Resident Central Kitsap/North Kitsap resident here...
I have lived in Port Orchard, Bremerton, Silverdale, Seabeck. I have to say that as a parent, I definitely prefer where I live now, very close to Seabeck. I am 20 minutes from the ferry convenience of Bremerton (I rarely partake... I'm rarely in Bremerton at all, honestly) and where we do most of our 'shopping-for-life', like groceries and Target and whatnot.
I live in a rural area of Bremerton so I'm not living anywhere near a base, but I'm only 20 minutes away if for some reason I ever wanted to go to one. LOL The area where I live is pretty coveted by those who have been here for a walk on the trailhead or a visit to Scenic Beach or a swim at Wildcat Lake- we have the best of a lot of things out here. The elementary school is the best in the county, IMO, we have an amazing staff who really do truly care about the students and are very involved with promoting parent involvement. I correspond by email with my son's teacher whenenever I wish and can request to meet her any time, and am viewed as part of his education team, not just the crazy over protective mother.
Having lived in Bremerton proper, I can say that I wouldn't do it again unless I was a single mama needing an apartment.
I live in a 1000sq ft house w/3bd 1ba, w/attached garage a mile away from the school and we pay $800 per month. If we buy it, we expect to pay (no more than) $160-$175K for it. The house prices out here are going up quick, too- two years ago this house would have been worth about $145K. Heck, maybe it still is..
My husband commutes to Seattle but I have to say that living in Kitsap is great because you aren't far from the city but you don't have to deal with city life. I detest the traffic in the city- be it Tacoma or Seattle or anywhere that size. I rarely go over the bridge to Tacoma, it's just overwhelming to me now that I'm all country-fied!
(I grew up in Seattle!)
The beautiful thing about where I live is that I'm also not far from the big organic/natural foods store in Kitsap, Central Market
in Poulsbo. Safeway in Silverdale is hosting more natural foods, and in Silverdale there is also an organic butcher! All of their meat is natural/organic and it's reasonably priced, too. I'm so excited about that!
Poulsbo has incredible local shopping, and wonderful parks! Silverdale has great parks too, I haven't seen one yet in Port Orchard that didn't scare me a little.
That's not to say there aren't good parks in PO, I just am unaware of them.
FYI: There is a Kitsap-AP yahoogroup
that you're welcome to join and ask around on. Lots of the mamas there are military transplants and would be glad to share their experiences! Spring is here so we should be having more playgroups and park dates. We tend to rotate around to parks around the county or homes when it's rainy.
Kitsap also has the Peninsula Birth Network
site where you can find birth professionals if you're looking for one, or other family friendly links. Also check out KitsapKids.com
. And once you get here I'll introduce you to the knitting group in Poulsbo, if you like- we're knitters/crocheters of all experience levels, bringing newborns and small kids so we can get together.
Welcome to the county!