A Better life
Welcome to A Better Life: Northern California Living where we highlight the many reasons to move to NorCal. Maybe it's the outdoor destinations or the cost of living - either way, we're here to help guide you through the different communities of the region.
Jason and Amy Fielding met in the Bay Area. Amy was a local of Santa Clara and Jason was originally from Redding, but moved to the South Bay when he was a kid. Their young love was everything they had hoped for, but their living situation was a completely different story.
"The Bay Area was getting out of control," said Amy. "Traffic was just crazy all the time."
The Fieldings were in their early 20's and living in the technology capital of the world. Companies like Google, Microsoft and Amazon were exploding to become trillion dollar behemoths, rendering the nearby communities nearly unrecognizable. That's when Jason and Amy searched for a change.
Looking for a place to settle down and start a family, the Fielding's began to take trips to Redding around 2006. It was a familiar place for Jason, but Amy had to adapt if they wanted to leave the Bay Area for new horizons.
"I never thought I'd leave the Bay Area," said Amy. "Back then my impression was that Redding was a mountain town. A gorgeous place but until then, I never thought about living there."
The Eighth Wonder of the World - Burney Falls
It's no surprise that city folk from the Bay Area, Sacramento or Los Angeles just think of Redding as a mountain town. Any press the town receives is typically for its location near to Mount Shasta, or as a vacation destination for affluent fly fishermen. While it's wonderful to visit these destinations, you can argue it's better living with them every single day.
Leaving downtown Redding heading east on Highway 44, you're suddenly inundated with the five main attractions that put Redding on the proverbial map. From that stretch of road on a clear day you can see Mount Shasta, Lassen Peak, the Sundial Bridge and the Turtle Bay Exploration Park, all while driving over the Sacramento River. It's a short stretch that carries so much beauty, even the most tenured locals never get used to it.
Those landmarks don't even begin to scratch the surface of the famed outdoor destinations nearby. There are nearly 20 gorgeous waterfalls within an hour's drive, including Burney Falls, which was dubbed the Eighth Wonder of the World by President Theodore Roosevelt. You can also spend your days on the water, with Shasta, Trinity and Whiskeytown lakes all a short drive away. And, of course, you can experience world-class fishing, with Redding named one of the best fishing towns in America by Field and Stream Magazine.
These outdoor marvels help define the area for out-of-towners, but for those that live in Redding, it can be so much more.
With the tech boom changing the Bay Area, the Fieldings wanted a change. Redding was a far cry from their life in Santa Clara, but fleeing north could give them their dream home at a much cheaper price.
The couple hired Chris and Maria Jeantet, now the owners of Shasta Living Real Estate, as their real estate agent. After listening to their needs, Maria forced them to see a home.
"We weren't really interested in our first home," said Amy. "But Maria locked the doors of her car and forced us to see it."
What the Fieldings found when they arrived was nothing short of spectacular. A spacious home surrounded by wide-open spaces, accompanied by a pool and gorgeous views of downtown Redding.
"Coming from the Bay Area, this was like a resort," explained Amy.
With a strong agent like Chris and Maria, this is what people can find making the move to a town like Redding - beautiful homes for a fraction of the cost, sitting in the midst of the fantastic outdoor surroundings of Northern California.
The Fieldings moved into that home in 2013, leaving behind their Bay Area lives for a slice of NorCal heaven. Since then, their family has doubled in size with the addition of two boys, and their love for Redding has grown with new experiences.
Redding's world-famous Sundial Bridge
When Jason and Amy began visiting Redding frequently with aspirations of leaving the Bay Area, there were many factors contributing to their decision. Reduced traffic and a solid school system were important, but they wanted to feel connected to their town. It turned out to be an easy task to grow a bond with the tight-knit, supportive community.
As a car enthusiast, Jason grew to love the time he spent at the autocross events at the Redding Drag Strip. They were even able to drive their Datsun 510 in the Kool April Nights parade, Redding's famed week-long car show.
"Kool April Nights is one of the most awesome parts of Redding," said Amy. "It's like Christmas for a whole week. The whole town sort of stops and everyone comes to the events. We have very strong community unity here."
As self-described coffee addicts, the Fieldings have been blown away by the high quality coffee shops in town. There are so many, in fact, that they have trouble deciding which one to go to on any given day.
"I counted 16 locally owned coffee shops," said Jason. "We like Theory (Coffee Roasters) and Evergreen. And Heritage (Roasting Company) in Shasta Lake City."
Jason and Amy became so passionate about the community, they started a Facebook group called Redding - The Good Life, which highlights the positive aspects of the town. With nearly 5,000 members, the group has become a popular place for locals to connect and share their love for the area.
Jason and Amy Fielding with their two sons
Since their 2013 move, two boys have entered the family and the Fieldings have found a brand-new perspective on the community. They have since moved to a more centrally located home so they can take advantage of the nearby area with ease.
"Redding is so walkable," said Amy. "We can walk to the Turtle Bay area from our house in about 2 miles."
Whether they walk or ride, the entire family can use the trails to get around their neighborhood and the downtown area, taking in views of the Sacramento River throughout. In fact, in just a short ride on the Sacramento River Trail, you can visit both the historic Diestlehorst Bridge and Sundial Bridge, with world-class fishing throughout.
"The trail system has grown a lot," said Jason. "I can connect to all the trails easily from my house."
What trails is Jason talking about? Just the 225 miles of connected trails within a 15-mile radius of town. With recent trail developments over the past decade, bikers can easily get around without the commotion of car traffic. In fact, the new trails inspired the San Francisco Chronicle to call Redding "the gem of the U.S. Trail System." These outdoor aspects are having a positive impact on their sons.
"It's so nice to get our sons out on the trails," said Amy. "The stuff I hear out of their mouth about the eagles in the area. It's just so much different than the Bay Area."
Brand-new developments in downtown Redding will only further improve the community experience as the kids grow older.
Amy on the historic Diestlhorst Bridge over the Sacramento River
A drastic transformation is currently happening in downtown Redding, with 200 new residential, commercial and retail properties under construction in what was the old Downtown Mall. The area is set to see an explosion of activity, including an aggressive plan to improve the bike-ability of the area. For the first time in decades, the heart of Redding will once again sit in its locally-owned downtown businesses.
"We're excited for the changes coming downtown," said Amy.
Affordable housing will be supplemented with restaurants, bars, coffee shops and retail stores, making the city's plan to centralize its historic downtown area nothing short of spectacular. Visitors will be able to eat a meal and go shopping before quickly biking down to the Sundial Bridge. It will bring new experiences to the same beautiful destinations.
In many ways, Redding remains the same it's been since the 1950's. Long drives on Miracle Mile, sunsets over Lassen Peak and mild summer nights on the Sacramento River. Combine those attributes with the town's current revitalization and you could find the perfect place to call home.
For the Fielding family, they've found their perfect place to call home in Redding, California. If you're looking to make the move to the area, send a note to Chris and Maria Jeantet at Shasta Living Real Estate. It never hurts to look, right?