Skip the Last Ferry and Stay Awhile on Vashon Island

The relaxing destination boasts beaches, art and great eats

By Ariel Shearer May 3, 2020


This article originally appeared in the May 2020 issue of Seattle magazine.

This article appears in print in the May 2020 issue, as part of our Getaways GuideClick here to subscribe. 

Editor’s note: Due to the COVID 19 health crisis, we recommend you save this trip for a time when it’s safe to leave your house. Many of these businesses are not fully operational, and some of the more rural areas we write about in our travel coverage don’t need an influx of Seattleites right now. But it’s fun to dream, isn’t it? 

After a quick ferry ride from Fauntleroy, you’ll land on the shore of Vashon Island, a rural stretch of forest and farmland. Those first deep breaths of island air will force that return ferry schedule clear out of mind as you drive toward the island’s main drag for some relaxation, art and great eats.

Head first to The Lodges on Vashon, where you’ve wisely booked your stay in advance. This cluster of 16 freestanding modern cabins, each furnished with sleek Scandinavian décor, is a short walk from some of the island’s best eateries, shops and entertainment. Begin your mini-break with some leisurely bathing (an underrated vacation perk) by choosing a lodge with a soaking tub or one with a shower that opens to a private outdoor patio.

Later, take a quick walk to Vashon Brewing’s family-friendly community pub and further acclimate to the island’s pace. While this year’s annual spring Vashon Island Art Studio Tour has been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak, you can still stroll from the pub to galleries and shops along the main strip, and check the calendar at the Vashon Center for the Arts, which keeps the island’s creative pulse beating with talks, music and theater performances.

However you choose to fill up during your evening in town, you’ll want to save room for weekend brunch at Gravy, or, if you’re lucky, its Sunday barbecue in the summer. Chef Dre Neeley is known for his seasonal menus and Trifecta burgers: patties made from a mix of ham hock, sirloin and duck. But his dry-rubbed ribs, served with essential sides such as potato salad, mac and cheese, collard greens and cornbread, showcase his Alabama roots—a driver of the Southern influence, which, along with French inspiration carried from his time with Café Presse, shapes the rest of this beloved restaurant’s ever-changing menu.

Walk off those ribs with a hike through the woods or a stroll along one of the island’s many beaches before heading for the ferry home. If you’ve done all of this right, a little sand caught in your socks won’t even register. 

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