Money talks: Bainbridge No. 2 most liveable

Magazine lauds island’s schools, views and access to big-city amenities.

The secret, to the extent that it still is one, is officially out:

Bainbridge Island is a fine place to live.

Money magazine annoints Bainbridge as the nation’s second-most liveable community in its August edition, ranking the island just behind Moorestown, N.J., and ahead of Naperville, Ill., Vienna, Va., and Louisville, Colo.

The writers cite the island’s good school system, nice views, quick access to big-city amenities and “rational home prices.”

“It’s like being on vacation all the time,” the magazine quotes Kathy Jones as saying. She moved here with her tax-consultant husband and daughter from Dallas, Texas, in April.

The few drawbacks to island living cited include reliance on the ferries to reach Seattle, and “isolation (that) can be tough on teenagers.”

The story says islanders have never failed a school levy, the text having apparently been written before voters rejected a technology levy in May.

Bainbridge was among 100 “great American towns” that were winnowed from an original list of 1,300 under consideration, the editors said.

Honorees were places “where you would want to raise your family and build your career – places with good schools, safe streets, economic opportunity and plenty of arts and leisure activities.”

Does the national publicity herald hordes of new residents descending on the island?

One longtime realtor doesn’t think so.

“I’ve always been skeptical about the criteria on which those judgments are made,” said Ed Kushner, who owned the Windermere office from 1978-2001 and now serves as a community volunteer. “I don’t know that they have any significant impact except to sell magazines.”

Kushner noted that even communities like Gorst, a wayside in South Kitsap, have been honored by various publications at points in the past.

Money magazine named Bremerton the nation’s No. 1 most liveable city in 1990, at a time when that city’s downtown was largely vacant.

“I think there will be a lot of people who come and visit, and we have a decent number of places for people to stay now,” Kushner said.

“But I think most people will make the decision on where they want to be for reasons other than one of those things.”

* * * * *

The top 10

Topping the list of Money magazine’s “Best Places To Live” is Moorestown, N.J., followed by: (2) Bainbridge Island, Wash., (3) Naperville, Ill., (4) Vienna, Va., (5) Louisville, Colo., (6) Barrington, R.I., (7) Middleton, Wisc., (8) Peachtree City, Ga., (9) Chatham, N.J. and (10) Mill Valley, Calif.

The complete list with community profiles is online at

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