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.
On 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.
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.
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.
Two Keepers’ Quarters, built in 1911 have been beautifully restored and are now vacation rentals.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.)