Buy the beautiful sea …

As those of you who are in this community know, my theme this year has been beauty, both here and on my photostream at Flickr.  I am specifically concentrating there on beautiful California. This was instigated largely due to my being so resistant to being here, as a transplanted New Yorker.  But, I have now been in California for almost half my life. It’s about time that I feel incarnated in this place and not only accept its positives, but embrace them.

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One component of moving toward that goal has been expunging the idea of moving back ‘home’ some day.  I had thought I could convince my SO to relocate when he finally retires (as if I could every pry him away from his work) to, let’s say, the Jersey Shore (see my earlier post on that exceptional place), or Upstate NY where I went to school.  Of course, I would love (and so would he) to live in Manhattan, but, the only place we could afford anywhere near NYC is Yonkers.  More on that some time.


In my mind, one fantastic place to live would be Rochester.  Well, not in it, in the environs.  In that part of NYS you can still buy substantial acreage with a vintage house on it for less than 200K.  And, you would be only 6 hours from the City, three from Boston, two from Toronto and two from Montreal.  A very attractive proposition…if you can bear very lake-effect-snowiness and bitter subzero temps at night in winter.  I always thrived in that climate, but, I wasn’t 47 years old in those days either, so who knows what I would suffer if I were 67 or 77 there.


When we thought about a place we would want to live ‘permanently’, we still felt Geoffrey would have to be within traveling distance of Downtown LA where he owns his building and his business.  I have already posted ad nauseum about how hip and cool and everything edgy and great DT is.  In fact, we are probably too late now to take further advantage of it as I have posted in the past.  But, realistically, he needs to be close to it because the work he does isn’t contingent on his age, just his brain.  We work on keeping both brains sharp daily, so, the guy will probably do what he loves until he dies.  He would do it for free if I let him.

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So, we started seriously discussing — and I think this blog and my photography truly were the impetus — where do we want to live for the long haul? Now, let me say as I have before, Valencia is a beautiful, safe, tailored, affluent, perfectly lovely and boring and conservative place to live.  If I were a bit more staid, for example, I would be in hog heaven here, not to be invidious, just sayin’.  But, those are the very reasons that I just am not sure I should stay here forever. Oh, and it is ungodly hot and far from the beach. Which brings me around to the campaign I launched this year to find the ideal place within striking distance of Downtown, as well as the in-laws but far enough away to avoid both when we want to kick back and feel we are living our dream, an escape from the madness.

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So what else besides proximity to those two entities was on my ideal home bucket list? I want more seasonal variation (some cool or cold weather, for heaven sake — I am so done with twelve months of summer, you have no idea); it should be a comfortable, attractive house of course (I don’t want to suffer in my old age, after all); it should be in or near a town that has a university, i.e., sophisticated, intellectual, seat-of-learning-and-inquiry atmosphere; it should be culturally and ethnically rich and diverse (I am a foodie and the more exotic the better) with music and poetry readings and lectures and medieval (why not?) music events and workshops and interesting people. But I don’t want it to be too upscale, stodgy and stuffy. I want it to be very down-home, even a bit funky, a place where we can relax when we are shopping or dining out. I don’t care to be “on” all the time or dressed up.

Ah, most importantly: the people.  I want to be with a range of people who are above all open-minded, wise, curious, fair, egalitarian, compassionate.  I want them to be the kinds of people who like road bikes over mountain bikes, and sail boats over motor boats.  I don’t care if they have money, I want them to value emotional and cerebral assets and to share them generously.


I also want to be near the ocean — very near, like walking distance. I know I cannot live anywhere on the beach in California because we don’t have a million dollars to drop on a dwelling.  But, if I could be close enough to take my morning coffee or afternoon tea and sit and watch the sun rise or set on the Pacific, that would be the icing on the cake.


You already know that I explored a few places. Now, are there beautiful beach communities in SoCal? Yes, and I have already blogged about a lot of them.  You are all familiar with the usual suspects, right: Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Pacific Palisades, Malibu.  Then I talked and wrote and photoed about Long Beach, San Pedro, Manhattan Beach, Redondo, Hermosa. I don’t bother going farther south as that would be out of range of Downtown, but there are San Juan Capistrano, La Jolla, Newport Beach and San Diego.  Every one of them is great if you are a multi-millionaire.  And so are the famous beach communities in Northern California (Half Moon Bay, Carmel, Big Sur, Monterey, Santa Cruz, etc., etc.).  So we looked at the Central California Coastal towns of SLO, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Summerland, Goleta, and Carpinteria. But again, far from DT, especially during rush hours and prohibitively expensive.

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But! I found it.  After all these years of living in this area and hearing the names and even driving through, I forgot to check out San Buenaventura or Ventura as it is known to everyone here.  Bingo! It ticks every box on my list. And, it is just about as cheap or expensive (depending on your reference point) as where we are living now.


I may have to make this a two part post, as I see I have already blathered on about it.  Can I just say for now, I LOVE Ventura.  Almost everything about it — its one drawback is not having snow in winter like Big Bear, for example.  I have put up some pictures here, lots more will be on my Flickr site and the second part of this post will have additional photos, as we have been going there multiple times and I have now shot up a three month supply (don’t worry! I won’t force you to see anywhere near that many).  Ventura may be the best kept secret west of the Rockies, so guard this info on the down low.  I don’t want to price myself out of paradise. 😀

Watch this space …

Images: Chez BeBe, Ventura; click to enlarge

32 Comments on “Buy the beautiful sea …”

  1. I can vouch for Rochester. I love living in Rochester. Lots to do, lots of good places within a day’s drive. Inexpensive real estate. Great medical care, great services for my kids (who have lots of issues). But, I totally get not wanting to face the winters here….

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, did I forget that you live there, Patty? You are so lucky! I loved cold winters when I lived in that region — I just fear my SoCal-pampered spouse would not be able to handle the contrast. Maybe I wouldn’t either, I just don’t know and have to play it safe. But! That is one of the best spots and kept secrets on earth, imho. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • No, I don’t think you knew. I’ve always lived in NY state, but way up North or on Long Island, and when I was looking at colleges I vowed I would not go to western ny, I’m not sure wby, but ended up in college in Rochester and I’ve been here since.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Wise choice, Patty. I have also considered Cold Spring but not on the ocean and too expensive. I went to school with a lot of kids who grew up on the Island. New York is just wonderful, what can I say? I was born there and lived there and loved every minute.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. They say the most important things are right under your nose… Ventura sounds so nice, a quaint spanish town? Beautiful photos and story as usual Beth… Looking forward to reading part II… I was wondering if you wanted to join in my Book Launch Buzz and either interview me or review my book to be published early November? Take care, Barbara x

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Now, this is where planning really does have major benefits, Beth! I’ll be kicking myself in a few years for not having given thought enough to where retirement should be and you’re on the ball. I’ve mulled over moving to one place or another but not put the necessary research in. Mountains and sea for me. If I could combine those two and rustle up some (guaranteed) sunshine from time to time my decision would be half-made. Mention that here though and the kids all freak at the idea of being uprooted from what they know. I guess it’ll be a few more years down the line given that Anna, my youngest, is only eight. But I think it’s time I took a leaf out of your planning book and gave it a bit more thought.
    I love that you have such a clear criteria for helping you in such an important decision and it certainly sounds like you’ve made up your mind. Looking forward to learning more about your venture and Ventura. 🙂 x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well that mountains/sea combo fits Carpinteria, California to a tee. I would consider it (and it is affordable) except it is too far from Downtown Los Angeles for Geoffrey. Beautiful place though — not that you would want to live in the US.

      I didn’t think of this early enough. We moved to Valencia because I didn’t want to pay half a million dollars for a postage stamp, back fifteen years ago. I didn’t really focus on the climate here — I just thought, “Oh, model community, clean, safe, landscaped, 30 miles north of Downtown, easy access to San Francisco a few hours north — done”. Uh, not so much.

      That was my mistake and sitting here for all this time not figuring out that Ventura is right on the ocean and only 45 minutes from Valencia, 65 minutes to Downtown. Geoffrey loves driving, whereas I loathe it, so he will be fine with that!

      Live and learn! You have plenty of time, Anne-Marie, and you have so many gorgeous, affordable possibilities there in Europe. I envy you!!



    • Well, you may be right. I may be idealizing Ventura a bit. I fell in love with it — let’s hope it goes in the direction I think it is going by the time we can move. I plan another post on it either next week or the week after and will flesh out my reasoning a bit more.

      One thing I learned when traveling and living abroad is that I am not very good at suffering and sacrifice, even when I was young. That is a major handicap, otherwise, I would move to Norway!

      Thank you BF! You always drill down to the kernel of things. 😀


  4. Beth, firstly beautiful, colourful, exotic photography. I think having a plan at the “old age” cough cough of 47 is a grand idea. Me at 60, still um and ah with ‘Mr. S’. We would like to buy a Winnebago and travel around Australia, we will see though as hopefully I’ll have grandkids soon and I can’t bear the thought of not being near them. If you don’t stay in Ventura and wanting more than one season then come to Melbourne, we DO have 4 seasons in one day. 😊❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for the kind and generous words, Jen!

      You know, Jen, my mother has family (she is English) in Australia and New Zealand. She goes periodically and comes back raving about how wonderful it is there. If I weren’t so chicken about flying long distances these days, I would love to see it first hand. I imagine there are places there that would be comparable to Ventura and getting away from the InFirm would be a joy. But getting this SoCal boy out of California would be like prying one of those sea creatures (limpets?) off a wet rock. I am stuck here!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post Beth. I’m older than you and I wouldn’t want to go back to grey skies and dull weather….and Ireland just seemed to get wetter and wetter. Also I get ‘panicky’ if I’m too far away from the sea….weird….! Lol. I’m sure you’ll find just the right place, you’re going about it logically.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean about Ireland. Wouldn’t that island be paradise if the sun shone more often? It is truly the greenest place I have ever seen, the minute the sun emerges from the clouds. I like being close to the ocean and grew up with views of water. This is the first time I have lived farther inland. But Ventura is only 40 minutes away and I intend to run to the beach more frequently now, biding my time until we can drag our things there forever. Thank you Linda! :-))


  6. Lovely! Looks exactly like the kind of place I’d love. So funny- was just discussing retirement (still a few years away, of course)- and I’ve come to the conclusion that, as much as I loathe winter, I’d be hard-pressed to give up Toronto as my hometown.

    I think my ideal would be to have a pied a terre in the city, a cottage up north for summer getaways, and somewhere warm to which I can run when the snow and cold gets to be too much. Either that, or the wherewithal to travel to my heart’s content. That’s another sort of escape, I guess.

    Wonderful images, as well. I’ll have to add Ventura to my list of must-see places! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that combo sounds perfect. In fact, if I could add Vancouver or Vancouver Island to the mix that would be my ideal. But, I think if I can manage to even get this guy to move 40 minutes farther away from his family, it will be Nobel prize-worthy, influence-wise. 🙂 Thank you Cole!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I always enjoy the way your mind goes in many directions yet I follow your drift each way it floats, Beth. 🙂
    I would love to see those “scads” of photos you have accumulated while searching for your place to live and grow up, but definitely not old, staid or boring!!
    Ventura looks beautiful, pizza= check, coffee shop= check and curb appeal in all directions= check multiple times! Sitting on the Pacific Ocean nearby beach= priceless. You will be so mellow and live past 100 years easily in this setting. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny you say that, Robin. I will have to look at that in my posts because they are each thematic. But I do have a number of themes that interest me.

      I will be posting more about Ventura next week. I think that is our idea. To find a place near but not affected by the madness. Ventura seems to fit the bill.

      Thank you! 🙂


  8. I like your idea of settling somewhere in the future.
    The idea takes you places of interest and they are really fascinating.
    It takes us there and contributes to our happiness.
    Keep searching and take us with you.
    Good going.

    Liked by 1 person

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