The Pacific Northwest is teeming with beautiful, nearby places to explore. There are so many places for a day trip near you it can be difficult to know what to do. Vashon Island is a charming island only a short ferry ride away from the city, and yet the idyllic pace of island life makes it feel a world away. Being so close by means you don’t have to spend four hours in the car to be somewhere new. And don’t worry, once you get there, this nearby escape has plenty of things to do to fill a few days this winter.
1. Drink The Original Seattle’s Best Coffee at The Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie
Start the day off right. This is where the locals drink, and for a good reason. The building is over a hundred year’s old. There are coffee antiques inside, local art, and fresh coffee.
2. Connect to the Island at Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Museum
One of the first activities for a winter day on the island will make you feel much closer to it. This place has a long history, and learning some of it will not only engage your mind, but give you some connection to this place.
The museum looks small from the outside, but is surprisingly packed full. The information inside covers the history of the island’s inhabitants, from when only Native Americans lived on the island to current time. The building itself is a piece of history. It was built in 1907 by Norwegian immigrants. There are permanent exhibits on the Native Americans and early settlers on the island. The Japanese-American exhibit has proven to be popular and full of fascinating history. It’s easy to spend an hour or two here.
The museum’s operating hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 1:00-4:00pm.
3. Have Brunch At The Hardware Store Restaurant
This island is easy to get attached to, and The Hardware Store is part of that. When the owner of this restaurant took a look at what used to be the local hardware store, she saw potential. Now, The Hardware store makes locally-sourced, natural, and delicious food. You won’t find a restaurant like this anywhere else.
4. Explore Native Art at Ravens Nest Art Gallery
This is a retail space, but it’s definitely an art gallery, not a souvenir shop. This exhibition space is a Native art gallery. The space represents Native artists from the Northwest coast and has collections that are sought after by collectors around the world. Come visit and see cedar carvings, engraved jewelry, and limited edition prints.
5. Grab a burger at Island Queen
Have a fun and quirky lunch at Island Queen, where they specialize in quality “fast food”.
6. Taste and Tour Palouse Winery
Palouse Winery was started in 2003 and has been making a name for itself ever since. A visit to the tasting room will give you a sample of their wide varieties of reds and whites.
The tasting room here is open year round on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 to 5:00pm.
7. Delight in a Tasting at Nashi Orchards
One of the best activities for a cool Pacific Northwest winter day is a tasting of locally-made hard cider or perry. There’s something special about drinking perry and cider when the fruit is growing so near you. A connection to food and drink is something the staff here knows about, and can tell you about during your tasting. The knowledgeable staff has been with these drinks from seed to first pour and can answer all your questions about how they came to be.
The orchard and cidery is open for tasting Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 to 5:00pm, but you can also schedule a weekday tasting by appointment.
8. Enjoy Handmade, Grain-to-Glass Spirits at Seattle Distilling
The island is full of secrets you didn’t know you lived so close by. Seattle Distilling is one of them. This distillery was named one of America’s 17 Best Craft Distilleries by Thrillist, and Evening Magazine named it the best in Western WA in 2014 and 2015. This is a claim your tastebuds should come explore at a tasting.
There are several options you should check out here, but in true Pacific Northwest style, don’t miss the coffee liqueur. This drink won a gold medal at The Great Distiller’s Festival in Portland, and proceeds help support Puget Sound whale research.
9. Excite Your Taste Buds At May Kitchen and Bar
The Pacific Northwest is known as a place of culinary delights, and the island is no exception. A full day of things to do wouldn’t be complete without a delicious meal. Come to May Kitchen and Bar and see why reviewers are calling it the best Thai in Seattle. You’ve had Pad Thai before, but you’ve probably never had it served at the table, still steaming as the staff unwraps the banana leaf and adds spices right in front of you.
10. Treat Yourself With a Night at Lodges on Vashon
The gas fireplace will keep you warm on your king-size bed. The amenities here, from the soaps to the coffees, are sourced from the island. These lodges are modern and carefully designed to be the island retreat you need.
Whether you come for the beautiful scenery, a taste of the homemade drinks, the best Thai in Seattle, or a deeper connection to the history and art of this place, the island has something for everyone to enjoy on a day trip this winter.