Two years ago today after a lifetime in the San Francisco Bay Area we sold our home, left our jobs and relocated to the Pacific Northwest. While I continue to discover new experiences and nuances about the area, I have 10 observations worth noting:
- In a small town small business matters. When possible I find myself patronizing local businesses even if it means paying a little more. A small town without a preponderance of thriving small businesses is just another strip center city.
- That barista with an attitude might be your boss’s kid. Better to manage expectations and be kind. If you tip, be generous because in a small town, you’ll be remembered. Additionally, the likelihood of the person helping you being a friend of a friend is alarmingly high. We’re all eeriliy connected here.
- Weather forecasts tend to be unreliable here. If you’re an iPhone user and rely on Apple weather, don’t. Instead, carry a pair of boots, an umbrella, a sweater and a raincoat in the car. Better prepared than cold.
- Visitors are easily identified. Tourists can be spotted by one characteristic and it’s not their license plate or their clothing. It’s their driving behavior inside one of the several roundabouts throughout town. This tendency, though wrong is to brake smack in the middle.
- There really is more than one auto dealership in the area. But for some reason Sequim is the home of the white Subaru SUV.
- If it’s a “must have” article of clothing, it’s likely that others think similarly. Succumbing to an impulse purchase can have an unintended twinning effect with much of the local population. One need only observe the preponderance of gray and purple rain coats sported around town to understand this.
- You can tell whose lived here a while by their speech. Locals refer to coyotes as “kye-yotes” and call Old Olympic Highway “The Old Highway.” The first time I heard people talking about PA I thought they meant Palo Alto. Nope, Port Angeles!
- Independent Coffee Houses Rule! There’s an abundance of locally owned independent coffee houses in Sequim. In Sequim we have ONE Starbucks and one Starbucks kiosk inside a Safeway. That’s it! And many of the Independents feature some uniquely charming offering. Cups of Kindness at Hurricane Coffee? The concept is like “Playing it Forward” but better.
9. Parades are still relevant. At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, I admit that I’ve always avoided parades. Until I attended the Sequim Irrigation Festival Parade (I know, what on earth is an Irrigation Festival?) The parade is a total community effort and is quite wonderful for young and old.
10. There’s a whole lot of Kirkland going on. As a real estate broker I walk through a lot of homes. I’m amazed by how often I see some trace of Costco inside each home. From the furniture to floor-mats, hallway rugs, clothing, shoes, and lets not forget the gigantic Costco muffins. But it’s fitting right? Costco’s headquarters are in Kirkland, WA.