A pleas­ant place to live

The Sacramento Bee - - Real Estate / Classified - By Mark Billings­ley

In a few short weeks, the 61st an­nual Carmichael Elk’s Fourth of July pa­rade will fill Fair Oaks Boule­vard in Carmichael with pride and pa­tri­o­tism. There will be plenty of fes­tive floats and fri­vol­ity from phil­an­thropic or­ga­ni­za­tions and lo­cal

busi­nesses and plenty of Carmichael res­i­dents will as­sem­ble along the pa­rade to cel­e­brate Amer­ica’s birth­day. Per­haps there will be a flyby from sev­eral of the bald ea­gles, who are nest­ing nearby along the mighty Amer­i­can River.

Yes, at least three nested pairs of our Amer­i­can feath­ered sym­bols of free­dom call Carmichael home, ac­cord­ing to Su­san Maxwell Skin­ner, a Carmichael-based pho­to­jour­nal­ist who used to turn her fo­cus on the Bri­tish Royal Fam­ily, but now turns her lenses on the wildlife along the Amer­i­can River and park­lands that make Carmichael such a pleas­ant place to live.

“The Amer­i­can River is like a cen­tral artery through Carmichael,” said Skin­ner, who was last year’s grand mar­shal of the Fourth of July pa­rade. “There’s so much to do,

from kayak­ing, rafting and fish­ing on the river, watch­ing the salmon runs, but also bi­cy­cling and walk­ing in na­ture. It’s like Na­tional geo­graphic out there.”

Skin­ner said she dis­cov­ered the bald ea­gles about four years ago while on a na­ture walk near the Effie Yauw{CQ} Na­ture Cen­ter. She’s fol­lowed the ea­gle fam­i­lies every day since and has be­come some­what of an ex­pert on the birds. She hasn’t di­vulged the nest­ing lo­ca­tions for fear of at­tract­ing too much at­ten­tion and pos­si­ble harm to the birds, but has started a blog on her Face­book page that chron­i­cles fam­ily life in the aeries.

In 2010, The Amer­i­can River Nat­u­ral His­tory As­so­ci­a­tion was cho­sen by Sacra­mento County to take over op­er­a­tions and fund­ing of the Effie Yeaw Na­ture Cen­ter and the 77acre pre­serve that sur­rounds it. Skin­ner is a fer­vent sup­porter.

“(Effie Yauw Na­ture Cen­ter) is like a sec­ond home to me,” Skin­ner said.

It’s a great place for fam­i­lies to get out in na­ture and learn more about the his­tory and the flora and fauna that is na­tive to Carmichael. Well, maybe not the Star-this­tle. That yel­low weed with sharp spines is na­tive to Italy and was brought here dur­ing the Gold Rush.

Other no­table parks in Carmichael in­clude An­cil Hoff­man, which also is home to a fine 18-hole cham­pi­onship golf course of the same name. Effie Yauw Na­ture Cen­ter is ad­ja­cent to An­cil Hoff­man park and it’s not un­usual for golfers to see wild tur­keys and deer cross­ing greens and fair­ways

The Jensen Botan­i­cal Gar­dens is a des­ti­na­tion for na­ture lovers. Camelias, dog­woods, aza­leas, and rhodo­den­drons are the fea­tured flora.

As a pho­tog­ra­pher, Skin­ner said she is a big sup­porter of the arts and Carmichael is home of the Sacra­mento Fine Arts Cen­ter on the former cam­pus of La Sierra High School. The site, the La Sierra Com­mu­nity Cen­ter, is used for a va­ri­ety of re­cre­ation and arts pro­grams and the Fourth of July pa­rade and the cel­e­bra­tion cul­mi­nates each year with a spec­tac­u­lar fire­works show over the grassy fields that used to hold prep sports.

The Chau­tauqua Play­house at the La Sierra Com­mu­nity Cen­ter is a 95-seat the­ater that fea­tures a va­ri­ety of dra­mas, come­dies and mu­si­cals. The award-win­ning com­mu­nity per­form­ing arts group also has a chil­dren’s the­ater.

Stu­dents in Carmichael can go from preschool through Amer­i­can River Col­lege, which is part of the Los Rios Com­mu­nity Col­lege Dis­trict. Pub­lic schools are within the San Juan Uni­fied School Dis­trict, in­clud­ing Win­ston Churchill Mid­dle School, an In­ter­na­tional Bac­calau­re­ate-ac­cred­ited school that feeds di­rectly into nearby Mira Loma High School’s IB pro­gram. Stu­dents in both IB pro­grams come from all over the Sacra­mento re­gion for the highly-ranked cur­ricu­lum and typ­i­cally score bet­ter on stan­dard­ized tests than their peers at other schools in the re­gion. There are also sev­eral pri­vate schools in Carmichael.

Carmichael is 110 years old and was founded by Daniel W. Carmichael. In 1909, he devel­oped Carmichael Colony No. I, which was a 2,000 acres par­cel of land that was part of the Ran­cho San Juan Mex­i­can Land Grant. Carmichael later bought an­other 1,000 acres for Carmichael Colony No. 2. That par­cel was part of the Ran­cho Del Paso Mex­i­can Land Grant. Carmichael set about sell­ing off 10-acre parcels to early res­i­dents for $1,500 each. Now, there are 253 homes listed for sale in the 95608 zip code, ac­cord­ing to MetroList. Those homes range in ask­ing price from $219,000 to $3.5 mil­lion. The most ex­pen­sive home, like most of the multi-mil­lion-dol­lar homes in Carmichael, have beau­ti­ful views of the Amer­i­can River. This par­tic­u­lar home, listed by Cold­well Banker Res­i­den­tial Bro­ker­age, is nearly

5,000 square feet and right on the river

“Carmichael is an un­der­ap­pre­ci­ated gem with hid­den sur­prises ev­ery­where,” said Kim PaciniHauc­h, a Re­al­tor for RE/ MAX Gold who lives in Carmichael. “(Carmichael) is af­ford­able, but also has gor­geous es­tate prop­er­ties with some of the most mag­nif­i­cent views of the Amer­i­can River any­where in the area.”

The town was a sleepy sub­urb of Sacra­mento un­til the late 1950s and early

1960s when large de­vel­op­ments sprang up on ei­ther side of Fair Oaks Boule­vard to the east and Wal­nut Av­enue to the west. Carmichael got its first large-scale shop­ping com­plex in 1963 when Crestview Shop­ping Cen­ter opened.

The Mi­la­gro Cen­tre opened three years ago and has some of Carmichael’s best restau­rants in Mesa Mer­cado, Brod­er­ick Road­house and River City Brewing Com­pany.

“(Carmichael) is still a small Amer­i­can town,” said Skin­ner, a na­tive of New Zealand who be­came a nat­u­ral­ized cit­i­zen in 2017. “It main­tains its small­town feel even though it’s a thriv­ing com­mu­nity. That’s some­thing that for­eign­ers find en­dear­ing.”


An­cil Hoff­man Park has pic­nic sites, a golf course, na­ture cen­ter and river ac­cess.


Many homes are within walk­ing dis­tance of An­cil Hoff­man Park and Mi­la­gro Cen­tre in­door food court.


The Mi­la­gro Cen­tre has eight din­ing op­tions un­der one roof, with in­door and out­door din­ing.

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