ClintonCoupevilleThings to Do on Whidbey November 27, 2023

Navigating Paradise: On a Ferry Ride

Who says you can’t navigate paradise from the comfort of a ferry ride? Our experience when taking a ferry to or from Whidbey Island is that it offers a unique and picturesque experience that is packed with charm and several noteworthy advantages. Follow along to find out the top 10 reasons we suggest you take a ferry the next time you need to cross the water.

Scenic Beauty:

The Washington State Ferries treat passengers to breathtaking views of the Puget Sound, surrounding islands, and the majestic Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges. It’s a visual feast for nature enthusiasts and photographers.

Relaxation:

Our ferries offer a peaceful and leisurely mode of transportation. Not only do you not have to navigate the hustle and bustle or sit in stop-and-go traffic to get to your destination, but ferry passengers can unwind on deck, enjoy the fresh sea breeze, or simply gaze at the tranquil waters, creating a serene  and enjoyable journey to your destination.

Convenience:

The ferry system is an integral part of the Pacific Northwest’s transportation network. It offers a convenient way to connect Whidbey Island to the mainland, making it accessible for both commuters and tourists.

Time to Unplug:

Depending on who you are, you will either love or hate, the absence of Wi-Fi on most ferries. However, this absence of connectivity encourages travelers to unplug from the digital world, promoting relaxation and providing an opportunity to disconnect, unwind, and take in the spectacular atmosphere surrounding you.

Wildlife Watching:

Keep an eye out for marine life during the journey. It’s common to spot seals, sea lions, dolphins, and various seabirds while crossing the Sound. If you get to snap a picture, don’t forget to tag us at @windermere_whidbey_island on Instagram.

Community Experience:

Passengers often strike up conversations and share stories while riding the ferries which fosters a sense of community. It’s a chance to connect with fellow travelers or engage with locals who cherish their island home. Such an opportunity for learning about the island if you are new here. If you are hoping to learn more about the island or looking for a place to live and aren’t currently working with a realtor, connect with us here so we can be your guide.

Adventure Starting Point:

For tourists, the ferry ride to Whidbey Island marks the beginning of an exciting adventure. It is the gateway to exploring the island’s charming towns, outdoor activities, and natural wonders.

Child-Friendly:

Ferries are child-friendly, so you don’t have to feel like you can’t go because you have kids. You can stay in your own vehicle if you choose to do so, however,  many ferries offer play areas and tables for kids. In fact, the experiences of riding a ferry can offer opportunities to teach children about marine life and navigation.

Cafes and Dining:

Many ferries feature cafes or dining options where passengers can enjoy a meal or snack while taking in the views.

Sunsets and Sunrises:

This might just be one of our favorites. The early morning and evening ferry rides provide an opportunity to witness stunning sunrises and sunsets over the water, creating magical moments for travelers. We highly suggest you experience a sunset or sunrise ferry ride at least once in your life time.

In essence, taking a ferry to or from Whidbey Island is not just a means of transportation; it’s an experience that adds to the overall allure of the island, combining convenience with a touch of adventure and a generous serving of natural beauty. Click here to check out the Washington State Ferries schedules and to book your next ride.  If you have fallen in love with Whidbey and are considering staying connect with us here. 

ClintonCoupevilleFreelandGreenbankLangleyOak HarborThings to Do on Whidbey November 13, 2023

Weather in the Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest, or PNW, is a region known for its varied and often unpredictable weather. Located in the northwest corner of the United States, the PNW is home to a diverse array of climates and landscapes, ranging from the rainy, temperate rainforests of the coast to the dry, high-desert regions of the interior.

One of the most distinctive features of the PNW weather is the rain. The region is home to some of the wettest parts of the country. Some areas receive over 100 inches of rain per year. While the rain can be a nuisance at times, it is also a vital part of the region’s ecosystem. The rain provides the water needed to sustain the lush forests and vegetation that thrive in the region.

In addition to the rain, the PNW is also prone to fog and mist, especially along the coast. These foggy conditions can last for days at a time, creating a unique and sometimes eerie atmosphere.

Weather on Whidbey Island

Whidbey Island, located in the northwest corner of Washington state, is no stranger to the PNW’s unpredictable weather. Located in the Puget Sound, the island is influenced by both the maritime climate of the coast and the inland climate of the region. As a result, the weather on Whidbey Island can vary significantly from one day to the next. Sometimes a sunshining clear skies day gives way to rain and fog in a matter of hours.

One unique aspect of the weather on Whidbey Island is its location in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains. The rain shadow effect occurs when moist air is forced up and over a mountain range. When this happens it causes it to cool and release its moisture in the form of rain or snow. As the air descends on the other side of the mountain range, it warms and becomes drier, creating a “rain shadow” region that receives less rainfall.

Due to its location on the leeward side of the Olympic Mountains, the areas of North and Central Whidbey Island experience this rain shadow effect, resulting in significantly less rainfall compared to other parts of the PNW. While the island still gets its fair share of rain and fog, it is generally drier and sunnier than the surrounding region. Less rainfalls makes it a popular destination for those seeking a respite from the rain.

Despite the often-variable weather, the PNW and Whidbey Island are beautiful and unique places to visit or call home. The diverse landscape and varied climate create opportunities for a wide range of recreational activities. Many people enjoy  hiking and camping in the summer to skiing and snowboarding in the winter. So, whether you’re a seasoned resident or a first-time visitor, be prepared for a little bit of everything when it comes to the weather in the PNW and on Whidbey Island.

When you fall in love with the island and want to stay let us help you find your dream home. Connect with us here.

CoupevilleThings to Do on Whidbey October 16, 2023

Practical Magic

“The small town scenes were filmed in downtown Coupeville, Washington, a Victorian-era seaside port town located on the south side of Penn’s Cove on Whidbey Island.” – IMDB

But you knew that, right?

For being so big and loud, Hollywood’s visits to Whidbey are usually quiet and out of the way. Practical Magic went all out. Twenty-five years ago the film crews and the stars swept in, painted Coupeville white, and played pretend that it was a quaint seaside town – in New England. That’s Hollywood. It’s about time for another visit.

Let’s get the name-dropping out of the way:

Sandra Bullock, Nichole Kidman, Stockard Channing, Dianne Wiest, and some guys. Stars for sure, but pardon locals who also want to spot familiar stores and streets, parks and views. 

Local Destinations:

Front Street dominates. The Wharf is in the background. Stores were temporarily redecorated. Much of it was different, but not out of place. Seafood, a farmers’ market, herbs and potions – though they played a different role. Very familiar.

As much as we may feel that they could’ve filmed the entire movie here, they also used places like the San Juans. The stellar house would be a natural tourist site, but it was a prop, torn down after they were done. Has anyone tried to rebuild it? 

It is a comedy and a romance. It is also a fantasy, or at least has fantastic magic. It is also a thriller, just in time for Halloween. 

You might have to watch it more than once:

Once for the story, once for the setting, and then maybe again. Some people make this a part of their Fall ritual movie night. By the way, the food and drink choices that pair with it are brownies and chocolate cake for breakfast and margaritas at midnight. (Jimmy Buffett fans may also appreciate the latter.)

Filmed on Whidbey:

Practical Magic is part of a long list of movies filmed here.

Some familiar names:

  • Free Willy 2
  • Snow Falling on Cedars
  • The Ring
  • Double Jeopardy
  • The War of the Roses
  • Oh yeah, and Top Gun: Maverick.

Smaller creations are made here, too:

Deception Pass Bridge and the hairpin turn at Ebey’s Landing frequently show up in ads. The ferries are iconic enough to be a proxy for all of Puget Sound. 

The perfect location for filming:

While some visitors and locals can complain about overcast skies and dull weather, someone filming a scene can appreciate a lack of shadows. It is easier to stitch retakes into the rest of the film when something filmed in sunshine then has to match something filmed in the shade. Dull weather means less worry about wind and rain – at least compared to a lot of other regions. Not too hot or too cold, usually. We’ve also got talented people living here, great backdrops, and pleasant places for the stars and the crew to stay in.

It may be a twenty-five year old movie, but it skips technology (hey, they got magic!) and Coupeville is charming. Don’t be surprised that October may have a few more tourists visiting. There are some great costume opportunities. Let’s just hope the weather treats us all well.

 

“But there are some things I know for certain: always throw spilt salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for luck, and fall in love whenever you can.” – Sally Ownes, source:IMDB

And, 

“There’s a little witch in all of us.” – Aunt Jet Ownens, source: IMDB

 

 

Links:

IMDB Commentary

IMDB Filming Locations 

 

CoupevilleThings to Do on Whidbey October 2, 2023

Saving Whidbey

One of the reasons most people find Whidbey Island so special is the beaches, forests, and farms. This is why having one of the most spectacular properties on the island that incorporates all three being protected forever is such an amazing thing!” 

 

You’ve probably seen them, yet another of Whidbey’s gravel driveways that reach off from the highway, winding through a forest, to – well, someplace only a few know about. They are mysteries, but someone saw some reason to build a road. Sometimes that’s for an estate, or a farm, or simply a view. The Land Trust just acquired one of those properties that has all three.

Saving Whidbey

“What can I do to help protect the island?” That’s the question one realtor asked during a tour of Keystone Farm and Forest Preserve. They asked a good question to the right people because Whidbey Camano Land Trust helps people do that. A group of Windermere realtors were fortunate enough to get an early tour of Keystone Preserve, one of the Land Trust’s most recent acquisitions – and most impressive properties to protect. 

History of the Land 

For over a century, the land has been farmed with conventional methods (longer than that by Salish Sea Tribes). For decades, one family owned the property. They asked that same question; what could they do to save a farm with an expansive view because of 2/3 of a mile of waterfront. And it has dozens of acres of prairie farmland. And it has dozens of acres of forest upland from the shore. They add up to over 200 acres of a unique estate. Thanks numerous state and federal grants (including help from the Navy), some fortunate situations, and a bit of good luck, Keystone Farm and Forest Preserve will continue to be farmed and preserved. 

 

Most of the folks on the tour were stopped in their tracks by the view as the long driveway rounded the bend from forest to farm, from trees to pastures, and expansive water views. Look left down Admiralty Inlet. To the right is Admiralty Cove. Straight across is the Olympic Range, Port Townsend, and out to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 

In April 2022, the Lea family sold the property. They had owned the property since 1947, but families shift, and they realized that they’d rather let someone else own and use it than leave it effectively vacant, locked away without anyone being able to enjoy it. The Land Trust stepped in, with help, of course. In a couple of years, Keystone  Preserve will be opened to the public. Patience is necessary because a driveway that suffices for a family and a farm isn’t enough for two-way traffic, especially if emergency vehicles need access. The plan is to have parking for school buses and a shelter for learning.

 

There’s history here. The water, the prairie, and the forest are fertile. The Skagit people knew its value. They even maintained the prairie through controlled burns. The open land that reaches down to the water was so distinctive that early explorers noted it. One ship’s Captain, Robertson, returned and helped homestead it circa 1850.

A Budding Future 

The future is also being established because the Organic Farm School has already been invited to plant trial fields. And, of course, it will be a place for people to enjoy. It is the nature of the Land Trust that the future can be preserved. That era has already begun.

 

That’s the plan. Plans require action, so sign up with the Land Trust to volunteer. The quicker the work gets done, the sooner people can visit for the sake of visiting. In the meantime, volunteers get early access to the views. Old farms are fertile, so there will be some weeds to tend. As the site gets prepared for the public, there will be opportunities to help. Maybe linger a bit after the work party is done. 

Find a comfy spot and watch for raptors overhead, whales and seals and salmon, and almost every big ship that’s using Puget Sound to get to our deep, sheltered harbors. Or get up and wander along the forest trails. 

 

The property is also a place to learn about what it takes to live on the land on an island. Sites that look ideal can require a bit of research, thought, and consulting with experts. How close can a house be to the water, considering waves that can redistribute a bluff? Upland forests grow because they have access to water, which might mean ravines or wetlands. Owning such a property is also a lesson in how forests collect and filter rainwater, as well as stabilize bluffs and replenish our aquifers. Sometimes, trees may be weak or in a dangerous spot; but, it was pointed out that trimming the difficult parts while leaving the bottom thirty feet provides some of the benefits of habitat and soil stability. Learning about such issues by visiting a property is simpler than doing so in the middle of a transaction.

 

The land will restore something closer to its original nature, and it can be valuable to see natural forests, natural bluffs, and natural shorelines. The Land Trust doesn’t buy land to simply buy land. Keystone Farm and Forest Preserve will help the health of the habitat for lots of wildlife, particularly salmon and other fish that rely on eelgrass and bull kelp. It will provide a place for learning and demonstration. Protecting land also means protecting our drinking water by ensuring we have pockets of aquifer recharge.

 

The day of the visit ended with a show of seals and salmon along the shore.

 

People on Whidbey are proud of its rural character; so, preserving a farm, a forest, and a shoreline makes sense. “What can I do to help protect the island?” Be like the Lea family and think of the future.

 

“It will be a great place for people to learn about organic farming practices, how to manage private forests for health, natural shoreline protection techniques, and an additional beautiful and scenic place for walking. You can learn more about this property and all the Land Trust properties on their website. Loads of their properties are open to the public with great trail systems.” There’s probably one near you that you didn’t even know existed!

 

ClintonCoupevilleFreelandGreenbankLangleyOak HarborPlacesThings to Do on Whidbey September 18, 2023

Swimming With And Without A Pool

It is summer, time to jump in the pool! How better to cool off? Autumn? Sure. Get a few laps in before winter. Winter? Soak up some of that warm water from a heated pool. Spring? Summer’s just around the corner, time to get in shape. Swimming pools on Whidbey? It makes more sense the more you think about it. Whidbey is an island, surrounded by water. Don’t ignore it. Jump into it. Safely, of course.

Whidbey Looks A Little Different: 

Fly over some neighborhoods in the US and see blue splotches covering backyards with open-air pools scattered among the houses. A few outdoor pools exist on Whidbey, but they’re rarer. Maybe that has something to do with trees and their needles or leaves. Rain doesn’t bother swimmers. And, lightning is rare here.

The most obvious pools may be the ones you hear about but can’t see while driving around. Many pools are indoors, like the one off Midway in Oak Harbor. The Navy base has at least one. Year-round swimming happens.

Visitors may relax in pools if their hotel has one.

Pools on Whidbey:

Between the two extremes of municipal and individual pools are the neighborhood ones. Several neighborhoods come equipped with large pools. Indoor ones may be year-round. Outdoor ones may be more seasonal. If you’re not a resident of that neighborhood, see if you can buy a membership, like at a country club; or, maybe you can buy a recreational lot that is hard to build on, but that grants you amenities.

Each pool has their differences. 

 

John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool Oak Harbor public indoor classes, aerobics
Admiral’s Cove Coupeville neighborhood outdoor
Bon Air Coupeville neighborhood outdoor
Island Athletic Club Freeland club indoor classes, sauna
Useless Bay Golf & Country Club Langley club outdoor golf, tennis, dining
Scatchet Head Clinton neighborhood indoor
Sandy Hook Yacht Club Estates Clinton neighborhood outdoor marina

Personal Pools: 

And yes, some houses have outdoor pools, but some have indoor pools. Some even have pools that can be indoor or outdoor depending on whether they roll back a wall. 

If you really want that luxury (or necessity for some) of having a pool at your place, talk to the County about building one. Be prepared for permits and lots of rules. Or, find a house for sale that already has one and buy it, the house, that is. If you aren’t already working with an agent and need one to help you search connect with us here. 

In Addition to Pools: 

Keep in mind though that when talking about swimming you may find people who skip the pools and use nature’s waters. Lakes get you the fresh water experience, without having to worry about tides. Or, use the waters that define the island’s borders, Puget Sound, the Salish Sea, our bit of the Pacific Ocean. A hint, though, find other swimmers and officials who know the currents, depths, restricted areas, and boat traffic issues. And make sure you’ve got the gear and dry clothes for our perpetually cold waters (~50F). 

You may not see swimming opportunities  until you look for them, but an island in a temperate part of the world can provide plenty of opportunities and options to swim for fun or exercise or both.

If this article got you thinking about moving to a community with a pool or about buying a home with a pool consider reaching out to your agent today to start the discussion. If you are not currently working with an agent and would like to be paired with a trusted realtor connect with us here so that we can get your questions answered.

ClintonCoupevilleFreelandGreenbankHomeLangleyNeighborhoodsOak HarborReal Estate August 21, 2023

Firefighting Island Style

Firefighters, we respect them. We get out of their way when they’re racing to a scene. We crowd around their trucks when they’re at a fair or a parade. We can tend to think that every firefighter is like every other firefighter, hanging out at a fire station while waiting for a call that demands immediate action. Yes, and no.

But what does firefighting look like on an island? Follow along as we discuss firefighting island style.

Firefighting Island Style

Whidbey is a mix of five fire districts. Three County districts (North, Central, and South), the City of Oak Harbor, and the Navy

Oak Harbor is a city with paid firefighters and a place where a lot is going on in a small space. Trucks have to navigate a grid of streets and the traffic on them. Houses are close and that can mean fires are close, too, but so are fire hydrants. There are plenty of stereotypes that can apply. Spotted mascot optional.

In most parts of the country that might be enough, but the island is large enough and long enough that some other solutions are necessary. If the neighborhood is remote enough, they may have some creative solutions to fight fires in the interim after getting to safety and making that call to 911. An easy situation to imagine is a waterfront house that may require a fireboat. It takes time to collect the crew, launch the boat, and power their way to the site – tides, currents, and weather allowing. A lot can happen in the first few minutes of a fire. Any help can be appreciated – and incredibly valuable.

Rural areas also have to guard against brushfires and barn fires. Long roads mean accidents can happen far from the station. Even places that are accessible by a pickup may be too windy and twisty to maneuver in a firetruck, which eventually also has to turn around and get back to the station. Some fires may even be on boats, both in the marina and off-shore.

A Unique Mix

At the other end of the scale is the unique fire district that is the Navy’s. Airports have special requirements and tools, and military airports have to handle even more specialized situations because of what their planes can carry. The need for an immediate response is an understatement.

Fortunately, while there are various types of firefighting arrangements, when the need is there they all gather to help each other. City, base, and rural doesn’t matter as much as  ‘where is the fire and how can we help?’

If you haven’t heard much about the variety, great! That means the crews are doing what they have to do to stay out of the headlines. In firefighting, boring can be good. Too exciting can be too much. This is firefighting island style.

Firefighting Crews

Whidbey has some other attributes worth remembering. Whidbey is a lot of small-town America wrapped around a city and a base. Most of it has fewer people because it is rural. That also means that firefighting crews can sometimes be understaffed. (Pay attention to the election initiatives to see their current situation.) While rural can be quaint, sometimes the small-town nature that leads to smaller firefighting crews becomes critically apparent. A few places have paid firefighters, but much of the island is served by a few stations with a few paid firefighters who rely heavily on backup volunteers. They have rules to follow, just like the rest of us. (In 2018, another fire department in WA was cited for violating the state’s version of OSHA’s two-in two-out requirement.) Of course, more paid firefighters mean they need more budget. Not an easy problem. Think about that. A few paid people; and other people who risk their lives for us for free. They deserve greater thanks than they receive. (Please, volunteer!) 

Surprisingly the bulk of their workload comes from medical emergencies. Over 60% of their time is spent with Basic Life Support calls where they work side by side with the paramedics. In some places that is over 80%. They have to be ready for everything: motor vehicle accidents, rescues on land or on water, storm responses, traffic control, power outages, and downed lines. It isn’t just about fires and ambulances.

So much for sitting around the firehouse. These people are busy.

How you can help

Of course, there are ways to keep them less busy (and keep costs down). Much of this is variations of the messages we’ve heard since school: follow safety instructions, keep fresh batteries in smoke detectors, make sure any electrical work is done right, remove trash and other flammables. Some things are even simpler: don’t leave burning candles or fire unattended, don’t burn during burn bans, handle fireworks legally and safely. Keep fire extinguishers handy and up-to-date.

Firefighting on Whidbey Island

There are plenty of other precautions, but that’s part of being a responsible adult.

How this relates to homeowners on Whidbey

Understanding a place’s fire situation is also something to keep in mind when considering buying a house. What is the firefighters’ response time? Where’s the nearest hydrant or nearest firehouse (is it even staffed)? Is the house marked well enough for a crew to be able to find it in the dark, maybe during a storm? Your insurance company may have some ideas to add to the list. 

If you live in rural Island County some additional services they might offer include: installing high visibility house address numbers; home safety surveys to reduce the risk of harm from fire, accident, or illness; smoke and carbon monoxide detector check; fire inspections for businesses; CPR training; child car seat safety checks.

Chief Helm says “In an emergency, we need to be as efficient as possible, and the partnership between homeowners and the fire department is critical. Maintaining reflective address signs and driveways that fire trucks can navigate down is very important. One of our biggest hurdles is locating the emergency in a hurry, and then navigating a driveway that may or may not be able to handle a 40,000lb, 11-foot tall truck. Many times, the storybook-style narrow wandering lane, sounds peaceful and relaxing, but can pose serious problems if our trucks cannot access your house. Please remember to maintain not only driveways but the surrounding vegetation and hanging branches that will damage a truck the size of ours. Together with your help, we make this Island a safer place to live and work. We are more than happy to visit your driveway and test fit our apparatus, as well as bring you a reflective address sign anytime.”

One of the most delightful rural traditions on Whidbey is the annual Santa Mobile where Central Whidbey Fire Department drives around different neighborhoods with Santa Claus on top of one of their Fire Engine for multiple nights in a row in December. They will put out a schedule and a map on their Facebook page in preparation every year. Kids love it! It’s also a fundraiser for collecting food and donations for the food pantry in Coupeville.

Fortunately, most folks pay attention to safety. It’s part of being a homeowner and a good neighbor. Do enough of those boring but necessary steps, and free up time to relax and enjoy the rest of island life. Just check for burn bans before stoking up a campfire.

If you have additional questions about firefighting island style your reliable Windermere real estate agent can help you get them answered. Don’t have an agent? Connect with us here.

Destination WhidbeyHomeReal Estate July 17, 2023

6 Reasons to Attend Open Houses

Some people wonder whether or not they should attend open houses. We believe open houses can be incredibly advantageous for both buyers and sellers. Follow along for 6 reasons why you should be attending open houses whether you are planning to buy or sell.

Get an idea of how your home compares:

If you plan to sell your home, visiting open houses in your neighborhood can give you a good idea of how your home compares to your neighbors. By visiting several homes, you can gauge the pulse on the neighborhood’s market by watching what the homes sold for, how quickly they sold, and how they compared to yours. This information can prepare you for what you can expect your home to sell for and give you a to-do list of things to get done before you list your home. If you have not connected with a real estate professional and would like to, connect with us here so we can recommend some.

Get a clear idea of what you want in a home:

If you are preparing to buy a home, it is a good idea to have a wish list of things you want in a home when you buy. Download our Wishlist Form Here. Fill it out before visiting Open Houses, then fill it out again after you have visited a few. Compare how your desires changed. Attending several Open Houses can give you a clear idea of what you want in a home. Perhaps you thought 1100 sq feet was enough room for you, but after experiencing it in person, you decided 1500 was more realistic for your needs. Or vice versa. Maybe you wanted 2300 sq ft, but after spending time in homes that size, you realized 1900 would be a better fit. You might have strong opinions about specific floor plans, garage sizes, number of bedrooms, or heating options. Find open houses in your area by clicking here.

Get a realistic idea of how much you will spend on a home:

You might have your heart set on a specific neighborhood or features in a home. Attending several Open Houses gives you a realistic idea of how much you will spend on what you want. You might find that you cannot afford everything you want in a home. It is best to first connect with a lender to determine how much you can qualify for with your circumstances. If you need help finding a suitable lender, contact us for recommendations. If you cannot afford everything on your wish list, you either need to refine your wish list or keep saving. A trusted lender can also help you determine which type of loan best fits your needs and help you develop a financial plan. So, connect with a lender as early as possible. You can find a few local to Whidbey listed here.

Imagine your life inside the home:

A recent study determined that roughly half of all home buyers experience buyer’s remorse when purchasing their home. Can you imagine feeling buyer’s remorse after making the biggest purchase of your life? You can avoid this by doing your research ahead of time. Attend Open Houses and refine your wish list till you know precisely what you want and need in a home. Visit several different-sized homes to have a realistic idea of what each square footage looks and feels like. Consider the different layouts and which ones feel most comfortable to you. When you are confident you know exactly what you want in a home, you can quickly and confidently make that decision. Therefore you can communicate effectively to your agent exactly what you are looking for in a home. A good agent will help you finetune your wants and needs and make sure you don’t buy something you don’t truly love. Don’t have an agent? Connect with us and we will pair you with a great one. When you find the perfect home you will know it is the right one for you and will feel confident in the purchase because you have done your research.

Get familiar with the neighborhood:

If your children have grown up and gone off to college, you might not like having a noisy community park up against your property. On the other hand, if you have small children, don’t wait till you have moved in to discover your kids are the only ones on the block. While visiting open houses in the neighborhood, ask the realtors about the neighborhood. Some good questions to ask are:

a. Is there an HOA?

b. What kind of amenities does the neighborhood have to offer?

c. Is there a school nearby?

Find an agent that is a good fit for you:

Whether buying or selling, attending open houses can also allow you to get to know agents in your area for when you are ready. If you don’t already have an agent and would prefer to connect with one, email us here: WhidbeyCommunications@Windermere.com.

We strongly urge you to check out homes in various price points, locations, and styles during this time. You might surprise yourself with what you imagined liking versus what you discover you want and don’t want.

Attending several Open Houses before you get serious about buying might be one of the best pieces of advice. Once you know you are serious about buying and what you are looking for, or if you prefer a more personal experience tour homes that meet your wish list criteria with your Realtor.  Don’t have a Realtor? Let us connect you with one. Call us at 360.675.5953.

Click here to find our interactive Open House list for your area. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to connect with us.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Destination WhidbeyThings to Do on Whidbey June 19, 2023

Boating Around Whidbey

It has been well over 200 years since the waters around Whidbey saw its first sailboat with the explorers of the late 18th century. Just like Captain Vancouver in 1792 people still have the urge to explore this amazing inland waterway from the deck of a boat. Strong currents encourage many to forego sailing in favor of motoring quickly from point A to B. Others like the challenge and quieter method of utilizing the plentiful wind-power. Whichever way floats your boat make sure you get out on the water before the season is over!

Check out the rest of Whidbey’s beautiful destinations from this series here.

Email for more

 

ClintonCoupevilleFreelandGreenbankLangleyNeighborhoodsOak HarborThings to Do on Whidbey March 27, 2023

Island Transit on Whidbey Island

Island Transit is the public transportation system serving Whidbey Island, located in the Puget Sound region of Washington state. The system consists of fixed-route buses and paratransit vans, as well as additional programs such as vanpools and bike locker rentals.

Island Transit began on December 1, 1987 as a response to the increasing traffic congestion and lack of transportation options on Whidbey Island. Today, the system serves a population of approximately 73,000 people, covering a service area of approximately 400 square miles. The buses pick up passengers from bus stops like the Northgate Terrace bus stop pictured above throughout all of Whidbey Island.

In addition to its fixed-route buses, Island Transit also operates a paratransit service for individuals with disabilities who are unable to use the fixed-route buses. The paratransit vans offer door-to-door service and can be reserved by calling Island Transit in advance.

Island Transit’s vanpool program is a convenient and cost-effective alternative for commuters who travel long distances or have irregular work schedules. Participants in the program share the cost of gas and vehicle maintenance and can save money on the cost of driving alone.

The bike locker rental program allows riders to securely store their bike at a convenient location and use it to complete the first or last leg of their commute. The lockers are located at select bus stops and can be rented on a monthly basis (check out prices and apply here) in addition to public use lockers that are on a first come first served basis.

In recent years, Island Transit has made efforts to increase sustainability and reduce its environmental impact.  Learn more about their initiatives here. As a result, hybrid buses have been added to its fleet all while keeping Island Transit buses fare-free.

Overall, Island Transit plays a vital role in the transportation needs of the residents and visitors of Whidbey Island. The convenient and reliable services, as well as its vanpool and bike locker rental programs, make it a valuable asset to the community.

If you have further questions or are interested in learning more about living on Whidbey Island please do not hesitate to connect with us. Contact us here.

Things to Do on Whidbey March 20, 2023

Top 10 Best Things About Whidbey Island

Whidbey Island is a beautiful and picturesque destination located in the Puget Sound, just a short ferry ride from Seattle. With its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and abundance of outdoor activities, it’s no wonder that Whidbey Island is a popular destination for travelers and residents alike. In this blog, we will explore the top 10 best things about Whidbey Island, from its scenic beauty to its thriving arts and culture scene.

Top 10 Best Things About Whidbey Island

  1. Scenic beauty: Whidbey Island is known for its breathtaking views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Whether you are driving along the winding roads or hiking through the forests, you will be treated to stunning vistas at every turn.
  2. Outdoor activities: With its numerous parks, trails, and beaches, Whidbey Island is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you are into hiking, biking, kayaking, or just soaking up the sun on the beach, there is something for everyone on this beautiful island. One of our favorites is Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve  in Coupeville.
  3. Small-town charm: Despite its proximity to Seattle, Whidbey Island has a laid-back, small-town feel that is perfect for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The island’s charming towns and villages offer a variety of local shops, restaurants, and breweries that are worth exploring.
  4. Local produce and seafood: Whidbey Island is known for its rich agricultural heritage, and the island is home to a number of farms that produce fresh, locally grown produce. The island is also home to a thriving seafood industry, with local fishermen bringing in a variety of fresh, locally caught seafood. Seabolts comes highly recommended.
  5. Wineries and breweries: Whidbey Island is home to a number of wineries and breweries that offer tastings and tours. These local businesses offer a chance to sample some of the best wines and beers produced on the island.
  6. Arts and culture: Whidbey Island is home to a thriving arts scene, with numerous galleries, theaters, and music venues that offer a variety of performances and exhibitions throughout the year. The island is also home to a number of festivals and events that celebrate the island’s rich cultural heritage.
  7. Accommodations: Whether you are looking for a luxury resort or a cozy bed and breakfast, Whidbey Island has a wide range of accommodations to choose from. The island’s many hotels, inns, and vacation rentals offer a variety of options for travelers of all budgets and preferences.
  8. Dining: With its abundance of locally grown produce and seafood, it is no surprise that Whidbey Island is home to some excellent restaurants. From seafood shacks to fine dining establishments like Frasers Gourmet Hideaway or China City, the island has something for every taste and budget.
  9. History and heritage: Whidbey Island has a rich history and cultural heritage that is worth exploring. The island is home to a number of historic sites, including Fort Casey State Park, which offers a glimpse into the island’s military past.Top 10 best things about Whidbey Island
  10. Accessibility: Despite its rural location, Whidbey Island is easily accessible from Seattle and other major cities in the region. The island is just a short ferry ride away, making it a perfect getaway for those looking to escape the city for a few days.

Whidbey Island is a truly special place that has something for everyone. From its breathtaking views and outdoor activities to its charming small towns and delicious local cuisine, there’s no shortage of things to see and do on this beautiful island. Whether you are planning a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, Whidbey Island is the perfect destination for those who love nature, culture, and a slower pace of life.

If you are thinking about moving to Whidbey or just have questions about the area please do not hesitate to connect with us here.