First Impressions

Panoramic view at Rodeo Beach

Marin County, California is such a funny place.  Not haha funny, just funny.  As a native north easterner, I find certain things about Marin, and California in general, to be so different from the New York area.

First of all, they do not know how to make pizza or bagels.  It seems so absurd to me, really.  I mean, are all the New Yorkers keeping the pizza and bagel recipes to themselves, refusing to allow the rest of the country to benefit from the yummy goodness of New York carbohydrates??  Is it really possible that not one single Italian American with an affinity for making pizza for the general public has not decided to hightail it to the West Coast and open a pizza parlor (or a “pizza store” as my 3 year old so lovingly calls it)?  And not one person who holds the secret to making fat, deliciously huge bagels has surfaced out here either??  Did you know that one of our closest bagel joints is closed on Sundays???  What???  Doesn’t everyone eat bagels out here on the weekends?  That’s what we do in New York.  Skinny bitches.

I also don’t understand drivers around here.  I thought that when driving on a road wide enough for only one car that it was a common driving nicety to wave to someone when they let you pass.  But apparently it’s not, especially if you drive a Mercedes SUV, a Land Rover, or similarly overpriced luxury gas guzzler.  It is so rude to me, and it happens to me literally every single day.   Are you so self-absorbed and unaware that you can’t thank the person who pulled over (and in some cases spent several minutes backing up) for you so that you could pass going 20 miles an hour over the speed limit?

Then there are the bouncy houses.  I don’t know if it’s because I lived in a city before or what, but the people out here are crazy over bouncy houses.  I have spotted them at every farmers market and pumpkin patch from the Golden Gate Bridge up to Petaluma.  I mean, I think bouncy houses are fun and all, but why are people so nuts over them??  I guess it’s to keep their kids happy while they shop for produce – what, kids aren’t excited about picking out rutabagas and trying on sweaters made from local sheeps wool, and listening to new age music while sampling the latest Indian dipping sauce?? Unfathomable.

And then there is just simply the cost of living.  Holy crap.  I never imagined in my wildest dreams how expensive one place could be to live, and I came from New York City for God’s sake.  San Francisco is known for being a very expensive city, but I always thought that like the New York area, the Bay area would have lower prices as you leave the city and enter the suburbs.

Not true.

Why, you ask?  Well, from what I can tell here is the reason:  The entire Bay area is gorgeous and desirable to live in, not just the city of San Francisco.  And Marin county in particular is a highly desirable place to live – the mountains, hiking, and beaches are all at your fingertips, and you’re just minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge.  Add to that the fact that the county is comprised of 80% protected land, and voila you have a textbook example of economics at work: Low supply + high demand = crazy high real estate prices!!  In New York you can leave the city, spend $600K or so, and have a decently big house.  Your taxes might be outrageous, but you can own the American dream at a realistic price.  In Marin however, that same $600K would buy you…wait…it wouldn’t buy you anything!!  Maybe you could get a 2 bedroom, one bathroom, 700 square foot fixer-upper shack, 10 miles further away from the city than you would ever dream of going.  But that’s about it.

There is, however, one major similarity between New York City and Marin County.  And that is that both geographic areas are considered to be like a “bubble”.  When you live in New York, you don’t really ever need to leave New York, and you really don’t want to.  People who live in New York tend to think New York is the only place they need or want to be for anything and everything.  Marin is very much like this as well.  People who live here in Marin can’t imagine why you would want to live anywhere else.  Everything they could want or need is here.

Except, that is, for affordable housing. And pizza and bagels.  And polite drivers.

But otherwise, it’s absolutely…perfect.

Despite these frustrations, I am reminded every time we venture out as a family why we moved here – Marin is truly one of the most beautiful places on the planet.  Here are some pics of an outing we went on yesterday, to Rodeo Beach, just 20 minutes away from our house.

Jackson and I on our hike out to Rodeo Beach

Taking a break on the beach

Cheeeeeese!!!!

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