Russell and Duenes

Feeling Nostalgic: Why Alameda is the Best Place I’ve Ever Lived

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I’m writing something here that ten years ago I would have thought impossible: I like the Bay Area far more than the L.A. area. My dad couldn’t believe I said this, but it’s true. Indeed, Alameda, CA is the best place I’ve ever lived. As we spend our last day here, I wanted to reflect on why I’ve enjoyed living here more than any other place.

1) Alameda has a great small town feel, while being close enough to any big city amenities anyone could want. The great thing about where we’ve lived in Alameda is that we can walk about a half mile and be on the main street of town, which harkens back to main street in the 1800s. On the other hand, we can walk a half mile in the other direction and be at a glorious shoreline where one can take in a pristine view of the S.F. skyline, enjoy the cool bay breeze, and head into the Towne Centre shopping area, which is second to none.

2) There are parks galore within a mile or two of our house.

3) The geography cannot be beaten. The city of Alameda, as I said, affords wonderful views of the Oakland hills and the San Francisco Bay, but the entire Bay Area beats any other place hands down. You’re less than four hours from world class skiing, watersporting, and white-water rafting along the American River and at Lake Tahoe, hiking trails abound all over the Bay Area and can be gotten to in less than an hour, the city of San Francisco holds a beauty not matched by flat Manhattan, the weather year-round is pleasant and yet variable enough to be interesting, and the traffic does not yet choke the life out of you like LA’s does.

4) Even though I already mentioned it, the weather deserves its own reason. Everywhere east of here you’re dealing with sweltering temperatures, high humidity, and bugs during the summer. Here we enjoy temps in the 70s – 80s for about 5 months out of the year and no bugs or humidity. The falls are cool and crisp, and the winters give you a good chill with lows in the 30s, but not such bone-chilling cold that you’re miserable, like Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis and the like. It beats LA weather because, well, let’s just say that LA weathermen should never, ever be given a paycheck. You could pay a well-trained monkey to say, “Highs today and tomorrow will be in the mid-70s to 80s with lows in the upper 40s to low 50s” for practically the entire year.

5) The access to food and culture is better up here overall. Yes, there are more plentiful Mexican places in LA, but not better ones, and every other kind of food, though to be found in LA, is more easily found up here. And Manhattanites, don’t flatter yourself. Everything you got we got here, too. You’re on the wrong rim.

6) Everything is closer in up here. LA is so vast and sprawling that it takes at least a half hour just to get to a freeway on-ramp. You could drive 45 minutes just to get to the next city over. Up here, you can get most places in less than an hour.

7) Victorian Homes

8) Trader Joes and Chipotle within easy walking distance.

9) The airport that is the best-kept secret in all of California: Oakland International. Orange County airport choked with traffic, both vehicle and airliner. LAX is, well, LAX. SFO is also a mess and you have to pay $6.00 toll to get to it. I simply can’t think of an international airport in California, or anywhere else for that matter, that beats Oakland. We’re literally 10 minutes from it, and can wait in the comfort of our living room for a guest to call and say “I’m in,” and then be at the curb by the time they are.

10) The air is clean up here virtually all the time, which means better health and better vistas.

There’s more, to be sure, but these stand out. So why are we leaving all this? Well, in the kingdom of God, we have no earthly home, and God has seen fit to move us out from here. Finally, all these bennies don’t come to us free. As a friend of mine, who moved to Alaska, wisely said, “There’s no law that says you have to live in California.” So we’re not.

Bon Voyage!



Written by Michael Duenes

June 17, 2011 at 2:00 pm

One Response

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  1. Well, in the kingdom of God, we have no earthly home, and God has seen fit to move us out from here.

    Great statement, D. My family and I are moving too, unexpectedly, and this is exactly the sort of sentiment that is getting us through.


    June 18, 2011 at 9:30 am

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