Tag: Pacific Northwest

Ten Observations About Living in Sequim

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:

  1. In a small town small business matters.  When possible 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.
  2.  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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. There really is more than one auto dealership in the area. But for some reason Sequim is the home of the white Subaru SUV.
  6. 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.

    Coat rack seen in a home
  7. 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!
  8.  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.


cups of kindness

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. irrigation-fest

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.



Why Sequim?

Sequim is located in the Northwestern region of Washington State on The Olympic Peninsula. So north, in fact that on a clear day you can look across the Strait of Juan DeFuca and see Victoria, Canada. Better news? With a Washington State Enhanced Drivers License you can drive 25 minutes West into Port Angeles and take a 90 minute ferry to Victoria and return the same day.


What is unique about Sequim is it’s location in the Rainshadow of the Olympic mountain range. Sequim averages about 16 inches of rain annually and enough sun to have earned the nickname, “Sunny Sequim.” I’d read about this Rainshadow effect with mild skepticism before experiencing it for myself.  It is not unusual to enter Sequim from several nearby destinations like Port Townsend, Poulsbo, Silverdale or Bainbridge Island and find yourself reaching for the windshield wipers-to turn them off! Don’t get me wrong, we experience rain in Sequim. But just enough to keep everything green while enjoying a lot of sunny days.

Photos taken in Bell Hill, a  Sequim subdivision that overlooks Sequim Bay

Another remarkable feature of Sequim is its astonishing natural beauty. It’s not uncommon to see cars pulling over so that amateur photographers like me can ambitiously try to capture the perfect scene. Whether it’s a sunrise, a deer, a rainbow or snow-capped mountain; many Sequim residents strive to be Ansel Adams with a smartphone. The Sequim Facebook page demonstrates this by the abundance of photos residents often  posts usually followed with several Likes. Think about it, what city-themed Facebook page exists almost entirely of jaw-droppingly gorgeous photos posted by its residents? There’s a certain amount of contentment derived from not only viewing such photos, but reading comments like, “Aren’t we lucky to live in such a beautiful place?” Indeed.

Railroad Bridge Park which runs along the Olympic Discovery Trail