Whidbey Island named a top place to retire

A national retirement publication has listed Whidbey Island in its book entitled “America’s 100 Best Places to Retire.”

Published by Where to Retire magazine, the book is now in its fifth edition.

“We believe that retirement locale scouting is fun,” said Annette Fuller, managing editor of Where to Retire and co-editor of the book. “This volume helps the process with its well-researched profiles of 100 cities that retirees love. Where to Retire magazine has been dedicated solely to discovering these destinations since 1992, so the knowledge in the pages is deep and wide. It takes you on a coast-to-coast trip like no other book can do.”

Other Washington locales named in the book include Olympia, Port Townsend and Spokane.

The book includes locales that have all been featured destinations in Where to Retire magazine.

Each profile, written by an author who is familiar with the area, combines local knowledge, extensive research and in-depth interviews with retirees who have already made the move.

“For a long time we were one of the best kept secrets, but word as gotten out,” said Chet Ross, executive director of the Freeland Chamber of Commerce. “Climate-wise, access to Seattle… it’s an end unto itself. Like the tourism saying goes, ‘It’s the shortest distance to far away.’”

A quick facts data box within each profile sums up information on taxes, climate, walkability, housing and health care.

“It’s just such a beautiful location,” said Hazel Welliver, executive director of Harbor Tower Village retirement community in Oak Harbor. “There are a lot of retirees here because of the base, so there is a good-sized senior community here.”

Welliver added that while there is plenty to do here on the island for retirees, locals are also a short drive or ferry ride away from other cities and destinations.

“There’s just so much in this area, in the Northwest,” Welliver said.

The 100 cities are all distinct, said Fuller, yet they have many qualities in common that active baby boomers and retirees enjoy such as vibrant downtowns, ongoing education classes, volunteer or part-time work opportunities, walkable neighborhoods, excellent health care, non-extreme weather and advantageous tax situations.

“For those of us who live here, it’s no secret that it’s so great,” said Kathy Reed, Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce executive director. “It’s really a no-brainer. We still have that small town America feel, but we have all the technology and shopping and recreational activities bigger cities have.”

The book is organized alphabetically by city name, but you can also find locales listed by state, displayed on a U.S. map and categorized into 10 Top 10 lists — best art towns, best beach towns, best college towns, best four-season towns, best lake towns, best low-cost edens, best main street towns, best mountain towns, best small towns and best undiscovered havens.

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