Langley nominated for America’s Happiest Seaside Town

Don’t be surprised if the melodies of Pharrell William’s “Happy” start echoing through the streets of Langley.

Langley was recently nominated as a finalist in Coastal Living magazine’s list of America’s Happiest Seaside Towns in 2017. The Village by the Sea, which overlooks Saratoga Passage, is the first town from Washington to be nominated for the annual list and is among 10 vying for the top spot. Other towns included in the list are Sarasota, Fla., Dana Point, Calif., and Grand Haven, Mich. Langley is the smallest of the bunch in terms of population.

Voting is being conducted online on Coastal Living’s website and runs through Oct. 17 and anyone with access to the internet can vote every 15 minutes. That means that people can cast more than one vote.

The final rankings will be revealed online at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017.

If Langley wins, it will be the first town on the West Coast to do so.

“It’s really nice to even be recognized in the top 10 given the size and notoriety of a lot of the communities are listed,” Mayor Tim Callison said. “We’re very happy about it because we’re happy.”

Langley was ranked sixth on the list as of Friday morning. Grand Haven, Mich. is currently atop the leaderboard. Towns were nominated by Coastal Living based on a variety of criteria, including rankings on the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, percentage of clear and sunny days, walkability, healthiness of beaches, crime ratings and a Coastal Living editors’ assessment of each town’s “coastal vibe,” according to the magazine’s website.

Lorinda Kay, program manager for the Langley Main Street Association, thought Langley’s “small town charm” had an impact on it being nominated.

“I think being able to keep your small-town charm while offering big-town accommodations as well as places to eat and shop is a pretty unique thing about Langley,” Kay said. “I think it’s a great accomplishment for our little town. We’re probably the smallest community on this list and this is a nationwide list. I think that says a lot about the popularity of Langley and that it’s becoming so well known. For us to make the top-10 list is a great accomplishment.”

Callison said that while it may be hard for Langley to win due to its small size, he is encouraging people to vote. He felt Langley’s many attributes, from monthly parades to the focus on arts and recreational opportunities such as hiking and kayaking led to its nomination. He is hopeful that it was will bring more people to the town for weekend visits and vacations.

Michaleen McGarry, executive director of the Langley Chamber of Commerce, is doing everything she can to help Langley’s chances. A timer goes off in McGarry’s office about every 16 minutes reminding her to vote and will continue to do so through Oct. 17. McGarry said Langley’s nomination will help spread the word about the town and its unique features to people who may not have otherwise heard about it.

“The magazine has a pretty good reach,” McGarry said. “It makes me happy. It really is nice that we’re getting some recognition.”

Jim Sundberg, a Langley resident, said that the mixture of recreational opportunities, walking trails, the close proximity of the water and the view of the Saratoga Passage all played roles in the nomination.

“Even along Seawall Park, you get the freshness and relaxation of being on the ocean,” Sundberg said. “You also see beautiful mountains in the distance. That’s got to help people feel good about themselves, which is the starting point for happiness.”