7.3 out of 10

Piedmont Pines

37.8212103681654 -122.19518618871
Great for
  • Clean & Green
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Resale or Rental Value
Not great for
  • Nightlife
  • Pest Free
  • Cost of Living
  • Public Transport
  • Shopping Options
Who lives here?
  • Families with kids
  • Professionals
  • Country Lovers
  • Singles
  • Retirees

Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • 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 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+
Editors Choice

"Oakland's Millionaires' Hill"

Piedmont Pines is the section of Piedmont, California that climbs up the Oakland hills to the east of the Warren Freeway. It is a highly affluent family neighborhood with million dollar homes where well-heeled professionals reside. People touted Piedmont as the “City of Millionaires,” and to this day it remains a Mecca for the well-off, having former Bay Area football stars like Bubba Paris and Bill Romanowski as residents.

Piedmont Pines itself is beautiful and bucolic, having no shopping district. It is all woody pines and redwoods with cabin style homes nestled along long lanes and narrow cul-de-sacs that trickle out from them. Lots of Redwood Craftsman’s homes with pendulous decks stair out over the Bay from between the branches. Other homes adopt the Mission Revival style with clay tile roofs and adobe walls, but adding round towers and a style more suited to the hills. In the winter time, the faint smell of pine and smoke hang in the air making the whole neighborhood feel like a vacation ski resort, even though it is only minutes from Downtown Oakland and the rest of the Bay Area.

This is a family neighborhood where one in five are below the age of 18. Joaquin Miller Elementary is the K-5 in the neighborhood and it, like the rest of the schools in Piedmont, is well regarded by parents and educators. With the Chabot Science Center (a great science museum with science films, exhibitions and telescopes trained at the skies) just to the south and so many woodsy hiking trails this is the perfect location for wealthy families who love the outdoors to put down stakes.
Pros
  • Woody Ski-Resort Type Living
  • Great Schools
  • Beautiful Post WWII Era Homes
Cons
  • Very Expensive
  • A Bit Secluded
  • Hillside Living--Erosion etc.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
AlbertCamusing
AlbertCamusing Except that "Piedmont Pines" is NOT part of Piedmont.

So much for the "editors" and their "choices."

Piedmont Pines is a neighborhood in Oakland, NOT Piedmont, an entirely geographically separate (as well as in the historically loaded "separate-but-equal" sense of the phrase) town. Piedmont Pines shares the same zip code as Oakland's affluent Montclair district, and most Oaklanders, journalists, home builders –– and realtors –– consider Piedmont Pines a neighborhood WITHIN Montclair ,Oakland.

That said, and to be fair, the "editor's choice" description of Piedmont Pines as "Oakland's millionaires' Hill" is very accurate in terms of the concentrated wealth, individual families' earning power and/or assets, educational levels, very high cost of homes, cultural capital, and those ever present markers of American power: race, class, and gender.

Although, one should note a very important distinction here: although Montclair/Piedmont Pines consists of a largely homogenous community racially, ethnically, and most certainly economically (white, Northern European, affluent/rich) in contrast to the rest of Oakland, Montclair/Piedmont Pines is actually very diverse racially and ethnically (African-American, Latin-American, non-Christian/non-religious, non-Northern European, etc.) in contrast to its peer affluent communities in the Bay Area, e.g., a whiter-shade-of-pale PIEDMONT, Berkeley Hills, Orinda, SeaCliff, San Francisco, Mill Valley/Tiburon, etc.

So, given that many who move to Piedmont (whether or not they voted for you know who in the White House) do so to flee the "calamitous races" as a realty brochure of the early 20th century put it, one does NOT want to claim that Piedmont Pines' schools are in the Piedmont district. They're NOT. They're in the OAKLAND city school district.

Now, for affluent parents who like some semblance of diversity, and for affluent nonwhites and affluent interracial couples (Gay, straight, trans, etc.) of the same sentiments, Piedmont Pines' schools will fit the bill since the school is RELATIVELY diverse and, in any event, is in the top academic percentile of schools in the Bay Area.

Summed up, Piedmont Pines/Montclair is a district in Oakland. It is VERY affluent. It is relatively diverse, racially and ethnically, in contrast to its peer affluent communities throughout the Bay Area.

And lest one mistake my skepticism about wealthy "multicultural" Bohos in paradise for snark, I LOVE the Piedmont Pines area for what NightOwlinOrinda got exactly right: it's a scenic neighborhood of beautiful, mostly large homes in a range of styles and ages, from cottages right up to mansions and meandering estates, but all tastefully, sometimes eccentrically, styled to blend in and/or speak to the woodsy environs.

And hey, at least Montclair/Piedmont Pines handles its abundant affluence sans the unsettling sense of embattled entitlement of Piedmont city and sans the simultaneously charming and grating preciousness of Oakland's admittedly beautiful Rockridge, which is really more Portlandia than the show itself.

Piedmont Pines: Oakland's Millionaire's Hill in a Mill Valley setting. Check it out.
2yrs+
DorothyL2
DorothyL2 Piedmont Pines is part of Oakland. Not Piedmont. They share the same Zip code. but that is all. Joaquin Miller School is in the Oakland Unified School District. Thanks
Feb 29, 2016
Add a comment...
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"For Wannabe Lumberjacks"

Located on a long narrow stretch of land inbetween woodsy Montclair and leafy Piedmont, the Shepherd Canyon Neighborhood straddles Shepherd Canyon Road all the way up to undeveloped woody area south of Robert Sibley Park (Eastport). The neighborhood itself is dominated by two parks near its center—Shepherd Canyon Park is the larger of the two and runs along a trail where 19th Century railroad tracks once lay. The Park offers nice hiking, and the community is actively improving the park with benches and signage. The other park at the very bottom, Marge Saunders Park, is just north of Joaquin Miller Elementary, one of the many fine elementaries in the area.

Down by the Warren Freeway, there is a small overspill of Montclair Village that includes a good Italian restaurant.

For the most part, however the neighborhood is made up of beautiful woodsy homes hidden away off the curves of Shepperd Canyon Road. The homes are largely 50’s style Prairie Style homes stacked two and sometimes three stories high along depressions that possibly were once used by 19th century loggers to extract the region’s redwoods. (Oakland’s woods and quarries were the source of much of the raw materials used to rebuild San Francisco after the Great Quake.) The neighborhood has a certain ski resort kind of feel to it, reminiscent to me of inclined lanes surrounding Big Bear in So Cal. There is, of course, no skiing with in an hour of here.

If you still harbor a childhood fantasy of being a lumberjack, then you have found your home. All you need is an axe and the six figure job to afford living here.
Pros
  • Woody
  • Nice Homes
  • Great Hiking
Cons
  • Wildfires and Erosion
  • Narrow Lanes
  • Expensive
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Country Lovers

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