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Just a ferry ride from Seattle, Bainbridge Island is a world away from the hectic pace of urban life.

Those who commute to the city for work can spend their morning time on the boat leisurely sipping an espresso and reading the newspaper or start their workday catching up on emails and cell calls on the 35 minute crossing. The return trip at days end is always more relaxed, catching up with colleagues over a glass a wine as the city literally and figuratively recedes in the wake of the ferry.

Bainbridge has retained the serenity and friendliness of small town living.

Prices range from $400,000 for modest cottages to several million for large waterfront estates. Condos and homes in the town of Winslow allow residents to stroll out their front door to local bakeries, coffee shops, restaurants, and shops. Spectacular waterfront homes offer breathtaking vistas of Puget Sound and marine wildlife. Those seeking more elbow room will find homes on a couple of acres.

The preservation of wild lands on the island is in partly due to the Bainbridge Island Land Trust, which was founded in 1989 to protect the island's forestlands, wetlands, meadows, and shorelines. Friends of the Farm help preserves and enhance local farming.

"Bainbridge Islanders have preserved our sense of community, small town feel, and rural beauty by carefully controlling growth and resisting the pressures to expand without careful planning," said Edward Buckley, owner and Broker of Buckley & Buckley Real Estate.

Among the protected areas are the Grand Forest, a 300 acre forested park with pristine trails and Gazzam Lake, with over 300 acres.

Locals appreciate the Islands 26 miles of shoreline, which provides easy access for beach walks, clam digging & seashell hunting.

The island's low key lifestyle appeals to families, who benefit from both the sense of community and the Bainbridge schools which have ranked in the top 3 schools in Washington as well as in national performance statistics.

"Lifestyle is the number one reason for moving here," said Maureen Buckley, owner and Broker of Buckley & Buckley Real Estate. "People come to Bainbridge for the top public and private schools, and for a community dedicated to preserving the small town feel and green spaces."

Bainbridge became known to the wider world through Hollywood films, television shows, and novels. The popular hospital drama Grey's Anatomy often features the Bainbridge ferry. Disclosure, a 1994 thriller starring Michael Douglas and Demi Moore, was filmed on the island. Island resident and novelist David Guterson used Bainbridge as inspiration for the fictional island in his 1994 best seller novel and following movie, Snow Falling on Cedars.

Given the diversity and continuing popularity of Bainbridge Island, home buyers benefit from local real estate agents with expertise of the community. Buckley & Buckley Real Estate, a family-owned firm, has sold homes on the island for 30 years. Co-owners Maureen and Edward Buckley, who are also long time Bainbridge residents help buyers navigate today's tight real estate market.

The Island's most recent addition is the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA), a $15 million dollar "Gold Star Leed" building designed by Coates Design which focuses on contemporary work by artists from the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas and the western Puget Sound region.

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