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Lamorinda refers to an area within Contra Costa County, California in the United States. The name is a portmanteau from the names of the three cities that make up the region: Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda. Other locals humorously call the area Morindette (more in debt) referring to the high price of housing.
Lamorinda sits east of the Berkeley Hills between the Caldecott Tunnel and Walnut Creek. It is also referred to as the "Highway 24" corridor, referring to the state highway that is the primary thoroughfare in the region. Many residents commute west through the tunnel to San Francisco and Oakland or east to Walnut Creek and Concord.
Differences between the three cities
Each city is distinct from the others, but the three share many similar characteristics as suburban bedroom communities with little industry. The region has been called "wealthy" by the San Francisco Chronicle. The public high schools in each of the cities are part of the Acalanes Union High School District, one of the highest ranked high school districts in California.
With a cluster of restaurants and generally high-end shops in its downtown, Lafayette is considered the retail hub of the region. Orinda is home to the historic Orinda Theatre and the California Shakespeare Theater. Moraga is home to Saint Mary's College of California.
Lafayette and Orinda both have BART stations and are located along Highway 24. Lafayette's BART station is located across from the Lafayette hillside memorial. The Lafayette station along with the Orinda's BART station are on the Pittsburg/Bay Point–SFO/Millbrae line. Moraga, located to the south, is more isolated; a pair of two-lane roads connect it to Orinda and Lafayette and the highway to the north.
Lamorinda is located in the central part of Contra Costa County.
The central part of the county is a valley traversed by Interstate 680 and Highway 24. The towns east of the hills, on or near Highway 24 and their surrounding areas (Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda) are collectively known as Lamorinda. The major central county cities along Interstate 680 are Martinez, Concord, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, Danville, San Ramon, and unincorporated Alamo.
Owing to the high quality of its public schools (due largely to both demographics and added support from prosperous parents), this area has become a magnet for affluent families with children.
- Fainaru-Wada, Mark, Mitch Stephens, and Chronicle Staff Writers. "Can Parents Be Too Involved? Pressure Drive out High School Coaches in Wealthy Lamorinda." San Francisco Chronicle 13 July 2003. Sf Gate. San Francisco Chronicle. Web. 10 Oct. 2010. <http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/07/13/SP25408.DTL&ao=all>.