramento.
To verify that this post isn't forged, click here:
I'll have to second linux_lad's opinions. I live in Folsom, which
is on the east side of Sacramento, between there and Placerville.
There are lots of nice places in the foothills. Davis is OK,
never lived there, but its out in the middle of the valley. The
foothill towns are going to be a little cooler in the summer and
a LOT more scenic. Grab a map and look up and down hiway 49.
Its littered with towns dating from the gold rush.
Chris Richmond | I don't speak for Intel & vise versa
And the Malakoff (SP?) hydraulic mine from Gold Rush days, impressive
considering the era.
On Fri, 21 May 2004 16:39:15 +0000 (UTC),
firstname.lastname@example.org (Chris Richmond - MD6-FDC ~) wrote:
As another fellow said, life moves MUCH faster in Davis, and the
demographic is much younger.
Access to health care is a factor my wife and I have discussed. The
predominant, but certainly not only, provider in the region, is
http://www.sutterhealth.org /, who are very good. UC Davis has a world
class health care system, and is tied into some of the best regional
specialty clinics in the United States. Your needs and desires may vary.
Nevada City/ Grass Valley are closer to where the trees grow.
There's a decent Woodcraft store in Sacramento, out Hwy 50 towards Rancho
Cordova. They would know about any local groups. Too bad you missed the
Wood show in Sacramento over the last weekend in April...
Why don't you see about catching a cheap Southwest Airlines flight into
Sacramento, and coming out for a visit? Three or four days, might give you
a really good idea of what's available. Realtors would be happy to spend a
few hours with you. It's a nice time of year. I'd avoid coming on the 3
day weekend, however.
whose family has been in northern California since some of the locals still
You might be interested in a city between the two called Auburn. It is off
highway 80 near the highway 49 intersection. Very nice and quaint old
downtown area that has alot of charm. And two excellent hardwood suppliers
in town, as well.
Neither Davis nor Grass Valley will give you moderate weather, though.
Auburn won't either for that matter. Expect at least 10 days over 100
degrees in July, and temps exceeding 90 routinely throughout the summer.
But its a dry heat, as they say. :-)
IF, I had to live in California :-) . . . Grass Valley would be my choice,
but since I don't, I live in Carson City Nevada - just on the other side of
the Sierra's - 13 miles downhill from Lake Tahoe. As a matter of fact, the
"undeveloped" east shore of the lake is within Carson City! Great weather,
no State income tax, and some pretty nice folks.
Just went through GV on Highway 20 - breakfast stop - recently. Big real
estate boom in progress. The money has arrived, where the hippie used to
prevail. If you're long of purse, you might enjoy it, but the number of
holes in the woods is growing fast, so you'll have to pay for enough land to
provide the isolation you thought you wanted.
Someone mentioned the Carson Valley, just south of Reno. There seem to be
aome really pretty places up there, if you want a little more 'winter' than
many Californians are used to. Gardnerville has a quilt shop my wife made
me drive 90 miles out of the way to visit.
Lake County, north of the Napa Valley, is still affordable, although
growing. There is certainly a lot less of the 'gentrification' going on
there, but many of the people are quite nice, and there is plenty of quiet.
The airport is more than two hours away, and you need to drive most of an
hour to Santa Rosa or Windsor for woods you can't obtain with a chain saw.
My parents bought a home there 16 years ago or so, and have been very
It's still California, with all that implies, good and less so.
I have a good friend who lives about 30 miles East of Redding. Very
rural area, lots of trees, and mild winters. Redding is large enough to
provide most city services.
Just what kind of place are you looking for? California has about every
imaginable climate. Some of the prices are outlandish but some are
I spent my college years (8 of 'em) in Davis, and I've lived there off and
on since; I now live in a smaller town 8 miles west: Dixon, the "Gateway to
Davis". I also did my MS thesis on the granite underlying Nevada City (very
near Grass Valley), so I spent a bit of summer time there as well.
Davis is a flatland, Central Valley town. It gets HOT and stays hot much of
the summer (most days 95+ deg; many days 100+; I've seen 6-8 days at a time
110+). But "its a dry f'n heat", and when the Delta Breeze kicks in it
cools down nicely in the evenings. And there's something to be said for
being able to close the bars and bike home at 2:30 am comfortably in shorts.
Winters are foggy and dreary and can be rather rainey, but relatively mild
temperatures (hard freezes are pretty rare). The last few years air
pollution has become an issue in the whole Valley. The area is
predominantly agricultural, so there's a lot of dust in the air, tomotoes on
the roads, and farm vehicles on the back roads. Its a college town (UCD has
30,000 students now, I think), and the town is mostly geared to that. But
the town is also on the I-80 corridor and a lot of people commute to the
East Bay and San Francisco jobs. In my judgement, property values are
extremely inflated ($300K - $400K+ for a 2000 sq ft, 30 yr old home). Rents
are high because of low vacancy rates (students sign leases in
January-February for fall leases), but the rates have been a bit higher as
of lately. As others have said, the populace is decidely "liberal" and the
town has a lot of quirky laws and codes (i.e.window to wall ratios; permits
required for ceiling fans and aapliances; snore too loud, go to jail; can't
smoke in the park if you're sitting down but can if you're walking; &tc.).
The town has a youthful presence that is appealing, and the University
brings a lot of cultural events (the new Mondavi Center is spectacular), and
other ammenities (e.g. a world-class library with public access, AND a
woodshop with some big iron w/ public access for $17/day or ~$90/qtr).
Davis is about 70 miles from SBC Park in SF, 20 miles from Sacramento, 90
miles from South Lake Tahoe; 2-3 hrs from the Sonoma Coast beaches; a good
central location. The land is FLAT as a board for many miles in every
direction, and the landscape is that of cultivated fields (tomatoes, corn,
safflower, oats, alfalfa, you name it).
I don't know as much about Nevada City-Grass Valley. They're located on the
western slopes of the Sierra Nevada at about 2000 feet. The area has a lot
of Gold Rush ers history and Nevadda City is very touristy. It gets hot
there in the summer too, but cools down more at night, and winters get
considerably more rain and a little snow (2-3 times a year, if that), and
they get hard freezes. The area is more rural, but the foothill areas one
of the fastest growing locations in the state. The landscape is hilly w/
oak and piney forests and grasslands. Wild fires are a constant threat and
people have to work to keep appropriate firebreaks and clearances around
buildings. Posion oak is rampant. There is a very progressive public radio
station in Nevada City (www.kvmr.org) that is worth a listen all day
Saturday if you like twangy music.
E-mail me if you have specific questions (remove the "uhuh").
Being from Sacramento (about inbetween the two -grass valley and Davis)
and a woodworker to boot, I would pick grass valley. As others
suggested, Davis is very liberal - VERY. It is like todays Berkeley.
There was a lawsuit there-someone suing someone who snored for
violating the noise laws. The mayor (not current) was on a public
access program proposing a program where all home owners must plant
fruit trees in front yard so homeless can get fruit to eat. Grass
valley is beautiful. In the foothills above the smog. Sure, you may
have to drive to auburn to get your wood, but the tranquil living will
be worth it.
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