Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Hidden-ish gems of Vashon

Every time we venture over to Vashon we discover something new. Lately, it's been little gems I've heard about from friends or ones we found during an e-bike adventure last month. 
These are the places beyond our well-know favs like Point Robinson Lighthouse, Bike in the Tree and Snapdragon Bakery & Cafe

We've been to several of these, but not all, so this is kinda my way of making and sharing a bucket list of places locals already know about but are hidden-ish gems to us.

If you've already seen the bike in a tree you'll enjoy checking these out too.

  • Fence of Doors
    Alley between 17425 and 17429 Vashon Hwy SW on 99th Place SW
    Tucked a block off the main street through downtown and along an alley is a set of 16 unique and whimsical doors. Created by the Osborne Family, who instead of building a typical fence between their property and the backside of businesses, decided to have fun. Each door represents a film, TV show or book for you to try and figure out. No worries if you get stuck. There's a flyer at one end to help you out. It also offers additional fun facts about the project.
    Good to know: The Atlas Obscura link says it's permanently closed but the owners let me know it's not and to come check them out. 
  • Crashed UFO
    Vashon Municipal Airport
    After writing my Day Trip to Des Moines post, and learning about the "Maury Island Incident" I'm definitely going to check this spot out the next time were there. 

Weaving with llamas, an animal sanctuary and one cool-looking cow.

  • Vashon Llamas
    26607 Wax Orchard Rd SW, Vashon 98070
    Enjoy llamas and weaving at this wonderful farm on the southern part of the island. Owner Kelly Hubbell offers a variety of ways for kids and families to meet and learn about her llamas—farm visits, birthday parties and summer camps. Some also include weaving classes. In addition, there are adult-only Llama Happy Hours and a Weaving With Friends classes.  And make sure to check out the llama bios and stories on the website. Open 7 days a week, by appointment.
  • Ghost Owl Farms
    A sanctuary for horses and other farm animals that's part of Emerald City Pet Rescue. The farm isn't open to the public just yet but is planning to welcome visitors and volunteers in the future. Until then you can virtually meet the animals and even sponsor one. ECPR it's a great organization. We've fostered a couple kitties for them and Emerald City Kitty Harbor by the WS Bridge is another location of theirs.
  • Longhorn Cow along Quartermaster Drive
  • Keep your eyes open if you're passing by the Pioneers Memorial which is at the intersection of Monument Road SW and SW. Nearby there's a pasture with oodles of animals to see, especially one cool-looking longhorn cow.
Here are a few of our favorite spots other than Point Robinson Lighthouse. For a full run down of beaches on the island go here or here

  • KVI Beach (Point Heyer Natural Area)
    20336 78th Pl SW, Vashon 98070
    We first went here years ago, randomly running into friends from West Seattle, and it's been a favorite spot since. Just look for the tall (KVI) radio tower. Only later did I come to learn its known for being the best sandcastle building beach on the island. Here's an interesting article too.
    Good to know: Limited parking, no bathrooms.
  • Maury Island Marine Park
    Main parking lot along SW 244th Street. See brochure for directions.
    This King County Park is a bit more walking to get to the beach than Point Robinson but way less crowded and equally amazing views. There's a little knoll down by the beach that great for spotting whales, plenty of shoreline to explore and even primitive camping. It's easiest to park in the main lot on SW 244th Street and walk the .75 miles down a service road to the beach. Do be aware it's uphill going back. You can also start at an overlook along SW 248th Street. To get down to the beach from here it's all trails so best to bring a map of the park.
    Good to know: Bathroom (port-a-potty) at the beach.
  • Raab's Lagoon
    End of Kingsbury Road SW and 80th Ave SW
    Tucked at the end of the road is a little park. It's across the water from the larger and better known Jensen Point. I first heard about it from a friend who likes to paddle from here because of its protected cove. It was a super-low tide we when visited and were thrilled to see sea stars for the first time in years. We later learned there are also sand dollars along the beach. Check out this article about it
    Good to know: No bathrooms
So many way to choose your own adventure—pedaling, paddling, skating and more.

  • Pedal, Paddle and Camp with Vashon Adventures
    17816 Vashon Hwy SW, Vashon 98070
    While you can't miss this store with it's captivating mural along Vashon Hwy, Erin is the hidden-ish gem here. The self-proclaimed "Director of Fun" created a fun-filled day of e-biking adventures for us, tailored to the interests of our crew. She rents a variety of e-bikes with options to add baby seats or benches for little ones. Older kiddos do have to be at least 14 to ride on their own, which since the bikes are heavy and riding is all along the road, paddling adventures might be a better choice some families. Although she's more than happy to suggest routes for parties with a combo or tradition and e-bikes. There's even a glamping spot you can rent with them. 
  • Burton Adventure Recreation Center (BARC)
    10500 SW 228th Rd, Vashon 98070
    Indoor and outdoor skate parks, 9-hole disc golf course. Just found this article and will be going back with my teens to check it out. 
    Good to know: If you need a disc, you can check one out for free with an ID when the indoor facility is open.
  • Mountain biking at Dockton Forest
    North and south of SW 260th St, Vashon
    We haven't hauled our bikes over here yet but when we do this looks fun. Here's a map of the park.
  • Ober Park Playground
    17130 Vashon Hwy. SW, Vashon
    Known playground for littles but adding just incase it's new to you. Located in downtown area.

Yum, yum and yum.

  • Ice cream and arcade games at Glass Bottle Creamery
    17616 Vashon Highway SW, Vashon 98070
    This tasty and fun spot wasn't open last time we were there but it's definitely on our summer bucket list. There's a rotating list of flavors including dairy-free options and retro arcade games like Donkey Kong. Games cost one token ($ 0.25) per game to play or you can purchase a cup of $10 worth of tokens if you have a larger crew.
  • Farm stands
    The island is dotted with little stands everywhere. On our last trip, my favorite was the popsicles at Aeggy's Farm on our way to Lisabeula Park. The freezer was filled with a variety of flavors to choose from. The perfect treat while biking on a warm day. Here's a map to all the stands on the island. 
  • Vashon Country Store & Farm
    20211 Vashon Hwy SW, Vashon 98070
    Pick berries during the summer, enjoy a picnic and snap pics by the mushroom cutouts. There are also some fun events posted on the website. 

Explore the island through its history.

  • Vashon Heritage Museum
    10105 SW Bank Rd, Vashon 98070
    Currently hosting a family-friendly exhibit in partnership with the Vashon Nature Center called Natural Wonder. It's all about the island's natural history.
    Good to know: Visits are free to the museum.
  • Mukai Farm and Garden
    18017 107th Ave SW, Vashon
    Filled with history and beauty it's also on the National Register of History Places.
    We only had time to do a short stop here but will be going back to explore more of the grounds and stories of Vashon's Japanese Americans and agricultural heritage.
    Good to know: Open to the public during daylight hours, unless noted otherwise. Free admission and parking. 
  • History walk at Dockton Park
    9500 SW Dock Road, Dockton
    Haven't gotten a chance to do this but looks interesting. Part of the park (the dock) is currently closed but looks like the walk, play area and restroom are accessible. Go here for general park info.

A handful of events that you can tag on to a trip over.
  • Tiny Fairy House Project—Opening celebration Saturday, June 25th
    Open Space for Arts & Community
    18870 103rd Ave SW, Vashon, WA 98070
    Come discover tiny fairy houses, created by local artists, tucked throughout the trees in the Douglas Fir grove. They also have other upcoming family-friendly summer events such as Theatre Fest and Up, Up, Up (a traveling crane truck circus performance).
  • Vashon Nature Center BioBlitz—July 9-10th
  • Vashon Strawberry Festival—July 15-17th
    Well-known event but mentioning dates so you can either make sure to visit during it or around it.

A couple of resources I use in addition to word-of-mouth.