"Big little town" has a lot to offer Woodinville residents and visitors

When Jeanne Erickson moved to Woodinville 18 years ago, Woodinville — which wasn't yet an official city — didn't have enough traffic to need many stoplights.

It didn't yet have a movie theater or many places to go for dinner. And while Woodinville had wineries, it didn't have a designated tourist district — or signs pointing visitors to the wineries.

But 18 years ago, Woodinville offered Erickson's children a good school district — Northshore — and the opportunity to own a house on a little more than an acre.

"It's kind of a big little town," Erickson said as she had a latte with her friend Pat Olson under a yellow Starbucks umbrella in downtown Woodinville. "There's a lot here."

The town of nearly 10,000 residents includes a movie theater, Target, Linens 'n Things, several shopping area and a civic center in the downtown.

The majority of the city is made up of single-family homes, but about one-third of the residents live in apartments or condos.

The city hasn't stopped growing since Erickson moved to Woodinville.

"I'd say the area is growing exponentially in home-price values and will continue to grow," said real-estate broker Scott Logsdon of Preferred Real Estate Services. Homes sell in the mid-300s to well above a million dollars, he said.

The median price of a single-family home in the northeast part of King County that includes Woodinville was $450,475 in September, up 2.6 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to figures compiled by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

The median price of a condo, however, jumped 33.8 percent to $227,425.

Generally, homes in Woodinville come with more land than in other nearby areas, said Logsdon, who grew up in Woodinville and graduated from Woodinville High School.

Woodinville offers trails for hiking and biking, and the expanding winery scene, Logsdon said.

The upcoming Woodinville Village — a mixed-use project with four wineries, condos, restaurants and a hotel — is expected to bring more wineries to the area.

Erickson said she thought the "Chateau Ste. Michelle [winery] and Molbak's really put us on the map."

Across the street from the Starbucks, Molbak's nursery draws customers from all over to select from seasonal inventories that include thousands of plants for homes and gardens.

The front parking lot was full on a sunny Friday afternoon.

Sam Rutledge, a Woodinville student who was working at Molbak's during the summer, helped a woman load bags of soil, some plants and two tall pots into a convertible BMW.

Rutledge said Woodinville is "a little bit out of my price range now," but as a middle- to upper-middle-class suburb close to Seattle, it seemed to him like a good place to raise a family.

Leota Lake is one of the neighborhoods in Woodinville, a city of nearly 10,000 residents. (PHOTOS BY GREG GILBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES)

Population: 9,241

Schools: Woodinville is served by the Northshore School District.

Distance to downtown Seattle: About 20 miles.

Recreation: Wilmot Gateway Park — 7301 131st Ave. N.E.

Named after Jerry Wilmot, a founding father of the city of Woodinville, the park features covered picnic areas, restroom facilities, a children's play area, large grassy bowl and access to the Sammamish River Trail.

Fun fact: Woodinville celebrates its community with two of the most unusual civic gatherings around, the All Fools' Day Parade and the Basset Bash, with prizes for best howl, best waddle and most foolish human.

Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf