Orcas Island

Take a look at a map of Orcas Island and you will see the shape of saddlebags or a horseshoe. Small wonder it’s such a diversified island. Orcas has been called “the emerald island” for it is green much of the year with its moderate climate. The island is built around definitive villages and hamlets like Orcas Village (at the ferry landing), West Sound, Deer Harbor, Crow Valley, Eastsound, Olga and Doe Bay. Each little community is interesting and worth a visit. The island is still rare in having four post offices at Orcas, Deer Harbor, Eastsound and Olga.Many artists and musicians live here. They are happy to share their talent with others. For great entertainment , check out the impressive Orcas Theatre & Community Center. A big annual event here is the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival held near summer’s end. Actors also perform at the Orcas Grange. Small musical groups put on shows during the summer season. Noon concerts are held at Emmanuel Church each week in July and August.

The Orcas Island Historical Museum in the heart of Eastsound is a must-see. Those who love art find a trip to Orcas Island Artworks in Olga intriguing. The Lambiel Museum just outside Eastsound features work by local artist but also art and curios from all over.

Good accommodations can be found in various locations around this unusual island. From B&Bs to inns, hotels and resorts. To cottages and vacation rentals. Restaurants are plentiful and appeal to all kinds of tastes. Shopping includes books, music, clothing, gift and specialties. Plus hardware, household wares, pet supplies and groceries.

Moran State Park, with 5,200 acres of natural beauty and 38 miles of foot trails that range from easy to difficult to challenging draws outdoor lovers of all ages. A few of the popular trails are Twin Lakes to Mount Constitution, Cascade Loop Trail, Mountain Lake Loop and Cascade Falls Trail. Plan ahead for an overnight stay or enjoy a day hike or picnic in this magnificent park.

Robert Moran, Orcas Island’s great benefactor, also built the Moran mansion which was the start of Rosario way back in 1906. Today the renowned resort appeals to people with varied interests. Boaters who dock at the marina soon discover how much Rosario has to offer; a boat ramp, gas, showers, spa, pools, lounge, lodging, groceries. It’ s a starting place for kayaking and whale/wildlife tours. Dining ranges from casual to extra-ordinary.

For special sports to participate in, Orcas Island Country Golf Club offers challenging shots even for the experienced golfer. The 18-hole course is similar to Scottish courses years ago. Three farms provide trails for horseback riders. Mushroom hunting is fun in season. A popular kayaking trip goes from Orcas to Yellow Island. Good starting spots are Deer Harbor, West Beach and Doe Bay. From bald eagles to sea otters, deer to raccoons and whale watching, keep your eyes open for wildlife.

For more information on Orcas Island check out OrcasIsle.Com