Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Vashon sweet Vashon

I have mentioned my nice little island in the Pacific Northwest but haven't really said much specific about it.

I think Vashon Island is special enough to get a post all it's own.

Located 15 minutes by ferry south of Seattle, WA and 10 minutes north of Tacoma gives it a unique rural yet next to the city sort of feel. There is no bridge so we are completely dependent on the ferry system.

It is about the size of Manhattan island or 20 miles north to south and 5 miles east to west. There are 11,000 people who live here year round while summer swells the population to 15,000. About 5,000 commute off island to work each day.

There is a little town proper with one 4 way stop, shops, restaurants and a big wonderful grocery store. There is a little old fashioned movie theater. There is a clinic that is affiliated with Highline Medical Center and plenty of other doctor's including alternative practices. There a many artists, musicians and writers who live here. And, many folks who just support the arts or live artfully.

There is a public school district that offers one high school (9-12), one middle school (6-8) and one elementary school. There is a well attended private school (4 - 8) and plenty of pre-schools, day cares and little private primary schools.

Vashon is a kid friendly place. I consider it a nesting place. In fact, it was after Molly was born when we lived in West Seattle that we really started to think about and looking for property on Vashon Island. I guess it was something about all those sidewalks and Molly's sweet little knees. I wanted to see her run across an expanse of grass.

Jake being from the East Coast originally, took one look at a rural island smack dab in the middle of Seattle and Tacoma and said, "Gold mine! Sign me up!"

We actively looked for 2 years then found our little piece of paradise; a 5 acre 1908 fixer upper farm house. Oh boy, and was it a fixer upper! Complete with gaping hole in the roof with a not very decorative blue tarp. Well, that was 8 years ago and that story may have to be another post.

The first thing I noticed when I moved to the island was the air; it smelled different, like it had more oxygen in it due to all the trees. My mantra at the time was , "More trees than cars!"

I have gotten used to the air but I am still surprised and charmed by our bucolic little island. It is indeed a wonderful place to raise kids. It reminds me of something Tasha Tudor, acclaimed artist, naturalist, simple living proponent, "Give your children good and happy memories of their childhood."

That is exactly what we are hoping we're doing.

So, come visit Vashon. It's a magic place.

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