Washington Islands

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I am interested in finding out about the Islands of of Washington State......which has highest end housing/demographics, where one can have a well/alternative power, access to mainland/Victoria Island-ie lots of ammenties as possible retreat. Live in San Francisco and have been exploring Northern California....know I want to stay in scenic area near water-unable to travel up to Victoria Islnad etc for a few months....any info will be appreciated. Thanks.

-- Suzanne McIntosh (smcintosh@hewm.com), September 19, 1998


There are several islands you could be referring to. One group is the San Juan Islands (San Juan, Lopez, Orcas) which are between Vancouver Island and the Washington state mainland, and accessible by ferry from Victoria on Vancouver Island (which is Canada) or Anacortes, in Washington State. BTW, there is no such place as Victoria Island. The ferries are not cheap, and real estate on those islands tends to be expensive. These islands lie in what is called the "rain shadow" (meaning little rain - about 15-20 inches a year) because of their protection from prevailing weather patterns by the Olympic mountains. They are beautiful and sunny, and are what would generally be thought of in the context of the Washington state islands.

However, there are also two other islands just south of the San Juan Islands. They are Whidbey Island, which is over 50 miles long, and Camano Island (about a quarter that size). These islands are similar to the San Juan Islands, particularly at their northern ends which have similar dry weather, but they have the advantage of being accessible by road over bridges. They are less expensive, I believe.

Additionally, there are some islands close to Seattle, including Vashon/Maury Island (accessible by ferry), and Bainbridge Island, accessible by road from the west side of Puget Sound. The weather of these islands would be similar to Seattle or wetter. Bainbridge is mostly a very upscale residential location. Vashon/Maury Islands are still pretty rural.

Other locations worth serious consideration would be the area around Sequim on the northeast corner of Olympic peninsula. Same weather as San Juan Islands, but a decent sized town with appropriate amenities, and quite a lot of good open flat land around, and about 2 hours from Seattle, partially by ferry across Puget Sound. <<<<<<

-- Dan Hunt (dhunt@hostscorp.com), September 21, 1998.

You might also consider the Gulf Islands. This is a continuation of the San Juan islands, except these are north and thus lie in Canada. Yes, Americans are free to buy houses here, and they are much cheaper than in the US islands.

-- big squid (squid@devonian.com), September 22, 1998.

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