How To Talk Like a Local

You won’t find much of an accent or dialect here in the Stanwood-Camano area but there are words that are often challenging to pronounce as well as terminology that might confuse a visitor.  With this quick tutorial you will sound like a local in no time.  

Camano: Ca-MAY-no

Strong A in Camano and you will get it just right.  The indigenous name for this island was “Kal-lut-chin” meaning “land jutting into a bay” which when viewing Camano from Stanwood is very accurate.  Eventually re-named Camano after Spanish explorer Jacinto Caamaño.

Utsalady: uht-suh-LAH-dee 

Perhaps the #1 mispronounced word on the island. Get this one right and you will solidify your local status.  Utsalady represents a residential community, a park and boat launch, a local elementary school, and the active Utsalady Ladies Aid.  Utsalady Rd runs parallel to Utsalady Bay – once a thriving shipyard where timber was exported internationally. The origins of the name are up for debate – either named after the native word for “land of many berries” or after a Scottish settler who after the birth of his first son proclaimed “it’s-a-laddie.”  Once you master the pronunciation you can decide which story to tell.  

Elger : EL-jer

Elger Bay Grocery store is located of course off Elger Bay Rd and right past Elger Bay Elementary School as you head towards – you guessed it – Elger Bay (the body of water).  Use a soft “g” to properly pronounce Elger.

Puget Sound: PYOO-jit

Part of the Salish Sea, the Puget Sound is the body of water surrounding the Stanwood-Camano area and is an inlet of the Pacific Ocean.  Like Elger above – a soft g is used. The Puget Sound extends all the way north to Anacortes and south to Olympia.  

Stillaguamish: still-uh-GWAH-mish

Some visitors are surprised to learn they took a bridge to get from Stanwood to Camano Island.  While it may not be a high bridge – it is indeed a bridge taking you over the Stillaguamish River.  At low tide the marsh is home to migrating birds and abundant with wildlife. During King tides of the winter you see nothing but water.   

Going “To Town” : Where is “town?”

When locals say they are “going to town” they are referring to Downtown Stanwood – whether they are leaving from Camano, Warm Beach or local surrounding communities – Stanwood serves as the hub that supports the surrounding communities with resources and commerce.

The Plaza

If you are going to “The Plaza” you are going to the shopping center on Camano Island where you will find the grocery store – Camano Plaza IGA as well as other retail and restaurant establishments.  Keeping in line with Camano’s tagline of “The Easy Island” – just call it “The Plaza.”  

East Stanwood, West Stanwood

Historically known as the “Twin Cities” Stanwood only consolidated in 1960, prior to that they were two different cities – East Stanwood and West Stanwood.  Operating as two independent cities the towns came together due to new requirements for wastewater facilities neither town could afford on its own. But history runs deep and each side of town has claim to their own individual identity – ask a local about it. 

North Camano, South Camano

This is a rather obvious one – but whether you are in North Camano or South Camano carries some weight – we will leave it up to you to determine the pros vs cons of your location.  The dividing line is approximately around “The Plaza” meaning anywhere north of that you are in North Camano. Mid island is rarely referred to but if you are anywhere south of Monticello Drive (mohn-ti-CHEL-oh or mohn-ti-SEL-oh) you are in South Camano.

Terry’s Corner: Who is Terry?

Almost every direction given on Camano Island will start with Terry’s Corner as a landmark – “turn right at Terry’s Corner….” but don’t look for a sign stating Terry’s Corner because you won’t find one.  The commercial area at the “V” as you come onto Camano is officially known as Camano Commons but everyone calls it Terry’s Corner. Named after farmer William Terry who owned the land in 1929 early accounts indicate the lowland farm fields were once a peat bog of cranberries.  Today you can find many kinds of berries but nobody has spotted a rogue cranberry yet.  

Uffda – “Ya Sure Ya Betcha”

A nod to the area’s Scandanavian influence, the Uffda Shoppe is located in Viking Village and offers a wide variety of Scandanavian treasures.  In fact in 1949 over 60% of the Stanwood residents identified as Norwegian, Swedish or Danish descent. If you are interested in more history about the area The Stanwood Area Historical Society ( is a great place to visit.

Leque: le-KWAY

Leque island is a small island that can be found right under the bridge going from Camano to Stanwood and is at the mouth of the Stillaguamish (still-uh-GWAH-mish) river.  The Leque Island Restoration project (in the works for the past 15 years) allowed water to flow freely onto the island for the first time in 135 years.

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