This Pa. City Is Blue Zone Certified for Wellness and Longevity

By Hope Walborn | March 18, 2024 | 4 min. read

Across the country, more communities are working to become “blue zones” to increase residents’ overall wellness. One Pennsylvania city has achieved this certification.

“Blue zones” was first coined by National Geographic explorer and journalist Dan Buettner in 2004. Buettner visited Okinawa, Japan, in 2000 to investigate longevity and later decided to travel the world in search of communities where people lived longer and lived higher quality lives.

In certified blue zones like Corry, Pennsylvania, people live longer and live better. Wellness and self-care have been common trends across the board, and they’ve found their way into real estate conversations and become highlighted selling points.

But what makes a blue zone? There are three general criteria a community must meet to be certified for wellness according to the Blue Zones site. First, a community must be able to present reliable documentation of individual longevity by birth and death records. Second, the longevity of the community’s population must be among the highest ranked at the world level based on demographic indicators. Lastly, if the first two criteria are met, a series of additional factors are considered based on data availability. These may include life expectations and the probability of surviving at various points throughout an individual’s life.

In 2022, Corry was certified by the Blue Zones Project. Corry is the second-largest city in Erie County with a population of just over 6,000 as of 2021. It boasts many scenic sights, rural landscapes, farms and outdoor recreation opportunities.

To help Corry become a Blue Zone, Blue Zone Project members went to the city and partnered with local grocery stores, restaurants, schools and nonprofits to further implement a healthy lifestyle.

“They started walking groups, held healthy cooking classes and the local grocery store, Sander’s Market, had ‘blue zones’ sections with healthy foods in those areas and put healthier snacks like nuts and jerky by the registers,” Melissa Martin, a member of the Greater Erie Board of Realtors®, says. “We also have Greenway Trails that have improved and continue to improve. The trail is open all year round to bicyclists, walkers/runners, snowmobiles, horseback riders and cross-country skiers. As a resident of the Corry area, it is nice to see Corry starting to improve. Almost all of our downtown stores are occupied by locally owned businesses. We also have grocery stores that are supplied by local farmers, giving the option to eat fresher, better-quality food.”

Erie Realtor® Samantha Clabbatz also notes the positive change that the Blue Zones Project has made to the community.

“What Blue Zones has helped to cultivate in Corry goes beyond healthy nutrition,” she says. “Living a Blue Zones lifestyle encompasses a healthy mind and body – from creating group activities that keep citizens moving to teaching them the basics and beyond of how to manage stress, create healthy relationships and take time for their mental well-being. The ‘Lanai’ group walks and the integration/enhancement of sections in our local grocery stores that also include recipes are just some of the implementations that were well received by the residents!”

Clabbatz adds how she has implemented Blue Zone practices into her own business as well, saying, “As a local business owner of a real estate settlement company, French Creek Settlement Services, we have also taken strides to create a healthy workplace by implementing ‘Wellness Wednesdays,’ which include a healthy lunch offering and in-office professional chair massages for our staff. Blue Zones was a great addition to the City of Corry, and we are so glad it’s here to stay!”

While the Blue Zones Project has received some criticism, many find the Blue Zone initiative and strides towards wellness noteworthy when it comes to real estate trends and studying the things that renters, homebuyers and homeowners most desire from their communities to help better their own lives.

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