Whidbey Island is an island, duh. Waterfront is a natural feature of many properties. But, there’s waterfront, waterfront, waterfront, waterfront, and water above and below.
Think waterfront and images of waves, sandy shores, and panoramic views arise. Pick your view. Just the right spot and look south to Seattle’s (tiny) skyline backed by Mt. Rainier’s (mountainous) outline. Look west to the Olympic Mountains across Admiralty Inlet. Look east across Possession Sound or Saratoga Passage to the Cascades, a couple more volcanoes, and the lights of towns on the mainland. Start far enough north and the view can be saltwater to the horizon and the knowledge that the rest of the Pacific Ocean and the other oceans are only a boat’s, or a ship’s, voyage away. All along the water, including in coves like Penn Cove, and harbor’s like Holmes Harbor saltwater attracts wildlife as well as old cottages, new estates, anglers, and boaters.
But not all water is salty.
Some prefer the lakes, waterfront that has less to worry about. No more tides or waves, currents, a much quieter environment. Is a lakefront home waterfront? It can be to the person that lives there. There’s something calming about an enclosed body of water that may only allow small boats, a few catch-and-release anglers, and no restrictions on migrating birds. The water’s probably warmer, and swimmers and boaters have to work very hard to get swept away to Asia. There’s less of that pesky salt air to wipe off windows, too.
There’s undoubtedly an objective definition for the difference between a lake and a pond; but each person may have a subjective definition that works for them. Hang around a pond and the only boat may be something that has to be shallow, because there may be nothing except shallows. It may be a bit muddy, but that kind of water fronting the lot can be just the place for a family’s ducks. Consider it a really big, possibly self-maintaining water feature.
Don’t begrudge the people who are proud of the stream flowing through or beside their yard. It may contain salmon or beaver (or both?). A person may be able to hop across it, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Habitat preservation extends far beyond a property’s borders when sea-going fish are concerned.
It takes extra care to live by the water. Extra responsibilities are attached to such attractive features. The honor and the privilege come with construction restrictions.
Some water isn’t out front, but is down below. Wetlands permeate the island, which is a good thing. Something has to refill the aquifers which supplies what comes out of our faucets. Wetlands may not be good for swimming, fishing, or boating; but wildlife enthusiasts can find entertainment that organizes itself. Birders get busy almost every day.
And of course, there’s water above. This is the Salish Sea, a region known for rain. Water above is taken for granted – though it does take some new residents by surprise. For some, that’s a great relief. Rain means not having to water, something to cool some of the hotter days (until the seasonal drought), and less worries about fires (an issue for those who experienced wildfires.) Besides, rain is a great excuse to take a day off, a reason to not mow the lawn (and then rush to cut it on the next dry day), and maybe to simply enjoy the sound.
For most islanders, waterfront is a place to visit thanks to the variety of parks. Waterfront is sweet, but it is also sweet to save thousands by buying just a bit farther back and walking to the shore and its views.
It’s all good.