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All About Vashon Island, WA

- by Jodie Vinson

Vashon was nicknamed the heart of the sound not just for its centralized location just west of Seattle, but because the tiny island contains something representative of many waterfront towns along the Sound. It is a microcosm of the best in these Northwest communities with small farms, pristine parks, and cozy cafes nestled into its small town atmosphere. Views of the stunning Northwest landscape composed of mountains and water are available around its forty-five mile circumference.

The island was recognized as a pivotal part of the Sound by its earliest inhabitants. The Native Americans living on it used the unique island landscape to their advantage. They spanned nets across what was once a portage between Vashon and Maury to catch waterfowl and built fleets of war canoes in Quartermaster Harbor. The settlers that followed them also used the islands resources for survival, fishing and exporting lumber. When the land was cleared it was used for berry farms and other agriculture. The island today continues to be known for its berries as small organic and specialty farms keep its agricultural roots alive.

Consistent water transportation to the island from the mainland was essential to its growth and development. In the 1880's a refurbished lifeboat named Old Black Joe brought much of the islands populace to its shores. Soon ferry service was established at both ends of the island. The first auto ferry arrived in 1916, and paved roads began crisscrossing the farmland. Today those roads are traversed by cyclist enthusiasts and visitors looking for a rural getaway in the heart of the Puget Sound

Community Links:

Vashon Maury Island Chamber of Commerce

Community Resources & Local Map Site Community Web Portal Links & Community Info

Vashon Maury News

Vashon Beachcomber Community Newspaper