stunning orcas island view
View from Orcas

Fondly known as the ‘Emerald Isle,’ Orcas Island is 57.3 square miles and shaped like a horseshoe. Or two saddlebags. Or a trapezoid. No matter your shape preference, the idyllic destination is home to stunning vistas, exquisite cuisine, and inspiring artists. This is an island to be loved. See just how much you love Orcas by testing your knowledge in a true and false test. 

As an added bonus, Orcas Island is just a 45 minute scenic flight from Lake Washington and Lake Union aboard a seaplane. Alternatively, you can catch a convenient flight from Boeing Field directly to Eastsound Airport.

Test Your Knowledge of Orcas Island

True or False: Outlook Inn began as a general store?

True. Outlook Inn’s original structure was built in the late 1800s by Charles Shattuck. Originally a gold miner, Charles became a hunter and then small business owner. The store sold all number of goods and became a central stomping ground for the town. It also housed the town’s post office. Dental and barber services were provided in the small shop. The local jail was even located out back!

True or False: Orcas Island offers the only 360-degree view in the San Juans.

True! From the summit of Mount Constitution, you’re treated to 360-degree view of the San Juan Islands, Vancouver, and the mainland. On clear days, you can see the snow-covered peaks of Mount Baker and Mount Rainier. Climb to the top historical watchtower, where informational guides help you identify key land markers.

True or False: Orcas Island is home to the only river in the San Juans.

False. There are no major rivers in the San Juan Islands, even on Orcas Island. However, thanks to its unique topography, Orcas Island is home to four different waterfalls — Cascade Falls, Rustic Falls, Cavern Falls, and Hidden Falls.

True or False: Orcas Island was named after the beloved orcas whales that call its waters home.

False. Orcas Island was named by Francisco de Eliza in 1791. He named the island in honor of Juan Vicente de Güemes Padilla Horcasitas y Aguayo, 2nd Count of Revillagigedo, the Viceroy of Mexico, who sponsored Francisco’s expedition.

True or False: The Marshall Strawberry is native to Orcas Island.

False. Prior to the 1930s, no strawberries grew in Olga on Orcas Island. But when the Great Depression brought a decline in agriculture, the Marshall Strawberry was brought to the island by several local farmers. The variety was prized for its taste and firmness. It thrived in the fertile farmland and plentiful sunshine Orcas offered. Dozens of acres were cultivated during the 1930s and 1940s — creating jobs and preventing economic collapse.

True or False: Orcas Island Pottery is the oldest pottery studio on Orcas.

True! Orcas Island Pottery was opened in 1945 by Joe and Marclay Sherman. Their pots were made from clay dug from the island’s banks and the studio was housed in a log cabin made from old growth fir. It was originally a trappers’ cabin and the potters traded a local farmer four plates and four bowls for the building that’s now 150 years old. Today, it still serves as part of the showroom today.

True or False: There is only one place to go wine tasting on Orcas Island.

False. There are two places to go wine tasting on Orcas — Doe Bay Wine Company in Eastsound and Orcas Island Winery nestled at the base of Turtleback Mountain. Both destinations are unique and each offers an exquisite and quite different wine tasting experience. Doe Bay Wine Co. was founded by island native Cole Sisson. Along with a bottle shop and tasting room, it features carefully curated wine flights and wines by the glass. Among the memorable pours are those from Sisson’s Orcas Project Wines, a unique collection of dynamic and fun wines with quirky labels. Orcas Island Winery is the island’s only winery. Established in 2011, the boutique family vineyard and winery features locally produced and crafted wines that range from bold reds to refreshing sparkling wines.

True or False: No one has ever played the 1913 Aeolian pipe organ at Rosario Resort.

True! The Moran Mansion at Rosario Village (previously known as Rosario Resort) houses a two-story organ. The mansion was built by Robert Moran, who regularly treated his guests to ‘performances.’ The kicker is, he never actually played the organ! It’s a player organ and the player console is hidden upstairs, away from those who would be listening to concerts on the first floor. Moran never told his guests that the organ was playing himself. He simply accepted the compliments.

True or False: You can buy fresh oysters at the gas station.

True! The Country Corner Grocery and Deli regularly sells fresh oysters — along with an impressive selection of wine, laundromat, personalized pizzas.

True or False: The corner of Main St. and N Beach Rd. smells like cookies and fresh baked bread.

True (most of the time). At the heart of Eastsound, on the corner of Main St. and N Beach Rd., Brown Bear Baking’s scratch-made bakery perfumes the surrounding streets with galettes, cookies, breads, and more.

True or False: There’s 50-ton land-locked ship on Orcas Island.

True! On the side of Mount Picket, roughly 400 feet above sea level and about six miles from any viable boat launch, rests the Aproximada. Long-time Orcas Island resident, App Applegate, built the ship by hand after moving to the island in the 1970s. In 2004, the “Washington Post” reported that Applegate planned to “set sail in April”… though he was “not yet sure which April.” Applegate died in 2013, never having picked an April or moving the Aproximada.

More Fun Things To Do On Orcas Island

Ultimate Things To Do On Orcas Island This Summer

Orcas Island Summer Getaway
A towering peak, protected pebble-covered beaches, and a thriving farm-to-table food scene has earned Orcas Island a cult-like following.

Island Foodie Getaway

Dinner at MATIA on Orcas Island
Classy dining, luxurious waterfront accommodations, and the friendly island charm make an Orcas Island getaway to MATIA and Outlook Inn a can’t-miss!