A small city on the western shore of Puget Sound, Port Orchard is 10 miles west of Seattle, as the crow flies. It sounds close, but traveling to and from the big city to the small one involves a ferry ride or substantial drive.
Ask Rebbecca Abair what she loves about Port Orchard, and she will answer: What’s not to love?
“A new fast ferry from Port Orchard to Seattle, starting next year, will take only 30 minutes,” says Rebbecca. “To drive can take anywhere from 60 minutes to three hours, depending on traffic! So we are all looking forward to the fast ferry.”
Considered a bedroom
community of Bremerton, where a naval base and shipyard reside, Port Orchard has a population of 13,000 and is generally pretty quiet. Summer brings a typical flurry of visitors. Winter is downright sleepy. There are shops and restaurants located in the waterfront
business district, but most of the town’s inhabitants dwell in neighborhoods tucked away in the forested hillsides that rise up from the Sound. See also Tour the Tiny Cottage in the Woods
Rebbecca has lived in Port Orchard since 1979, migrating there from Bremerton, where she grew up. She says, “The best thing about living here, for me, is the close proximity to both town and recreation
. I can be on a white sandy beach in 10 minutes, the Pacific Ocean, Olympic or Cascade mountains and the Hoh rain forest in 90 minutes. There are several state parks on the Sound and county parks on lakes for fishing. I can stay at home and enjoy the creek and playing with my dog, Sammi, or jump on a foot ferry to Bremerton and then hop on the fast ferry to Seattle for a day in the city.” (Foot ferries are small vessels used to bring foot passengers – aka “walkers” – and cyclists over water.)
Rebbecca’s two sons live nearby; one in Bremerton and the other currently building a new home of his own in Port Orchard. All of her siblings live within an hour of her.
Port Orchard’s family-friendly atmosphere, along with a low crime rate and reasonable real estate
prices (relative to Seattle), is appealing to Seattle professionals looking for a retirement home, as well as a younger group looking to raise a family. “More Seattle folks will be buying here because of the fast ferry making a commute between Port Orchard and Seattle easily doable,” says Rebbecca. She’s hoping, like many of the residents of the town who enjoy the low-key Port Orchard lifestyle, that there won’t be too many new residents, too soon.See also Cooking at the Cabin: Freshly Caught Fish