Wednesday, June 27, 2012

TPThursday: A one-day island get-away

One of the best things about living in Washington State’s Puget Sound area is the ability to escape to an island, if even for a day. 

VashonIsland 2012 001On Sunday two friends and I did just that. We drove aboard a Washington State ferry at 9:30 a.m. and 15 minutes later arrived at Vashon-Maury Island, in south Puget Sound.
  
Detailed map of Vashon-Maury Island, Washington
Encompassing 37 square miles (an area bigger than Manhattan) but with about 10,000 residents, the island is made up of small acreages, stunning beach front mansions, farms, fields and forests. It also boasts more than 20 Bed and Breakfast accommodations and some wonderful restaurants.  It is accessed only by boat.

Geographically the island is made up of what once was two islands: Vashon and Maury.  An isthmus built in the early 20th Century by the Army Corp of Engineers connected the two.

We  took a wrong turn en route to a garden tour and found ourselves heading  to the Point Robinson Lighthouse on the eastern side of Maury Island.








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The lighthouse  began as a fog signal in 1885 and a light was added two years later. It is built on 90 pilings, with walls a foot thick. The Fresnel lens traveled from Paris to Vashon in 1915.  Lighthouse tours take place from noon to 4 p.m. every Sunday from mid-May to mid-September.

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Two Keepers’ Quarters, built in 1911 have been beautifully restored and are now vacation rentals.

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The sound of the water, the driftwood lined beach, the salt-sea smell in the air, water birds and the views over the Puget Sound shipping lane made us think perhaps a longer stay on the island was in the future.

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On the west side of Maury Island we made a stop at Dockton Park (we knew we’d get to that garden tour eventually).   This 23-acre park with dock and boat launch was once the island’s industrial center; home to sawmills, ship yards, brick yards and processing plants.  We didn’t have time to follow the Dockton Historic Interpretive Trail and walk through the area’s history – but we will certainly do so next time.

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This summer the island’s favorite festival, the Vashon Strawberry Festival (now in its 103rd year) gets underway July 20, 21, 22nd.  It is funny because Vashon no longer has commercial strawberry fields but back in 1909 records show they shipped 120,000 crates of berries from here.

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The festival includes a parade and street festival, music and art. But some places like Snapdragon, a wonderful bakery and café on the Vashon Highway (the main north south road) was celebrating strawberries on Sunday morning.  (Yes, we also stopped here en route to that garden tour.)

And just in case you were wondering, we did make it to the garden tour and it was spectacular! A fabulous island getaway and I had left at 8 a.m. and was back home at 5 p.m.

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For information on accommodations, eateries, Strawberry festival, garden tours, events and other reasons to visit Vashon visit the Vashon Chamber website. For information on renting the Keepers’ Quarters, write lodging@vashonparkdistrict.org or phone 206-463-9602.

It’s Travel Photo Thursday so be sure to stop by Budget Travelers Sandbox. And for those following our road trip, I have lots to tell you so check back this weekend. Our travels today were spectacular. And if you haven't been following, click back through this week's post to see where we've been and where we are headed.  (The map is copyright free, and taken from Wikipedia.)

20 comments:

  1. You really get around! :) I loved todays post--to have such a beautiful environment so close at hand is a dream. Wouldn't it be lovely to take one of those summer rentals and just read and nap and have BBQs?

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  2. Interesting that they have a strawberry festival and no commercial berry fields. They must love their strawberries!

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    1. I think tradition is the key word here. . .well, that and strawberries!

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  3. What a beautiful place for a day trip! Love the food photos - a strawberry festival sounds like heaven to me!

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  4. I love the fact you can hope on a ferry and visit an island for the day! That would be awesome. Even though you made a wrong turn, it seems your day was great.

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    1. I am glad we made the wrong turn because it was such an unexpected highlight of the trip.

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  5. I love the lighthouse...and the cupcakes!

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    1. Thanks for visiting Jessica. Yes, those cupcakes were a real temptation. . .as was staying at the lighthouse, when I come to think about it.

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  6. I love Vashon! I haven't been to Snapdragon and it is definitely on my list. We are hoping to make it to the Strawberry festival this year too. Can't wait!

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    1. July 4th is low tide day celebration as well on Vashon. A canoe with Native Americans is coming to the lighthouse as part of the festivities. Hope you make it to the Strawberry Festival.

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  7. I have always heard wonderful things about these outlying WA islands. What a great day trip. Those cupcakes looks so delicious! Thanks for the vitual tour!

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    1. Our islands are spectacular - on a clear day that is. Another easy day-trip island is Bainbridge which can be reached by a ferry that leaves downtown Seattle, making it a great outing for visitors to the city.

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  8. My mother-in-law grew up on an island in the Puget Sound and though she no longer lives there, we have had the enjoyable opportunity to visit her hometown several times. Your photos of the ferries and Washington coastline bring back some great memories for our family!

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    1. Allison, I am glad the post brought back happy memories for your family. Hope you'll be a follower of our blog and our travels. Thanks for stopping by.

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  9. I've spent some time in Washington State and it is beautiful Your shots are lovely.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, when the sun finally comes out, it is quite pretty in this Evergreen State.

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  10. Sound of the water, the salt-sea air, strawberry festival, and pretty scenery -- I'm sold on this island. Funny about wrong turns taking you somewhere cool like the lighthouse, isn't it?

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    1. Cathy, Both Vashon and Bainbridge islands are easy day trips from Seattle so keep them in mind when visiting the area. And yes, so often I find my wrong turns are the right ones!

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  11. I would love to take that day trip! I think the islands in the puget Sound are simply gorgeous during the summer!

    Thank you for linking up with us this week!

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    1. Becca, you would definitely love this day trip and I think the kids would love the ferry.

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