Frequently Asked Questions About Lummi Island:
What attracts people to Lummi Island?
People find Lummi to be a beautiful and peaceful alternative to urban living. Living on Lummi Island offers a change of pace, a closer connection to the natural world, and greater involvement in a small community. In addition, unlike the ferry situation with the other San Juan islands, the Lummi Island ferry is more affordable, the ride is short, and the runs are frequent.
How long does it take to get to the ferry dock from Seattle, Vancouver B.C. and Bellingham?
From Seattle, you can reach the ferry dock in less than 2 hours. The distance from Vancouver is about 1 hour, depending on the international border wait time. Many of the Canadians who own property here get a Nexus pass, which makes crossing the border a breeze. Travel time to Bellingham takes about 30 minutes, including the ferry ride.
Does ferry traffic ever get backed up?
Yes. In spite of running double runs, or more, in the peak summer months of July and August (the ferry makes a round trip in 20 minutes), ferry-lines can occasionally be as long as an hour, but that is very unusual. One seldom waits for more than one ferry during the other 10 months of the year. Visit this page for more information about using the ferry to get here.
Is the ferry a problem for some people?
Yes. The ferry can be a formidable inconvenience for some people. Many permanent residents talk positively about ferry lines being a place to unwind, read, meditate or chat with neighbors, but others find it a trial. Those who live on the island successfully develop a relationship with the ferry that works for them. It is ironic, but the ferry and semi-isolation of the island are the reasons some people leave; they’re also the main reasons many of us never do.
What is the ferry's annual dry dock and how do people cope with it?
Every year in September, the car ferry goes into a 2 to 3-week dry dock for maintenance and a fresh coat of paint. During that time, Lummi Island is served by a passenger-only ferry. Parking is available on each side. Many islanders look forward to dry dock as a time when things quiet down, we get out of our car-bubbles and reconnect with each other. Many residents, not within walking distance of the ferry, have an "island car" which is trotted out for dry dock, while the "good car" is left on the mainland side. Others rent a car for dry dock. We also find it necessary to stock up on heavy items before drydock to keep the loads we are carrying on the passenger ferry lightweight.
What happens when a real estate agent is both the listing and selling agent?
Because we list and show so many properties, we frequently find ourselves in a dual agency role. This means that we must represent both parties in the transaction, provide all available information on the property to the buyers, and take no action that compromises either party's interests in the transaction; both parties must give their permission. Depending on the participants, dual agency can work well, but some people might need more direction. In that case, and upon request from either party, we will provide them with another broker from our company whose role would be to represent them exclusively. Also, all buyers and sellers are provided with the pamphlet, The Law of Real Estate Agency, which spells out the legalities of representation by a real estate company and their brokers, as well as what you can expect in the case of Dual Agency.
Is Lummi Island part of the Lummi Indian Reservation?
No. You’ll drive through the reservation to get to the ferry dock, but Lummi Island is not part of the Lummi Nation.
Can you describe a typical, long-term Lummi Island resident?
Some generalizations: Islanders seem to share a strong need for, and appreciation of, nature. They don't seem very attached, or even enthusiastic, about city resources and environments—except for shopping and supplies. In spite of a strong appreciation of community ties and traditions, islanders love their solitude. The island itself is central to their sense of belonging, identity and value system. Lummi Island is generally a "live and let live" kind of place, with a high level of tolerance and acceptance of differences. The education level is high. This said, as with any group, there are sub-groups and many exceptions.
The 2010 census revealed a year-round population of 981 with the highest percentage of the population being in the 45 to 54 year old group (24.5% of the total population). The total number of homes on the island in 2010 was 766, with approximately 52% of these being permanent residents. The remaining homes are used seasonally.
Many working islanders are employed by the Whatcom Chief ferry, The Willows Inn, the Beach Store Cafe, or work as fisherman for the reef net operations; additionally, many islanders are self-employed either running on island businesses, working remotely, or they make the short commute to town.
What about medical emergencies?
There are no medical facilities on the island. We have an excellent Lummi Island volunteer fire department and EMT unit that responds quickly to emergencies, which are announced to the island at large by siren. Emergency patients are transferred to St. Joseph's Hospital in Bellingham by a helicopter, or by ferry to an ambulance on the mainland side (whichever is needed). The ferry crew responds to calls for special medical emergency runs day or night. You can also get an insurance policy for emergency helicopter service for about $100 per year.
Are there any public parks or beaches on the island?
There are three beaches open to the public. One is located across from the Beach Store Cafe, and it faces east with expansive views of Mt. Baker across Hales Passage. There’s also Sunset Beach, which is located just north of Melcher Ave, near The Willows Inn, on the west side of the island. For stunning southerly views, visit Church Beach, located behind Lummi Island Congregational Church on Legoe Bay Rd. Other beaches should be used only with permission of the owners.
What services and commercial establishments are on Lummi Island?
We have a small general store, a county library branch, a post office, a Grange Hall, an elementary school, a volunteer fire department, two churches, a fine-dining restaurant, a cafe, a gift store, a few private arts and crafts studios open to the public, and a variety of individual skills and services available to islanders. When you meet with one of our brokers, we’ll provide you with a guide to many of these business listings, and you can read more about life on Lummi Island here.
Don’t see your question listed here? Contact us here, and we’ll get back to you.