Estrella Top Choice for Pacific Northwest Transplants

Estrella is seeing a surge of residents from out of state, specifically from the Pacific Northwest (PNW). Recent data shows 3,300 people per year are swapping gray skies for sunshine and many of them are enjoying a new beginning in the West Valley’s premier master-planned community.

Just more than two years ago, Shelley and Gary Darden moved to Estrella from Seattle for a few reasons, not the least of which is the climate.  “The sunshine! The blue skies!” Shelley exclaimed.

After visiting Gary’s brother, a Mesa resident, the couple decided the warmer weather would suit them well. They gave Las Vegas a try for a couple of years, but quickly decided Arizona had the landscape and culture the couple was looking for and Estrella had the amenities they were after. “We love it. I love the 300 plus days of sun, I love the community, I love the lakes.” After looking at other master-planned communities, they easily settled on Estrella. “The amenities, definitely the amenities. And it’s so quiet up here.”

With an active social life and desire to engage, the couple utilizes almost every amenity Estrella offers. “We don’t golf, but we like the golf club! There’s always something going on, karaoke, or something. The fitness center and yacht clubs are great and it’s just pretty here. There are always lights at the lake for various seasons and it’s so pretty.”

The Dardens are part of a large and growing population of former PNW residents who now call Estrella home. The PNW to EMR Facebook page boasts more than 500 members. The group regularly gets together for parties, meals and to watch their beloved Seattle Seahawks.

Lifestyle aside, it also made financial sense for the Dardens to make the move to Goodyear. “County taxes,” they both laugh. “We left a house half the size with probably four times the amount of taxes.” In Seattle they owned a 1,500 square foot, two-story home on a 9,000 square foot lot. Their neighborhood consisted of about 100 homes, with an HOA, but with no amenities. “So, we paid the same price as this house right here which is double the size, with a pool, and we get all the Estrella amenities. But half the taxes.”

Like many transplants, the Dardens have a regular rotation of friends and family who come to visit. Those who don’t visit have heard about the fringe benefits of Estrella living. “They’re cooped up inside and I tell them, ‘Yes, I had Thanksgiving outside, I watch TV outside!” And the benefits don’t stop there. “Like many people in the area, the gray days would get me down. The sunshine here has been amazing for my mental health,” Shelley shared.

The couple is still sorting through other pros of the move including navigating the freeways. “I love our freeways here! Even though the locals will tell you how bad they are,” said Gary. He shared that in Seattle it had taken him an hour to commute just 17 miles. Now from Estrella he can get all the way to work in Scottsdale – 55 miles away­­— in the same amount of time.

The elephant in the room should be the heat. With a record-breaking summer, do these PNW transplants regret their decision? Not one bit. “I love it. We’re in the pool all day, it’s just flip flopped from a Seattle winter. We have downtime mid-day, and once the sun is down, it’s perfect. The sunshine is one of my favorite parts about our move.”

Find your new home at and discover why 8,000 families already call this diverse, welcoming West Valley master-planned community home. Located in Goodyear, Arizona amongst pristine mountains and a dramatic desert landscape, Estrella amenities include multiple Residents’ Clubs, resort-style pools and a waterpark, 72 acres of lakes, 65-plus miles of paths and trails, the Yacht Club of Estrella, the award-winning Nicklaus Design course at the Golf Club of Estrella, community welcome center, and more than 50 neighborhood parks.