Happiness does just seem to happen on Orcas Island. It’s a lifestyle found far and wide on our Island home, yet answering the question what exactly makes Orcas Islanders so happy is not an easy answer. With help from a few locals and a dip into the Interweb, I am excited to share some local insight into why we are such a grateful family of our amazing Orcas Island life, neighbors and neighborhood.
I was delighted to find while researching why we’re such a happy bunch many keys and habits to happiness used to elevate positive emotions, focus folks in the moment and raise happiness baselines in our everyday ebb and flow.
“Pat and I came to Orcas to visit friends in 1977. Bought waterfront property for 18,000. and never looked back. We built 4 houses over the years, lived aboard a boat, established careers and have hiked most every trail on the island. Scenery and good friends are the best mental health medicine around. Living the dream as they say.” – Lisa B. Retired Banker, Ambassador at Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce and Treasurer Orcas Island Garden Club
1 – SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO
An island filled with natural beauty surrounded by waters showcasing mountains and beautiful sun rises and sets with a bounty of culinary experiences is optimal for releasing dopamine anticipating something wonderful around the corner. We are rewarded just thinking about our incredible surrounds.
2 – CONSCIOUS ACTS OF KINDNESS AND SOCIAL INVESTMENTS
Orcas with an astonishing number of nonprofits, one for every 45 residents according to the Islands Sounder frames a unique culture of giving, kindness and vested interest for a better world that is simply contagious.
“As a relative newcomer to Orcas Island, I have been struck by the incredible sense of community here. There is always someone to offer guidance, a recommendation, or a helping hand. What a change from the city where I barely knew my neighbors’ names! I’m also fortunate to work at Rosario Resort & Spa where every day I am filled with awe and gratitude for the incredible beauty of this special place.” – Holly S. Rosario Resort & Spa
3 – MAKE YOUR ENVIRONMENT INSPIRING
San Juan County and Orcas Island are renowned for our inspiring environment. We are a national monument with more shoreline than any other county in the country featuring orcas, marine life and abundant wildlife tucked into the Salish Sea along with being considered an “Arts Hot Spot’ by the Washington State Arts Commission. One would think the definition of Inspiring Environment is the San Juan Islands.
“I love Orcas because it fosters the artist within all of us. There is a large community of creative people here. I think the energy of the island draws those yearning to live their passion. We feel it in our hearts. The Orcas Island Film Festival is a great example of this. Our amazing core group on the production team, as well as our many wonderful volunteers all come together because of our love for the art of cinematic story telling. A good film is in the eye of the beholder, which is the same for any art form. Imagery, sound and dialogue all come together to create a journey for the senses. It can leave you with emotions and thoughts that last for days, even weeks. That is the Orcas Island Film Festival at its best. Our community takes that journey with us, and we love it!” – Sara D. Orcas Island Film Fest
4 – EXERCISE WHENEVER YOU CAN
Ranked number one in the state for quality of life, physical and mental according to recent national studies as a community we take health seriously. Pair our organic healthy minds with an inspiring environment and it’s challenging to avoid the opportunity for even a short walk to improve your mental and physical health. I challenge you to not enjoy even a walk from the post office to The Loft at Madrona along our amazing Eastsound waterfront boardwalk – It can’t be done.
5 – THE RIPPLE EFFECT
Warning, before reading on please know the happiness on Orcas Island is infectious. The contagious positive emotions and mindsets of Orcas Islanders spreads throughout our island community and beyond. Please don’t solely take my word for it, let me quote a few locals who also find our amazing life on Orcas Island contagious!
“I love the pace of life on this slice of heaven. The community is unique, crazy, loving, and truly one-of-a-kind. It’s amazing to watch residence of Orcas (and all the San Juan Islands) come together to create such an incredible quality of life. I have a special glimpse into the community working with the Farmers Market, and this land is full of creative, supportive and just down-right cool folks. The picturesque valleys full of happy sheep, goats and cows (and people!) never cease to amaze me. The sea-salty air replenishes the soul. I love Orcas Island.” – Mandy G. Market Manager Orcas Island Farmer’s Market
In Close –
“Thank you Lisa, Mandy and Holly for helping showcase just a few of the reasons we LOVE calling Orcas Island Home and cannot see ourselves anywhere else! If you would like to share your reason or reasons, please shoot us a message. I never tire talking about LOVE for Orcas and the San Juan Islands.” – Wally