There is Life Outside of the Bay Area (Part #4)

Hello, Friends and Family!

Alas, the last installment of “There is Life Outside of the Bay Area” series of blog posts journaling my family move from Danville, California to the mountain town of Park City, Utah.

And now the next check in! The family and I have reached another milestone — we’ve now been living in Park City, Utah for 15 months!  Holy smokes.  It feels like we’ve been here for longer — the time has flown by.  Park City feels like our little mountain town. My family loves it here and we have not really looked back. We have met the nicest people in our neighborhood, community and school.  Mountain living is definitely full of adventure and creates a sense of peace that is hard to explain. Looking back, the original hypothesis on the move was that the family needed a “change in gear” that would provide adventure and a lifestyle improvement. TLDR; We feel really good about our move to Park City. No regrets.

I decided to throw together a list of things we got right and those that we got wrong through our move.  Consider it a mini-retrospective in software development process speak.

Things that went right —

  • We made the right decision to move. Staying in California was “comfortable” and we found something different someplace else. It was not easy but worth the work.
  • We picked the right place to move. Park City is a super unique mountain town. Small enough to still feel like a mountain town but 30 minutes from Salt Lake City and a major airport. Plus, this town has the best skiing, hiking, mountain biking in North America.
  • We picked the right neighborhood — lots of families, away from the touristy Park City downtown and closer to Salt Lake City.
  • We picked the right house at the time. Housing inventory felt like it completely bottom’ed out after we found our house. I think our time here would have been very different if we were in a rental.
  • We picked the right school for the girls. They are thriving there.
  • We guessed right that things are more accessible in Utah as compared to California. There is lots to do in California but we found it challenging to do those things because it was just far enough or just enough traffic or just too many people. There is less of that here in Utah.
  • We underestimated the wildlife — its amazing. There is a nice family of moose that visit from time to time to watch sports on our TV.

Things that went wrong — 

  • We didn’t anticipate number of tourists in Park City. Wow, every other car is from another state here and from all over the United States. There are only supposed to be ~8580 residents in Park City but it feels much more than that given how many owners have moved into their 2nd homes because of COVID. Keep in mind that Danville, California has ~44,164 residents so it’s still ok.
  • We didn’t anticipate that the restaurant scene was going to be so bad. We were just pampered by having the best restaurants in the greater Bay Area. Our theory is that that the lowered demand and state restrictions on beer, wine and liquor creates a different sort of business dynamic for restaurants. Oh well, nothing wrong with Panda Express.
  • We didn’t anticipate how homogenous the population is — skewed white (see below). We were warned but wow, its true. That being said, Danville California was generally a white community as well but there is a significantly higher Asian community — 3x more Asians in Danville. What does that mean … more Panda Express.
Park City, Utah Population by Race [Reference]
Danville, California Population by Race [Reference]
  • We didn’t anticipate the raising cost in labor, commodities and how the construction labor market is just different here. The home we bought needed some renovations and finding the labor to do that work at a reasonable rate was harder and more expensive than we thought.
  • We underestimated how cool Salt Lake City is as a city. So many fun things to do.
  • We underestimated the proximity of University of Utah and BYU. Very cool schools with great sports programs.

So, will we be here in Utah for the rest of our lives? I’m not sure about that. My recent trip to Boston, Massachusetts to visit colleges with Molly reminded me that there are still some very cool cities on the east coast. I think Park City will always be our mountain town for sure and is going to be a fantastic chapter for us until the kids go to college.

Overall, if you want to try something new — take a chance. You only live once.

Thank you for reading. Please don’t hesitate to ping me with questions, comments or feedback!

6 thoughts on “There is Life Outside of the Bay Area (Part #4)

  1. Mel

    It has been so fun hearing about your adventures. What a bold move! But it really seems to suit everyone. The kids will be in college before you know it – can’t wait to hear what’s next. But first, Mike and I need to get out for a visit!

  2. Ryan Luther

    I have enjoyed reading about your adventure. I think it’s because it reminds me a lot about our move from the bay area to Colorado. Tell Sarah and the family hi for us.

    Ryan

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