The Many Ways to Improve Your Quality of Life in Port Ludlow
Living in a smaller town often means a higher quality of life, thanks to a more peaceful, scenic backdrop, a cleaner environment and often a lower cost of living. In Port Ludlow, you’ll not only find all of this but many other ways to improve your quality of life.
Port Ludlow truly offers something for everyone, including a strong sense of community as former president of the Port Ludlow Village Council Terry Umbreit waxed poetically about in the Port Townsend Leader a couple of years ago.
Umbriet noted that “in addition to the natural beauty of the area and the assets of a master planned resort (golf course, marina, hotel, parks, trails and community centers), the strength of the community is its residents.”
“Port Ludlow residents,” he added, “have skills, talents and expertise that they are willing to share.”
“The power and influence of local residents are apparent in their commitment to maintain their lifestyles and protect the environment,” he continued, listing the timber harvest issue as one example, when residents gathered to put pressure on the county to stop the developer from clear cutting. A special committee was organized to communicate with Jefferson County and other government organizations, and it was the members’ homework and understanding of the issues which created an effective advocate for all residents. That creation of mechanisms to resolve conflicts is a very positive one for any community.
Then there is the residents’ high rate of volunteerism, and the vast social and activity calendar which includes a wide range of clubs like hiking, gardening, books, investment, fly fishing and more, as well as get-togethers like potlucks, luncheons and other events.
A strong community brings people together to advocate and support each other, and as human beings, we need a sense of belonging, and that sense of belonging is what connects us to the many relationships we develop. When we have a stronger sense of community we feel like we’re an important member of a group, and it can greatly enhance the quality of our lives.
Not only does this strong sense of community add to the quality of life in Port Ludlow, there are many other factors and things to take advantage of here that can dramatically boost well-being.
Why living by the water makes us happy
You probably already know that many Port Ludlow residents are boaters – and lots of them moved here just to enjoy the easy access to the water and the ability to dock their vessels just steps away from home at the Port Ludlow Marina. That alone boosts happiness – as the maritime community here is one of the village’s most beloved assets. Port Ludlow Yacht Club Commodore Anne Burrell-Smith says that one of her and her husband Ramsay’s favorite things to do is to enjoy dinner on their boat, and hanging out with other boat owners at the marina.
With a boat just steps away from home, it’s easy to find time in for a leisurely cruise around the bay, enjoying the stunning scenery and watching for wildlife, like the many bald eagles that soar above, as well as the seals, otters and other wildlife that call this area home.
Marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols says that when we’re in or near the water, it triggers a
“mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment.”
Many of us love to sit by the bay and gaze out at the water, even sitting for long periods just observing the gentle movements of the water. While we may not be conscious of it, the water is believed to induce a mildly meditative state of calm focus and gentle awareness.
Scientific research has also shown that living by the water might make you happier, with a study in 2016 conducted at Michigan State University demonstrating a positive correlation between health and coastal living. Researchers looked into the lives of residents who lived on the coast of New Zealand and enjoyed views of the sea, as well as those who lived inland, and found that people who lived near the water reported less psychological distress.
Other than simply enjoy its beauty, we have many ways to get out on the water and enjoy that peaceful feeling that washes over us, and sends stress packing. When we’re not heading out on a boat, we can walk along the scenic shoreline, hike the Beach Loop Trail that winds by the water, enjoy a refreshing dip, toss out a line and catch trout or salmon, kayak, paddleboard and more.
No wonder we’re so much happier here in Port Ludlow living by the water.
Not all of our activities involve being out on the water, however. Port Ludlow is home to the championship 18-hole Port Ludlow Golf Course, designed by highly acclaimed golf course architect Robert Muir Graves. It offers challenges to golfers of all skill levels and boasts views of Ludlow Bay, Hood Canal, as well as both the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges.
?Imagine a therapy that had no known side effects, was readily available, and could improve your well-being at zero cost. That’s golf. A round brings many therapeutic ingredients, including spending time in nature, exercise, fostering new and existing relationships, relaxation and stress management. In fact, the positive effects can be more beneficial than medication or psychotherapy.
Just playing one round of golf, if you stay on your feet, can take 18,000 steps – and being physically active for 30 minutes or more offers some serious physical and mental benefits. It even increases brain volume and blood flow, improves self-esteem, enhances sleep and mood, while reducing negative thoughts.
Golf is something you can learn to play at any point in your life. If you never tried swinging a club, or if you want to improve your game, private and group lessons, including golf etiquette, strategy, putting and chipping, can be taken right at the Port Ludlow Golf Course. There are a number of other courses within an hour of Port Ludlow as well, including the White Horse Golf Club in Kingston, Discover Bay Golf Club in Port Townsend, Sky Ridge Golf Course Center in Sequim and the Peninsula Golf Club in Port Angeles.
Exercise and other outdoor activities
Exercise is a great way to improve your quality of life, and by making it fun, odds are, you’ll stick with it a lot longer. No matter what your age, it’s never too late to get started, in fact, one study found that elderly patients with osteoarthritis and knee pain actually managed to improve their conditions when exercise was introduced to their routines. Proving that as we grow older, making time for exercise can be incredibly beneficial.
The good news is that not only does Port Ludlow offer the chance to get out on the golf course, but there are many other options when it comes to outdoor activities that make it easy to get physical more often. And, all of that amazing scenery, from the glistening water of the bay to rivers, forests and soaring mountains, inspires us to want to get out there and enjoy it.
Kayaking. Kayaking is a great way to get out and enjoy the water as well as being great exercise. It’s a low-impact activity so you’ll have little risk of wear-and-tear on your joints, and it helps to boost muscle strength, particularly in the arms, shoulders, chest and back. It improves cardiovascular health and increases torso and leg strength, as the strength to power a kayak comes primarily from rotating the torso and apply pressure with the legs. It can also be meditative, or exhilarating, it’s all up to you.
Hiking. Port Ludlow and the surrounding area have practically an endless number of trails to get out on, allowing you to enjoy the Great Outdoors and some of the most striking scenery the Pacific Northwest has to offer, while getting some exercise in too. There are 26 miles of well-maintained trails in Port Ludlow alone, not to mention the miles and miles of scenic routes throughout the northern Olympic Peninsula. Just some of the benefits hiking brings to improve your quality of life include enhancing one’s mood by being immersed in nature, reducing stress, improving cardiovascular fitness, strengthening muscles, lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes, and even improving creative problem-solving skills.
Hiking is a great way to get a good workout without putting too much pressure on your joints as the trails tend to be softer on joints than asphalt or concrete.
John Muir was definitely onto something when he said, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”
Biking. Many of the Port Ludlow trails can be biked too, and just as they offer to hikers, you’ll find flat routes, loops, scenic water trails, and others with substantial elevation gains of varying distances that can provide a fun way to get some exercise too. Biking is also great for your heart and can help you live longer, but if you use it to get around occasionally it can help save the planet too as it produces zero pollution. And, it works to tone your legs, abs, and more.
Fishing. Traditional fishing and fly fishing, both of which are popular activities in Port Ludlow and on the Olympic Peninsula, is an excellent form of exercise. During a morning or afternoon session of fishing, you could burn anywhere from 500 to 1,500 calories without even realizing it. Actively fishing can involve a number of activities, such as wading against the current in a stream, hiking, repeatedly casting and reeling, and even climbing or boulder hopping in certain kinds of terrain. It also calls for using small muscle groups that aren’t commonly used to help improve fine motor skills, such as when navigating rough terrain and slippery rocks in a river, which challenges your balance, improves strength in the little-used muscles and tendons in your feet, ankles, calves, and shins. Plus, fishing is by nature a meditative activity that forces you to slow down and enjoy your surroundings, allowing you to forget about your worries and seriously relieve some stress.
Those who live in Port Ludlow are especially lucky to have so many and varied fishing opportunities. It would take a lifetime to fish all of the incredible waters found around Jefferson County. Much like the many bays, estuaries and shorelines that define the Olympic Peninsula, the county holds many hidden treasures waiting to be discovered.
Accessibility to Healthy, Delicious Food
Port Ludlow and the Olympic Peninsula as a whole is often described as a foodie paradise, giving residents easy access to a bounty of healthy, delicious, and often locally-grown, organic foods.
Research has shown that access to fresh and healthy foods is one of a number of factors that can contribute to better eating habits and positive health outcomes, including a lower risk for obesity and diet-related diseases. Over the past 20 years, and over 300 studies completed, the consensus among experts is that people who live in neighborhoods with better access to healthy food also have better nutrition and better health. Without access to healthy food, a nutritious diet is out of reach.
Here in Port Ludlow, there are a wealth of eateries that focus on farm-to-table cuisine, using local, fresh and organic ingredients, including the highly acclaimed Fireside Restaurant. Many offer menus with vegan and vegetarian items and gluten-free dishes too. Just a few include the Farm Reach Café in Chimacum, and Port Townsend’s Sweet Laurette Café and Bistro, the Fountain Café and Owl Spirit Café.
Additionally, there are many places where you can buy produce and other foods like eggs, cheese and meats fresh from the farm. Mystery Bay Farm on Marrowstone Island sells goat cheese and yogurt to the public, while you can also stop by the self-service, honor system farm stand that offers fresh, in-season produce as well as seasonal plants and cut flowers.
There are also three farmers’ markets in the area, including one of the best small town markets in the country in Port Townsend, as well as one in Chimacum and Port Gamble.
Living in Port Ludlow, there is a wealth of fabulous seafood options too – and, you can even catch your own trout, salmon, crab and many other types of shellfish and seafood just minutes from home.
Having access to the arts is another great way to improve your quality of life in Port Ludlow. In fact, in a survey of some 43,000 people in 43 cities across the nation discovered that two of the most important factors in choosing a new community in which to live, were its art and green spaces. Living in an art-minded community not only helps artists of all types to learn from each other and create more, but it brings many physical and mental benefits, whether you’re participating in the creation of something, or enjoying it.
In 2010, the American Journal of Public Health published a review titled, The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health. In it, researchers revealed the results after analyzing over 100 studies about the impact of art on health, and the ability to heal oneself. They discovered that art can help distract from thoughts about illness, improve well-being by exchanging negative emotions for positive ones, reduce depression, stress and anxiety, and improve one’s self esteem and social networks.
Admiring art makes you feel good, and promotes quality of life, according to science. In fact, Professor Semir Zeki, neurobiologist at the University College of London, demonstrated that when you stare at great artworks, the part of your brain that is stimulated is the same as when you fall in love. The feeling of desire and affection that we have when we fall romantically for someone, is the result of our brain releasing dopamine, known as a “feel-good” chemical.
Other research has revealed that listening to a favorite musical piece stimulates dopamine production in the brain, also promoting positive emotions.
Whether you experience the arts as a creator and artist, or as an art enthusiast, you can gain an incredible amount of pleasure and enjoyment from all types: music, poetry, visual art, sculpture, theatrical performances, or dance.
In Port Ludlow, you can join the Artist’s League to create, or simply view the works of local artists at the Artist’s League storefront. There are multiple clubs, classes and workshops that can be enjoyed as well for learning to create or improving your skills. Within a 30-minute drive of Port Ludlow, primarily in Port Townsend, there are a host of arts offerings as well, including a wealth of diverse, local art galleries, arts organizations, art walks, drama and theater, art schools, classes and workshops, and much more.