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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Retire in Friday Harbor, Washington?

Overview:      Settled by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1845, scenic, nautical Friday Harbor is about 100 miles northwest of Seattle, and as the crow flies, about 15 miles east of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.   It is the hub of the San Juan Islands Archipelago and sits in a breathtaking setting on the eastern shore of San Juan Island. 

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Residents enjoy a number of fun events, including a lavender festival, wine barrel tastings, an art market and a farmers' market. Westcott Bay Reserve has a 20-acre sculpture garden with more than 100 pieces of art. The town also hosts the Friday Harbor Laboratories, a marine biology field station connected with the University of Washington. The Whale Museum has an exhibit hall and an adopt-a-whale program, and Island Stage Left is Friday Harbor's premiere theater troupe, offering free open-air Shakespeare events. Opportunities for biking and bird watching abound, and Mt. Young, the highest public access point on San Juan Island, has a hiking trail and sweeping views of the Salish Sea. Orcas and minkes play in the water offshore from Lime Kiln Point State Park.

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The downtown is cute with boutiques, bookstores and galleries housed in historic buildings. Friday Harbor is not connected to the mainland via a bridge, which enhances its remote feeling, but Washington State Ferries connect it to mainland Washington and British Columbia. Many homes are vernacular style, built by locals without the help of an architect, but there are also Victorians, A-frames and bungalows with plenty of character. Many are along the water.

Population:  2,500 (city proper)

Age 45 or Better:  41%

Cost of Living:  53% above the national average

Median Home Price: $599,000

Climate:     Summers are short, with temperatures in the 60s and 70s.  Winters are often overcast with temperatures in the 30s and 40s.  On average, the area receives 29 inches of rain and 6 inches of snow each year.   

At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients?   No.  Island Hospital is 18 miles away via ferry and accepts Medicare patients.

At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission?   No.  The nearest accredited hospital is PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, 30 miles away via ferry in Bellingham.

Public Transit:   Yes

Crime Rate:   Meets the national average

Public Library:    Yes, and it is an inviting place with a good assortment of sofas. 

Political Leanings:   Very liberal

College Educated:   31%

Is Washington Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement?    Yes

Cons:   The earthquake risk is 48% higher than the national average.

Notes:    While there is no hospital, there is a medical clinic with an emergency room. Friday Harbor has grown by 2% within the last decade and is a quiet place, particularly during the winter months.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot?    Yes, but the distance to a hospital should be considered.

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Washington:

Washington is in the Pacific Northwest, just south of British Columbia in Canada, north of Oregon and west of Idaho. The state was carved out of the western part of the Washington Territory and admitted into the Union as the 42nd state in 1889.

Approximately 60% of Washington's population lives within the Seattle metropolitan area. The rest of the population lives amid the rain forests in the west, the mountain ranges in the center, northeast, southeast and east, and the semi-arid deserts in the east.

Named after George Washington, the state is the only one named after a president. In order to distinguish it from Washington D.C., Washington is often referred to as Washington State.

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Stats:

Population - 7,288,000

Persons 65 years old and over - 15%

High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 90%

Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 33%

Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 11%

White persons, not Hispanic - 72%

Median household income - $61,024

Median home value - $259,600

Social Security taxed? No

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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