Re: Moving 2-3hrs outside the Bay Area
Crockett! On the water (Carquinez Straits), cute houses reasonably priced, awesome pool and community center, lots of artists in residence. And about an hour from Berkeley. Crockett is a gem! former Crocketteer
Re: Cheaper but safe enough neighborhoods
How about Crockett? It's safe - my 7 year old walks around by herself, and you never hear gunshots! There's a great feeling of community, with lots of community events and meetings. It's a small town where it's easy to get to know people and become part of the community.
Advantages: small, friendly, surrounded by parks (so easy access to hiking and biking), and quite affordable. There is a NICE house down the block, 3 bedroom/2 baths, for $399,000. Oh, many houses have fabulous views, too. The area is pretty staunchly Democratic, too, being an old mill town. Lots of funky, interesting things like the Sunday jazz performances at the local deli, the tiny little weekend farmer's market, and the very nice community pool.
Disadvantages: Lack of public transportation. The nearest big grocery store, as well as the elementary school, are in the next town over, so I end up driving more than I would like. Not many restaurants out here, and not a lot of variety. The nearest truly great pizza is Berkeley (lots on mediocre pizza out here, but it's a long way to Lanesplitter).
Finally, to live out here, you have to have a tolerance for oddity. The houses all have quirks, as do many of the residents. But if you like quirkiness, you might love Crockett. Happy transplant from San Francisco
We consider moving to Crockett. Does anyone of you live there or knows somebody who lives there? I would like to know something about the community in Crockett and the commute from there to Berkeley. Is the commute really bad? Unfortunately I have to drive at the rush-hours. I have to be at the Gilman exit at 8:45a.m. and would go back either at 4:00p.m. or at 5:45p.m., which probably doesn't make a difference. Thanks for any response. Christiane
I live in Crockett, and love it. I used to commute to downtown Berkeley, and if you get off at the Gilman street exit, it's not a bad commute at all - the real buildup starts right around Gilman. Actually, if you can somehow arrange to start your job just 15 minutes later or so, it really makes a difference in traffic on that particular commute.
Crockett in general is a really nice place to live. It truly is a small town, and all the businesses are small, locally-owned. There is an active playgroup, a small but nice library, a park with a good playground, and a pool that is open in the summers. The people are nice, and the views are amazing. You are very welcome to contact me with any questions, concerns, etc, or if you just want to meet someone in town! Emma
Crockett has a wonderful, strong Catholic community. We are not Catholic, and felt a *little* like outsiders when we lived there. They have wonderful, dedicated teachers, but school scores are not so great right now. The elementary school is in Rodeo and within sight of an oil refinery. In the event of a chemical emmision (it happened a while back, I recommend you research this for yourself) children and residents have been instructed to shelter in place. The high school mascot is an Indian despite efforts to change it. The views are excellent, dynamic and lovely, but the steep hills mean you do a lot of driving (putting more wear and tear on your car) or you must have legs like a mountain goat. I don't know how long it takes to drive to Gilman at rush hour, but it took around 30 minutes to the Del Norte BART at 5:30 a.m. when we lived there. A new bridge is being built across the Carquinez Straight, which is disruptive but fascinating to watch. The people really care about their community and are nice. There are organizations you can join, including the humorously-named CIA (Crockett Improvement Association). Housing prices are relatively affordable, a boon to first time buyers. As a C company town, most of the older folks used to work there and the history is quite interesting. Depending on the part of town, you can hear the C whistle at various times of day, the passing trains and the foghorns. Go and visit, picnic at a park, walk the hills and see how you like it (this actually goes for anyplace you may decide to live). good luck
I just wanted to apologize for my earlier post about Crockett. Upon reading it a few days later, I noticed it had a rather negative tone, which was not my intent. (I wanted it to be balanced). It really is a special place, a small-town gem, a rarity in the bay area. It will always have a special place in my heart. good luck