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Help! Making the move to San Mateo, CA for work - where to live?

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  • Help! Making the move to San Mateo, CA for work - where to live?

    Hello!

    First I apologize for being a long time lurker and rare poster. You probably don't know me, but I know you!

    Okay, here it goes. After 21 long years in the PNW I have just accepted a job in San Mateo, CA. I have done my homework and compared salaries and cost of living, and searched old threads on COTH on barns. For the first year down there I've decided to try out the peninsula for home and horses because of work - I hate commuting. (Who knows, might change my mind to east bay in 2014.). I haven't picked a barn yet, and i don't own a horse yet and will likely try a few before I know where I fit, but it seems like the barns are going to be in Portola Valley, Woodside, west part of PA?

    So, I'd love to know, where to live?!. Closer to work? Closer to barns? I am looking for a small rental (apt/condo) and as much as I love ponies, I want to be close to fun stuff and not too out in the boonies. Portola Valley and Woodside Horse Park seems very rural and far out there.... I'll also need a new social life and don't want to be far from happy hour, shopping (More Marshall's than Nordstroms), movies, restaurants, etc.

    HELP!!

    Cheers,
    Courtney

  • #2
    I grew up in San Mateo!

    I think a lot depends on where in San Mateo you are working and how long of a commute you think you can tolerate. Traffic basically sucks there a large amount of the time.Most barns will also be off the 280 versus the 101 so keep that in mind.

    So I would say I'd probably prefer to commute less to work versus the barn. Because you will be going to work everyday versus a few times a week for the barn.

    ETA: San Mateo has a pretty nice downtown area too. Lots of restaurants now and little shops and a new movie theater. Plus you are fairly close to a decent mall and if that doesn't strike your fancy palo alto is only 20 minute south, and San Fran is only 25 minutes north (plus very easily accessible either by Cal Trains or Bart)

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thanks! What is technically considered downtown San Mateo? I know there is a Hillsdale Mall and i dont think i want to be super close to that. 4th Ave closer to Burlingame? My work is actually closer to Foster City east of the 101.... Lots of big apartment complexes there too.

      My commute now is 3 miles/10 mins,... I'm spoiled. I could tolerate 20-25 mins.

      Comment


      • #4
        Not living in San Mateo, but having lived all over California...

        For the commute, you really have to decide how often you'll be at the barn. Right now you don't own a horse, so you'll probably be at the barn a couple days a week. Because of that (plus you're new to the area and want to meet more people), I would live closer to work and farther from the barn.

        However, if you are going to the barn every day, I prefer to live closer to the barn. This is because at 5pm I have to drive home anyways so I might as well go to the barn since it's just as far (more or less). And then when it's late it's only a short drive home.

        As for a 20 minute commute... good luck.
        Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

        Comment


        • #5
          I grew up in Burlingame, rode in Woodside and now my momma lives in San Mateo.

          KateKat is right: Your job is to pick a place that gets you close to 280. The other option is to get to 92 (which takes you up to 280. 101 is an F-ing parking lot during rush hour. 280, however, is a spectacular freeway. It literally won awards. You won't mind cruising along on that California monument to fahrvergnugen.

          Living across the bay will subject you to bridges and long commutes. Oh, and barns in the East Bay aren't close in to bridges that bring you across the bay. Out there, you'd also have a very different feel-- lots of housing developments and still a drive to the barn and to work.

          It would not be horrible to live in Belmont or Redwood City. That puts you just a few exits down 101 for your commute to work. It might make housing cheaper and does put you closer to Woodside and all.

          If your work is in downtown San Mateo, you can conceivably commute via Caltrain-- NorCal's answer to New York City's MetroNorth commuter train system. That will let you live farther down the peninsula and much closer to your barn. The train tracks run closer to the bay , while Woodside and Portola Valley are a few miles west and up the hill.

          I'm not sure what the parking situation is at Caltrain Stations along the peninsula, but check it out. There's a lot to be said by commuting by train, even though it's not Californian. New Yorkers know what they are doing in this respect, and it can make the horser's life easier, pleasurable (since you aren't driving during your commute) and it puts you closer to the barn. Caltrain conceivably opens up your options to towns south of Redwood City like Menlo Park, Atherton and Palo Alto.

          These cities all seem to run together if you drive down El Camino Real-- an old 4-lane boulevard on the peninsula. But when you get to their downtowns, they feel different.

          Do the best you can saving dough on housing because board will take a bite of your paycheck.

          I hope you like NorCal!
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by CFiona View Post
            Thanks! What is technically considered downtown San Mateo? I know there is a Hillsdale Mall and i dont think i want to be super close to that. 4th Ave closer to Burlingame? My work is actually closer to Foster City east of the 101.... Lots of big apartment complexes there too.

            My commute now is 3 miles/10 mins,... I'm spoiled. I could tolerate 20-25 mins.
            Yes, old downtown San Mateo is 4th/5th Ave, a mile or 2 North of Hillsdale. It feels bigger and a tad less posh that Burlingame Avenue. I can picture where your work is. Sadly, it doesn't work well for Caltrain. But start with your work location vis-a-vis 92. From there, see what housing you like and want to pay for. The Foster City section you are describing is nothing to write home about, but there are older and cooler neighborhoods.
            The armchair saddler
            Politically Pro-Cat

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by CFiona View Post
              Portola Valley and Woodside Horse Park seems very rural and far out there.... I'll also need a new social life and don't want to be far from happy hour, shopping (More Marshall's than Nordstroms), movies, restaurants, etc.
              As a native Californian who grew up on the Peninsula, I found this quote to be a little entertaining (no offense!!). Portola Valley and Woodside are the least rural places I can think of - right in the middle of the Palo Alto/Stanford area, with huge homes on every piece of land - as long as your home/barn is along Alpine, Portola, or Sandhill Roads, you will never be more than 5-10 minutes from happy hour, movies, restaurants, etc.

              I would recommend living in Redwood City, which would be a good middle ground for you - as others have said, San Mateo is more along 101 while the barns are on the other side of 280 - Redwood City or Belmont is right inbetween the two

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ens0613 View Post
                As a native Californian who grew up on the Peninsula, I found this quote to be a little entertaining (no offense!!). Portola Valley and Woodside are the least rural places I can think of - right in the middle of the Palo Alto/Stanford area, with huge homes on every piece of land - as long as your home/barn is along Alpine, Portola, or Sandhill Roads, you will never be more than 5-10 minutes from happy hour, movies, restaurants, etc.

                I would recommend living in Redwood City, which would be a good middle ground for you - as others have said, San Mateo is more along 101 while the barns are on the other side of 280 - Redwood City or Belmont is right inbetween the two
                I have to agree with ens063 here!

                I board at the Woodside Horsepark and love it.
                Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!
                http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e350/Jen4USC/fave.jpg
                http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e3...SC/running.jpg

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by CFiona View Post
                  Thanks! What is technically considered downtown San Mateo? I know there is a Hillsdale Mall and i dont think i want to be super close to that. 4th Ave closer to Burlingame? My work is actually closer to Foster City east of the 101.... Lots of big apartment complexes there too.

                  My commute now is 3 miles/10 mins,... I'm spoiled. I could tolerate 20-25 mins.
                  My niece lives in a very nice apartment complex in Burlingame - backs onto open, hilly land with trails. Will get info & PM you, if you'd like.
                  www.ayliprod.com
                  Equine Photography in the Northeast

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I also grew up on the peninsula, and kept my horse in Woodside / Portola Valley – and recommend San Carlos. Close to 280, close to the horse spots, close to Foster City. They have a little downtown with shops and restaurants. Cal Train comes right by and makes it easy to hop the train to San Francisco for a night out.

                    It is about 5 miles to foster city, and less than 10 miles to the Woodside Horse Park.
                    APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CFiona View Post

                      So, I'd love to know, where to live?!.
                      Well uh. How much money do you have?
                      United States Cat Dressage Federation

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        We relocated to the Bay Area in December. We chose to live closer to work (Mountain View) because of the awful, awful traffic.

                        I ride in Portola Valley and would much rather deal with a commute to the barn than one to work. I find barn hours are much more flexible and there is much much less congestion on the 280 than the other freeways (esp. the 101!). It usually takes me longer to get the 4.2 miles to work than it does the 20 miles to the barn.

                        I'd recommend looking for housing close to work, and commuting to the barn, but I personally can't stand rush hour commuting... And it's really, truly awful here (And I lived in LA for several years... this traffic puts LA traffic to shame...).

                        I agree that Portola/Woodland are pretty nice and not what I would consider "Rural." You're pretty close to shopping/food/etc.
                        It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you've got.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I live/work in San Mateo off the 92 and keep my horse in half moon bay. I agree with what everyone else said. Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions. Good luck!

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            hi again everyone! First of all, thanks SO much for all the replies. Second of all - I've moved!!! I decided to live super close to my office so my work commute is minimal (yay!).

                            Now for the horses....I've spent the last 2 Saturdays out at the Woodside Horse Park walking around enjoying the show, watched the Grand Prix and some pony classes. It's been fun, the weather is insane,...but I'm itching to ride! A few of you mentioned you might have some insight and if you do - I've love some PMs if you don't mind. I'm an adult re-rider, I've been dabbling in re-riding for a few years. The move was pretty expensive so I'm not able to dive right in full force these 1st few months, but should start meeting trainers and watching lessons/taking a "trial" lessons, etc. But - where to start??

                            Comment

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