Lifestyle information for this port town

By Susan C. Kim
August 01, 2006
Matt Brown

Setting: In Clallam County, 85 miles northwest of Seattlealong the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Port Angeles marks the gateway toOlympic National Park.

Attractions: Its location just north of the OlympicMountains provides quick access to superb hiking, camping, andcross-country skiing, and also protects the town from winter rainsblowing in from the Pacific. Winter temperatures averaging 40degrees, summer hovering around 70, and an annual rainfall of 25inches provide ideal gardening conditions.

Drawbacks: High unemployment rates resulting from a waningtimber industry have left this town struggling to redefine itseconomy.

Housing: Limited growth (due to the protected park andtimberlands), plus retiring baby boomers equals rising home prices.Neighborhoods are a mishmash of styles with glossy new houses nextto tired fixer-uppers. Highland Estates and Mt. Angelessubdivisions feature Craftsman-style homes. New homes in Deer Park,Mallette Hill, and Mt. Pleasant command views across Puget Sound tothe Cascades. "Small, early- to mid-century homes around towntypically price under $200,000," says Terry Neske of WindermereRealty. "Newer homes go for $280,000 to $380,000―more for awater view." A mountainside house with vast water views costs$400,000 to $500,000.

Your Next-door Neighbors: Park rangers, shipyard workers,waiters, unemployed mill workers, Peninsula College students, seapilots, real estate agents, doctors, retirees, and Microsofttelecommuters.

How You'd Spend Your Free Time: Skiing Hurricane Ridge,hiking rain forests, sailing to British Columbia's Gulf Islands,strolling the Olympic Discovery Trail, dodging ferry traffic,hanging out at Swain's General Store, gaming at 7 Cedars Casino,gardening.

(published September 2006)