The Tiburon Hippie Swing

There are always little known places in the San Francisco Bay Area to discover. Here is one that you possibly didn’t know about. First, let me tell you about the area – Tiburon. It is a lovely town just on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. As you take the short walk along the mini downtown sidewalk, you find arks that have been made into little shops, and fabulous eateries  –  with Sam’s being one of the most famous restaurants. At Sam’s, you overlook the Corinthian Yacht Club, and get a stellar view of San Francisco, all the while basking in the sunshine, and dining on mouthwatering food selections.

 

 

Then, as you travel to the other side of Tiburon, you can take a hike up into the hills where you can swing on the Hippie Swings while you experience the breathtaking view.

The only problem is – you may not want to leave this exquisite area, so you might bring a blanket and a picnic, or for a sunset experience, dinner and a glass of wine. Every day can be a different experience up here, depending on whether the fog is present, how warm it is, where the sun is shining, etc.


When Relocation Clients Become Friends

I helped this family settle into their new community when they relocated from India. I found them a wonderful home that met all their specifications. It was close to BART, and walking distance to the elementary school.

When they were settled into their new community, I began to send them fun family things to do with their son. They went to the Berkeley Lawrence Hall of Science, the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, Heath Farms playground, and to Round One for arcade games.

 

They invited me over to their new apartment for a traditional Indian dinner. I tried new foods I had never eaten before! The flavors were savory and the conversation was entertaining. I had an opportunity to learn about another part of the world I had never been to before.


Buying in Emerging Bay Area May Be Path to New Home Ownership

We have been working with so many clients who would prefer to purchase a new home rather than have to rent. A new line of thinking is brewing for the Bay Area . . . buying in areas that might not be a first choice. We remind our relocation clients that the benefits of considering these areas is that they are going to be the newest popular places to live.

For instance, the East Bay’s up-and-comers include Oakland’s Fruitvale and Millsmont districts, and some neighborhoods in Richmond. The median price for Richmond homes was $380,000 in the three-month period from January through March 2017. In the three-month period from December 2017 through February 2018, the latest numbers available, the price soared to $548,000, according to Redfin.

Crime in Richmond has dropped and in recent years the city has become a national model for community policing. New businesses are coming to Richmond, too, such as Catahoula, which opened some years ago on San Pablo Avenue. Also, Nearby Pinole, as well as Hercules, another West Contra Costa County city, are also up-and-coming cities.

Casa Arabella for instance, is a new 94-units of affordable housing near the Fruitvale BART station – great commute option.

Richmond and Oakland are close to San Francisco, making them attractive to commuters. Some areas that are further out, such as Vallejo, are also seeing a jump in prices. The San Francisco Bay Ferry provides year-round weekday and weekend service between Vallejo and the San Francisco Ferry Building, one of the biggest draws for the city.

 

 

 


June Activities and Events

Ready to have some fun this summer? Here are some suggestions for you and your family and/or friends.

 

Dates: 6/1 – 6/3     Comedy Central Presents Colossal Clusterfest

If you are looking to laugh all weekend long, one of the best SF Bay Area events in June is the Colossal Clusterfest. This festival starts on June 2nd and ends on June 4th. This is the biggest, and the best, comedy festival in San Francisco this year. If you want a break from the comedy shows, there are bands playing and wine and beer and loads of food trucks.

Dates: 6/2 & 6/3     subZERO Festival 2017 in San Jose

This two-day festival starts at 6 pm and lasts until midnight each night. This festival is a bit different than most festival since it is more of an experimental event where geek meets street. There are outdoor stages, performers and artists among other exhibits. This festival is free so check it out and enjoy an event unlike any you’ll see anywhere else.

Date: 6/23 & 6/24     Italian Street Painting Marin

Just north of San Francisco, the stunning city of San Rafael holds the Italian Street Painting Festival every June. This two-day event is a must visit if you enjoy chalk art street painting and seeing artists producing their artwork live and in person.

Over 100 Modonnari come from all over the United States and will make sure to impress you with their realistic, and 3 Dimensional, pieces of art. There is also live music, lots of delicious food options and events for the kids. Kids can even design their own street painting and see how they compare to the pros!

Date: 6/9 & 6/10     Livermore Rodeo

The Livermore Rodeo is one of the only SF Bay Area events in June where you will get up close and personal of some real cowboys and buckin’ broncos! This two-day event, located in the East Bay city of Livermore, is always a rip roaring time for the whole family. Not only are the more roping and riding events than you could imagine, there are also a Cowgirl Luncheon, Family night, a Princess and Queen competition. If you want to kick up your heels, there is also live music.

Date: 6/3     The Mill Valley Wine, Beer & Gourmet Food Tasting

The Mill Valley Wine, Beer & Gourmet Food Tasting is an epicurean delight. This one-day event is known as a highlight of the Marin area for all things food and drink. There are more than 65 wineries, lots of top notch craft beer from more than 10 breweries, and food from more than 40 restaurants and merchants. It runs from 1 pm to 4 pm at the Depot Plaza in Mill Valley. But your tickets early as they increase as as the event date approaches.

Dates: 6/7 – 6/10     Napa Valley Jazz Getaway

I am not sure there will be a better place to getaway and enjoy some smooth jazz than the Napa Valley wine country. For five days, starting on the 6th and continuing through the 10th, you will get a musical experience you will enjoy like no other. Performances are at different venues, and artist from all over the world will be playing different types of jazz.

There is also top quality food, craft brews, cigar events and, of course, incredible wines from across Napa Valley. There are numerous different tickets, and passes, so make sure to choose what is right for you.

Date: 6/10     Temescal Street Fair in Oakland

Oakland’s Temescal Street Fair is located in one of the upcoming and coming ares of the city. It has a lot of local flavor and there is so much for kids, and kids of all ages, to experience when they go to this fair. The street is closed down so you can walk around and check out everything it has to offer including lots of local bands, a low rider bicycles showcase, and over 150 booths featuring all the arts and crafts you could ever imagine. Starting Noon, this 10 block festival will allow your family to enjoy yourself almost all day long.

Dates: 6/23 & 6/24     SF Pride Parade & Festival

This two-day event is one of the most famous, and attended, parades and festivals in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is on Saturday, 23rd and Sunday, 24th this year. The parade, which is always full of color, lively action, and lots of positive energy, is on Sunday starting at 10:30 am at the corner of Market and Beele Street. Make sure to get to the parade early to get a great view of the festivities.

The festival is unlike any you’ve seen before with lots of bands, lots of food, and lots of drinks. People are out celebrating their LGTBQ pride and this is a true can’t miss San Francisco event.

Dates: 6/1 – 6/10     Healdsburg Jazz Festival

The Healdsburg Jazz Festival is a 10-day event. You will find music at venues throughout the quaint town of Healdsburg. It’s the perfect stop that any music lover will enjoy and treasure their experience. Some of the top local, and world, talent come to Healdsburg every year. This is also an exploration of different types of jazz as they regularly have smooth jazz, Latin jazz, and swing type jazz.

Dates: 6/23 & 6/24     Montclair Fine Arts Sidewalk Festival

Montclair is a town located on a hill above Oakland and is a secret Bay Area gem. There will be more than 60 artist, live music, and loads of arts and crafts for you to choose from and enjoy. There are also special areas for the kids to play and give you some time to chill out and check out the gorgeous view overlooking Oakland. If you don’t know this area, make sure to put this festival on your list.


Cultural Differences

It’s not easy for people moving from a different country to the United States/San Francisco Bay Area.

When working with international clients, it is our priority to learn about their particular culture. Listening to them tell us how they live, and what it costs them to live in their country, gives us an opportunity to be more helpful to them when making community and housing suggestions.

We also pay close attention to the family dynamics of our international clients. Possibly the wife does not work or drive, so finding a home that is close to schools for the children can be extremely important. Gaining information from our international clients about their dietary regimes, and where they worship are additional aspects that we take into account when finding the right community for them.

 


Summer Fun With Children (And For Adults)

I thought I would share some of the fun and unique things to do with children in the Bay Area – ones that I have visited many times, and know to be well worth the experience.

Crab Cove, Alameda is parallel to Crown Memorial State Beach. I remember when my daughter and I first went there as part of her class expedition. I remember getting on our hands and knees on the rocks so we could see the shoreline wildlife and the food chains that sustain living creatures that inhabit the area. Since the tides change daily, you never know what you are going to find on any particular day. They also have a wonderful visitor’s center, with hands-on item to touch as part of the learning experience. After a visit to Crab Cove, you can walk through the lovely grounds and, a few yards away, be playing on the beach, wading through the shore, possibly finding shells that the waves wash up.

 

Lindsay Wild Life Museum, Walnut Creek – I love going to this museum, for the uniqueness it has to offer and its recognition as one of the oldest wildlife rehab centers in the United States. As you walk inside, you will see a wide selection of owls – not caged – but appearing to stand completely free, just above your heads, only tethered by a band around their foot. The museum has lots of other wild animals – a possum, squirrel, bald eagle, porcupine . . . and lots more . . . all of which have been injured such that they cannot be re-released into the wild. It is wonderful to see young teenagers be many of the docents who handle the animals, and teach all of the visitors about the nature of the animals and how they came to be at the museum.

 

Berkeley Redwood Valley Railway – This is a fun way to step back in time a bit, as the conductors, dressed in the official train jumpsuit and hat, drive off with a load of passengers, into the deep woods. There are lots of interesting sounds to hear, sites to see, and you feel like you are a million miles away from . . . well, everywhere. The first full weekend in June is the Anniversary Meet, which is open to the public. Most of the Redwood Valley Railroad locomotives are under steam, and often visiting locomotives and rolling stock appear for the occasion. Be patient with your children though  –  they may want to ride it over, and over!

 

The Oakland Zoo – This is a delightful zoo to visit – no too big so both children and adults can visit all of it without being exhausted from walking. Every time you turn a corner onto a new path, you are heading to the land of gorillas, giraffe, zebra, camels . . . and then there is the milk tree frog, the African spoonbill, and the Amazon tree boa . . . just to name a few. make sure you don’t miss the new gondola – oh my gosh! You will have the most magnificent view of the entire bay area  –  360 degrees!

 

The aerial gondola moves passengers above the hills. The gondola and the Landing Cafe at the hilltop are part of the first phase of the zoo’s California Trail expansion.

 

 

 


Privately Owned “Public Spaces” – San Francisco

We like to help our relocation clients become familiar with their new community by pointing out to them some of the places they can visit during work hours.

Privately-owned publicly accessible spots (POPOS) have been a development requirement since the passage of the 1985 Downtown Plan. There are now dozens of POPS scattered around the city’s core. Here are some of the interesting places to visit.

Chinatown Area

Empire Park  Empire Park is a charming little oasis tucked away on Commercial Street, where Chinatown meets the Financial District.

Financial District

Transamerica Redwood Park  Located in the shadow of the Transamerica Pyramid, Redwood Park is one of the Financial District’s greenest and most serene spots. Potential visitors take note: the park is closed every evening.

350 Sansome Street Roof Garden  The terrace at 343 Sansome Street has been called downtown’s best outdoor lunch spot. It features tables, benches, planters filled with seasonal flowers, and views of a portion of the bay.

Garden Terrace, 150 California Street  The Garden Terrace at 150 California has great views of the FiDi’s gleaming office towers, and plenty of space to sit and take in some fresh air.

100 Pine Urban Garden  The urban garden at 100 Pine is accessible via the building lobby or through a passageway on Front Street.

Citigroup Center  The elegant enclosed atrium features a crêpe stand, a fountain, seating, and more than a dozen queen palms.

101 Second Street The indoor park at 101 Second Street is open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and features a bright multistory atrium with seating, trees, and public art.

515 Mission Street – Sun Terrace  Tucked in between Ecker Place and 1st Street in the Financial District. You will enter through the staircase between the next-door parking garage and the building itself, then go to the 2nd floor to enter. It has a water sculpture, manicured greens, and lots of tables and chairs.

Linkedin

The Linkedin Building  The first-floor plaza inside, 222 Second Street is not just for LinkedIn employees. It is an enclosed open space that can be accessed via the street-level lobby. It has a cafe, restrooms, and wi-fi.

Crocker Galleria

Crocker Galleria Roof Terrace  The Cocker Galleria roof terrace is a garden filled with shrubbery, benches, flowers, and a fountain. It can be accessed from the the top floor of the Crocker Galleria.

 


Big Boat Series, St. Francisco Yacht Club

Opening Day on the Bay, (April 22 10 AM -2:30) is a tradition of the yachting community, involving several local yacht clubs. It began as a celebration of the beginning of the yachting season back in the 1890’s with the manual opening of the bridge at Corinthian Island. The sailboats and arks would leave the safe harbor where they had wintered over. The first formal celebrations began in 1917. Boat owners would decorate their boats for a parade on the bay. They would all pass a Coast Guard boat where a Rabi and a Priest would bless their boats for the upcoming yachting season.

This is one of the most popular days of sailing on the San Francisco Bay. Several of the bay touring boat companies offer excursions on the bay so non-boat owners can view all the splendor of the resident sailboats and motorboats that will be participating in the Regatta season of 2018. There will be hundreds of boats on the bay. Many people take their boats out that day just to celebrate the end of winter.


Buying A House For The First Time

We help lots of clients who want to purchase a home in Oakland, a popular destination for people relocating to the Bay Area. The process of purchasing a house can be a challenging one. Educating out clients on what they can expect during the process, helps them to understand the competition they will face. By reminding them that they should expect to pay several thousand dollars above their initial budget price, helps them to be more prepared.

As an example, one of our clients made a bid on a house that sold for $175,000 over the asking price. This was too much for them. An offer was made on another house, but it sold for $375,000 over the asking price!  As they continued viewing more houses, they found a lovely townhouse by Lake Merritt. They put in an offer of $200,000 over the asking price. They finally got their house!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most of the houses they were interested in had an initial asking price of around $600,000 . . . but they sold for close to or over one million dollars! They were competing with people who made all-cash offers on houses that were either too small or had lots of conditions to be addressed.


Clarion Alley, San Francisco

In the Mission District of San Francisco, you can walk down Clarion Alley, which connects Valencia Street to Mission Street between 17th and 18th Streets. Here, you can view the drawings and murals depicting political stories about San Francisco. Many people convey their thoughts and perspectives peacefully through these drawings. The drawings add colorful stories to a little known back alley street in San Francisco.