We ended up buying the e-bikes that I was thinking about. They've been great! Definitely happy to have a motor to help me up some of the steep hills in this neighborhood. Even with the electric motor at full, and on the lowest gear, some of them are quite tough, so I definitely wouldn't be managing this on a non-electric bike.
After a few trips out, my husband found a nice circular route for us to ride which has been our de facto route recently. It starts with a climb up a into some hilly neighborhoods, and just when I'm getting exhausted it ends with a nice downhill coast most of the way back home.
We got a little bit of rain last month so the hillsides are looking nice and green. Here's one of my favorite views from that route: