Living in Pinole, CA
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Living in Pinole, CA
I'm moving to either Benicia or Pinole
My 'husband' and I want to move to either Benicia or Pinole.
We currently live in LA and are pre-retirement. I not ready
to drop off the vine yet, but I want a lifestyle change. My
goal is to be part of a pretty active community in a
walkable charming old seaport town.
My husband is a professional musician (piano player) who
makes his living playing for famous(and not so famous)
singers. He arranges charts, rehearses and plays
shows(mostly Cabaret and standards).
Benicia seems to have a condensed downtown with a nice mix
of businesses, Pinole is closer to the city and looks to
have its downtown more spread out, but also a very cultural,
I would love feedback.
Hmm. I have worked for both cities but not lived in either.
Benicia is by far more attractive with a larger historic
district downtown and more view corridors of the bay.
However, it is very much an island mentality, insular/small
community, and you have to cross a bridge at $5/pop to get
to the Bay Area. Pinole has easy access to the rest of the
Bay Area but much more limited bay access. Benicia has a
refinery and on occasion you can smell it. Pinole is not too
far from the Rodeo refinery although I don't recall ever
smelling it. Pinole has a Peet's, In n Out, and a Trader
Joe's. Benicia's schools are arguably better. Property
values in both places took a major dive during the
recession. Both cities are relatively well-run, as these
things go; I'd give Pinole the administrative edge.
Personally, I would not want to live in so isolated a place
as Benicia, but I know plenty of people who love it. It's
much more of a state of mind than Pinole!
Pinole is OK. I spent some time there when we lived in
the East Bay because there's a Chuck E. Cheese there that my
kids liked, plus there was a Catholic shop downtown that I
frequented on occasion. The core downtown area is kinda
cute, but Benicia's got it beat by a landslide. Also, I am
not aware of any arts scene in Pinole, though of course I
could be wrong. I think you would be much happier in
Benicia; from what I know of Pinole, it is not what you seem
to be looking for.
Hope this helps! Monica
I'm thinking of moving to Pinole or areas close by such as
El Sobrante. Pinole seems like a really nice low key town,
with good access to hiking, etc, which is what I'm looking
for right now.
Commuting is not going to be a huge issue, my husband flies
out of SFO twice a month and I have to go into San Francisco
one or two days a week, I assume Bart will work for the
I'd appreciate hearing from anyone living in the area about
what it's like to live there. I'd also really like to find a
realtor who is clued in to the area, if you know someone
please share. Julia
I've lived in Pinole for over 20 years and just love it.
The residential areas are quaint and beautiful, and it's
easy to get to know your neighbors. There are lots of retail
shops in and around Pinole (Trader Joes, Burlington Coat
Factory, Big 5 Sporting Goods, KMart), and many restaurants,
including Outback Steakhouse, Applebee's and Mel's Original
Diner just opened in town. The police and fire departments
are prompt and respond quickly when needed, and the post
office employees are very friendly. Pinole has a Safeway,
Lucky, Foods Co. and Grocery Outlet. Also, on Saturdays,
there is a great farmer's market by St. Joseph's Church.
I can highly recommend Victoria Curtis as a realtor who
would help you find a place in Pinole. I have known Victoria
since high school-she is very friendly and a real go-getter.
She will not stop until she finds the perfect home for you.
She works for Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate in El
Cerrito. Contact her at (510) 305-7775 (work cell) or (510)
527-9800 (office), or e-mail her at
Ken Rogai of Security Pacific helped me buy a house in that
area over 10 years ago. He is a great agent - knows the
area, helpful, realistic, and nice to work with.
Appreciated a good agent
i can recommend my realtor....the greatest: sil addiago at
coldwell banker, his office is in pinole.
I don't have a realtor to recommend, but did want to respond
to your request for information on what it's like to live in
Pinole. We have been here for the past eight years in the
'Old Town' area (the San Pablo Avenue/Pinole Valley Road
corridor). For the most part, we really enjoy it here.
There's a nice small town vibe with the amenities of a
larger city and you're still only about 15 minutes from
Berkeley (if traffic cooperates). One of the best things
about living here, especially in the Old Town area, is that
we are within easy walking distance of several parks, the
Bay Trail, and a cute shopping district off San Pablo Avenue
where there are several restaurants, a bakery, post office,
year-round Farmer's Market, etc. During the summer there is
a weekly outdoor concert and movie series at the local park,
as well as other seasonal/holiday activities. In some parts
of town there's definitely a semi-rural feel, which we like.
We LOVE the newly renovated shopping center off Pinole
Valley Road that is home to a new Trader Joes, Walgreens,
and Chipotle. All of the other major big box stores are
nearby too if you need them.
If you're moving to the area for easy access to hiking, you
may want to consider looking for a place on the far side of
town near where Pinole Valley Road turns into Alhambra
Valley Road. That would put you close to several open space
areas. As for commuting, you may want to look in to the LA
Transbay bus line that has stops in the Richmond Hilltop
area. It's a great alternative to BART if you work a regular
9-5 type job.
As for downsides to the area...It's definitely not as
'happening' as other parts of the East Bay, but that doesn't
sound like it would be an issue for you. There is a little
more crime here than I would hope for in a city of this size
(some spillover from surrounding areas like Richmond?) but
the police department seems to stay on top of it. The city
budget isn't in great shape, but that's not unusual these
Good luck with your search!
We Like it in Pinole
We bought a house in Pinole earlier this year and we love it
here. We used Wayne Chin at Vision Realty, he was a great
resource for us. He also helped us understand all the loan
options out there. My husband and I would recommend him in
a heartbeat to anyone we know. Wayne stirred us away from
several houses we liked as soon as he saw some deficiencies
in them. He knows all areas along the 80 corridor. Wayne
can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or his cell is
510-813- 1379. Happy Homeowner
I bought a house in Pinole, near Old Town, and have been
pretty happy here. The schools are not very good -- we're
paying for private school -- but it's cheaper than moving.
We can walk to Trader Joe's and Walgreen's, in one
direction, and Fernandez Park, in the other. I would like
to recommend my realtor, Cindy Wilson, who helped me with
everything I needed to buy my house as a first-time
homeowner. Additionally, she has taken the time to answer a
few quick questions even after I moved in and everything was
settled. Her web site is http://www.ifoundarealtor.com/ and
her phone number is 510-685-5412. Lori
Hello All we are first time home buyers, looking to purchase possibly in
the Richmond Hilltop, or San Pablo Hills areas. Have priced some homes in
these areas, and found some to be reasonable. Looking for 3 to 4bedroom
2bath home. Can anyone share your personal experiences regarding the
neighborhoods, schools for elementary, middle and highschool ages. Would
you recommend a family move to these areas? Know any places available or
realtors who deal in these areas? Thanks for any and all responses.
my own room...
Friends of ours live in Pinole (right around that area) and are
happy with the ambiance and public schools. The town has a nice
feel. Richmond is diverse--nice and not-so-nice areas--but
personally I would avoid Richmond, since that is where you'd be
getting all city services and I think the city is pretty strapped.
Re: Cheaper but "safe enough" neighborhoods
I live in Pinole. It is a lovely community, and there are many
price points within our City. Our schools are good, check the STAR
stats online. IMHO San Pablo and parts of Richmond would be too
rough. There are some great neighborhoods in Richmond, you just
have to hunt for them. Good Luck in your house hunt.
I'm thinking of moving to Pinole and was wondering if anyone can tell me which is
the best neighborhood to live. I saw a posting from 2003 saying that ''The Valley''
is the best but I'm not sure where that is. Can someone provide some street names? I
would also appreciate any info you can provide on this city.
the ''Valley'' area in Pinole is not necessarily the best arrea of
Pinole. It depends on what you are looking for. The Valley area(
streets off Simas, Wright ave. etc.) have some nice ranch style
homes and nice lawns. A nice park at the the foot of Wright ave.
for soccer and baseball. The only problem with the area is you
have to drive to everything. Grocey stores, post office, coffee
shops, gas station, church and most schools.
Another nice area of Pinole is old town Pinole. Lots of nice
homes and an old time town appeal. Cafe's, coffee shops, post
office, gas stations, flower shops, antique shops and a really
nice park (Fernandez Park and baseball field) all within walking
We live off of Pinole Shores Drive in Harbour Cove and love it! There are some great
neighbors, it is a quiet community with lots of kids and we are next to the bay trail.
We are considering a move to Pinole -- does anyone living there
have insights to offer about schools, quality of life, good
neighborhoods to look in, etc.? Also, what is the air quality
We've lived in Pinole almost 5 years and love it! I never even
knew about this town before I moved here, but we have
found it to be very family-friendly and really convenient
whether we travel north, south, east or west. There are lots
of things for families to do -- even a farmers market on
Saturdays with an organic vegetable vendor. Pinole doesn't
have quite the diversity that Berkeley does, for instance, but
my children can play in the street with the other
neighborhood kids and I don't have to worry about it.
As for the schools, I've heard Ellerhorst is good for
elementary, but honestly, my children go to the East Bay
Waldorf School, a private school in El Sobrante.
The best neighborhood is ''the valley'' out Pinole Valley Road
heading east, although there are some other pockets of
nice homes, including some new ones very close to the
As for the air quality, where we are the prevailing winds
come off the Bay and blow any Tosco discharge up towards
Crockett or Vallejo (although I haven't seen any specific
report on the air in this area and probably should).
I aspire to live in Pinole. I almost made it, Im as far as San
Pablo and working my way up, LOL. Pinole is a wonderful
community of truly dedicated residents. If you get into Old
Towne Pinole, (below the freeway), you will find wonderful old
neighborhoods with good schools, nice restaurants and solid
I think you will be happy to be there. If you still have
questions, the chamber of commerce as well as the local City
Council have open door policies. Go meet some of the people who
play and integral part in the workings of this little bay area
gem. Please note, it has a very ''suburban'' feel. Not a Berkeley
or Oakland feeling.
this page was last updated: Apr 19, 2014
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