Spend a Day on Vashon Island

Just a short ferry ride away from Seattle, this laid-back island’s quaint shops always enchant.

By Katie Joy Blanksma July 1, 2012


This article originally appeared in the July 2012 issue of Seattle magazine.

If you’ve been pondering a jaunt to Vashon Island, this month offers the perfect reason: The annual Strawberry Festival (July 20-22; vashonchamber.com) brings arts and crafts, live music, parades and carnival rides to the quaint downtown streets, which already play host to homegrown art collectives, niche shops and new restaurants that beckon the weekend adventurer in us all.

fuel up
After an idyllic ferry ride from Fauntleroy, take a quick drive—or rigorous bike ride—up the hill and through the main drag (known as “Vashon town”) to get your caffeine fix at Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie (shown above; 19529 Vashon Hwy.; 206.463.9800; tvicr.com). This local landmark sits in Vashon’s original town (now called “Center”) and boasts more than 100 years of porch-side history. “Mingled” into the same building is Minglement, a classic health food store.

Ignition Studios owner Lisa Hurst with a student

arts galore
Housed in a 1930s-era auto-repair shop, new art hub Ignition Studios & Gallery (shown above; 17630 Vashon Hwy. SW; 206.856.6906; ignitionartists.com) offers workstations for artists to create wood carvings, mosaics, paintings and more, while showcasing local and off-island artists’ work in the gallery space at the front of the building.

Island artist Mathilda Oldham refinishes old furniture, chandeliers and other odds and ends for her boutique Vashon Vintage (17637 Vashon Hwy. SW; 206.245.6489), next to the quilt shop downtown. On the same block across the main highway, peek into Valise Gallery (17633 Vashon Hwy. SW; 206.375.5886; valisegallery.org) during its (limited) regular hours on First Fridays, when all of Vashon comes out to properly celebrate its artistic orientation.

eat your veggies
When your stomach starts to rumble, head to new vegetarian hot spot Snapdragon (17817 Vashon Hwy. SW; 206.463.1310), run by Megan and Adam Cone (who recently restarted Seattle favorite World Pizza in Seattle’s International District). Order an $8 sweet potato pizza with a Manny’s and head to the back patio.

shop around
Take a gander in the renowned Island Quilter’s new, larger location (17639 Vashon Hwy. SW; 206.713.6000; islandquilter.com), filled with more than 7,000 bolts of 100 percent cotton fabric. The shop now also offers classes in hand quilting, paper piecing and weaving. Unwind at Vashon Bookshop (17612 Vashon Hwy. SW; 206.463.2616; vashonbookshop.com) in the center of town; read a classic to the kids, start up a game of chess or choose an intriguing title from the shop’s eclectic collection of new and used books.


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