July 21, 2006 7:33 AM   Subscribe

does anybody here live in big sur, california, and if so, is it possible to live there unless you are megarich? what type of jobs are in the area? whats it like to live there? can my wife and i pulling in about $150k live there? ive never been there but it seems like a place i would rather live in than north jersey. im kind of obsessed with it....
posted by fumbducker to Work & Money (14 answers total)
I lived there for a year in the late 70s and the Ventana Campground was my home. It was full of regular folks who couldn't afford the steep costs associated with a real home. The wealthiest folks in Ventana lived in Airstream trailers and life was good there.

Coastal zoning restrictions keep the area nice, but have also priced all but the megarich out of the housing market.
posted by buggzzee23 at 8:07 AM on July 21, 2006

Have you read Kerouac's Big Sur? He's a back-east kind of guy who found the place terrifying. 'Course, a lot's changed since his time.

I'd guess there's no jobs down there. Oh, a few in the tourist trade, but competition's gotta be enormous.

And if you're obsessed by a place, you really oughta give it a visit before deciding you want to live there.

posted by Rash at 8:27 AM on July 21, 2006

Why not visit?
Considering moving to a place you've never been to isn't terribly wise. Reality is always different from fantasy.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:28 AM on July 21, 2006

Yeah, what Rash said. (I've heard of eponysterical questions, but answers?)
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:29 AM on July 21, 2006

I don't live in Big Sur but I live up the coast a ways from there and yes, you can live out here for $150K but I don't know of many jobs in the Big Sur area.

And yes, Big Sur is a substantial improvement over north Jersey.

You should come out and visit for a week or two. Do some camping, scout out the job market and see about housing, which is outrageous.
posted by fenriq at 8:44 AM on July 21, 2006

Response by poster: im definitely planning to visit; just my mind wandering, wanting to get to a simpler more natural lifestyle is all.. big sur just looks beautiful, and is a good example for my question. north jersey can get ya, dig me?
posted by fumbducker at 8:58 AM on July 21, 2006

Response by poster: where do you live fenriq? hows it there, lifestyle wise?
posted by fumbducker at 8:59 AM on July 21, 2006

If all you're looking for is a simpler/natural lifestyle, why pick Big Sur? It is gorgeous but it's also a heavily traveled tourist destination. There are lots of places that will provide more access to natural settings that don't have the associated PIA factor that Big Sur does. Coastal Norther California and Oregon are very pretty and much less populated.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:14 AM on July 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

Big Sur is fantastic. Go for a week, stay at Deetjen's (which I find to be not just the nicest place to stay in Big Sur, unless you like the super high-end hotels at Ventana and south of there, but also the nicest place on the entire California Coast). Do a bit of research. If you could work from home, and you could get high-speed internet, phone and everything else you needed, it might work. There's not a lot "to do" - if you are the kind of person who needs a lot to do - but I'm assuming you already know that. No blocks of ethnic restaurants, no abundant childcare, no museums (other than, say, Hearst Castle and the Henry Miller place), no supermarkets. But there are the best beaches in the state, wonderful rhododendron forests, redwoods as dense as they ever were, babbling brooks, fantastic weather, the rumbling of the breakers all night, and a pace of life you will only find in a few other places along the coast.

Good luck. I hope you can do it.
posted by luriete at 9:14 AM on July 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

Caretaker positions for the ultra and sub wealthy landowners
are a possibility,as is a resident scholar position at Esalen institute.
posted by hortense at 10:25 AM on July 21, 2006

I have a friend who lives at Big Sur, near Esalen. He works as a building/electrical contractor, and, like many local residents, is an ex-hippie (or maybe he still is one) who settled there in the 1960s.

He's not rich, but then he has little desire for material things other than computer equipment. He lives in a house he built himself 30 years ago, which is now probably worth a couple of million.

From visiting him, my observation is that I'd say there probably aren't a lot of jobs in the area and housing costs are likely to be extortionate.
posted by essexjan at 10:51 AM on July 21, 2006

fumbducker, I live about ten miles south of Santa Cruz. I'm about 30 miles away from Monterey too. Its a good area with alot of growth potentional (Santa Cruz's housing market is insane though, think $500k for a dinky 50 year old house). But you do get to live in a very laid back and fun community. And our weather is really nice, its hot now but not sweltering like the rest of the country, the Monterey Bay helps with that alot. We get a ton of sun and, because of the climate, we have an awful lot of fantastic food grown all around us (the artichoke, garlic, strawberry and other veggie capitals are all within striking distance).

I'm close enough to Silicon Valley that I could commute if I had to but I would much rather not as Highway 17 over the hill to San Jose is very, very heavily travelled for the commute already and is one of the most dangerous roads in California. Santa Cruz has a good and growing tech business as well as lots of other regular business going on as well.

Its not perfect and it is outrageously expensive to live here but I've been here for 11 years and I have a hard time imagining living anywhere else unless its got sweet beaches, redwoods and lots of fantastic local culture! Which, by the way, if anyone knows of a place like that, drop me a line. And no, I do not do winter anymore, that's why I left New England.
posted by fenriq at 11:26 AM on July 21, 2006

Response by poster: thanks everyone; i guess the grass is always greener (and the views are always nicer, the weathers always better, the airs always naseum). as a hippy at heart myself i would gladly trade "No blocks of ethnic restaurants, no abundant childcare, no museums " for "the best beaches in the state, wonderful rhododendron forests, redwoods as dense as they ever were, babbling brooks, fantastic weather, the rumbling of the breakers all night, and a pace of life you will only find in a few other places along the coast." someday i guess.... i would love to hear about other similar places and what you love about them..
posted by fumbducker at 1:57 PM on July 21, 2006

It might be worth travelling the whole of the Central CA coast on your visit, instead of spending the whole time in Big Sur. There are plenty of small, cute towns up and down the coast, especially if you go a little way inland. You might find somewhere beautiful and affordable.
posted by Joh at 3:16 PM on July 21, 2006

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