We took the ferry over to Vashon Island the other day.
This big island near Seattle (37 sq. mi.) has no bridges, so it has retained a good bit of charm. Lining up to wait for the ferry, we relaxed and watched the sun struggle to break through thick morning fog.
While we waited, I got out of the car and gazed into clouds of fog. The blending of one tone into another was so subtle, it was mesmerizing.
We boarded and began the short ride to Vashon Island, with just enough time to get out of the car and walk briskly around the deck. I looked in vain for Orcas (killer whales, regularly seen here), but instead, another ferry slowly appeared through the fog.
There are no big towns on Vashon Island, and only one stop light. This old wood building which may have been a feed store but now stands empty caught my eye. I’m always drawn to this kind vernacular architecture.
We parked in town to check out the Farmers Market, first stopping at the island’s only supermarket for a bottle of water, which I had forgotten to bring in the rush to leave that morning. In front of the supermarket was a “Scone Wagon” – go figure! As local residents caught up with each other I took a photograph. This is a typical look on Vashon – relaxed, ready to pull up a weed or two, with a bit of whimsy at one’s side.
The Farmers Market was full of beautiful veggies, many of them organic and all grown on the island. No bargains here though!
Exuberant bunches of dahlias added to the celebration of fall color at the market.
And these root vegetables are ? I’m not sure…
A huge mural painted on the wall of an old bank next to the market features local history. This is just a portion of it.
We stopped for espresso at a roadside cafe that has a nice front porch. You could help yourself to coffee from carafes left on a table outside (and oh, how I love the easy availability of good espresso in rural places here in the northwest).
Inside there were old Danish coffee grinders on display:
It’s an island, so of course we explored the shore in various places…
The water is so clear!
The sturdy Pt. Robinson Lighthouse is an island attraction – there were at least 4 or 5 other people there! This lighthouse was built in 1915 and the old keeper’s houses next to it (below) can be rented ($225/night on the off season; about $1500/wk in the summer).
The charming keepers’ houses are situated beautifully along the shore, facing east. There’s a stunning view of Mt. Rainier, wildlife on the water, and plenty of driftwood for building impromptu sculptures. Making interesting piles of driftwood is a common past time in the Pacific Northwest. A sign reminds you not to take any driftwood from the beach, just in case you could be rude enough to contemplate that…
This was my favorite sculpture:
And here’s that spectacular view of Mt. Rainier, complete with a fishing boat and a loon. We sat on a log, basked in the sun, and watched the loon dive for fish. Perfect.
Back inland we walked a short trail through typical northwest woodland. There were feathery cedar boughs, abundant sword ferns, plentiful mushrooms and moss, and a slant of sunlight brightening up a spot where someone cut down a cedar.
Bright red-orange berries growing in a tangle along the shore were attractive. I think this plant is poisonous though. I couldn’t remember its name but I’m pretty sure it’s in the same family as tomatoes.
Back at the ferry dock, the Cascades tore a ragged edge along the horizon and gulls sliced the air over calm waters.
On the ride over to Vashon that morning, fog had completely obscured Mt. Rainier, but now the grand lady’s snowy flanks were resplendent in the late afternoon sunlight.
I feel very lucky to live in a part of the world that so readily offers up treasures of land, water and sky.