Community Profile: San Juan Islands


The San Juan Islands are a chain of 172 islands scattered in the Strait of Juan de Fuca at the northwest tip of Washington State.  Although easily accessible from Seattle, the San Juan Islands enjoy a far different weather pattern with sunny weather and low rainfall created by the Olympic Mountain rain shadow.

Fidalgo Island (Anacortes, WA) and Whidbey Island (Oak Harbor and home of Whidbey NAS) are the most populated islands. Whidbey Island is connected by Fidalgo Island by the Deception Pass Bridge, as well as being serviced from the southern end by the Washington State Ferry. In addition to being connected to Whidbey Island, Fidalgo Island is connected to the mainland by two other Bridges. Because these two islands are so easily accessed by car, they are often not considered part of the San Juan Islands although geologically they are part of the island chain.

Most of the other San Juan Islands are sparsely populated by humans, but fish, whales, eagles, and other wildlife are abundant. The most accessible islands are San Juan Island, Shaw Island, Lopez Island, and Orcas Island – the islands serviced by the Washington State Ferry system. The ferry system carries both foot passengers and cars and the main ferry terminal is in Anacortes, WA which is just 80 miles north of Seattle.

The most populated Island not connected by bridge is San Juan Island with the town of Friday Harbor. The options for transportation to the island include scheduled land planes out of Seattle, Bellingham or Anacortes, WA. State Ferry service out of Sidney B.C. or Anacortes, WA; float planes out of Seattle, WA, charter planes, tour boats, water taxi, private boats, charter boats, private planes, private boats, or catch a ride with a friend. You can take your car, motorcycle, or bicycle aboard the ferry. If you walk on board you can rent a car, bicycle, moped, or take a bus or taxi once you reach San Juan Island.

Each San Juan Island has a very different culture and lifestyle. For example, Blakely Island is a private island which has a paved airstrip, water taxi service, a marina, a small seasonal store, and fuel, and has only a few year round residents. The smallest ferry served island is Shaw with only about 200 permanent residents. Portions of Decateur Island are serviced by a boat owned by residents; however there is also water taxi and an air field. Guemes Island and Lummi Island are service by a Skagit County Ferry.

Almost all of the islands inhabited have an air strip, some paved and some a little on the rustic side. The less populated the island the slower the lifestyle and island time takes on a new meaning from island to island.

At Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC we often have clients that want a vacation home or are looking for a place to live a slower lifestyle but they do not know which island that they want, and since each island boasts to be the best the options can be confusing. Our full time professional REALTORS¬ģ have been very successful in helping our clients chose the island with the lifestyle that is the best match. We have sold waterfront and water view estates from Hood Canal to San Juan Island, and would love to help you through the decision making process of finding your dream vacation home or next destination.

We can be reached daily at or at (360) 941-3734.

Great Anacortes Location with Views & Shop Space


Located in Anacortes at 1019 26th St. conveniently located across from Island Hospital, this home would be ideal for a medical office or a five-plex.  Available for the first time in 43 years, the home is very well maintained, offers a two car garage plus a shop space and an RV garage with a 12’ door.  With gorgeous views, its fully fenced yard, new roof in 2010 and updated plumbing, electrical and sewer line, 1019 26th St. is a great find.

Contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC in Anacortes today to view the property, or for any of your buying and selling needs throughout the areas of Anacortes, Skagit County, San Juan Islands and beyond.

WA State Spring Ferry Schedule

The 2011 spring sailing schedule for Washington State Ferries begins March 27th and is current through June 18th.  The spring schedule will include the addition of popular routes and the international route between Anacortesand Sidney, B.C. will start again.  Explore the beautiful island of Anacortes and discover your dream home with the help of our fantastic agents.  Ferry service increases include weekend inter-island vessel in the San Juan Islands.  Eight hours of afternoon service Monday through Thursday between Anacortes and the San Juan Islands.  Adjusted sailing times to improve schedule reliability in the San Juan Islands.  Three-boat service on weekends on the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route.  The third boat will operate eight hours a day on Saturday and Sunday.

Anacortes Shipwreck Day July 17, 2010


Hundreds of people crowd the streets of Commercial Avenue in Anacortes for this special event. ¬†What exactly are these people seeking?¬† A great bargain, great friends, great food, and the greatest garage sale known to the history of¬† Anacortes, this is Shipwreck Day. Shipwreck Day is the ideal destination for any garage sale fanatic, or even the casual bargain browser.¬† Find one of a kind¬†treasures such as¬†neat nik-naks, tiny trinkets, fashionable furniture, amazing artwork, crafty clothing … the list is endless.¬† The day is filled with locals and the occasional out-of-towner scrounging the streets for the best find.¬† Shipwreck Day is one¬†event you don’t want to miss out on! Be sure to catch it next summer!

Help Protect Puget Sound

Skagit, San Juan, and Island County are the three most beautiful Counties in the NW.  WE want to ask each of you to help preserve the amazing way of life that we have the North Puget Sound area by caring for our environment.

Over the past 25 years, we‚Äôve done much to improve the onshore salmon habitat.¬†¬†¬†The Salmon industry was saved from extinction by hatcheries dumping salmon ‚Äď more than two billion ‚Äď into Puget Sound waters. However¬†there continues to be a decrease in the numbers of this magnificent fish.¬† Scientists are attempting to get people to change behavior to protect Salmon from conserving water which affects stream flows and temperatures, to the avoidance of landscape chemicals which destroy insects and plants integral to the salmon habitat.¬†

¬† All of us need to think about protecting the waters not only around Anacortes and the San Juan Islands, but in our streams and runoff.¬† We need to be more careful about what we use, where we use it and how we dispose of it ‚Äď it‚Äôs the little things that add up.¬†

Here are eight things you can do as a homeowner to help the environment in the Pacific NW:

  • Conserve Water ‚Äď it‚Äôs the salmon‚Äôs home: ¬†Water lawns once a week ‚Äď only one inch is needed.
  • Cut your lawn high and let the clippings feed your lawn: Trim to 3 inches, let the clippings lie which reduces the need for water and fertilization.
  • Help storm water soak in ‚Äď not rush in ‚Äď to nearby streams:¬† Downspout water should discharge onto the lawn or flowerbeds. Direct hard surface water displaces salmon spawning gravel.
  • Put hazardous chemicals in their place:¬† Don‚Äôt pour solvents, paint, anti-freeze, or herbicides down the drain because fish will eventually swim in it.
  • A clean car doesn‚Äôt mean dirty water ‚Äď if you go to a¬† :¬† Avoid washing cars in the driveway.¬† The soapy water may end up in Puget Sound.¬† A car wash filters and recycles water.
  • Keep the lead out of our air and water:¬† Consult experts about sealing or removing lead paint.¬† Once in the streams, it damages small salmon food supply.
  • Make your garden grow naturally:¬† Use natural insect control. ¬†Avoid chemical sprays and dusts that wash off into streams, killing the small salmon food supply.
  • A healthy roof will gather no moss:¬† Moss shortens roof life.. To retard growth, use zinc or copper flashings ‚Äď avoid zinc or copper sulfates ‚Äď which are toxic to aquatic life.

Helpful websites: (salmon information); (salmon recovery); (National Marine Fisheries Service site)

Critical Areas/Shoreline Workshop


The San Juan County Association of Realtors¬ģ and Washington State Realtors¬ģ , will host a regional Critical Areas/Shoreline workshop

June 18, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Anacortes Library

1220 10th St., Anacortes


Whether you own a waterfront home or just enjoy walking on the beach, you will find this presentation very informative.

This free event will include speakers in salmon recovery, wetlands, land use and environmental regulations.  An out of the new Critical Areas Ordinances and Shoreline Master Plan updates being considered will also be discussed.

Vacation Home Sales are also on the rise!

The Vacation Home Market is Also Showing Strong Signs of Recovery!

 The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that the vacation home market is showing signs of recovery, with sales up nearly 8% and increased prices (up nearly 13%) following three years of declines.

 A new trend in second homes and vacation homes sales is that one out of four second home buyers based their home purchase on the ability to rent the home to offset some of the costs.  Low prices, a large inventory of homes for sale, and low interest rates have stimulated this segment of the real estate market.

 There is also a shift in the demographics of the vacation home buyer.  While baby boomers have historically dominated vacation home purchases, nearly half (47%) of the buyers in 2009 were under 45 years of age, with a median income of $87,500. 

 This shift in demographics of the second home buyer has also caused the internet to have an increasingly important role in the marketing and buying of vacation homes.  As always, Coldwell Banker is on the leading edge of new marketing trends and is reaching out to this new market segment through On Location-the Coldwell Banker You Tube channel, a variety of phone aps including the ability to search for homes, home shopping cart recommendations based on past preferences, GPS interfaced interactive maps, and of course, old fashioned exceptional customer service. 

At Coldwell Banker Island Living we have specialists that can help you with your second home purchase whether you are looking for a quaint cabin or a luxury waterfront estate.  Email us, or text us at 360.941.3734, call us at 3.293.4511, or drop by our office at 3110 Commercial Ave inAnacortes.  We serve Fidalgo Island including Anacortes, Skagit  County including  La Conner, Mt.Vernon, Burlington, and Sedro Woolley, Samish Island including Bow, North Whidbey Island including Oak Harbor, Guemes Island, and San Juan Island. 

We listen to your needs and communicate with you the way you would like us to.¬† Experience the difference in working with Coldwell Banker Island Living’s full time professional full service REALTORS¬ģ.

Make Your Yard Green

img_4468A green yard used to mean a lush lawn, but today in Anacortes and throughout the San Juans,¬†a green yard¬†means planting native plants that don’t need as much water.¬† This saves a lot of time and money for homeowners!¬† Here are some quick tips to think of if you have a landscaping project on your agenda for this summer.
Reduce the amount of lawn
Use drought-resistant plants
Add mulch or bark to help retain moisture in beds and reduce the amount of water needed
Only water as needed and use soaker hoses which are more efficient.
Plant your own fruits and vegetables
Reduce or eliminate chemicals used
Consider a dry creek bed instead of a water feature
Anacortes home owners have been using these “green” methods for years¬†(even though we have abundant water)
Keep Anacortes, La Conner, and the San Juan Islands a great place to live!