|RE/MAX ISLAND PROPERTIES, ORCAS ISLAND, WA
The 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Orcas Island
Throughout the years of conversations with our clients, we have learned that there are a number of things that are important to almost everyone thinking about moving to the island. Life is different here, and that is what draws certain people to this lifestyle. So here they are, our Top Ten Questions. Click on any of the pictures for a larger version if you wish.
1. "What is the weather like in the winter?"
Winter is generally mild and peaceful. Most of the rain (average annual rainfall is 28") falls in Fall and Winter. Snow is rare on the low land but can often be seen on the top of Mt. Constitution. The determined gardener can, with some extra work, keep a garden year-round. Most of us enjoy a break from garden activities during this dormant season.
Trumpeter Swans wintering
2. "Are there medical services on the Island?"
A new, up-to-date Medical Center is located in Eastsound. Currently, 3 family practice physicians are available, as well as some specialists and Physical Therapy services. Excellent EMT and Paramedic personnel are on call 24 hours/day. Med Flight is available. Several dentists maintain active practices.
Orcas Island Medical Center
3. "Is there a school on the Island?"
K-12 public education is offered at the Eastsound site of Orcas Island Public Schools. Current enrollment is approximately 540. The program is enthusiastically endorsed by the community as evidenced by the 100% passage of all levies in the school's history. In addition, Montessori pre-school/kindergarten, a Christian school and The Brown School, are available as well as private, licensed pre-school and day-care.
Orcas Island Public School
4. "Are there building contractors on the Island?"
Many new residents wish to build the "home of their dreams" or remodel at some point in their residency. Most utilize, with great satisfaction, one of the many fine contracting companies on the Island. We are happy to speak with you further about the specifics of choosing a contractor.
5. "What do you do for "culture" on the Island?"
Orcas Center in Eastsound is the site of many fine cultural events; local artists and well-known mainland artists perform here. The Living Room is a smaller site for fine, live entertainment and gallery shows. The Island's history is seen at the Historical Museum in Eastsound and the restored Crow Valley School. The many resident artists maintain studios and galleries; most are open for visits. The public library has a fine collection of books and sponsors many interesting lectures and exhibits.
6. "How many people live on the Island?"
Current best estimates range from 3,700 to 3,800 full time residents. The summer tourist industry makes reservations for accommodations during this busy season an imperative.
Eastsound from the air
7. "What's there to do on Orcas Island?"
The Island's natural beauty provides many fine opportunities for enjoying nature as an observer -- bird watching, whale watching; or as a participant -- boating, hiking, fishing, camping. The community has a variety of offerings depending upon the time of year; for example: the 4th of July parade and fireworks, the Mentor Project's Annual Garden Tour, Orcas Day Care's Christmas B&B Tour, the Choral Society's concerts -- to name but a few.
8. "How do we get to Orcas?"
The most common mode of travel is by Washington State Ferry departing from Anacortes. Commercial planes fly regularly into Eastsound Airport and float planes fly into Rosario and West Sound. A passenger only ferry is operated in the summer from Bellingham to Obstruction Pass. Marinas provide access for private boats.
Washington State Ferry
9. "How will the natural beauty be maintained?"
In addition to the County regulations and the Comprehensive Plan, Subdivision Ordinance and the Shoreline Master Program, there are certain unique mechanisms in place: the San Juan Land Bank and the San Juan Preservation Trust. The Trust is set up to accept donations of money, land, development rights and conservation easements on properties that land owners wish to save from development.
10. "Who should I talk to about buying or selling property on Orcas?"
Stu and Patsy Stephens!