7.2 out of 10

Claremont Ave, Orinda

37.889993273003 -122.205525265329
Great for
  • Clean & Green
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Resale or Rental Value
Not great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Nightlife
  • Pest Free
  • Eating Out
  • Shopping Options
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers


4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5

"Ranch Homes and Raccoons"

The tiny Claremont neighborhood of Orinda is right across Camino Pablo from the Country Club neighborhood. It rises up into the hills towards Tilden Park, but unlike the El Toyonal neighborhood, it offers no outlet to the Berkeley Area. The neighborhood dates from the 1950’s as is evident by the high number of Ranch homes that make up the area (though, of course, many have been remodeled and repaved). The cul-de-sac neighborhood offers winding roads and good views. The homes are not stunningly beautiful like in some of the spectacularly affluent sections of Orinda (Claremont is contented with just being “very” affluent), but they offer a quiet almost bucolic feel to them.

Yards also often have a natural feel to them, with bushes allowed to grow somewhat at will—not many manicured lawns here. Potted plants and backyard vegetable gardens are a popular pastime, and it is not unusual to hear the crow of a morning cock or the clucking of pet hens. It is not so much that there are a lot of Huck Finns around here, but more that a lot of Orinda locals like to play the husbandry game just for fun, and of course for the fresh eggs. A lot of folks around here love to feel close to nature and raise their kids among redwoods and butterflies.

Of course, hens have to be locked up in protective cages or they will become lunch for some of the wild animals that are the neighbors of anyone living here at the edge of Orinda. Residents often wake to hear stags and deer crunching around on the stone driveways on summer nights—a menace to vegetable and rose gardens as well. Raccoons and skunks are also a common sight, which means the occasional skunking to perfume the morning air and sometimes a unexpected mess on garbage pickup day. Stray cats make their homes under porches and, when in heat, their catcalls can wake all except for the most sound of sleepers.

This is also hillside living, so when the winter rains come homeowners have to be on the look out for loosened earth. Shifting earth often adds costs to home maintenance and can be a concern especially in some of the older homes not originally built to code. The wet mossy winter weather also means that wood porches must be maintained to avoid even more expensive replacements later. During the summer months, fire fears become the main worry as the leafy area starts to feel more like a tinder box. Even far away fires will clothe the trees with an ominous burnt scent and sometimes, when fires are close enough, the air quality can be enough to cause eye irritation and headaches. The city requires owners to keep brush cleared and trees trimmed back from the already narrow roadways and homeowners are often not allowed to attach themselves directly to the sewage system, so sump systems are a common headache in this neck of the woods as well.

The proximity to Wagner Ranch Elementary and Downtown Orinda, makes this a perfect neighborhood for those who prefer to hoof it and keep their fuel costs down. Folks tend to live here for a good long while so the whole place has a pleasant small town feel where it is not unusual for neighbors to get together socially or to get together to fix common problems. In some areas of Orinda neighbors keep up their roads through neighborhood associations, which are also useful when problems with the city occur. All this also means that your neighbors are likely to know your business and you theirs.

Overall, a really pleasant, laid back place to set down stakes.
  • Very Leafy
  • Quiet
  • Good Family Living
  • Hillside Headaches
  • Expensive
  • No Nightlife
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers

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