There is something magical about actually falling in love with where you live.
Loving Where You Live
Necessary backstory... ???
I have been trying to move to the Pacific Northwest for a very long time. So has Manda. And since we both discovered our mutual love of the PNW, we have been talking more and more about making our dreams a reality, with it always feeling just out of reach for some reason or another since forever.
We've taken trips out to the Seattle area for years: planning, scoping, dreaming, and hoping. After spending a couple weeks house sitting Kingston, WA a few years ago, the viability of Kitsap County became obvious. We had been talking about trying to find a way to land in the Seattle region, but Kitsap has a lot of advantages that appeal to us.
Cheaper housing and lower cost of living
Housing is substantially less expensive, sales and property taxes are lower, and things, in general, just cost less in Kitsap. I've discovered that there are a lot of different opinions about a lot of topics around here... and why it's cheaper over here, like why it's also cheaper than Tacoma, and the the gradients of all sorts of market trends throughout the larger greater Seattle region, particularly when you consider Redmond, and Everett, and British Columbia.
But I digress. (Particularly because I don't feel I can speak with much authority on this topic yet... I feel well studied but admit I'm still very new here. I find it all fascinating and I am excited to be a part of this place :heart:)
But I digress.
Feels Small Town
Kitsap County's population is in the range of a quarter of million people and they're generally more spread out throughout the area than of nearby more populous King and Pierce Counties. There are tight urban centers like Bremerton, and even Silverdale's urban leaning suburban population and Poulsbo has a little urban arena as well, but all of it edged right up to very suburban, rural, and even natural land.
But I digress.
Quick access to major population centers
We strongly considered buying in Tacoma for its similar lower (compared to Seattle again) cost of living and general vibe. Their motto of "Keep Tacoma Feared" was appealing to us. We actually spent more than a month living there while we were house hunting and working on landing our first home here.
In the end, many advantages seemed to become clear in favor of Bremerton. For example: we can reach Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia all very quickly.
Seattle can be accessed via some varying levels of convenient Ferry travel, the WSF can get us and our car across in about an hour while the Kitsap County Fast Ferry can do it in about 30 minutes. Tacoma (Downtown or Mall), on the other hand, can be reached in about 35 minutes via the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Finally, there's roughly and hour drive to get to Olympia, and a couple paths to take including the only way off the peninsula.
But I digress.
Living is Believing
We have been considering this move for a long time, though interestingly hadn't set foot in Bremerton before we made the move the Washington last year. We had spent a good amount of time in Kitsap, as well as learning about Kitsap, and I knew the streets pretty well after years of flying around this down on Google Maps and Street View.
Now that we've been here for a little while, I can say with certainty that it's exactly what we'd been hoping for, and then some.
We wanted the small town vibe, big town access, urban-meets-nature ... and all the other stuff I can talk about, and we got it.
We are truly falling in love with this town and it's absolutely fantastic.
... and we got a mountain view!
From our porch and living room we are able to see the Olympics though a small gap between a neighbor's house and their garage just up the street. Of course from all over this town you can see mountains features, from the Cascades in the East to the nearby Olympics just to the West.
And we're nearer the beautiful coast, though nothing like Southern California, there is evidence of some really amazing places to escape to from society, along with some beautiful escapes into the Olympics as well.
And really all over this region.
These are reasons why we moved here.
Back to the point...
The point is that recently Manda and I have been really falling in love with our new town. We've been walking around, discovering the various neighboring communities to our own.
We've recently discovered the incredible flexibility of Port Orchard Foot Ferry which gets us from our front door into the lovely shopping area of Port Orchard in about 12 minutes after a comfortable 20 minute walk in a better than city bus level of comfort. Running every 30 minutes in both directions the ferry is, to say the least, a wonderful connection to our neighboring city and county seat.
An Aside About Port Orchard
Before we bought our house we looked at a place in Port Orchard on a hill well above the adorable downtown. Had I not been terrified that the house would inevitably have slid down in a catastrophic way. Every creak would have terrified me, no matter how nice the place was otherwise.
Much of Port Orchard's business selection is fantastic. I think it's very supplemental to what you can find in Bremerton and Silverdale. Because of how things are laid out - it's about a wash to drive up to Silverdale from Bremerton compared to into the same store, should it exist, in Port Orchard.
The ferry makes the historic Port Orchard downtown. (If only I could get to Poulsbo, or even Bainbridge through the same ferry mechanism)
Oh, and Port Orchard definitely has some stunning views, often they are superior to the Bremerton side in comparison. (@TODO this feels like another post...)
I could go on, but the bottom line is that goes a long way to my ultimate goal of living as close as possible to a walkable lifestyle.
Speaking of Walkable
I remember being a little surprised when my Realtor, who was fantastic by the way, told us that people generally aren't looking for walkable around this area, and that's so surprising to me.
I'm finding that there's so much opportunity around this area, especially where I am. Nearby I can count the wonderful little shops, restaurants, kitchens, and more that are all accessible through a short walk (... and the occasional car ride when you're just tryna pick up some dinner for the fam)
... and we love walking here.
One of Bremerton's strange charms is all the cats. I am no stranger to feral cat communities. We've even cared for a few feral cats in our time together. The yard and feral cat communities here are very present. To the point that I think I could easily film a low budget horror film just from walking around this town with my iPhone on a gimbal.
(... maybe I will)