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Beautiful tree-lined streets with estate-size homes on large lots. Quiet, safe, private neighborhood. That's an apt description of Sierra Oaks, a neighborhood with some of the most exclusive addresses and most expensive homes in the Sacramento area.

Homebuyers who want newer homes at lower prices -- as well as proximity to Sacramento International Airport and downtown -- can find that and more in Natomas.

Residents seeking a country setting, outdoor recreation and a relaxing lifestyle have found it in Cool, a spot in the road at highways 49 and 193 in El Dorado County that dates back to the Gold Rush era.

When military personnel were transferred to Sacramento during and after World War II, they probably enjoyed Sacramento's pleasant, fairly consistent climate. And when they wanted to settle down permanently, marry and start a family, they found housing that met their needs. Many settled in Tahoe Park, an area of affordable, single-family homes.

When clients look for homes in El Dorado Hills, Connie Barnes, a real estate broker with RE/MAX Gold, takes them to the community’s several villages. “That’s my favorite part of selling,” she said. “That gives buyers a feel for what they like in the neighborhoods.”

Renovation of Roseville's downtown square will offer many attractions for families, including theater and movies. The downtown area is along Vernon Street, and the historic old town is bounded by Washington Boulevard and Main, Pacific and Lincoln streets.

If you’re a history buff, you have to love Fair Oaks. Not only does the community celebrate historical roots that date back to before the Gold Rush, but it also celebrates the history of the feral chickens that roost in quaint Fair Oaks Village.

What brings people to downtown Sacramento? Many suburbanites become downtown dwellers because they like the area’s proximity to their jobs. They’ve given up commuting in favor of living near the state, federal or city offices where they work. Another bonus of living downtown is being within walking distance of restaurants, nightclubs, theaters, shops and historical attractions.

If there's a Mayberry in the Sacramento region, it might be Loomis, a small town in Placer County. The community motto -- "A small town is like a big family" -- may seem a cliche, but living in Loomis genuinely reflects that sentiment.

Rosemont was first known as Brighton Township and was primarily farmland, fruit orchards, turkey and chicken ranches and cattle and strawberry fields. Today, area businesses include supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants, commercial industries, the California State Franchise Tax Board, National University, a roller-skating rink, a dozen churches, six parks and a golf course.

Many people are drawn to Land Park because of its attractions — the Sacramento Zoo, Fairytale Town and William Land Park, for whom the neighborhood is named. But the people who populate the place also are attracted by its proximity to downtown Sacramento, its wide, tree-lined streets and the friendly atmosphere.

There's some debate over how many neighborhoods make up the Arden Arcade area, but longtime residents don't debate its attractions. "The Arden area is so popular, because it's in a wonderful location in the heart of Sacramento," said Donald Stitt, area resident and Coldwell Banker broker-Realtor.

A great lifestyle and a great location. Those are two primary reasons people like living in Granite Bay. They like to be close to hospitals, transportation, schools and shopping. "There are a multitude of amenities that lead to the great lifestyle," said Realtor Ken Svarnum of Bishop Real Estate Group, Coldwell Banker.

Imagine living on a hillside with views of Folsom Lake, the snow-capped Sierra Nevada and the city of Sacramento. Or picture settling into a small, friendly neighborhood where everybody knows your name. Both scenarios reflect the appeal — and the contrasts — of El Dorado Hills.

When Rocklin city staff and members of the Rocklin Chamber of Commerce canvassed residents during a city walk last year, they learned that people rated parks high on their list of likes about their community. Rocklin has 30 community and neighborhood parks, a high number for a city its size -- about 20 square miles -- and population -- slightly more than 56,000.

Natomas is close to everything, and that's a major attraction to people who live there. The community is about five miles from downtown Sacramento and five minutes from Sacramento International Airport.

Ellen Zagory is typical of many Davis residents. She attended the University of California at Davis, moved to another area, then moved back. So did Jeff and Jenny McCormick. He attended UC Davis as an undergraduate; she spent four years in medical school. They moved to Boston, then returned.

Lincoln's growth ballooned during the home-building boom of the past decade, then slowed with the real estate downturn. But these days, community leaders in the Placer County city anticipate additional growth and new retail construction.

Whether you come to cheer the River Cats at Raley Field or find furnishings at Ikea or you're a resident who works out at the city's fitness center or takes an early-morning stroll along the Sacramento River, you're bound to enjoy your time in West Sacramento.

Rancho Cordova is bent on improving its quality of life and beautifying its neighborhoods with an initiative city officials say is changing the face of the community. The program, Growing Strong Neighborhoods, was launched by Mayor David Sander in 2007 in his first term as mayor and is being upgraded this year in Sanders’ second round as mayor.

The small-town atmosphere is one of the key reasons people are drawn to Galt, a community in the southernmost part of Sacramento County. Galt is a friendly place, where people say they like going to the grocery store and seeing their friends.

It’s the reason Mayor Barbara Payne moved to Galt more than 17 years ago. “I like the small-town feel here,” she said. “I didn’t want to get lost in a big city where I didn’t know people.”

Some people call Robert C. Powell a visionary, a developer who designed a master-planned community that has not lacked in appeal nor lost its value over the years. Powell is the person responsible for Gold River, an upscale community of 2,736 homes and condominiums that’s accessible via Highway 50 and Sunrise Boulevard. Gold River consists of 25 villages with a varying number of residences in each — from as few as six homes in Empire Oaks Village to 226 homes in Mother Lode. Each gated village is named for a historical person, place or event. Bret Harte Village, for example, is named for one of California’s most prominent writers of the 1860s. Gold Spike Village commemorates the building of the first transcontinental railroad.

For some people, moving 30 minutes away from shopping options can be a significant lifestyle change, but McQuillen said she has several clients relocating from high-density areas in Southern California and the Central Valley. Many are buying homes before they retire because of the current attractive prices. The number of active-adult communities, for people age 55 and older, she said, has increased in the area in the past five years, to about a half dozen. “There are a lot of professional artists and writers here, and telecommuters are a huge chunk of the market,” she said. Many live in surrounding communities such as Pollock Pines, which has heavy snow, and Camino, which has less.

When Jim Sewell joined Serrano Country Club in El Dorado Hills, he and his wife, Cheryl, purchased a lot at Serrano in case they ever decided to move there. They loved the area, and Jim liked the golf course and the club. The couple had lived for 25 years in Fair Oaks, where they raised their two children. Their life was centered around the children’s school and their activities, church and friends. In 2001, the Sewells decided to move to Serrano. “We designed and built our home as empty nesters and have been very pleased,” Cheryl Sewell said. “We thought about how the two of us lived and came up with a floor plan that has really worked for us. It’s been a great home to entertain in, and every day we are grateful. We love El Dorado Hills, and we especially love the community of Serrano. It is quiet and beautiful.” The couple didn’t think their family would live nearby, but now their two children and their spouses, their grandchildren and Cheryl’s 95-year-old mother have homes in Serrano. They’ve joined many who have headed for the hills.

From a community that housed workers at McClellan Air Force Base for more than half a century to a quiet suburb today, Antelope has served as a strategically located residential area in Sacramento County.

It’s bordered on the north by the Sacramento-Placer county line, on the east by the Citrus Heights city limits, on the south by Antelope Road and U Street and on the west by 26th Street.

Street names such as Lockheed Court, Boeing Road and Cessna Drive offer a clue to Cameron Park’s unique feature: Part of the community is located on an airstrip. In fact, cruising along Cameron Park Drive, it’s possible — and surprising to some — to see airplanes parked in hangars connected to the homes in Cameron Airpark Estates.

From vintage farmhouses to horse properties, Orangevale offers real estate that appeals to new and longtime residents who enjoy a country atmosphere in a prime location.

Kirk and Laila Bottomly chose Orangevale because it’s similar to Fallbrook, a community near San Diego where they lived until three years ago. They moved to the Sacramento area when he became pastor of Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church and discovered Orangevale as temporary renters. Through a short sale, they bought a home on a large lot with several fruit trees. Linda Creek runs along the back of their property.

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