"Fare"..... as is in the things unique about "My Island"

Why Orcas Island?

  • Why Orcas Island?

    Before we retired to Orcas Island, one of my friends from work asked me why we had chosen Orcas Island to live after retirement. We have lived here now almost 17 years which is a decent start on being classed as a “local” but probably not for a few more. That’s how the culture of Orcas Island works. Anyway, the question set my thoughts off and running to really question why we are where we are.

    When we retired from daily corporate life, we had moved around so much that we didn’t have a “home base.”  We tried to settle in Carefree, Arizona, but it just wasn’t a fit, so we started looking. We had some ties to Victoria in B.C., Canada, but there were problems with living away from our native country. We decided to explore the area nearby.  We spent time looking at Lopez Island, San Juan Island and finally Orcas Island. From the first time we drove off the ferry and headed inland on Orcas, it just “felt right”…. and, you know, we have never really tried to record what it was, and is, that made it “feel right.”

    Was it the air? Lots of places have air that smells. The air in Seoul Korea smells like kimchi. The air in Tokyo smells like auto exhaust fumes. The air in New York smells…well it depends on where you are in New York City.  The air in Phoenix smells like dusty trails. But the air on Orcas Island smells new.  And sweet.  And when it rains, there is a smell that is somewhere between the majestic Fir and the beautiful Madronna that is like nothing else in the world.

    Was it the people? We didn’t have a relative or a friend or even an acquaintance on Orcas Island. But nobody looked at us with that “well, how long are you staying” look either.  Friendly? Yes. Sincerely friendly?  Yes, mostly.  Gushing? No, never.  The mix was, and is, “just right.”

    If I provided you with a list of cultural groups, singers, actors, artisans, artists, performers, writers and more – all at the very top of their field of accomplishment, you would swear the list came from a place 20 times the size of Orcas Island.  That’s pretty much true of most things on Orcas Island.  It all added up to that perfect mix of place, people and quality of life.