New Neighbors Guide for Living in Thurston County

Publisher’s Letter

Welcome to the New Neighbors Guide!

On behalf of the local community, we welcome you to Thurston County. Whether you’re here temporarily or plan to make this a permanent home, we know you’re going to love our region. With our natural beauty, lakes, streams and forested trails, this is the perfect location for outdoor fun. With some of the best coffee in the world and a vibrant food and entertainment scene, Thurston County has something for everyone.

Let’s face it, moving to a new city can be costly and time-consuming—but it’s also exciting! This guide is written by a mix of perspectives from native Thurston Countians to people who moved here from out of the area. Our group reminisced about what we wish people had told us when we first moved here.

This resource guide offers tips and reminders to get you settled and to get the nuts and bolts of your new home well underway. This resource will also help you get connected to your local community, schools and health care, and help you put down “roots” in your daily life here. From great ideas for your home and events to engage in the community, we have you covered.

As we put together this issue, we look forward to providing you with information and education about all the “best things” in Thurston County and we hope to give you a sense of place where you belong and can engage and feel connected. We welcome you, our “new neighbor,” to Thurston County.

Kindest regards,

Robin Lucas, Publisher

This Issue’s Content

The Lurana: Olympia’s New Development

Water views have a calming effect on the human psyche. Living in the Puget Sound affords us many opportunities to live with views of the water and now there will be one more in the heart of Olympia. Located on .6 acres at Percival Landing, one of Olympia’s three waterfront parks, the Lurana will be […]

New to Thurston County?

There is always so much to do when you move. This checklist will help you to quickly navigate a few important, but often dreaded, tasks related to relocating. Update Your Drivers License If you have a valid Washington driver license, you have ten days after you move to change your address. A new card with […]

Living in Thurston County

Thurston County is centrally located to some of the best the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Any day of the week, you can embark on a new adventure. Visit spectacular mountains, like Mount Rainier, one of the most glaciated mountain peaks in the continental U.S., or Mount St. Helens, the most active volcano in the […]

Oly Fed CEO is ‘Here for You, Here for Good’

“I believe every team member plays a critical role and everybody contributes to our success,” says Lori Drummond, president and CEO of Olympia Federal Savings, or Oly Fed for short. She should know. She has the unique perspective of starting as a receptionist and working her way through several positions during her 35 years with […]

Enrolling in School in Thurston County

Parents have more options than ever before in choosing an academic environment that best fits the needs of their student. In Thurston County, there are 60 public primary schools, 17 public high schools, and 19 private schools that are approved by the Board of Education. Eight school districts provide primary and secondary education to the […]

Giving Back in Thurston Co.

A great way to quickly learn about your new community and meet new friends is to get involved with a nonprofit organization. Every community offers numerous opportunities to support these worthwhile causes. Finding organizations that are meaningful to you will make the experience most rewarding. These four questions can help you find your perfect nonprofit […]

Community Spotlight: Success Story

Heidi Duncan of Duncan Insurance, Olympia It could be that some superheroes come into being from a toxic spider bite, but other superheroes are just born into their roles as descendants of “do-gooders” before them. That’s the case with Heidi Duncan of Duncan and Associates Insurance Brokers, based in Olympia. From the time she was […]

Making Your House A Home

Tips to transform a house into a home with decor and furniture from the heart Your entry is the initial introduction to your home and sets the stage for you and your guests. Place a cozy rug or floor mat inside the door to define the entry and give an immediate sense of personality. A […]

Cultivating Kindness Landscape & Design

Some things are just meant to be. As L.J. Cirilo describes how she started Cultivating Kindness Landscape & Design in Olympia, you are definitely left with the impression that her rapidly growing business is one of those “meant to be” things. “Cultivating Kindness was born from my love for gardening and desire to help people, […]

Getting Settled into a New Home

After the last box is moved into your new home, you might think the hardest part of moving is over. And you’re right, but there are still things to take care of before you can relax completely.  Get Your Utilities Set Up You don’t want to arrive at your new place, late at night, and […]

Natural Bedding Made Locally

Holy Lamb Organics has been making natural bedding products locally by hand in the small town of Oakville, Washington for 18 years. The South Sound community can access a “touch and feel” experience in Olympia, after the retail store opened this past year. The company’s retail showroom is the only all-natural bedding store between Seattle […]

A Community for the Arts

Experience the music, the movement, the entertainment magic! The Washington Center for Performing Arts (WCPA) is the region’s largest performing arts facility and has hosted thousands of events and over 10,000 local performers in this last season alone. However, the WCPA isn’t just a place for entertainment, it is a non-profit organization that stands as […]

El Sarape – Spicing Up the Community

There’s a good reason that El Sarape has four restaurant locations. The food is authentic and delicious, and the service is consistently inviting. When the Mexican restaurant first opened in Olympia in 1979, its owners believed that local and fresh foods shouldn’t be hard to come by. With that philosophy in mind, they have since […]

Panowicz Jewelers: Celebrating 71 Years

Even after seven decades, Panowicz Jewelers still holds true to its founding: a legacy of quality, integrity and value. Founded in 1948 by Anton Panowicz Sr., the local, family-owned jewelry store recently celebrated its 71st anniversary serving the Olympia community. “Retail has to be about outstanding customer service and care,” says Rob Panowicz, son of […]

Health & Wellness Close to Home

Moving to a new community means finding new healthcare providers for you and your family. Thurston County offers a wide variety of independent health practitioners and large healthcare systems to meet the needs of every member of your household. You’ll find high quality services, which rival larger communities, conveniently close to your new home. Thurston […]

Olympia’s Farmers Market

Shopping at the Olympia Farmers Market can be a great way to get to know your community while supporting your local economy. Open year-round with three distinct operating seasons, it’s a great addition to your weekly shopping routine. The market is open Thursday to Sunday, April through October for High Season, Saturday and Sunday in […]

Service and Convenience at Light Dental

We can all agree on the qualities for the ideal dental provider: round-the-clock service, free consultations, same-day appointments, entire-family bookings, empathetic service and affordable care. It’s nearly impossible to find a full combination of such attributes. But then there’s Light Dental Studios. The dentist-owned company—with 16 locations in the South Puget Sound—has customer service at […]

Olympia’s Capital Medical Center

The Pacific Northwest is home to endless natural beauty and premium medical care providers to boot. Located in the state capital of Olympia, Capital Medical Center is a heavily accredited and committed provider for residents in more than five local counties. The hospital, which celebrates 35 years in the community in January 2020, enjoys an […]

Ruby Soul Yoga, Spa & Juice Bar

Starting a new wellness routine can be intimidating, especially if you’re a beginner. To help clients select the best classes for their needs and break through any discomfort, the team at Ruby Soul Yoga, Spa & Juice Bar focuses on giving you lots of face-to-face time and personalizing their recommendations for yoga, massage, and even […]

Warm-Weather Wellness Tips for Seniors

Warmer weather often awakens a desire to get outside and be active. But seniors who have a higher sensitivity to heat need to use caution when making plans in the sun. Put on Your Walking Shoes Walking is an excellent physical activity. And doing so in a park or forest is a great way to […]