While Vashon Island can be a fun place with outdoor adventures and local flair, the winters can be difficult and the commute on/off the Island leaves a lot to be desired. If you’re prepared to deal with the complicated, then the rewards are well worth it.
A Verdant, Friendly Enclave Near Seattle and Tacoma
With its hills, woods, and relatively small population, Vashon qualifies as rural. Add to that the dozen or so family farms that dot the landscape, and Vashon feels a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities it borders: Seattle and Tacoma. Quaint Vashon is the type of place where you can buy free-range eggs and freshly picked kale from a farm stand — on the honor system! And unlike the city scene, in Vashon, it’s downright uncouth to rush.
But don’t mistake its down-home charm for lack of sophistication. The residents of Vashon have a keen appreciation for cultural endeavors and a studied understanding of the world. The New York Times once described the vibe as “Mayberry-meets-Burning-Man.”
In terms of layout, Vashon Town is located on the island’s northern tip. It’s the area’s main hub, and locals call it “uptown” instead of “downtown.” The rest of the island is a menagerie of small communities, each with a general store.
The Logistics of Living on Vashon-Maury
Vashonites love that the island isn’t accessible by car — and they fight to keep it that way! Getting to nearby Seattle and Tacoma requires a half-hour ferry ride. As such, if your lifestyle requires you to be on the mainland at the drop of a hat, Vashon-Maury may not be the ideal place to settle down, as you’re tethered to a ferry schedule.
Small Town, Big Art
Art is a big deal on Vashon. Blink and you might think you’re in Manhattan. The rural Washington enclave boasts a multi-million-dollar performing arts center, an opera company, and a chamber music society. Locals frequently host art walks, lectures, and other cultural events. Moreover, many artists call Vashon home — and it’s not unusual to stumble upon a string quartet doing an impromptu concert on someone’s front porch.
Collectors frequently find their way to Vashon, too, as the island is home to about a dozen galleries.
Watersports and Beaches
A passionate community of skippers lives in Vashon. Similarly, coxswains and rowers have the Vashon Island Rowing Club and Burton Beach Rowing Club to keep them busy.
Being an island, Vashon is wreathed with beaches. Granted, not all are sandy stretches, but each has a unique character. For example, Lisabeula Park is ideal for camping, while Jensen Point is where you go to launch a powerboat.
On land, cycling is another popular pastime among residents — as is hiking. Horseback riders also love Vashon as there are plenty of trails to trot.
Education in Vashon
Three public schools make up the Vashon School District: Chautauqua Elementary School, McMurray Middle School, and Vashon Island High School. Overall, the district receives top marks and attracts the best teachers. After all, who wouldn’t want to live on Vashon!?
Two private schools also operate on the island: The Harbor School and Carpe Diem Primary School.
Crime On Vashon
Unless you count minxing cats who may steal a garden strawberry or two as criminals, Vashon is exceptionally safe. According to Niche, a national crime aggregator, Vashon has not suffered a murder, assault, robbery, or theft in years and years.
Petty theft does happen on the Island, so while it’s common to leave your keys in your truck running while you’re grabbing that jar of mayonnaise for your wife you may find a missing lighter or pack of cigarettes when you get back.
Everyone Is Welcome in Vashon
Individuality is accepted and encouraged on Vashon. People who live alternative lifestyles feel just as comfortable as folks living traditional ones. People of all stripes make Vashon their home, and its diversity enhances its charm.
Eating in Vashon
For a rural island, Vashon enjoys a robust culinary scene. About three dozen restaurants serve residents and visitors, and there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re in the mood for Thai, American, Italian, or even Syrian, Vashon has you covered. There’s even a Mexican-Japanese fusion restaurant for adventurous gourmands!
Don’t worry plant-based and gluten-free eaters, options also abound for you!
A Word About Maury
Vashon is connected to Maury island by an isthmus built in 1913, which is why some people call the area Vashon-Maury. The Maury extension is nearly all farmland and wild terrain, and the shoreline is undeveloped, but there is a Marine Park.
Vashon is a unique place filled with great neighbors and plenty of things to do and see. Join us for an afternoon or a lifetime; either way, we’re thrilled to have you. And if you see a goat or sheep riding along in the back of someone’s car, try not to stare rudely. That’s just how we roll in Vashon!
If you appreciate bucolic country life, coupled with a healthy dose of art appreciation and topped with an A-rated school district, then yes, it is!