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Retire in Coupeville, Washington?
In northwestern Washington, rural Whidbey Island sits in Puget Sound and is about 50 miles north of Seattle. It is home to several villages, including historic Coupeville, a slightly weathered seaside town that dates from 1852 and in many ways feels as though it never left the mid-19th century.
A soothing place, Coupeville is bounded by the sea, old growth forests, tide pools, farm land and abundant wildlife, including gray whales and sea otters. The second oldest town in Washington, it oozes an "old salt" feeling and is part of the nation's first historical reserve, Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve, which encompasses long-standing farms, old boat houses, wetland marshes and more. Coupeville's authentic waterfront sits along Penn Cove, and the small downtown, which caters to tourists, has taverns, grilles, galleries, gourmet food shops (mussels are popular) and a grocery or two. A coffeeshop and a restaurant are at the end of the wharf. This is a place that attracts artists and craftsmen, thanks in large part to the classes and workshops offered by the Pacific Northwest Art School.
Many commercial structures are original saltbox (a wooden frame with two stories in front and one in back), along with some Queen Anne styles. Private homes include ranch ramblers, chalet styles and double decker custom dwellings, most on a wooded lot.
Residents enjoy a variety of events, including the Arts and Crafts Festival, the Penn Cove Mussel Festival, Concerts on the Cove and studio tours. Kayaking, beach strolling, whale watching, hiking and more entice residents outdoors. Numerous environmental groups are active in Coupeville.
Population: 2,000 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 57%
Cost of Living: 36% above the national average
Median Home Price: $595,000
Climate: Coupeville sits in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains and receives, on average, just 20 inches of rain and six inches of snow each year. Summer temperatures are in the 60s and 70s, and winter temperatures in the 30s, 40s and 50s. Fog is common, and winters are generally overcast.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No. The closest accredited hospital is in Anacortes, about 30 miles away.
Public Transit: Yes, but it is limited.
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Liberal
Is Washington Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Notes: The closest ferry to the mainland is in Clinton, about 25 miles to the south. Many residents travel to Oak Harbor (10 miles) or to Anacortes (30 miles) for shopping and services. Coupeville has grown by 8% during the last decade, and home prices have increased by 29% within the last year. Prices in general are high because most supplies, including gas and food, arrive by ferry from the mainland.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although the limited amenities and lack of an accredited hospital should be carefully considered.
Washington was the 42nd state to enter the union on November 11, 1889. The initial state constitution proposed women's suffrage and prohibition. Both ideas were removed from the final document. Women did not gain the right to vote in the Evergreen State until 1910.
The country's 18th largest state has six distinct geographic areas. The northwest corner contains the rugged Olympic Mountains. The Coast Range, in Washington's southwest corner, include the Willapa Hills. The Rocky Mountains and Cascade Mountains also cut through the state. The Columbia Plateau has fertile land. A large portion of the population lives in the Puget Sound Lowlands. Ports like Anacortes and Skagit have helped the state maintain its role as a leader in trade.
West of the Cascades, the climate can be mild and humid. Washingtonians east of the Cascades may experience warmer summers and cooler winters. Annual precipitation there can be as little as six inches. Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are a rarity, but coastal flooding, freezing rain, and high winds are possibilities.
Pacific Rim commerce is a major economic driver. Other key businesses are the manufacture of jet aircraft, computer software development, online retailing, mining, tourism, and wood products. Washington contributes red raspberries, apples, and hops to the nation's food basket. It leads the country in hydro-electric power generation.
Washington is the only state in the Union to be named after a president. It's highest point, Mt. Ranier, was named after a British soldier who fought against America in the Revolutionary War.
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