Review of Napa, California

Napa is changing
Star Rating - 11/17/2019
I’m a native Napa resident (55 years).
The good:

You can’t beat the weather. Winters can be cool to cold, but sometimes Napa is treated to warm sunny days. It does rain and sometimes flood, but the damage is usually limited to known problem areas. Spring, summer and fall is usually great weather.

The place really is beautiful. The vineyards, wineries and tourist industry generate tremendous revenue and generally, things are well kept, if not outwardly lavish in addition to the natural beauty of the area.

Good restaurants and general shopping. While a significant amount of the county and cities are focused on the tourist/wine industry, residents can take advantage of reasonable dining our and free or reduced wine tastings. As a local, I’ve found numerous happy hours to dine and drink cheap.

Good local events. From outdoor festivals, music and the local secret “Porch Fest”, most of the year something is going on somewhere.

The Bad:

Traffic has become over the past 10 years quite bad, both getting into Napa from surrounding areas and within the county. Napa has a definite “commute”. Because there are so many poor paying service jobs and tourist coming into Napa every day, tens of thousands of cars clog the highways. Because Napa is in a geographic “valley”, the main roads are not high speed freeways that can accommodate large numbers of cars. Additionally, due to TREMENDOUS pressure for “affordable housing” there are plans in the works for a developing a former industrial are called “Napa Pipe” into 3000+ additional houses in the southern Napa City area. This area already has a “F“ rating from CALTRANS and it will get worse in the near future. Much worse!
The two main corridors through the county are Hwy 29 and Silverado Trail. They are both very congested during peak commute times. 29 is congested all days in some areas. There is nothing that can be done to fix this without ripping out vineyards and putting in a freeway. This will never happen!

Cost of living. Houses in Napa and the Bay Area are very expensive. Be prepared to spend $650,000 for a typical starter house in a subdivision. If you want a nice neighborhood and and acre, look to spend $1,500,000.

Snobs. I’ve lived here my entire life and there is a small percentage of residents and tourists that have an inflated sense of importance. While it’s not everyone Napa, there are enough, that you will run into some of them almost every day. If you have kids in school and are lucky to get them into one of the better schools, the snobbish parents will be unavoidable.

Schools. Some are good and some are filled with a significant number of kids that are quite behind. By the time kids are in high school, there is a very apparent dividing line between kids going into college and taking college prep classes, advanced placement and so on and kids that aren’t. If your kid is in the “regular” classes in high school, much of the teacher’s time is spent on disruptive students and students learning English. Tip. Do anything you can to get your kid into advanced placement classes. These classes have a greater percentage of time on the subject and not disruptive students.

California is a mess! Homeless, crime, traffic in general, cost of living is bad and Napa is not immune. The state is poorly managed and Sacramento’s fix for everything is more government control and new fees and taxes. The current political trend is for things to get worse, not better. Fair warning!

Natural disasters. Some state have fires. Some states have tornadoes. California has fire-tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes. BTW, we just added planned power outages!

I have intimate knowledge of Napa and I have decided to take my California equity and leave. I will miss the weather and beauty. I won’t miss the stupid!

Otis | Napa, CA
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