By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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SEQUIM –– Citing its beaches, forests and access to legal marijuana, national media outlets are again hailing Sequim as the best place in America to retire.
The Huffington Post and Fox News each named Sequim as the United States' top retirement city last week.
“It's near the water, and same rainfall as Los Angeles,” wrote the Huffington Post, citing a reader who also noted Walla Walla as a Washington city fit for the Golden Years.
“Both places are much cheaper than Los Angeles, have no smog or water or gang worries. Assisted suicide is legal, as is pot!”
The Huffington Post post ranked Sequim first of six retirement burgs, putting it atop, in order, a nudist resort in Edinburg, Texas; Denver; Sarasota, Fla.; Napa Valley, Calif., and San Diego.
“It's a great place to live period,” retiree Chuck Apts said while riding his bike at Railroad Bridge Park.
Apts has lived in Sequim since 1970 when he began working at Pacific Northwest National Laboratories' Marine Research Center in Sequim, but said he enjoys the place even more since he retired.
“When you have all this free time, it's an even better place to be,” Apts said.
Fox News ranked Sequim at the top of five cities to “grow old n happy,” with Denver, Sarasota, Napa Valley and San Diego trailing in order.
“Now this place has it all, from sandy beaches to lush forests and all four seasons,” said the Fox News report.
“It's not new news. That's always been the talk of the town,” said Shelli Robb-Kahler, director of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Publications like the The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Sunset magazine have touted Sequim's appeal to the post-work population since the 1970s, and that has had an effect on Dungeness Valley demographics.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 40.4 percent of Sequim's population is age 65 or older — the age at which citizens can collect full Social Security benefits.
But the social security threshold is just the tip of Sequim's aged population, as 10.8 percent of the city is over the age of 84.
Sequim's median age of 57.9 years old is nearly a generation older than Washington state's median age of 32.2.
For the Huffington Post's report, visit: http://tinyurl.com/PDN-retirehuffpo, and the Fox News ranking can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/PDN-retirefox.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click to watch "How do you say Sequim?" a tourism-promotion video created by the city of Sequim and posted at http://www.visitsunnysequim.com/ :