Silicon Valley was once called The Valley of Heart’s Delight
Silicon Valley,a region known for high tech (semiconductors, computers, biotech, software & more), mostly resides within Santa Clara County, is at the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area in northern California. Silicon Valley does not have strict geographical boundaries and includes a bit of the neighboring counties: Alameda County, San Mateo County, and Santa Cruz County.
View Larger Map
The weather is good
The weather is mild – it’s a subtropical climate and the palm and redwood trees will back that up. At one time, during the orchard heyday, it came to be known as The Valley of the Heart’s Delight because of the fertility of the valley and the fabulous produce grown here. Eventually the vineyards, fruit and nut trees gave way to housing in the post World War II boom, and as high tech and then biotech slowly took over as the regional industry, the moniker changed to Silicon Valley due to the making of semiconductors or chips here. (“Chips” are no longer manufactured here, though.)
Why we love it
The people who live in Silicon Valley love many things about it, including the weather, of course! The level of education is high, the population delightfully diverse, and crime is low. San Jose has about a million people and the rest of Santa Clara County has about 800,000 more, so we have many of the benefits of big city living – but without so much crowding as the valley is fairly spread out.
Add to that a close proximity to San Francisco (an hour north by car or train), Berkeley and Oakland (ditto the time up the East Bay by car or BART), the beach at Santa Cruz (about a half hour), Monterey/Carmel (90 minutes), etc. You can drive to Napa or Sonoma for wine tasting – or you could do it within a couple of miles of the airport at the J Lohr Wine Tasting Room just off The Alameda. Of course, our hills have plenty of wineries too, and they are found closer in (Los Gatos and Cupertino and the east foothills of San Jose). In other words, there are a lot of reasons why “The Valley of Heart’s Delight” still applies.
Every area has its plusses and its challenges. Here the difficulties are few but not insignificant. The biggest complaint is the cost of housing, which is perhaps the most expensive in the nation (if not, it’s close to the top). It’s hard enough on locals but a really unpleasant surprise for transferees who relocate to Silicon Valley. The second problematic area is traffic.
For both of these, we tend to have some “work arounds”. Avoiding traffic is something we do by scheduling trips across the valley between 9:30am and 3pm if at all possible. Many employees here telecommute at least some of the time. Several large companies, such as Google, provide shuttles so that their employees can carpool – often during “off hours”.
Housing in the San Jose, Los Gatos and Campbell areas (among others) can be trickier. Entry level
houses in decent areas start at around $500,000 and if you want good schools, it is more like $600,000. Need it to be turnkey and remodeled? That will push it into the $700,000 range – and we are talking about a small 1200- 1400 square foot house. The price depends largely on the location, though, so if schools are not a big issue, a house can be purchased for less. If you want that same house in Los Gatos or Saratoga and with the best schools, it will be upwards of a million dollars.
What are the workarounds? Sometimes transferees will purchase a townhouse or condominium instead of a house. This can enable them to get into the areas or schools they want and still do it in budget. Many people will simply purchase real estate that needs updating or remodeling, and do it over time (rather than getting a perfect home when they move in). It requires a shift in expectations…. Others, of course, will opt to rent, or instead to purchase in remote locations such as Brentwood or Mountain House and endure a fairly difficult commute.