Commentary: What Paine Field means for county’s real estate

Connections to West Coast cities will allow easy travel for our residents and bring tourists here.

By Marla Heagle

For The Herald

It’s finally time to go after that second “dream home” you’ve been longing for since your 30s. You’ve earned it after a career of hard work, buckling down, and saving your pennies. When retirement or empty nesting occurs, many of us seek a home-away-from-home that offers a way to slow down, relax, and enjoy life. So now that the time’s right and you’re ready to make a move, what considerations should you take into account when looking for a second home?

Many soon-to-be retirees in our region have spent years in the grind of Seattle traffic that has only gotten worse, in a region that is one of the fastest growing in our nation. While many of us look to “get away from it all” as we retire, seeking privacy and immersion in natural beauty, we also want to preserve access to the luxuries and conveniences of city living. Access to things like travel as well as the simple but finer things in life like coffee shops, dining options and even Amazon delivery can make all the difference when choosing a place to call “second home.” The reality is that most of us do enjoy many aspects of city living and we’re not completely ready to give up as we sail into the sunset.

There is no bigger “city” convenience than access to travel, and a strong regional airport in particular. Air travel allows us to enjoy the epic summers in the Pacific Northwest, yet get away to Maui or Palm Springs in the winter, or to the snow of the rugged West for some time on the ski hills.

Insert Everett’s new Paine Field Passenger Terminal, a regional transportation development that has the potential to change how retirees think about that dreamy second home, and in particular, how they look at options like Camano Island which is just 20 minutes northwest of Everett. Paine Field has recently began buzzing with commercial airlines, bringing the world closer to Camano Island and the rest of Snohomish County than ever before. Alaska Airlines and United Airlines will connect Everett to a host of U.S. cities including Phoenix, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas.

Whether you’re the retired parents of a Seattle tech worker looking for your second home near grandchildren, or you’re moving here to escape Seattle or San Francisco, there’s now a fantastic local airport at your doorstep, allowing you to avoid the arduous drive to Sea-Tac.

While Camano Island’s desirability is now matched with much-improved access to other well-traveled destinations, many view the island as a destination in its own right. Boasting stunning sandy beaches, abundant wildlife, and relaxed small-town charm, Camano Island is a haven for crabbers, water-skiers, and beach-lovers.

Rich in history and culture, Camano Island is home to a vibrant arts community as well as an array of local restaurants, shops, markets, events and festivals. The enduring appeal of Camano Island is that it offers an idyllic, island experience that feels away from it all, without actually being away from it all.

With no ferries and an always-open bridge, you can find yourself ensconced in a diverse community of families, retirees, artists and locals who value culture and the finer things in life, which now includes easy access to travel. Of course, the beauty of the Paine Field opening goes both ways. Visitors can hop a quick flight and visit you easier than ever before.

So check your frequent-flyer miles and come explore. You won’t be disappointed.

Marla Heagle lives on Camano Island and is a real estate broker.

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