Orinda is in a very interesting “microclimate” in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area. We literally are in several small but steep canyons in the fold of the hills above Oakland and Berkeley – some that are over 1000′ and Mt. Diablo – which rises to 4000′. In between is the Las Trampas Ridge – which rises to 2000′. There are small creeks, redwoods, spruce, cottonwoods, red cedar, buckeye and beautiful old oak trees with lots of grasslands in between. Add to this – landscape trees and you get a surprisingly rich set of plants, shrubs and trees. We also have some pretty interesting animals – deer, squirrel, bobcat, fox, quail, wild turkey, coyote, hawks, owls, bats, and many species of birds. Lizards who do “pushups” and all kinds of insects.
These are pepper trees, and we also have liquidamber, chinese pistachio, eastern oak, and other landscape trees that turn color. All of this and I’m 20 miles east of San Francisco – where I ride my bike every day to BART (mass transit) and door to door am at work or home in less than an hour – with my bike ride.
I grew up outside NYC – 60 miles northwest of that city, and to get out of NYC and its surrounding area – it feels like it takes an hour. In SF – it takes 15 minutes to get out of the city and feel like you are in a relaxed and beautiful natural setting.
The Bay Area has grown like mad since my family moved here in 1979 – but when you factor in that there is no other equal in the software industry as there is here – I feel very lucky to have almost by accident ended up here.