Vashon Island

Monday, February 17, 2020

This weekend, we decided to take advantage of the three days our entire family had to spend with one another (and the dry skies) by venturing out towards Tacoma for some outdoor time and lunch.
We ended up at one of my favorite places, Owen's beach, and braved the chilly wind so we could eat lunch beside the Puget Sound. Friends, I know my kids are PNW kids when I see them in moments like this. Jackets zipped up as far as they could go, backs turned to the nipping wind, but happily eating turkey sandwiches and asking questions about seashells during high tide. It was blissful. We started to walk the designated path on higher ground when we looked out to the ferry boat getting ready to make its commute. The kids got all excited about it and in that brief moment, we decided that we would take a ferry ourselves that afternoon. So we did. We finished our walk, got the kids settled back into the car, and we headed for the terminal closest to us.

Once we got there, we were told that the only destination that this particular terminal had was Vashon Island. Vashon Island is home to less than 11,000 people and only accessible via ferry. Since none of us had ever been before, we decided to give it a go. We got ourselves a map of the island and drove onto that ferry excited for a new adventure. Two out of three kids have been on ferries before. The ferry ride in New York City was probably my favorite. Jam packed with so many people with so much diversity, and all there to see lady liberty. This ferry was nothing like that. It was fairly empty but so large in comparison to anything the kids have seen before. We got out of the car, made sure to find bathrooms, and then explored for the rest of the ferry ride. Ava seemed most relaxed on the ferry. She found the exit doors and immediately went outside to take in that fresh Pacific Ocean smell. Olivia was a little apprehensive about the entire ordeal, but happily ventured out as soon as her daddy did. Liam was all over the place. This child has been running literally everywhere and showed no fear whatsoever.

So wrapped up exploring new things, we didn't even feel when the ferry stopped. We were the last off the boat and Justin felt bad, like they were waiting on us before the cars waiting could approach. Driving through Vashon was kind of like a movie. It looked like this perfectly sunny (yes, in Washington), green, fresh air, sea life sort of town. We passed a windy stretch of road, orca inspired mailboxes, and so many sailboat! It was beautiful. The first stop we made was the iconic Point Robinson Lighthouse. Less than a half of a mile trek to reach it, it was breathtaking. The shoreline was tricky due to all the driftwood but we managed. Liam immediately went for the rocks. He loves to skip them. Ava twirled around with her hair whipping around from the sea breeze. And Miss Olivia, hat over her head, had her feet planted firmly in front of the crashing waves. Justin did a fair share of running after Liam. He literally wanted to jump in the water after his rocks. Thankfully, he didn't get the chance. We walked back up towards the lighthouse and took pictures. I handed my camera over to Ava and she did a ROCKSTAR JOB.

We ended up exploring more of what the town had to offer -- roughly 45 miles of waterfront, authentic shops that lined their one lane roads, and a little further into town, (I found a grocery chain I'd never heard of filled with legit some of the nicest people I have ever met), a local middle schooler, complete with a trifold brochure "Washington D.C." panel was outside of the market trying to achieve her goal for a class trip this summer. Meeting her was likely my favorite part. In exchange for a donation, she had you write down your contact information for a postcard to be sent to you. We were thrilled to help.

Leaving the island was tricky. From start to finish it took about 25 minutes to get to one side of the island to the other. There are multiple ferry routes off the island -- Seattle, Tacoma (the one we used), etc. I guess I got the GPS all wrong because we ended up on the wrong side with less than 10 minutes to make it to the correct ferry terminal. For whatever reason the ferry was delayed and we ended up making our intended departure. I was thankful since the Sunday ferry runs slower -- only one every hour or so. The kids were so excited about our impromptu adventures that it really left me feeling like we need to make this happen more often.

And I know we will.

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