Why I Love to Call Orcas Island Home

Peaceful nature, enchanting local goods, and a tight-knit and distinctive community are just some of the reasons I love to call Orcas Island home. Although I flew the coop after 18 years of an unrivaled childhood on the island, I have yet to find a place with the same magical and serene simplicity. In times of stress, uncertainty, or just plain homesickness, I am comforted by thoughts of our idyllic island. Here are just a few reasons I am proud to say I am an islander. 

The beauty of Orcas is humble, pristine, and preserved. In the fall it is the deep rich colors of almost fallen leaves as the nests of bald eagles, owls and hawks become more visible. In the winter It is a blanket of thick snow covering the landscape from its beaches, to the tops of its mountains as humans and animals alike hibernate till the warmer months. In the spring it is the vibrant wildflowers dotting the sides of the road and the glimpse of a newborn white-speckled fawn shadowing its mother. I have yet to miss a summer on Orcas Island, and you won't want to either. The beauty of summer on the island can be found just about anywhere: Jumping into the fresh waters of Moran State Park by rope, bridge, or tree. Boating through the dotted archipelago and harvesting fresh crab as harbor seals bob their heads above water in curiosity. Watching the vibrant symphony of a summer sunset on the beach with friends, and whispering secrets to the moon and luminous stars at night. The natural beauty of Orcas Island is pure and magical, something loved and cherished by every individual who has the pleasure to know it. 

The local goods on the island are curated, crafted, and enriched with love and care. I love starting my morning with a refreshing local chai from Brown Bear Bakery, served with a smile by one of my fellow Orcas Island alumni. I enjoy perusing the shelves of Darvill’s Bookstore, littered with a mix of local and mainstream authors, hand-selected gifts, and a children's corner I once spent hours curled up in. At least once a month I genuinely need to have a plate of freshly grilled prawn tacos from Mijitas Mexican Kitchen, where I worked my first job at 14 years old, and my mother worked her first job around 30 years before me. On a Saturday in the warmer months, you will find me and my fellow islanders strolling through the buzz of the Orcas Island Farmers Market shopping for farm fresh produce, food from locally cherished families, and hand-made gifts you literally cannot find anywhere else. I guarantee that if you walk into any shop or restaurant on the island, the care and love for what each establishment offers will be made abundantly clear. You will be greeted the small island way: with a smile, a genuine conversation, and the indescribable feeling that you are exactly where you need to be. 

The people of Orcas Island are eccentric, involved, and caring to a point that I am unable to describe. While my experience is personal to me, and a result of 20 years spent building, I am confident any individual is capable of experiencing the same love, care, and vibrancy bestowed onto me. On our island, community looks like this: a subtle wave or smile in passing. A ride to town, hot meal, or jump start in times of need. The gift of an education nurtured by a principal and faculty who never give up, who never cut corners in learning, and who take the time to know every single thing about you despite your best teenage efforts to divert them. We are philanthropists, uplifting countless charities, fundraisers, and FaceBook Go Fund Me’s. We are patrons of the arts, encouraging artistry at every age and in every form, from live concerts and performances to art shows and classes. We are caring stewards of the island we have the pleasure of living on; we prioritize clean energy, clean air, and the protection and preservation of the ecosystem so special to our island. The community of Orcas Island is unparalleled, and I firmly promise you will not find another like it. It literally produces and grows outstanding citizens nurtured and destined to make the world a better place. I love Orcas Island because it has a community that I am proud to say I am a part of.

People love Orcas Island for a variety of reasons, personal to every individual. For me, it is my personalized experience of nature, local goods, and community. While visiting Orcas provides a small glimpse into its beauty, becoming a full-time islander allows you to give back and contribute to the same beauty so deeply admired. To find out more about Orcas Island, visit the Information Section on our website, or give us a call at (360) 376-8000. 

By Flora