Thoughts on Mt Vernon, Lake Stevens, Stanwood, Arlington? (Seattle, Bellingham: real estate, rentals)
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Thoughts on Mt Vernon, Lake Stevens, Stanwood, Arlington?
Hi, my husband's job is getting transferred to WA (north of Seattle). We have a choice of living anywhere between Marysville and Bellingham.
We are an active couple (trail runners, swimmers, cyclists - road and mtn biking, x-country skiers) and would like to live somewhere where we can have access to do the things we like to do. Outside of our active lifestyle, we also would like to live somewhere with a small town feel (we presently live in Boise, ID).
Someone suggested that we consider Stanwood, Lake Stevens, Mt Vernon, Snohomish, Edmonds, Millcreek and Mulkiteo.
Can residents of these areas (or someone who previously lived there) provide some of the pros and cons of each city?
Also, I heard that it floods a lot in Mt Vernon. Are there areas that are less likely to flood in that area?
Hi, I hope this is not so long that it bores you, but I love this area so I want to share the essence of it with you.
I live in the 7 lakes area which is in the hills west of I-5 and Arlington. Zip code wise this is part of Stanwood, but, in reality the city of Stanwood is actually 10 miles to the north. This is a beautiful area that actually has 7 lakes. I live in the Lake Goodwin Community which is located around the largest lake, Lake Goodwin. Lake Goodwin is about 1 mile wide and 3 miles long. Most of the lake front is private, but there is Wenberg State Park down the street from me that has picnic grounds, a swimming beach and a boat launch. Power boats are allowed on this lake as well as water skiing.. All the other lakes, Lake Howard, Lake Shoecraft, Lake Crabapple, Lake Ki, Lake Martha and I'm sorry but the 7th name escapes me are all stocked yearly with trout and boats with trolling motors are allowed. In addition in this area is the Stilliguamish river where you can fish for salmon and Kayak point state park ( 2 miles west of my house) where there is a beach to dig for clams in season a boat launch into the Puget Sound where you can catch dungeness crabs , a fishing pier and a beach. Beaches on the Puget sound are not like beaches in other places. There is no sand. They are all pebbles and no matter what time of year you are there, the water is cold enough to give you a heart attack so all types of water sports except swimming are popular here..
Arlington is more to the east. The downtown area is over 100 years old. This is like old town USA. People come out on Sunday to enjoy music in the park, there is a 4th of July parade where anyone who wants to participate is welcome, and a street festival with food, entertainment and arts and crafts and the DUCK DASH where everyone buys a rubber ducky for $5.00 and runs down to the park that borders the Stilliguamish river that runs through town and puts their duck in the river. Then they float downstream to a designated finish line and the first duck wins a great prize and the rest of the money goes to charity. Because lots of fireworks are sold at Boom Town on the Tulalip reservation just to the south, the 4th of July here is ridiculous. It's almost like a war zone. I have a lake view because I live across the street from the lake front houses, but I never have to pay for fireworks because I can enjoy my neighbors. They recently made fireworks of any kind only legal on the 4th, but they start at 6AM and go on until about 3AM the next morning.
Stanwood is about 10 miles north of Arlington. It is largely a farming community that has recently experienced a lot of new construction and growth. There are a lot of homes, but not a lot of infrastructure. There is basically no major shopping and a minimum amount of entertainment and restuarants. West of there is Camano Island which is populated by young professionals and artists.
Due to the affluence of these residents, markets, etc in Stanwood tend to be higher priced than in other areas because there is absolutey no infrastructure on Camano Island.
Mt Vernon is about 17 miles north of Stanwood It is not subject to a lot of flooding. The Skagit river runs through the town and is especially close to the old downtown area. However, the majority of the infrastructure is either east or north of the downtown area and away from the river. Every 5-6 years we have excessive rains or snow melt that cause the river to reach flood stage. The people of Mt Vernon are very dedicated to saving their heritage and therefore turn out by the thousands to fill and place sandbags wherever they may be needed. In 18 years, there has never been any major damage to this area due to the diligence of the residents. Mt Vernon was voted about 5 years ago as one of the best places in the US to raise a family. It is kind of comical, however to watch TV and see drivers on flooded streets stop to pick up salmon that washed onto the street and throw them back into the river. Marysville is south but adjacent to Arlington. and East of I-5. I lived in Marysville when I first came here and it had two problems. The water is terrible. I remember when I would fill my cat's water bowl. Within 2 days it would have these weird white blobs growing in it. Everyone I know that lives in Marysville drinks bottled water. Also the mold that would develop in your shower was orange rather than the dark color I was familiar with in California. EEEK The other problem is that the community is a victim of poor planning. You can go into a neighborhood and there will be 56th ST intersecting 56th Place intersecting 56th Dr, etc. It is very difficult to find your way around. However, on the west side of the freeway (one exit south of where I live) Is the Tulalip Reservation. They have so far built the largest Wal Mart Super Store in the USA, a Home Depot, A Major Hotel and Spa Complex, and a Casino Complex including an Amphitheater. There is also the largest discount designer mall in the country with 110 stores next door. These two complexes have a total of 10,000 parking spaces and there are many days when they are full. I heard that there will eventually be a water park as part of the complex. At my FWY exit, about 3 miles north we have started buiding major shops and eventually, I hear that there will be over 400 stores that will eventually go south to join with the Tulalip development. This will probably be the biggest shopping complex in the world. Already, we are a major destination for Canadians who are only about 1 hour away. Lake Stevens is Southeast of Marysville, It has the largest lake and a lot of newer construction, but has hardly any infrastructure and, in my opinion is too far a commute to I-5 to be worth the bother.
As far as your interests are concerned, all of those activities are not only available, but encouraged in this area. All of the streets are marked for biking and about 10 years ago they completed the first leg of the Centennial trail from Snohomish to Arlington and will eventually complete the last half all the way to Mt Vernon. This trail is not only for biking, but also for horses. The total length will eventually be about 35 miles. The mountains are only a few minutes away. Skiing is available at Mt Baker east of Mt Vernon but also at Mt Whistler in Canada which is considered on of the best and only 1.5 hrs away. I haven't even touched on all the ski areas east of Seattle.
I hope this helps you. Please feel free to ask me any questions you want. Also most of the places I mentioned can be found on the internet. Real Estate in all of these areas runs from 250-500K with an average of 325K. Rentals average about 1200-1500 for 2-3 bd 2ba. Most of the houses in this area and price range have been built in the last 10 years. However there are mobile homes and some older properties that are less. If you would like to look at real estate, the best site is NW Real Estate. It shows all of the MLS listings in the area.
Edmonds, Millcreek and Mulketeo offer a lot more of a contemporaty city dwelling atmosphere. My personal opintion is that Snohomish is too far away from everything, because the only way out is HWY 2 which is famous for terrible auto accidents. However, it has a terrific downtown area that is full of antique stores and is certainly worth visiting if that is your passion.
Hi Yukiko11, thank you so very much for that very thorough response. Because we have grown to love Boise so much, we are trying to find a place in NW WA that would be suitable for my husband and I as well as for our 1 yr old son. Your input will certainly help us in our search. If you have any other thoughts that pop up later, please feel free to add them. I appreciated reading through the details you provided and truly grateful for the time you spent in writing your post. Thanks again.
I have requested an appeal on propert taxes for 2009 due they actually tripled and several people have filed for an appeal. One thing I need is a list by zip code of home sells that have completed for 2008, 2007, 2006. I have a cma but my relator went out of town and will not be back beofre the hearing. If anyone could help me find the website it would be greatly appreciated.
Lake Stevens has great infrastructure and far better schools than the Marysville or Stanwood SD. Lake Goodwin is a bit out of the way and a single two lane road to get you from the Freeway. Do a little research and you’ll see what a nightmare it is to get out there. There is way too much traffic up there due to the roads and the new shopping. I stay far away from that place as possible. I have great friends that I go up there once or twice a year to see who have homes right on the Lake but due to the traffic and the pain to get there is just isn’t worth it. It is nice but just a pain.
The Centennial trail actually goes right through Lake Stevens. My Daughter and I ride it often and that is actually what she learned to ride her bike on. Lake Stevens is also close to Highway 2 and 9 which will get you over to the East side of the State and easy access to I-5. Lake Stevens actually has 4 public parks, actually 5 if you count North Lake and a brand new park that opens next weekend. It’s very nice and very big. Check out the Home :: Lake Stevens Journal Lake is a very proud community for which I am a 3rd gen resident. The aquafest is every summer which is a blast, this year is the 50th anniversary celebration with the small town parade and feel. If you plan on having kids go to school you will want to stay away from the Marysville SD. Mville ranks 144th and LS is 44th out of 212 districts. Washington State Districts - WA School District Rankings
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