The beautiful thing about discovering an enigma is that you seldom realize you have done so. It is only after your conscious has cleared, allowing the subtle permeations of the mystery to take root, do you appreciate what you have found.
Vashon Island, as you will come to realize, is one such discovery. Vashon's dichotomous lifestyle juxtaposes a rural, unpretentious and some say "quirky" charm with that of a sophisticated, and we dare say...haute, art, wine and cuisine culture. It's not uncommon to tour the island's local farm stands enjoying artisan bread, organic produce and award winning wine while catching the gaze of quizzical alpacas.
Vashon's central Puget Sound location is but a few breathtaking seaborne minutes away from the urban excesses of Seattle and Tacoma. Islanders can also access the Kitsap Peninsula where modern conveniences collide with rain forests and mountains.
Once on the island, rolling hills, pastoral pastures and sanctuaries of towering firs, hemlock and madrona welcome your intrepid adventures, whether by foot, hoof, tire or daddy's shoulders you are free to roam. When the mysteries of Vashon's hinterlands have been sufficiently solved, the saltwater shorelines, buttressed by never ending jams of seasoned driftwood, offer spectacular Puget Sound, Mt. Rainier and Olympic Mountain vistas. Colorful starfish and a cornucopia of seashells await your discovery, but be sure to look towards the water as well, you may just spot an impish sea otter, swooping eagle or surfacing orca. For those who prefer to get off the beach and on the water the surrounding Sound provides ample opportunities for rowing, kayaking, sailing, yachting and fishing.
When replenishment is needed, Vashon is well situated to satisfy your mind, body and soul. Vashon is a renowned artist's (of all persuasions) haven. Just as nearly renowned is Vashon's abundance of organic edibles which are readily available via farmers markets and stands, grocers, as well as fine and casual dining establishments. Ones soul can easily become satiated with such offerings as live music, readings and theatre, garden tours, as well as traditional spiritual services.
Islanders are appreciators of many things and there is nothing they cherish more than their children. Islanders take great care in ensuring their children's upbringing is second to none, providing a top rated school district, respected athletic programs, as well as highly popular extracurriculars. The children and their parents alike also enjoy the claim-to-fame of Vashon being the creative catalyst for two of the world's most renowned childrens book authors - Berkeley Breathed and Betty McDonald.
Life on Vashon, as you will experience, is a bit slower. Islanders tend to abide by "Island Time" where life is not measured in minutes, but moments. And although "plugged in," Islanders prefer their "social networking" to involve more hugs than keystrokes and it's not an uncommon scene for four-way stops to become impromptu reunions.
The enigma of Vashon is the ability of this island to combine such seemingly conflicting environs and lifestyles and meld into an unpretentious yet cultivated community where Seattle skylines provide backgrounds to organic farms and haute couture means simultaneously donning Carhart and Dolce Gabana.
Choosing Vashon Island for your home is most certainly a lifestyle choice, and most Islanders, if you ask them, will say that in some strange way Vashon chose them. That as soon as they arrived, there was something in that sea infused air that said, "You're home."
That may just be another Vashon enigma, one that only you can solve... and we sure would love for you to take a crack at it.