CALIFORNIA

What I like most about blogs are reader’s comments.  That’s why I’m writing today about my home state of California.  I want to tell you why I love living here as a prompt for you to comment below about the city or town where you live, and why you like or dislike it.

I was born in the San Francisco Bay Area, more specifically in Oakland, and moved to the small city of Alameda when I was ten years old.  Alameda is a small man-made island (pop. around 80,000), situated on the bay across from San Francisco.  We enjoy beautiful views of San Francisco’s skyscrapers (since we have none of our own), the Bay Bridge, and the bay waters in between.

Alameda has some very endearing qualities: lots of Victorian and Craftsman houses, numerous parks adorned with green trees, playgrounds and picnic areas, a beach boardwalk that extends down one side of the city that abuts the Alameda Town Center – an open-air mall with Old Navy, Kohls, and several nice restaurants.  The climate is mild – summer temps are generally between 65 and 80 degrees, winter temperatures may dip down to the high 30’s but generally are more in the 50’s.  I don’t own a winter coat.

One of my favorite spots in California, though, is Santa Barbara where I lived for about eight years and graduated from U.C.  The cliche’ phrase for it’s 88,000 residents is that it’s a place for the “newly wed or nearly dead”.  You’re either very young and starting out your life, perhaps after attending the university, or you’re retired.  It’s hard to earn a decent living in a city filled with wealthy people who don’t exactly “need” to work to reside there.

Located between San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles, Santa Barbara has a Mediterranean climate and is snuggled against the Santa Ynez Mountains.  It’s a great place to visit, has a gorgeous beach boardwalk with uncrowded beaches, beautiful homes on the hillsides overlooking the city, lots of restaurants, friendly people, and the U.C. campus is situated on the cliffs above the ocean.

I love living in California, can’t imagine moving to any other state, and no, I am not afraid of earthquakes.

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Posted on September 9, 2011, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. I loved this post, Patti. It’s great when we can take a tour of wonderful places through the eyes of our writer/friends. No guessing here … my name is fOIS In The City and there isn’t anyone left on planet earth who doesn’t know who The City is and the amazing varieties she offers. I’ve often said, if you live in New York you don’t have to travel because the world comes to you 🙂

  2. Love this post. I’ve always been curious about California but have never visited. If I did visit, I’d love to tour some of the older cities where the Victorian homes are.

    I live in Texas. I can’t imagine ever living anywhere else. I can trace my family on both sides back to the Texas Revolution of the 1830s. This state is in my blood. And, yes, it is too hot and humid here.

    Right now, I live in one of Houston’s many, far-reaching suburbs. There are great things about it–the availability of so many services and so much variety. The negative–for me–is definitely the overcrowding. I’m so tired of being surrounded by people and their noise.

    • I completely know what you mean about a state being “in your blood” so to speak. And the overcrowding is something I didn’t address in my blog, but everyone knows how crowded California is in a lot of places. I dream of being out in the middle of Nowheresville while still having access to the internet and some decent stores. When I sit here writing and have to listen to my neighbor sneeze while he’s doing yard work or my other neighbor getting his motorcycle out of the garage I want to scream! But I keep reminding myself that I actually DO live in a pretty small place that I love and maybe some day…..

  3. Great post! I’m California dreamin’ now. 🙂 I have been to California several times and I love it there. I have yet to get to Santa Barbara, but we are hoping to go at New Year’s this year. I’ve lived in or visited 46 of the 50 states; Idaho, South Dakota, Montana, and Alaska remain on my must see list.

    I’m partial to the South which is probably why when my husband sold his company, we headed to Georgia. It was Southern enough for me–although most of my neighbors are from somewhere else–yet still a big city for my husband who’d never left the Baltimore/DC area. We’ve had a great time exploring all the quaint towns in Georgia and the surrounding states. Some towns feel as though you’ve stepped onto a movie set or into the pages of a John Grishom novel. We have a funny sign in our kitchen that reads “I wasn’t born in the South, but I got here as fast as I could.” 🙂

    Of course, after living here for over 5 years, my wanderlust is starting to kick in. My nomadic childhood can’t be drummed out of me. I’ve always wanted to live in Texas….

    • New Years in Santa Barbara – how cool! There’s nothing not to like there and the scenery is to die for. Plus it’s really close to L.A., though that may not be your cup of tea (cliche’ alert!). I understand what you mean about your wanderlust. I started traveling when I went to college, the whole Europe thing, and told my parents I was never coming back when I went to the University of Madrid. But I did return and then went back and forth from Santa Barbara to home several times. I was about to go to France to live because I was getting twitchy but then met my to-be husband and haven’t left since!

  4. Like Tracy, we moved frequently when I was younger, but somehow I’ve been in Georgia for almost 30 years now. I love the weather and the rolling hills and how green everything is here. The heat, humidity and bugs are well worth putting up with when we have some 70 degree days in November (just enough to make you appreciate them).

    The best thing about appreciating where you live is to understand that the grass is not always greener somewhere else! Oh, and my kids love it here!

    • Georgia indeed sounds like a gorgeous state. I’ve never been to the South and yet it really is on my list of places to visit. I’d want to come when it’s about 70 degrees, too. I love rolling hills and lots of green. It will be interesting to see if I stay here for the rest of my life. I can’t imagine living away from the coast, but that still leaves me a ton of places to go.

  5. A close friend of mine lives in Fredericksburg, Texas, and she sent me a Chamber of Commerce type video and it’s such a beautiful place. The only problem for her is that she’s from this area where I live near San Francisco and after 30 or so years she still isn’t acclimatized to the hot weather.

    • Patti, Fredricksburg is in a part of Texas called The Hill Country. It is (IMHO) the most beautiful part of Texas. We vacation there just about every year. Those short trees, endless rolling two lane highways, and big sky make my imagination do cartwheels.

      Anyway, German folks settled that area of Texas, and their influence is still very evident. President Lyndon B. Johnson grew up in a tiny city about 30 miles from Fredricksburg, and you can visit the house his family lived in.

      Just a really neat area of the state.

      • I know what you mean about the German folks settling in the area because I believe they mentioned that in the video I watched, but I’d forgotten about it. Texas is daunting to me because it is so huge, but it’s that vastness that gives me the feeling that it must have hundreds of different micro-climates and small enclaves of society that I don’t know about.

  6. I’m born and bred Texan and, not surprisingly, love the Lone Star State! Your comment is right, Patti: Texas has many varied terrains, cities, cultures, etc. to offer. I live in a smaller town outside Houston, and I love the access to professional sports, arts, entertainment, etc. while still enjoying small town parades, little league, community fairs, A1 schools, etc. (In fact, Family Circle just named us one of the Top 10 Best Towns for Families: http://www.familycircle.com/family-fun/travel/best-towns-for-families/?page=5.)

    There are wonderful things about each state in the union, but I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I want to travel EVERYWHERE, but my home is Texas.

  7. Well, that certainly is cool to have your town named as one of the Top 10 Best Towns for Families. I’m going to follow that link and see what else it says. Thank you, Julie.

  8. Texas is calling me very loudly now. Of course, my husband is about to become CEO of his old company in Maryland again. Maybe I can convince him to move it to Texas. 🙂

  9. Okay, while I read about California, Texas, and Georgia and drool with envy, I’ll tell you that I’m a born and bred Canadian prairie girl. I live on a small acreage on the outskirts of a fairly small city (18,000 people). We have a lot of heavy industry in this area (Dow and Shell, just to name a couple of the bigger plants) and from my deck, I can see the rooftops of the taller buildings on the plantsites. But, if I look the other three directions, I can see gently rolling farmland (currently in the midst of harvest) and other small acreages similar to mine. Sometimes when I go outside at night, all I hear is pure golden silence. 🙂

    But at heart, I’m a mountain and ocean girl. Give me a mountain in the backyard and the ocean in the front and I’d never want to travel again. Fortunately, the Rocky Mountains in Alberta are a short four hour drive from my house. And I can hop a plane and be at the ocean within an hour and a half (excluding the two to four hour wait time at the airport!). So while my home turf is quiet and relaxing, I do crave the beauty of the mountain and ocean views. They inspire me to create and my favorite daydream is of my sitting on top of a mountain, pen and notebook in hand, with the panoramic view of the other mountains surrounding me.

    We try to make at least one trip to the mountains every year, and every year when we drive out of them, I cry. Very simply, they fill my soul to bursting.

    Hmmm, I feel a trip coming on soon and I better make it fast because we could get snow any day now …..

    • Sheila, to be able to go outside and hear pure and golden silence is priceless, let me tell ya’. I hear silence but if I REALLY listen, it isn’t true silence at all – the muffled sounds of BART (rapid transit in Oakland) across the estuary can still be heard and light traffic can still be detected. So, maybe it’s more of a trade-off, you know? I bet you can see stars whereas there is too much light coming out of the Bay Area to see what you see, most likely. My sister-in-law has dual citizenship with Canada and lives near Vancouver. She loves it.

  10. I was born and raised in a small “New England” town in Ohio, then married a navy man and have moved 11 times since. Have enjoyed both coats: Monterey and San Diego (twice) on the west, Norfolk VA (many times), Newport RI and Charleston SC on the east, and Memphis smack dab in the middle (only time with no ocean acdess!) Each place we live has a unique feel and like you said, a lot of good and a little bad. It’s time for us to think about retirement, and we have the option to pick ANY WHERE IN THE COUNTRY we want to go, so I spend a lot of time researching places. The only requirement is that it is near a body of water large enough for my husband to sail and me to enjoy sunrises and sunsets. (Cue the John Denver song, Sunrise on the Water…) But one thing about the great United States is you can find the perfect place to call home.

  11. You know, Jayne, I’ve only visited San Diego once! I’ve been to Monterey a lot and once lived in Carmel – the coldest summer I’ve ever spent anywhere (fog and low temps!). You are indeed lucky to be able to have anywhere in the country to live and I’ll be interested to know what place you choose. Are you leaning in any particular direction?

  12. I’m a Long Island (NY) girl born and bred but it’s getting way too built up. I love the ocean. My husband and I are looking into moving to coastal NC. My mom lives down there on Jarrett Bay. Beautiful.

    I went to California back in ’76 but the guy I was traveling with didn’t want to visit any cities so I never got to see San Fran or any of the other great cities around there. Love your pictures of the areas. Thanks.

    • Hi Donna! I’m Googling Jarrett Bay right now. I have always been intrigued with books written in that venue – North Carolina – so hearing that you’re moving there makes me smile. How cool. Thanks for stopping by.
      Patti

  13. Great photos, Patricia! California is definitely one of our most beautiful states and most diverse. From the sunny beaches of southern California to the moutainous northern region with its towering trees and snow, I love to visit any chance I can.

    Thanks for sharing!

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