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Port Townsend/Kala Point and other areas

Old May 23rd, 2006, 03:44 PM
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Port Townsend/Kala Point and other areas

I am looking for some advise from all you Pacific Northwest natives/experts. We are looking to purchase land to build a house or a house already built for a vacation home in several areas with one being Port Townsend. All the realtors describe Kala Point as a "highly desirable" location but I have read quite the opposite on this forum but no one really explained why. Can someone explain why Kala Point is NOT so desirable as these realtors indicate? Your honesty is greatly appreciated since I have no clue why. If there are better areas to purchase, I would appreciate suggestions. I know there are many options around Port Townsend but I just don't know anything about them such as: Cape George, Upper/Lower Discovery Bay, Marrowstone Island, etc. and of course much more. Not considering Port Ludlow since someone pointed out about the building restrictions which can be a pain and just think it might be too retirement like for us being in our 40's with two young children. Again, don't know for sure, but that is what I have read. Any explanations and thoughts on these areas would be great. I must say I am favoring Whidbey Island, but I want to consider all my options.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 03:56 PM
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Kala Point is subject to drifting fumes from a pulp mill----that is probably what the realtors are not telling you. But there are many, many nice areas around Port Townsend where this is not a problem. My parents purchased at Cape George and were very, very happy there. Other areas along Discovery Bay are also very nice---I always enjoy the drive along there. Marrowstone Island is quieter, and more remote from town, but offers nice views as well. I think you are wise to rule out Port Ludlow---I find it dark and damp in the winter months.

And I'm afraid I haven't spend enough time on Whidbey to compare. I just know that I love Port Townsend and the Discovery Bay area.

Good luck to you in your search!
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 07:12 PM
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enzian is right re the Pulp Mill smells. Just driving down the road with the windows up can make you gag.

Marrowstone IS has a water problem....no natural water..cisterns mostly ..would NOT buy here unless you can deal with water rationing. Resale will not be good either..Sounds funny in the PNW but it happens every year...

PArts of Port Ludlow are very nice.
My Dad just sold our family home in Port Ludlow. It was at the top of a mountain....first right from Hood Canal Bridge North....very, very nice upscale neighborhood with magnificant views Olympics and 360 of all teh Puget Sound into Canada... . Bad thing is Hood Canal Bridge under construction....and the bridge is often raised for boat traffic...
you might check out the Port Ludlow Resort. wwwportludlowresort.com
maybe stay there. They are planning a new building phase and there is a marina there for a small boat..hop over to seattle...this is where I stay now that we no longer hava a boat. I se lots of ids in teh summer..nice PNW beaches and restaurants nearby...

Port Townsend is nice and so is Sequim but you do have to realize while Port Angeles has a hospital..any specialty medcial care has to be sought in Seattle..so ferry or long drive...

HAving lived in PNW most of my life...I find Whidbey IS to be just right..lots of water views, mountain views and close enough to Seattle ferry south end. If military retired base with Commisary excahnge and some medical care.

One thing to be aware of: while Wash state has no state income tax it does have a whopper of a home sales tax. In Port Ludlow my Dad had to pay 18% sales tax when he sold his home...
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Old May 25th, 2006, 12:03 PM
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Thanks for the warning on Kala Point. I won't be considering that place! I think I will check out Cape George. Seems like a nice area with the amenities we are look for. Appreciate the replies.
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Old Jun 8th, 2006, 02:54 AM
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Hi J -- My wife and I (kids already off to college or on their own) just spent one and a half years researching the area until just buying a place on the water in Port Townsend. Here are our thoughts: we found that our greatest entertainment interest would be downtown Port Townsend, or uptown (actually just about three blocks from downtown) or Fort Worden (with Centrum arts center) -- accordingly though we found very nice waterfront places on the road from Port Ludlow to PT and on Marrowstone Island (places we thought we would find acceptable when we started), we realized that having to drive 30 to 40 minutes to get to PT would mean that we wouldn't go as often as we would like. Now we are a twelve-minute walk from downtown PT. Our realtor offered the best take on Sequim -- it's where people in their 40's take their parents for dinner -- we didn't find much to do there other than a visit to a lavender farm a couple of times a year. Kala Point didn't strike our fancy because it reminded us of my parents condo complex in Florida (though more upscale than theirs) -- we never looked into the rules of the place, plus it's 20 minutes or so to PT. Our first choice was in town PT, but Cape George is not that far away -- and you might get good value for your money -- that said, I think you also can get good value in town a few blocks away from the water, even with something of a waterview. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.
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Old Jun 8th, 2006, 03:34 AM
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Oh, I forgot to discuss Whidbey Island -- we had heard that Langley was a nice place, similar to PT. We stayed there a couple of days -- we found that Langley was pretty small (a couple of nice downtown streets versus many nice downtown/uptown streets in PT) with not as many nice restaurants as PT and its surrounding area (ie, the eclectic Ajax Cafe and hole-in-the-wall Scampi and Halibuts in Port Hadlock 20 minutes away). We also liked that Port Townsend was far enough to be outside the commuting band for Seattle so that residents are focused on the community, while Langley/Whidbey is close enough for some folks to commute to the mainland (Boeing and Seattle).

Just my thoughts -- others might have differing points of view.
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Old Jun 8th, 2006, 05:51 AM
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screenwriter2006, so that's where you ended up. Was wondering.
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Old Jun 8th, 2006, 03:45 PM
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Gardyloo -- I should have thanked you sooner -- but dealing with two places on two coasts (one just bought, one for sale) takes a lot of time

I truly appreciate the thoughts you put forward for me and others seeking information about the Olympic Peninsula.

Take care

s
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Old Jun 8th, 2006, 04:21 PM
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When my in-laws moved to the PT area they looked at Kala Point. As did we when I was working in PT. Kala Point just struck as too isolated. The parts we drove around had no sidewalks and it *seemed* like everyone just stayed in their houses or went somewhere outside the community. It seemed a very soulless and artificial environment; to us, it had almost a ghost town feel-where WAS everybody?? The houses themselves were quite nice, some of the nicest in the area, but we just couldn't get over the empty vibe of the development. It definitely didn't feel like a family place. Fort Worden seemed much more family oriented.
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 09:24 PM
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So glad to get all the feedback. I have heard wonderful things about Port Townsend and definitely plan on visiting this summer, as well as Poulsbo. I really appreciate all the stories and experiences everyone shares on this forum. It really helps me get a better perspective on these places since I am not very knowledgeable about them. Thanks a bunch!
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 10:42 PM
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screenwriter2006
Just was reading various posts when I typed in Port Townsend and thought I read one of your posts that stated you were moving from New Jersey? I am from New Jersey so I was just curious.
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Old Jun 12th, 2006, 03:26 AM
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j -- where are you from in NJ and when did you live here? We've lived near Red Bank in Central Jersey (Bruce Springsteen territory) for about 15 years. But taxes and traffic have finally done us in. Where will you be moving from? good luck -- s
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Old Jun 12th, 2006, 09:04 AM
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S- Don't meet many people from New Jersey on Washington forums. Glad to meet you. Relocated to Washington about 5 1/2 years ago (husband accepted a job out here). I am originally from the Cliffside Park, Bergen County area and then moved south to Toms River before making the big move to Washington. We now live in the Bellevue area on the east side. We would like to purchase a summer/vacation home in the areas I mentioned with the possibility of living there when we are ready to retire which is another 20+ years but who knows what the future holds. For the time being, we just would like a place we can escape to from time to time with the family. The property taxes are amazing low compared to New Jersey which is a definite plus. We have enjoyed living out here and plan on staying regardless of the very wet winters. It's still better than freezing winters and humid summers.
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Old Jun 13th, 2006, 03:37 AM
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Screenwriter, great that you settled in PT? How do you like it so far? Have you been to Sentosa or Khu Larb? Shopped at Earthenworks? FYI, there was a store near the Pink Rose that specialized in wood products, run by Aussies, I think. They carried a beautiful chest made from myrtlewood that I really wish we'd bought. Is that store still around?
My favorite coffee place was two doors down from the movie theatre and next to a candle shop (if that's still there).
Are you planning to attend thw writers' conference next month? (even though it's not designed for screenwriters)
would love to hear how life is going in PT!
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Old Jun 13th, 2006, 11:51 AM
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Hi BT

Looking forward to doing all those things and more -- but, not yet. We're still in NJ for the summer, enjoying the beach and working on selling our home here.

s
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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 09:59 AM
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This is a great thread as we are also looking to relocate to WA.

I hope you don't mind me tagging along into this thread but how are schools in Port Townsend? We are a young family starting out and it seems like PT/Whidbey is more catered to retired folks? Does it seem like a good place to raise a family?

Thanks for your time! and congrats on your recent home purchase screenwriter!
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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 10:12 AM
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I think it would be a great place to raise a family...met some folks on the PA/V,BC ferry last year from there, and they said they liked the schools/atmosphere....but the main problem is house/property prices- very expensive (at least for my mom and dad now).
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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 08:23 AM
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I can understand your concern about the school systems and not knowing anything about them. I moved from the east coast five years ago and had the same concerns. When I was researching schools, I came across a website www.greatschools.net which really helped me alot. Years ago most of the information was free, but I noticed just recently they are starting to charge for some information, but it still might be worth your while. Some info is still free such as test scores which doesn't say everything about a school but at least gives you an idea. It even has parents who share their opinions of the school thier child attends. Hopefully it will help you find out more about the schools. If I can find more websites for you, I will post them on this thread for you. I can only comment on school systems I know are good because of friends who have children in them but they are close to the Seattle area so not sure if you can consider them. Bainbridge Island and Mercer Island (very pricey real estate), but excellent schools. Another area, which my children attend, is the east side of Seattle, known as King County. Very good schools which I can say from experience in them. Some towns you can research are Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Woodinville and Bothel. Hope this helped you and if I can answer any questions which I have knowledge, I would be more than happy to help you. I know only too well your dilema. Good luck!
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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 08:54 AM
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My parents were originally going to build a house outside Mendocino, CA but did some research and decided instead to buy a house in Kala Point (4 years ago) because Port Townsend is livelier and closer to a major metro area.

The complaints about the pulp mill are valid but I think a little overzealous - true, the realtor didn't tell my parents about it either, but it is not a huge problem. Only happens with certain winds, and there are plenty of places closer to the mill where the smell is worse. The views from Kala Point are magnificent and there is a lovely semi-private beach.

Kala Point is definitely not for everyone, but it is a beautiful, quiet neighborhood very convenient to Port Townsend. I really enjoy walking through the quiet tree-shaded streets (there is so little traffic that there is no need for sidewalks) and many of the homes are spectacular. It is definitely leaning towards retirement-age folks (in part because prices have skyrocketed) but I wouldn't say it is unfriendly or a ghost town - there is a whole social network of clubs and activities. I think it really depends on what you are used to in terms of a neighborhood.

Some of the islands joj7 mentions are also wonderful but definitely much more isolated (this may be a concern when it comes to health issues).

In response to other posts on this thread...for a young family moving to the area, speaking as someone who grew up in a small New England town and then "escaped" before reaching my teenage years, I would just caution that Port Townsend could be tough once your kids get to be teenagers. It is a tourist/retiree mecca full of artists and "old hippees" (not that I have ANYTHING against artists and old hippees!) and teenagers might go a bit stir-crazy there.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 01:10 PM
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hausfrau... I really enjoyed reading your post on Port Townsend and the information you shared. I am finding it very difficult to find the perfect place for a vacation home. There always seems to be something missing but out of all the places we have considered, Port Townsend and Poulsbo have most of the things we want. For anyone following this thread... I did find a skatepark in PT which is a #1 priority for my teenager and where he would spend most of his time. I also plan on checking out Fort Warden State Park which might be fun for the kids. Can be frustrating to keep everyone in the family happy with their interests.
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