First year impressions... (Seattle, Tacoma, SeaTac: city hall, rent, new home)
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Today marks our one year anniversary as residents of western WA and Poulsbo! It's been an interesting, delightful year of exploration of our new hometown and surrounding area. We experienced 4 seasons this past year for the first time in 15 years! Granted, none of the seasons were extreme, but that's one of the things we love about this place. We discovered a very friendly community and neighborhood here, with everything we need or want within a short distance away--mostly walking distance, which is great.
The strawberry plants are healthy, fat & happy, AFC! This is their first season, so they aren't producing a lot of berries yet, but the ones we've had so far were very tasty. Gardening has been so much easier than in FL. The soil in our yard & growing conditions here are awesome. This summer along with the strawberries I'm also growing several types of lettuce, spinach, asparagus, radishes, endive, broccoli, bok choy, pea pods, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, basil, dill...parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme--no wait, that's my Simon & Garfunkel album!
We can literally "eat our backyard" thanks to the previous longtime owners who were major gardeners. There are two established apple trees (one tree is grafted with five different varieties), very prolific peach & fig trees, plum tree, pear tree, rhubarb, green seedless grapes, hardy kiwi, red raspberries and blueberries. Plus we have a year round stream with wild watercress. This yard scared off most prospective buyers, but it's the reason we bought the place and we love it!
Holy cow!!! All that and parades too!! Such a deal! It sounds idyllic, Lynn. Just marvelous. I agree that the growing conditions and the soil here are awesome, although the growing season is a bit short. But why is gardening so much easier than in Florida? -- you don't get sunstroke doing it?
Well, the sunstroke thing is a real possibility there in the summer. In our area of Orlando (a fairly new and nondescript subdivision near SeaWorld) all the decent topsoil had been scraped off and sold before the development was built. So, though there was the issue of the terrible hardpan soil, we replaced much of it with topsoil. Mostly it was that conditions were just too harsh, either too hot or too cold, too wet or too dry--plant eating bugs and disease from wet conditions were a big issue for summer gardeners there.
Winter started in Dec and it was dry with mostly decent temps, but there was always a few weeks of well below freezing temps around Christmas that killed nearly everything in the garden. Feb was usually the nicest month. Summer generally began in late April and it was hot, humid & rainy through October, sometimes into Nov. June-Sept were the worst months for overall general discomfort and there was no joy in working outside in the yard, sweatin' and swattin' mosquitoes! That's also the main part of hurricane season. Feb-April were probably the best months to garden, but that was also my main allergy season in FL. (thankfully, I haven't had any allergy problems here yet) I tried growing lots of stuff after we first moved there, but became discouraged over time. I did have great success with citrus trees though and we had about half dozen orange, tangerine & grapefruit trees that I really hated to leave. We traded oranges for apples!
There was a lot of good stuff in central FL for us--our son & daughter-in-law still live there and our careers were very rewarding. It's not all bugs, gators & hurricanes despite its reputation. However, we feel so blessed to be here in Poulsbo. This is home.
"All bugs, gators & hurricanes" -- wow.... I'm so glad I never did anything but pass through there! I did adore SeaWorld, though, especially petting Fred the girl Penguin -- Holy Cow!! -- which I did two days in a row and cried both times -- childhood dream come true....
I'm so glad you're having so much fun in Poulsbo!! How delicious! Life always shows us the best that our chosen paths have to offer us, doesn't it?
Do you find lack of serious shopping and/or lack of access to the many services of "the city" constricting at all? So often people come to C-D, say they might want to live on this or that island or peninsula, and then are stunned at the time and effort required to get to "the city". Maybe you have a perspective we could offer them?
I love the penguins! SeaWorld is one of the better attractions in Orlando (IMO), but if you can get away from the well-worn tourist tracks, central FL has some wonderful attributes--as well as some not-so-great ones, just like every place else.
We have found our "it" place and are extremely happy here. Just as there's no such thing as one size fits all, Poulsbo wouldn't be a good fit for everyone, but it sure works for us. We aren't hampered whatsoever by lack of access to services, entertainment or shopping, but we're not very needy in those areas. Other than visiting family in Seattle, and an occasional trek to SeaTac, we spend all our time on this side of the water quite easily, so I'm not sure I can offer advice about getting into the city often. Everything we want is here. Poulsbo has a GREAT Central Market which we love, and a new Home Depot, Office Max & Walmart, as well as some nice restaurants downtown within walking distance, several medical & dental facilities and vet clinics nearby. We walk to the post office, bank & city hall when needed, and of course Silverdale (the shopping and chain restaurant "mecca" of Kitsap county) is only a few miles away if we require something not available here in Little Norway. However, we find ourselves going to Silverdale less & less. We try to support our local small businesses as much as possible. Actually, we've supported Sluy's Scandinavian Bakery way too much!
Our leisure activities are simple and mostly met by walks along the Liberty Bay waterfront which is just two blocks away or casual get-togethers with neighbors. For other entertainment, Poulsbo has a nice 10-screen movie theater with stadium seating, local theater, art galleries, free weekly summer concerts in the downtown bandshell and the lawn of the Clearwater Casino--plus lots of summer festivals. Very small town atmosphere. Exactly what we wanted.
A few short years ago my husband and I were living the rat race corporate life. We decided to simplify. It took a lot of online research (C-D was a great resource!), investigative trips, planning and preparation, but was so worth it!
Very interested in all the information on Poulsbo. I've been wanting to get back to the PNW for over 20 years. I was stationed at McChord AFB eons ago and have now retired from the Air Force. I plan on house hunting early December and would like to find a good realtor to help me. I plan on flying into SeaTac, rent a car but am looking for the best way of getting there. I would welcome suggestions as I'm not thoroughly familiar with that part of the state. Please email me your thoughts on this and where is a good place to stay while I'm there house hunting. Thanks in advance for any information.
Paintdog, we usually drive when coming from or going to SeaTac. Plan on about an hour and a half, but if traffic isn't bad we've often done the drive in about an hour and fifteen minutes. From the airport, drive south towards Tacoma and take the Tacoma Narrows bridge to Kitsap Peninsula, then just head north and follow signs to Poulsbo (16/3). I'll send you an email with additional thoughts and info. We've been very happy with our decision to move here, but obviously everyone has different needs & wants for a hometown. Poulsbo fits us perfectly.
Other areas to check out while you're here are Whidbey Island, Camano Island, Port Townsend and Anacortes--these were all on our short list when we were community shopping. So many choices, especially since you're retired and don't have to deal with commuting.
Best wishes and happy exploring!
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