Sep

13

If you would like to learn more about your waterfront “front yard”, check out some of these upcoming events at the Environmental Science Center in Seahurst Park, Burien:

Tuesday, September 16th @ 6:30 pm
Seahurst Park Ecosystem Restoration Project
Presentation at ESC by Peter Hummel, Landscape Architect

Sunday, September 21st @ 10 am
Coastal Geology Guided Tour
Site walk starting at ESC led by Jim Johannessen, Engineer Geologist

Tuesday, September 23rd @ 6:30 pm
Exploring Nearshore Habitat
Presentation at ESC by Paul Schlenger , Principal Fisheries Biologist

Tuesday, September 30th @ 6:30 pm
Restoring the Ecosystems Where Land Meets Water
Presentation at ESC by John Small, Landscape Architect

Saturday, October 4th @ 10 am
Hillside Geology Guided Tour
Site walk starting at ESC led by Bill Laprade, Engineer Geologist

Register by following links at the ESC Events page.

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Jun

30

DowntownSeattle.com has recognized the Seattle waterfront as one of the area’s most notable locations. With dozens of neighborhoods there, many of which are home to waterfront houses near expansive Puget Sound or beautiful lakes such as Lake Washington or Lake Sammamish, which of these neighborhood communities is the best? There are many factors that can impact a buyer’s decision as to the best location to live, but these three neighborhoods are extremely popular choices for anyone who enjoys waterfront living. There are plenty of other great neighborhoods in and around Seattle to live in, but these stand out even among those, and here’s why.

South Lake Union

Among the neighborhoods in the Seattle metropolitan area, South Lake Union can boast many appealing qualities. South Lake Union has high walkability, or the ability to walk to local businesses, work, school, and recreation with ease. This accessibility heavily heightens the quality of life of South Lake Union’s residents, who can enjoy the waterfront lifestyle in Seattle with few obstacles. They can walk to a beach or a seafood shop, to their job, or to their neighbor’s party quickly and conveniently. South Lake Union has high quality waterfront property at a reasonable urban price, which easily places it as one of the top waterfront neighborhoods in Seattle.

Magnolia

Magnolia is another attractive choice for a prospective Seattleite. Magnolia is the second largest neighborhood in Seattle, and is in a prime location. From the Magnolia waterfront, there is a breathtaking view of Mount Rainier, the Puget Sound, and of course, the Seattle skyline. To have a waterfront home in Magnolia means to have a lifestyle of immersion in a community designed to be self sufficient and walkable. It is simple to find a great place to eat or a place to play among the prosperous Magnolia businesses. All in all, Magnolia has earned its place on the top Seattle waterfront neighborhood list because of its lifestyle: Magnolia residents live in luxury, with some wonderful things to see and places to walk to, all in one wonderful neighborhood.

Madison Park

Last but not least, Madison Park is also a great neighborhood to call home in Seattle. The waterfront homes in Madison Park are on the edge of Lake Washington with a beautiful view. Perhaps more importantly, the lake is so close that all water activities a resident could ever want, such as boating or swimming, are within a very reasonable walking distance. This is of the utmost importance to some, and it makes Madison Park the epitome of what it means to be a top Seattle waterfront neighborhood. Madison Park is upscale and has numerous restaurants, shops, and banks, as well as zoning for excellent Seattle schools nearby. A neighborhood like Madison Park is sure to please.

Though these three waterfront neighborhoods are on the list, there are easily another dozen that could be perfect for a buyer looking for waterfront real estate. All of them are great communities that cater well to the discerning homebuyer. WaterHavens has more information about a number of Seattle’s top neighborhoods for those looking to buy or sell.

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Jun

16

Homes on the Seattle area waterfront have a number of benefits: easy access to many amenities and fantastic views, among others. The houses, however, also can need specific maintenance compared to regular inland properties. While you are probably prepared for a storm event, you should know how to take care of your waterfront house for day-to-day maintenance as well. Use these tips to keep your property in good condition and find any issues before they cause major issues.

Watch for Corrosion

Salt in the water is damaging to many elements of your home. Generally, symptoms first appear on anything metal. If you utilize patio furniture, ensure it is covered in off-season. This heops prevent the salt from corroding it. Prior to covering it for a long period of time, power wash your furniture as well to remove any dirt. A detail many waterfront homeowners may forget about is their door lock. Even these can slowly rust and you may not notice until your key doesn’t slide in easily. These may need to be replaced more frequently.

Consider Area Carpets and Furniture Covers

Most people who live at a waterfront property are constantly inside and out. The outdoor activities in Seattle in the area are well renowned. This, however, causes sand and dirt to track throughout the house with your shoes and clothing.  Put area rugs in high traffic areas that you can shake out. Place covers on your furniture to be washed so the pieces last longer.

Monitor Your Humidity Levels

Waterfront homes near Puget Sound can have slightly higher humidity levels than other areas of Seattle. This needs to be monitored, especially during the summer when humidity peaks. Keep on top of this to prevent any mildew, mold, and peeling paint.  You can also add a dehumidifiers if the humidity level is constantly high.

Look for Pests

Like any home, if there are any small holes around the exterior of your home, you can run into problems with water ants, mice, or even nesting squirrels. Sometimes the natural beauty of an area can bring more “nature” to you than the same home in a small urban de-forested parcel, though usually nothing too unusual.  You may want to hire a professional company for yearly preventative steps.

Puget Sound contains 1, 400 miles of shoreline with over 300 islands. This means you have plenty of areas to choose from when buying your waterfront property. Though the home may take more maintenance, the benefits and views are well worth it. Talk to the professionals at Waterhavens to get started on your search.

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May

19

Owning a Seattle waterfront vacation home has an appeal to almost everyone. The idea of waking up to enjoy a cup of coffee with views of the Puget Sound already makes you feel relaxed. It may not seem like an affordable option for some people, however, especially with the real estate market making improvements. Before you make your purchase, consider the pros and cons of owning a waterfront vacation home.

Renting Out the Vacation Home

The biggest benefit in buying a waterfront property is renting it out. Many homeowners don’t consider this option, but you can often pay your mortgage through the rent costs. Locals searching for a romantic getaway or travelers wanting somewhere to stay all look for the appeal of a waterfront house. Many Seattleites find their homes rented practically year round because the neighborhoods are so close to the amenities of the metro.

Maintenance Costs

Maintenance of a waterfront property is more expensive than others. If you choose a house near salt water, the salt spray can require some more home maintenance. Local weather can also impact the house, like anywhere. You will want to ensure you keep a good savings in place strictly for yearly repairs.

When You Buy a Vacation Home

If you decide to move forward and buy a vacation home by Puget Sound, there are a few ways to save a few dollars. You may want to, for example,

  • Practice seasonal maintenance issues like turning off water in winter and storing items
  • Buy a smaller house that is easier to maintain
  • Pay for a good insurance policy that includes flooding
  • Utilize a property management firm when renting out
  • Complete an inspection after each season to catch damage quickly
  • Consider constructing a new build with weather resistant materials
  • Hire professionals to clean or do yard maintenance during off-season

If you want a guaranteed place to get away, a Seattle vacation home may be just what you need. Speak with us to find the location and type of home suited to your needs. Waterhavens has prime property ready for you around Puget Sound, Lake Washington, and many other areas. With the best client satisfaction, the Waterhavens team will make it easier for you to sit back while you enjoy the waterfront views and that cup of coffee.

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Apr

21

Recently in the Puget Sound area, there was talk about new oil trains that are planned to run through parts of Washington State. Concerned homeowners are worried about the effect the trains will have on their communities. Right now, protesters in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia are delaying 11 miles of trains that could potentially clog the Pacific Northwest railway system every day.

 

Why Stop the Oil Trains?

Protesters are not only concerned about the eyesore and noise the trains would create. They’re also worried about potential spills and accidents the trains could cause. At full capacity, the trains would carry 785,000 barrels of oil every day. The trains would come from Alberta as well as North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming.

 

Currently, there are 10 proposed or on-the-way oil-by-rail projects planned for Washington State. Residents of the Puget Sound area and other parts of Washington will have a chance to learn more about the projects this April. Since July of last year, there was a steady stream of derailments along the train lines, most of them outside of Washington. Some residents, however, are concerned these derailments will increase in Washington if the trains are allowed to run through the state.

 

Environmental Issues

Washington has always been concerned and involved with environmental and climate issues in the past. Some residents of Puget Sound feel the oil industry may cause harm to the environment. Spilled oil can damage the environment and kill animals. The pollution caused by trains may also cause issues.

 

Public speaking events are to be conducted across Washington with focus in cities where the oil-by-rail projects are planned. At these meetings, people can share their concerns if they would like their city councils to take a stand and support a statewide moratorium on oil-by-rail shipping. City councils in both Spokane and Bellingham have made such resolutions. Protesters who plan to attend the latest community meeting in Seattle hope Gov. Jay Inslee also approves a resolution to “freeze all pending oil-by-rail projects until environmental and safety concerns have been addressed,” as noted in the Bainbridge Review.

 

The Puget Sound and waterfront cities throughout Washington might band together to stop the trains from running. Right now, it’s unclear how long it will take for the safety and environmental concerns to be addressed and people are unsure what will happen once the issues are taken care of. Either the oil-by-rail projects will be completed or the citizens of Washington will veto the projects. If this happens, the oil industry will be forced to find other states to comply and other avenues to transport oil.

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Apr

7

In 2014, a new program called Puget Sound Bike Share is coming to King County. This program enables residents to rent bicycles for long or short periods of time before dropping it back off to a docking station. These docking stations will be strategically located throughout the cities in King County to make renting and using the bicycles more convenient.

How Did the Program Start?

Bike sharing programs are nothing new. They’ve been around for years and over 30 different cities in the United States have similar programs. There are even over 200 programs worldwide. The Puget Sound Bike Share will be the first program in Washington State, though some nearby states have them. There is currently one, for example, in San Francisco and one due to begin in Portland.

The program is non-profit and ultimately relies on user-generated money as well as public and grant funding.  The program will also accept donations and private foundation funding as well. During the beginning phase, Puget Sound Bike Share will set up docking stations throughout Seattle and on the waterfront including Downtown, Capitol Hill, South Lake Union, and the University District.

How Can You Be a Part of Puget Sound Bike Share?

Once the docking stations and bicycles are ready, you can rent a cycle from any of the docking stations and use it to get around town. There will be three different forms of renting once the bikes become available. These include annual, monthly, and 24-hour memberships. It will be run similarly to city bus passes, but be much more affordable.

The stations are planned to be spaced out every two blocks or so. This means you won’t have to walk far to find a bike or return one to a docking station. Along with bikes, helmet vending machines will be located next to the stations in order to comply with helmet laws in King County and Seattle.

Is King County A Suitable Place for a Bike Share?

One question that emerged when putting together the Puget Sound Bike Share was location. Is King County a good location for a bike share program? Ultimately, it was decided that a bike share program would indeed benefit the area since biking is now a popular form of transportation. King County is actually home to the largest biking club in the country.

In addition to this, the cities in King County are bike friendly in their design and there have been no fatal bike crashes and few injury accidents. The last problem encountered was on one of Seattle’s famous hills, which are not always a joy to bike up and down. The Puget Sound Bike Share program dealt with this, however, by providing bikes with seven gears rather than the traditional three. Biking up and down hills will be much easier for riders.

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Mar

10

A free workshop offered by the Environmental Science Center gives Seattle area residents a chance to learn more about the design principles that can improve water quality in nearby creeks, lakes, and Puget Sound. Everything from how storm water flows through your waterfront property to the products you use to maintain your yard can directly influence the health of the recreational areas and wildlife habitat that make up the local waterfront.

A Lifetime Impact from Two Hours of Learning

On Saturday, March 29, the Environmental Science Center, SvR Design Company, and Sustainable Burien are offering a free workshop from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the Burien Community Center. Registration is required for the session, which will be led by SvR Design Company principal Peg Staeheli, PLA, LEED AP. She will explain what is meant by low-impact design and how adopting these principles can lessen your carbon footprint as well as help the overall health of local waterfront environments. What you learn at this session can have a lifelong impact on how you see your role in the local watershed.

Why You Should Be “Stepping Lightly” on Puget Sound

Workshop organizers use the phrase “stepping lightly” as a reference to leaving a smaller carbon footprint, or environmental impact, on the world around you. For those with waterfront property, having clean water and healthy wildlife nearby enhances the pleasure of living so close to a lake or Puget Sound, but even those who don’t have a daily front-row seat from their waterfront homes will surely appreciate the availability of clean drinking water and abundant salmon and other seafood. Making environmentally friendly choices, like using natural pesticides and organic fertilizer and using native plants in your landscaping, can minimize the footprint you make and reduce the pollution and toxic chemicals in the local watershed.

Being Green Can Save You Greenbacks

Learning about and following low-impact principles can save you money. Chemical fertilizers are easy to come by, and the Center for Watershed Protection says that while 50% of homeowners use them as a routine part of lawn care, only 10-20% of homeowners actually test their soil to see if fertilizers are needed. The rest are pouring money along with toxic chemicals down the drainage pipe! When putting in landscaping around your home, pick plants that are native to the Seattle area which will not only be less costly than more exotic options, they also won’t require as much watering and caretaking to flourish. Carefully designing your landscape to manage and collect rainwater can also reduce your utility bills, either through creating rain gardens that allow water to more thoroughly seep into your soil or by collecting water in rain barrels to water your garden at a later date.

Waterfront Residents Benefit from Low-Impact Design

As you can see, there are financial and environmental reasons to incorporate low-impact design into your waterfront property. The free workshop on March 29 is a great opportunity to learn more about the principles that can help you save money and ensure the long-term health of the local watershed.

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Jan

31

As football fans everywhere look forward to a Seattle Seahawks/Denver Broncos Super Bowl, real estate experts are again pitting the two cities against each other in terms of their burgeoning real estate markets. Yes, it’s time for a hard-fought Real Estate Super Bowl.

Last year, Seattle dominated categories like median household income and education level. 58% of Seattleites over age 25 have a bachelor’s degree or higher, versus 45% of Denver residents. The teams were almost neck-and-neck in population (612,916 for Seattle; 604,356 for Denver) and average square footage (1622 for Seattle, 1671 for Denver). Forty-nine extra square feet doesn’t equate to a lot of yardage for Denver, but the Mile-High City did surge ahead in categories like average lot size (6250 vs. Seattle’s 5500) and number of homes for sale near the city’s football stadium (299 vs. Seattle’s 194). It was indeed a close contest overall.

This year will be another close call. According to projections, Denver’s “players” move the fastest—the median number of days a home spends on the market is just 18 days in Denver, vs. 32 in Seattle. Seattle, however, has the most valuable players, if you measure value in terms of a home’s selling price: Seattle’s average home price is $285,849, compared to $259,000 for Denver. Seattle also has significantly more veteran players—it has a higher ratio of existing homes on the market compared to new construction. This kind of matchup should make for a riveting Real Estate Super Bowl. Who will come out ahead?

To make an accurate prediction, it’s necessary to look beyond figures and investigate more subjective categories. Seattle leads in two such areas: coaching staff and home-field advantage. Seattle’s superior coaching staff consists of real estate agents who are deeply knowledgeable and totally committed to finding buyers the home of their dreams.

Seattle’s home-field advantage is equally impressive. While the football Super Bowl is taking place at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, the Real Estate Super Bowl takes place on the home field of each competing city, and the Seattle waterfront home field is considerably more appealing than Denver’s. Ocean views and a wide variety of bay and lakeside homes put the Emerald City decisively ahead. Only in Seattle can home buyers find stunning properties overlooking Puget Sound, and amazing waterfront houses bordering Lake Washington and the other breathtaking bodies of water that dot the Seattle metro area. This is going to be the game clincher for Seattle.

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Dec

31

Seattle is composed of rich and diverse communities that offer their own holiday celebrations. While many people are celebrating around the downtown area, waterfront houses have family-friendly activities to help you celebrate as well. Whether you want to watch a light tour, take a cruise on Puget Sound, or venture on the Great Ferris Wheel, you can find Christmas fun along the waterfront that appeals to everyone.

Ride the Ducks Light Tour

Originally crafted for use in World War II, the Ducks are part automobile, part boat. The Ride the Ducks Tour takes you on a drive around highlighted parts of Seattle and then through the Lake Union waterfront area by boat. After Thanksgiving, the company offers a Holiday Duck Tour to view Seattle’s best-decorated areas such as Westlake Center and Toyland Village by Pier 57. Along with lights, you will enjoy the outgoing fun personality of your tour Captain. He will have you singing classic Christmas tunes like ‘Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer’ while sharing holiday facts. This tour lasts 40 minutes and is available for all ages.

Christmas Ship Festival

Since 1949, the Christmas Ship Festival has been cruising the Puget Sound waterfront communities to offer a relaxing celebration. There are three ways to celebrate: aboard a cruise ship, on your own boat, or from the shore. While aboard ship, you will listen to a choir as they carol to each of the 45 waterfront communities. Tours are available that include dinner or, for the younger crowd, morning Santa brunches. If you have your own boat, you can add lights and join in the Christmas Ship Parade. Each year, Seattle aims to have the largest floating holiday parade in the world. You can help make this a success while enjoying the view of lights from the water. The combination of the night waters and twinkling shore is made for memories.

Even those on the shore can take part in the Christmas Ship Festival. Each waterfront community in the Puget Sound area offers a place to view the boats as they pass by. You will hear a 20-minute session of Christmas caroling from the ship and others on land. There is a hospitality tent and a large bonfire to keep you warm as you mingle with others.

Ferris Wheel for the New Year

The Great Ferris Wheel has recently been added to the attractions in downtown Seattle waterfront. While it is currently open, you can bring in the New Year with a special dinner and ride. There is an early and late dinner, each taking place at The Fisherman’s with a three-course meal and party favors. Then, you can sip some champagne while you take in the night views and celebrations from the Ferris Wheel. This is a great way to ring in the New Year while admiring the views of waterfront homes and activity. Photos are included with your purchase.

Seattle’s diverse landscape gives you opportunity to celebrate the holidays in a way other cities cannot. When you want take in the holiday waterfront, options are available for everyone. Make it a romantic evening on the Great Wheel or enjoy the lights with your entire family. The Seattle waterfront can helps you create memories to last whether you are looking for a waterfront home or evening out.

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Dec

5

As one of the largest and most diverse cities in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is both a forward-looking city and a city with a rich and vibrant history to its name. While much of the city’s history is centered around people and events, it’s also important to note the area’s unique geography has had its own role to play. Now, that crossroads between the past and the future is being brought to the fore with major changes to Seattle waterfront’s seawall, known as the Elliot Bay Seawall. Here’s a taste of where the Seawall came from and what it’s going to be like in the future.

History of the Seawall

Seattle has always been a city with a close relationship to the sea. Early on, when Seattle was still just a settlement, there were miles of sandy beaches, forested bluffs, marshes and shoreline separating the waterfront from the water. As the city grew, it became clear that a few isolated piers wouldn’t be enough to protect and support the bustling waterfront, from the businesses to the waterfront houses . The seawall was first started back in 1916, with significant construction occurring between 1934 and 1936. Thanks to a solid seawall and a level shoreline, the greater Seattle metropolitan area became a shipping and industry hub in the Northwest.

Deterioration in the Seawall

The Seawall played a huge part in the success of Seattle. Unfortunately, the wall itself has deteriorated over the course of more than 70 years. Largely built from old piles of timber in the first place, the wall has major infrastructure problems that need to be addressed. In particular, it has fallen prey to gribbles, which are very small marine borers that eat and hollow out the wood of the seawall. It’s been a victim of water erosion from the tides, as well as the simple fact that it’s been around for decades. Recognizing that the Seawall might not be able to carry on its job, the city is launching a project to restore and add new functionality to the seawall along the waterfront.

Coming Changes to the Seawall

Dubbed the Core Projects, Seattle can expect to see a brand-new promenade for pedestrians, a two-way track for cyclists, and a new Alaskan Way Viaduct that’s being designed to handle all kinds of traffic via tunnel and ground-level streets. Other features of the changes include some new paths and parks, multiple rebuilt public piers, and more. The brand-new seawall is being designed to last for 75 years, and it will stand up to current earthquake standards. The wall is also going to be built in such a way to accommodate nature and the environment, with the restoration of a functional salmon migration corridor and other considerations intended to minimize the environmental impact of the seawall.

It’s a great time to be living and working on the Seattle waterfront. These changes show that even as the city moves forward, everything it does is rooted in a proud and enduring legacy.

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Nov

4

It’s clear that Seattle has a lot of wonderful features that are unique to it. The greater metropolitan area can claim the Space Needle, an assortment of parks and gardens, incredible restaurants and shops, and of course, many views of gorgeous lakes and ocean. From Lake Washington to Puget Sound, there’s nothing like being situated on the waterfront, especially if you’re a home owner. Now you can add one more unique feature to being in Seattle’s waterfront community, and that is the tram. There’s something particularly special about trams.

Origin of the Trams

Before you admire the trams themselves, it helps to take a step back and consider how they’re possible today. Take a look back at the history of the area and you’ll uncover the role glaciers played in Seattle’s modern waterfront and topography. Those glaciers painstakingly carved the steep slopes that Seattle’s waterfront is known for today. The hilly terrain is a picturesque feature of some waterfront property, allowing home owners to see far out into the water from a high vantage point. For some waterfront property residents, the tram was a natural next step for both convenience and enjoyment. It allowed them to position their home lower on a hillside or bluff while still having relatively easy access from their car above.

Using Trams in the Waterfront Community

Imagine your home is situated on a bluff and there’s a beach below. As the owner of a tram access property, you can travel by tram from your home to the beach on a direct path, rather than resorting to a steep switchback trail. Or you can do the reverse: have your home at the low bank water’s edge, below where cars can readily access the area above. Using the tram might be an extra leg in your journey, but that doesn’t mean you can’t thoroughly enjoy the experience. Many waterfront home owners opted for a property on the lake or Sound because they sought the privacy and solitude. With a tram, you are literally above or below it all, and it can be an incredibly peaceful and relaxing experience. Best of all, trams have started incorporating a number of highly effective and approved safety devices, so all you have to worry about is where you’re headed next.

Grand Ralph Anderson Designed Haven

If you like the idea of a tram access property, a grand Ralph Anderson designed WaterHaven currently available might be a good choice for you. This is a house that captures the spirit of the Great Northwest and provides the owner with 76 beautiful feet of sandy low bank waterfront. It looks out across Puget Sound and frequently bears witness to an astonishing array of colors at sunrise and sunset. If you’re looking to enjoy waterfront property and tram access, this is a home that showcases what’s great about being on the water in Seattle. Couple that with the quiet community, and you can start to see the appeal Seattle’s waterfront houses.

Puget Sound view from private and peaceful tram access home

Puget Sound view from private and peaceful tram access home

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Oct

21

There’s a lot about the city of Seattle that’s special, but one of its most exciting and enduring features is the presence of so many pristine lakes and other bodies of water. From Lake Washington to Puget Sound, the greater Seattle Metropolitan Area offers a lot to appreciate when it comes to owning a waterfront home. Waterfront property owners get the benefits of a gorgeous view, a convenient new mode of transportation, and close access to downtown Seattle and a thriving business district. One good example of life in a waterfront community is an upcoming family event in the spirit of Halloween.

Trick or Treat

Kids have it good in Seattle. Not only do the little ones get the opportunity to trick or treat days ahead of Halloween, but they also have a wide variety of places to visit. On Sunday, October 27, from 11 AM to 5 PM, trick-or-treaters can visit the Seattle waterfront and get candy from the businesses there for free. The businesses that will be participating are located between Ferry Terminal and Bell Harbor Conference Center. On top of the free candy, the trick-or-treaters and their families can enjoy free parking on the street because it’s on a Sunday.

Other Festive Events

As if several hours of free candy from businesses along the waterfront weren’t enough, there are more events happening in the area. You can dedicate your weekend to the Halloween holiday by stopping by the Seattle Aquarium. The aquarium is putting on a special event called Aquarium Halloween 2013, and it features fun events like underwater pumpkin carving, face painting, games, and more. Also on October 27, from 11 AM to 1 PM, is a Seattle Fire Department show and tell. It’s clear that there’s no shortage of activity and festivities in downtown Seattle along the waterfront this year.

The Seattle Waterfront

The Seattle waterfront is one of the most memorable and captivating neighborhoods in Seattle. Along with the Seattle Aquarium, it features a variety of restaurants, souvenir shops, and more. You can experience one of the greatest pleasures of having access to the waterfront by simply walking along the pier and admiring the view of Elliott Bay. You can get even more up close to the water view by taking a scenic ferry ride. It calls to mind the kind of view that a waterfront home owner can enjoy every day, as well as the kind of convenience they get to visit Seattle’s bustling downtown business communities.

 

Along with some truly breathtaking views, residential waterfront property in Seattle offers several perks, including peace, prestige, and easy access to the action through transportation like the King County Water Taxi or ferries. With the ability to tap into a thriving and generous business community, waterfront residents can easily take advantage of some of the greatest benefits that Seattle has to offer. Be sure to take advantage of the one of them yourself when October 27 rolls around. Early trick or treating and Aquarium Halloween 2013 are just some of the many events that remind people why Seattle is a fantastic place to live.

 

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Oct

7

Seattle is home to some of the most incredible sights. This is particularly true for waterfront property owners, because they get the distinct privilege of witnessing pristine water views from their home every day. Whether they’re bordering Lake Washington, Puget Sound, or one of the other gorgeous bodies of water in the greater Seattle Metropolitan Area, there’s plenty to love about owning a waterfront home here. At the same time, though, sometimes the spectacular high views are from large bluffs that require homeowner maintenance, as will be addressed in an upcoming class on something known as slope stability.

Puget Sound Slope Stability Class

Here’s what happens for some waterfront houses and their owners. You have a nice location at the top of an elevated area overlooking the water, and it happens to have a fairly steep slope on one side. Over time, this slope might erode if water runoff is not properly controlled and cause some potential hazards to your property that you should be mindful about. Because of the topography of the area, features like coastal bluffs, hills, ravines, and shorelines are all frequent features, and they all actually enhance your views. So it should be your goal, if you are a waterfront home owner in these scenarios, to prevent and maintain your slope, which will enable you to avoid issues later on.

Who the Class is For?

The class is targeted at professionals who work in fields like construction, engineering, landscape design, arboriculture, and horticulture, among others. However, it’s also a useful overview for any concerned waterfront home owners who want to ensure that they can protect their home from future slope erosion or landslides. You’ll learn a number of useful things about how water and geology interact, as well as what you can do to reduce erosion and improve slope stability. By knowing the tools and techniques that professionals use, you can either implement them yourself or use your knowledge of the topic to find someone who’s qualified to do the job right.

More Information on the Seattle Class

As for the specifics of the class, it’s being hosted by the University of Washington Botanic Gardens on December 5, 2013, from 8:15 AM through 4:00 PM. Before November 21, you can secure a spot at $125 per person, with lunch provided. It includes a variety of notable speakers, such as Bill Laprade on the subject of Geology & Hydrology of Puget Sound, and Elliot Menashe on Vegetation and Slope Stability and Vegetation in Conjunction with Engineering Solutions. For more information on the class and to find out whether it’s something you’d be interested in, just check out the specifics with UWBG.

In the end, waterfront property offers a great combination of prestige, solitude, and most importantly, views of an awe-inspiring land and seascape. By taking the time to find out what there is to know on slope stability and soil stabilization, you have the opportunity to enjoy a fantastic property without having to worry about the complications that could arise. You owe it to yourself to do what it takes to keep your waterfront home secure, and this upcoming Puget Sound class could be exactly what you need.

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Sep

25

There’s no doubt that people come to the Seattle area because they love the sights. For a city with such dense urban development, as well as luxury waterfront real estate, the greater Seattle metropolitan area features a staggering variety of natural sights and wonders that locals and tourists alike can enjoy. From boat tours on one of the community’s many bodies of water to peeks at exotic plants in the botanical gardens, celebration of nature is a fixture of Seattle culture. One of the enduring and historically significant sites in the Seattle area is Burien’s Three Tree Point Indian Trail. Here’s what makes this such a memorable feature.

Historical Three Tree Point Community

If you want a sense of how majestic waterfront land in Seattle can be, start by visiting the Burien Indian Trail in the Three Tree Point luxury waterfront community. This secluded and quaint waterfront community lies on the west-facing shores of gorgeous Puget Sound, located in Burien. Historically, the trail hearkens back to an era before there were roads, when there were just narrow public walkways between homes. Summer home vacationers would visit the community, arriving at a long-gone dock by the tip of Three Tree Point on Seattle’s Mosquito Fleet boats. This path was reportedly once approximately followed by Native Americans as a shoreline passage around the point too, though accounts of that vary. People have unearthed artifacts in this area during construction projects, marking the Burien Indian Trail as a natural historical marker for Seattle’s past.

The View from Burien Indian Trail

History buffs might enjoy the trail for its association with the history of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, but nature lovers will have plenty to appreciate as well. As you pass by each waterfront home in this neighborhood, with some above the trail and others below it, you’ll spy Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountain range. You’ll also see an incredible view of the beach on the south side trail, as well as a more tree-filtered view on the longer north side. Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of the trail is that you could have a completely different experience on the way back during a round trip journey. It’s always a unique adventure traversing this trail.

The Real Estate Around Burien Indian Trail

For those who like to witness luxury, there’s nothing quite like the waterfront property in this community that lies nestled against Puget Sound. There are lower waterfront lots and upper water view lots lining the six-foot wide public trail, including some Puget Sound homes that can be accessed from the road above to the personal solitude at the water’s edge by walking the trail or by using stairs and trams. Some homes are lavish beach houses perched a short distance from the water. This is an affluent and friendly community that’s sure to capture your imagination. For those enjoying life in Three Tree Point, they can walk the beach at low tide and walk the forested trail at high tide. So many options to stroll, visit neighbors, exercise, and show guests around.

Clearly, the view and access you get from the Burien Indian Trail is something entirely unique to the area. Few places can combine history, nature, and luxury into such a comprehensive Seattle experience. Whether you’re just visiting or you’ve lived here for a while and haven’t had a chance to walk the Burien Indian Trail yourself, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. It’s a refreshing experience unlike any other.

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Sep

10

Generally, even among waterfront real estate, there isn’t much that’s noteworthy enough about a single property to warrant its own blog post. Here’s an exception. There is a newly available waterfront estate on the sandy beachfront of Puget Sound that spans 5.5 acres, as well as more than 50 years of history. Historically, it was named “Kewn” after the Gaelic word for a “peaceful place in the forest” and the Skagit Indian word for “peaceful lady”. This theme of peace is well represented by the estate, which offers unprecedented privacy and quiet. It’s comfortably nestled between the exclusive Three Tree Point and Seahurst waterfront communities.

Features of the Puget Sound Estate

Even along the waterfront, few properties can compete with this massive estate. Available on the Puget Sound waterfront just 15 minutes from downtown Seattle, the estate overlooks the Puget sound, the Olympic Mountain range, and more than 200 feet of low bank sandy beach. Across the full 5.5 acres, you’ll find rare trees, ponds, waterfalls, and other gorgeous natural features. More than just for viewing, the estate accommodates an active lifestyle making it easier than ever to go boating, hike in the mountains, walk along the shoreline, and more.

The Home Itself

Overlooking a promontory is the house itself, an 8000-square-foot wonder with a Mid Century Modern style. It has 9 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, two garages, and some iconic architectural features. One such feature is its curved wall of glass along the west side, perfect for viewing Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. It also includes a separate 1500 square foot cabin that’s situated just beyond the water’s edge, which provides an even greater sense of solitude and peace. Perhaps it’s a happy coincidence, but this home known for peace is not located within the flight pattern of the airport, despite the airport being only 10 minutes away. There’s really nothing like this marvel of construction and natural beauty.

Historical Documents

What really sets this estate apart from the wide variety of waterfront houses in Seattle is its history. As made evident by historical documents from more than a half century ago, the estate was once home to the world-renowned Kewn Gardens, which was designed by Fred Cole. He is remembered for his famous Butchart Gardens in Victoria, but in Seattle, he’s certainly remembered for his iconic contribution to the Seattle waterfront landscape. Even today, the estate offers a covered patio and walking garden that’s full of exotic plants like giant rhododendrons, azaleas, and a variety of rare trees.

Other historical documents showcase its beauty through artistic renderings that represent a snapshot in time. Every once in a while, it’s fun to stop and take a look at a property with such a history behind it. The estate was owned by the same family for over 100 years, so there’s no question that this particular estate is a once in a lifetime opportunity. From its prominent history within the Seattle area to its incredible amenities and features, there’s no question that “Kewn” is a waterfront estate worthy of its renown.

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Aug

26

In Washington State, and the Seattle area in particular, real estate has been booming. With a healthy jobs market and plenty of great locations still available, it’s no surprise that buyers are snapping up homes as they become available. One of the most attractive features of the greater Seattle metropolitan area is its waterfront property, which is bordered by Lake Washington, Lake Sammamish, and the Puget Sound, among other bodies of water. Thanks to an array of features, including a gorgeous view and convenient transportation options, waterfront property continues to be a desirable choice for Washington residents. Where the market really shines, however, is in its luxury waterfront real estate.

A New Olson Kundig Home

As a shining beacon of what you can find on the waterfront, there’s a new waterfront home available from legendary Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects. The home is available for $5.895 million, and it comes with all of the niceties and amenities you would expect with that kind of price tag, such as tall ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, custom millwork, columns, and an open concept floor plan. It even combines indoor and outdoor living by providing a dock with boatlift for your boat, terraces on the waterfront, and a large balcony off of the massive master suite to overlook the water of Lake Washington. This is just one example of the kind of luxury available on the waterfront in Seattle.

The Locale of Luxury Waterfront Real Estate

It’s one thing to buy a nice property on the waterfront, but it’s another thing entirely to buy something based on the location itself. Fortunately, waterfront property like the new Olson Kundig home is located in the prestigious Washington Park neighborhood. This area is known for many of Seattle’s most desirable waterfront locations, as well as elegant streets and famed residences. If you look for a waterfront home in this particular neighborhood, you’ll be in good company, as many of Seattle’s power brokers live in this community’s enormous and stylish waterfront houses. Of course, there are other waterfront communities throughout Seattle that offer plenty of perks, such as close proximity to the heart of Seattle and access to amazing cafes and shops.

Future Prospects for Seattle Real Estate

In general, the outlook for Seattle real estate is good. It has been outperforming the nation, with property prices up by over 15 percent compared to a year ago, according to Zillow. At the same time, bank-owned home sales make up less than 10 percent of total sales, which means the local real estate market is rebounding nicely. With the luxury of some of these waterfront homes, it’s clear that there’s still healthy demand in the area. If you’re interested in an attractive home with a fantastic view, and one that also happens to be a great investment, then it just might be worth your while to look into some quality waterfront real estate in one of the bustling Lake Washington communities in the greater Seattle metropolitan area.

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Jul

2

The Seattle, Washington area is home to a unique and interesting feature in the form of floating homes. Because of the location of bodies of water like the Puget Sound, Lake Washington, and many more, there’s a unique opportunity for homeowners not only to buy waterfront real estate, but also to live in floating homes on the water itself. Even better, many of these homes are located close to downtown Seattle, making them a highly attractive place to settle with a view of the water that can’t be beat. In celebration of this Seattle hallmark, the Seattle Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) in South Lake Union is showcasing an exhibit called Still Afloat, which focuses on the subject of floating homes.

The Diverse Waterfront Neighborhood
For a number of years, the neighborhood of floating homes on Lake Union and Portage Bay has engaged in some fairly tumultuous history. There have been land use battles, evictions, and a host of political and economic challenges to the very existence of these floating homes. Recent changes have come, some of which enhance the stability and value of Seattle’s floating homes, others of which threaten to erase the waterfront property community itself. Fortunately, through it all, the iconic Seattle image of the houseboat has endured, and so has the thriving and diverse community on Lake Union and Portage Bay.

Still Afloat Exhibit
Billed as a contemporary history of Seattle’s floating homes, the Still Afloat exhibit is a unique look at the history of this Seattle trademark. The temporary Museum of History and Industry exhibit features images from the past, complete with accounts of what life is like in the floating waterfront home community. The exhibit includes everything from photographs and video interviews to underwater film and a scale model of a floating home, which reveals the technology that makes floating homes possible. Perhaps most importantly, the exhibit is a celebration of the community and its contribution to making Seattle the vibrant and storied metropolis that it has become.

Still Afloat Adds to Seattle Waterfront Community
For those intrigued by floating homes and their Seattle waterfront community, Still Afloat is an all-encompassing experience that’s perfect for Seattle tourists, locals, and even floating homeowners and residents themselves. It will run from June 15 until November 3, 2013, and it will be located in the Linda and Ted Johnson Family Community Gallery at the Museum of History and Industry. You’ll have a rare opportunity to see the sights and hear the sounds of life in this unique community, as well as witnessing the stories of residents who can track the changes in the community over the years. If a trip to Still Afloat doesn’t fully quench your thirst for floating homes, you can also look at the Seattle Floating Homes Association which includes great information and features current plus past newsletters about the community and its lifestyle.

There’s truly nothing like the houseboats community in Seattle, and the museum’s Still Afloat exhibit is a limited-time opportunity to take a glimpse into this fascinating piece of Washington history.

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May

6

    Elegant living room with stunning puget sound views in Seattle area home for sale.

Water views from Seattle area home for sale.

Getting around Seattle is one of the biggest concerns for a lot of local residents. Traffic can get pretty congested along the major thoroughfares. Many commuters would probably relish the prospect of being able to skip all of that traffic on the road and arrive at work or home almost immediately, but that is obviously not something that’s possible for most Seattle drivers. Fortunately for some lucky Seattleites, however, it just so happens that there is an enticing transportation option for residents in West Seattle. While those living on the east side generally have to rely on either the toll-bridge Interstate 520 or non-toll I-90 to get downtown, West Seattle residents are able to cut across Elliot Bay on the King County Water Taxi.

Getting to Seattle
The big benefit for West Seattle residents who want to get to Seattle is that they can get downtown across the water using the King County Water Taxi. This useful service features a direct route from Seacrest Park in West Seattle over to Pier 50 on the downtown Seattle waterfront. The time it takes to cross is only about 10 minutes, and it’s open to people with bicycles for no extra charge. This unique situation is available to West Seattle residents in Puget Sound homes, and it’s one of simplicity and luxury. When passengers in the water taxi arrive at Pier 50 downtown, they can disembark and walk around the streets without having to worry about the cost or inconvenience of parking.

West Seattle Waterfront Real Estate
The waterfront coastline of West Seattle runs along the mouth of Elliot Bay and features gorgeous beaches and a satisfying mix of private property and public parks. Real estate consists of attractive condos and contemporary homes as well as mature homes. While the area of West Seattle itself is an enjoyable expanse in its own right, full of cafes and shops, many residents with a waterfront home in West Seattle have to go to work downtown. Others like the greater variety of shopping or entertainment options downtown. Either way, one of the main attractions of living in West Seattle is the amazing waterfront property, a view of Puget Sound, and the area’s proximity to the heart of Seattle.

Commute from the Waterfront
With so many reasons to travel to downtown Seattle, it’s fortunate that there’s a quick commute option in the King County Water Taxi, but the presence of Puget Sound and Elliot Bay is a double-edged sword. If it were land there instead, residents would have a direct route for driving. Instead, the water taxi service represents the only straight shot from West Seattle to downtown Seattle. Otherwise, residents have to go around using the West Seattle Bridge, which can result in a commute of 45 minutes to an hour during peak traffic hours. On the plus side, West Seattle and its residents in waterfront houses are geographically quite close to downtown, so there are a lot of viable commuting options, and the King County Water Taxi really makes it a great place to settle.

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May

3

The Environmental Science Center, located on the waterfront at Seahurst Park in Burien, has many fun summer programs oriented to living around the water and Puget Sound:

SEAHURST SUMMER SATURDAYS
10am – Noon (except June 8th)

May 18 Animal Detectives
Practice moving like different animals and make up your own track stories. Then hit the trail looking for animal signs (nests, homes, tracks, scat). Each participant will take home their own plaster track.

May 25 Stormwater Adventure!
Play games, explore tools, tell stories, and dance to learn more about the water all around us!

June 1 Science in Action! Fishery Observers
Place yourself in the shoes of a fisheries observer and conduct your own “fish population survey”! Learn about fish from different places and how to count and identify them. Recommended ages: 10 and up.

June 8 Bats, bats, bats! NIGHT PROGRAM 7-9pm
Visit Seahurst Park at night to learn about the bats of the Pacific Northwest. Spend time outside with an expert “bat lady” looking for signs of bats. Don’t forget your flashlight and hiking shoes!

June 15 & 16 Visit ESC at the Burien Wild Strawberry Festival!

June 22 Dog-Eat-Dog World: Food Chains at Seahurst Beach
It’s a rough life in the wild when everyone wants to eat you. Play games and examine marine plankton to look for earth’s most terrifying PREDATORS!! Also, spend time on the beach with naturalists.

June 29 Nature Scavenger Hunt
Explore Seahurst Park with all of your senses! Learn about the diverse life right here in the park and then explore with a fun and educational nature hike.

July 6 Insect Safari
This is your chance to view thousands of insects from all around the world! Then take a short walk around Seahurst Park to learn how to collect and sample for insects.

July 13 Scatology – Odd Digestion
in the Animal Kingdom
Compare human digestion to other animals then look for scat and food sources of animals at Seahurst. Upon returning to the center, learn about digestion in birds of prey by dissecting a real owl pellet!

July 20 Beach Exploration
Your little ones will love learning about what lives at Seahurst Beach through puppets, art, and hands-on exploration! Also, spend time on the beach with a trained naturalist. Recommended ages: 2-6 years, older siblings can join, too.

Burien Three Tree Point Puget Sound Olympic Mountains water view real estate for sale

New Burien Three Tree Point Puget Sound water view WaterHavens listing for sale

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Jan

26

The Highline Community College, has a webcam that looks out over Puget Sound. It is located in Redondo Beach and points toward Dash Point of Federal Way.

Highline Community College

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Sep

17

The five member citizens committee Burien Shoreline Working Group has been negotiating with the Department of Ecology for a couple years now as Burien updates the Burien Shoreline Master Program (SMP). The primary disconnect has regarded setbacks for construction. Many developed communities in Burien have homes fairly close to their bulkheads, and the DOE requirements of 50 feet + 15 foot buffer would have made many lots totally unbuildable.

The group’s proposal is for developed areas along Puget Sound to be split up into zones. In well developed areas along the Sound shoreline, any development within 20 feet of the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM) would be significantly limited. Then development within 20-35 feet would be allowed if offsetting benefits were created within the first 20 feet (vegetation, limiting permeable surfaces, etc.). For less developed areas, the same zone restrictions would be moved back to 30 feet and 30-45 feet, respectively.

Existing structures can still be remodeled or even rebuilt on their existing footprints wherever they may be located, and are grandfathered in as “nonconforming”.

The working group said that initial indicators from DOE were amenable to these compromises. It will be interesting to see where this ends up, since it could set precedents for other Sound waterfront communities and their SMPs.

Seattle Burien Three Tree Point waterfront home with Puget Sound view decks

Example of Burien home (WaterHavens listing) with existing near shore footprint enabling expansive and close-up waterfront views

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Jul

2

Burien’s waterfront property owners vociferously expressed concerns about the Department of Ecology’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP), and the Burien City Council correspondingly rejected the Program and sent it back to DOE. The Council said it could agree to most of DOE’s requests, but did not agree with four provisions:

  • Buffers and Setbacks: For new construction or building upgrades, the new 50 foot buffer + 15 foot setback would have made development in many Burien waterfront lots unattainable. Burien responded with their plan to keep the existing 20 foot buffer with no additional setback.
  • Watercraft on Lake Burien: Burien wanted to maintain the ban on watercraft access on Lake Burien from any future public access areas.
  • Rebuilding: DOE wanted to make rebuilding a destroyed waterfront home more restrictive, which Burien disagreed with.
  • Shoreline Variances: DOE wanted to enforce a need for shoreline variances to reduce critical area buffers in geologically hazardous areas and wetlands, which Burien disagreed with.
  • This will be interesting to see how it plays out, since Burien and DOE will now each have to give and take to meet the state mandated requirements of having an update Shoreline Master Program.

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    Apr

    6

    There is a long history in the state of Washington that determines whether or not your particular waterfront property owns its beach out front, especially important on Puget Sound properties with their tidal ranges that can expose large tracts of beach at low tide. Who owns that land? You? The state? It depends.

    The answer can be determined through a title search and a correct parcel map. There are properties throughout the Seattle region that fit into both categories: owning the beach, or not. The actual day to day usage of a beach in front of a waterfront property is frankly usually exactly the same whether the beach is owned or not: people without ownership still expect their beach to be quiet and well taken care of by strolling beach walkers, and most people with owned land let beach walkers go through their beach since the courtesy gets reciprocated and it allows the entire community to enjoy waterfront strolls. There are some famous exceptions, including people trying to (illegally) put fences up that become submerged at high tide, but they tend to be in remoter regions and you don’t see that around Seattle.

    The Department of Natural Resources provides an informative guide to “Boundaries of State-owned Aquatic Lands” that explains many of these concepts, terms, and related waterfront property rights history. Here’s an excerpt from it:

    “Fresh water, such as in lakes or rivers, or marine waters, such as in Puget Sound, are not owned by individuals. Water is managed by the state and protected for the common good. Generally, aquatic lands beneath these waters have been managed that way, too – since statehood.

    On November 11, 1889, at statehood, Washington’s aquatic lands became stateowned lands under the Equal Footing Doctrine, which guaranteed new states of the Union the same rights as the original 13. Washington State, through Article XVII of its constitution, asserted ownership to the “beds and shores of all navigable waters in the state…” so that no one could monopolize the major means of transportation, trade or fishing areas. Some other states gave adjacent upland owners a “riparian” right to build over navigable waters, but Washington chose to be a “nonriparian” state – that is, it did not grant that right. It held that aquatic lands are owned by all the people of the state, not individuals.

    Although owners of lands abutting stateowned aquatic lands did not receive “riparian” rights at statehood, for more than 80 years they could purchase tidelands or shorelands from the state. In 1971, the sale of the state’s aquatic lands was stopped by the state Legislature. Today, virtually all the bedlands of navigable waters are state owned, as are 30 percent of the tidelands and 75 percent of shorelands in the state. Nonnavigable bodies of water are not owned by the state, and are likely to be connected in title to the abutting upland property.”

    Burien Three Tree Point waterfront real estate with Seattle area Puget Sound owned beachfront

    Click picture to see this local Three Tree Point waterfront home that owns its 130′ beach

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    Dec

    29

    The Environmental Science Center is hosting its second Moonlight Beach Walk for this winter season. Here’s the scoop:

    “Join us on New Year’s Day! Moonlight Beach Walk this Saturday, January 1st, from 7:30-9:30pm at Seahurst Beach in Burien.

    Imagine you are on the shoreline at a lovely low tide. Rocks that are covered all year lie exposed to view while the sea denizens remain happily cold and wet in the dark. All around you, people waving flashlights are intently studying the amazing and abundant sea life as local naturalists help you discover the wonders of your Puget Sound shoreline.

    Bundle up against the weather and be sure to bring flashlight with good batteries, warm hat and dry gloves, and wading boots (you’ll be in ankle deep water).

    For more information, contact Programs@EnvScienceCenter.org or call 206-248-4266.”

    Enjoy it if you go. They are always fascinating and will definitely educate you about your own “front yard” if you live on the Sound.

    Environmental Science Center logo

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    Dec

    1

    The Environmental Science Center is a deserving local shoreline education organization (I was previously on its Board of Directors), and they are having more of their popular Moonlight Beach Walks this winter. They are fun, entertaining, and unique. Here’s the scoop from ESC:

    Don’t miss the Environmental Science Center’s Moonlight Beach Walk this Saturday, December 4th, from 7:30-9:30pm at Seahurst Beach in Burien.

    Imagine you are on the shoreline at a lovely low tide. Rocks that are covered all year lie exposed to view while the sea denizens remain happily cold and wet in the dark. All around you, people waving flashlights are intently studying the amazing and abundant sea life as local naturalists help you discover the wonders of your Puget Sound shoreline.

    BUNDLE UP AGAINST THE WEATHER AND BE SURE TO BRING: Bright flashlight with good batteries, warm hat and dry gloves, and wading boots (you’ll be in ankle deep water).

    For more information, contact Programs@EnvScienceCenter.org or call 206-248-4266.

    Environmental Science Center logo

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