Making the Move
North Park to Solana Beach, Ocean Beach to Bonita, Jamul to Downtown
North Park to Solana Beach
Photo by Taryn Kent
The Seymour Family
Brian, 36 + Dawn, 35 + Hayden, 2
What made you initially choose North Park? We were moving from Orange County and found ourselves there on every visit to San Diego. It’s centrally located and a fantastic neighborhood for eating and drinking, with proximity to downtown and Balboa Park. North Park also offers that hip vibe; it really is like the Brooklyn of SD.
Why did you decide to move to Solana Beach? Brian didn’t want to leave North Park but after having Hayden, proximity to family and friends with children made a huge difference. I grew up in Carmel Valley; my parents live there, all my best friends live in North County, and Brian’s parents live in Orange County. Brian travels to Irvine for work weekly and now he can walk to the train station and hop on without having to drive at all.
What was the hardest part about leaving the ’hood? Leaving the amazing bars and restaurants that were walking or biking distance to us. Cantina Mayahuel, Tiger! Tiger!, Urban Solace—these were our go-tos. Also, just feeling like we were living in the buzzy part of San Diego.
For a young family, Solana Beach seems like an ideal place. Is it all it’s cracked up to be? It’s pretty wonderful. We traded urban walks for beach walks and hikes at Torrey Pines Reserve. We’re walking distance to the beach and Hayden’s preschool. There are concerts at Fletcher Cove Park during the summer and they had a Christmas tree lighting during the holidays—too cute. And everyone raves about the public schools.
Do you drink more juice and less beer? We have a Vita-Mix and a wheatgrass juicer, and I have a hard time not going to Beaming daily. We fill up growlers at Culture Brewing and Pizza Port, but our beer intake has seen a significant drop, mostly because in North Park we could easily walk or bike to breweries.
Solana Beach has a reputation for being quiet and lacking nightlife. True or false? It’s absolutely true that Solana Beach shuts down by around 9 p.m. and that there are a plethora of good breakfast spots. We eat more breakfast out now than ever. Also, there are a crazy number of cyclists and bike stores. I still don’t understand it.
What are your new neighbors like, compared to the former ones? Everyone says hello when you walk past them or are getting into your car—the exact opposite of when we lived in North Park.
What’s something people might not expect about moving north? People think North County is just a bunch of families and nothing cool, but really it’s cool families that make North County so appealing.
Ocean Beach to Bonita
Photo by Corey Jenkins
The Strangman Family
Greg, 47 + Christina, 38 + Tenzing, 18 months + Soumaya, one month
How long did you live in OB? For 10 awesome years. We will be back!
What is the main reason you decided to move? We found an Irving Gill-designed home; they don’t come available very often. We weren’t in the market—it just kinda happened. With amazing architecture came a more appropriately designed house for our family, adding more square feet and considerably more land.
What was the hardest part about leaving OB? Living on the beach, the bohemian vibe, the farmers market, rapidly improving dining options, the quirky architecture of our house, and family walks on the pier and Sunset Cliffs.
What’s it like living in Bonita? It’s super quiet—I mean, super quiet. Very relaxing and slower paced. It’s a charming small community with surprisingly good restaurants and quality schools. Family walks are now around the Chula Vista Golf Course trail.
How does the overall vibe compare with OB? It’s semi-suburban living meets the country versus OB bohemian beach living. Both are laid-back, unpretentious communities. That’s extremely important to our family. One’s not better than the other; they are just different.
Have you met the neighbors yet? Yes, our new neighbors are awesome—supportive, caring, respectful, and kind. A 40-year tradition of Christmas caroling made its way to our house 10 days after we moved in. We just had our second child, and two dinners were brought over last week.
What are the advantages of having more space? Privacy. A monster-sized yard will be great for the kids. On the beach in OB we had zero privacy; in Bonita we may go the entire weekend and not see any of our neighbors.
What are the advantages of living in the South Bay? It’s a shorter commute for me to get to work downtown. I would never have thought that. It’s an amazingly tight-knit community. There are great dining options: Romesco, TJ Oyster Bar, and coffee at Donny’s Cafe can’t be beat. I love the fact that we are now 10 minutes from the Mexican border. Amazing things are happening in Tijuana.
Jamul to Downtown
Photo by Corey Jenkins
The DiMasi Family
Bill and Sue, both 62
What made you choose Steele Canyon Estates in 1997? The opportunity to build a custom home in a golf course community. At the time, I was an avid golfer. Aside from the golf, we loved the closeness of the community and the beautiful setting.
What is the main reason you decided to move to downtown San Diego in 2014? Our children were grown and living on their own, and we no longer needed a large house. We wanted to be closer to restaurants, theaters, sporting events, etc.
How did you choose your specific neighborhood downtown? We liked the Marina District because it’s close to Little Italy, the Gaslamp, East Village, and Petco Park, but not as congested as the other downtown neighborhoods.
Do you walk everywhere? The downtown transformation has been incredible. We do a lot of walking and have discovered a lot of new restaurants and all the great happy hours. We plan on getting to many ball games this summer.
What are your new neighbors like? We had great neighbors at Steele Canyon, and we have great neighbors in our new building. The day we moved in, our next-door neighbor, Walter, brought us a box of candy and the building manager stopped by to welcome us.
Do you miss mowing the lawn at all? Nope. Bill does not miss cutting the lawn or having to take out the trash cans.
If you could have brought one part of East County with you to your new ’hood, what would it be? The quiet and solitude of Jamul at night.
What’s something people might not know about moving downtown? How easy it is to get around, and the noise.