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Vashon for Dog Lovers

Right in your own backyard lies an almost secret destination filled with beautiful beaches, lovely accommodations, eclectic restaurants, quaint shops AND plenty of fun with Fido!
Written by Brandie Ahlgren | Photos by Amelia Soper
Living five minutes from the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal in West Seattle, a day trip to Vashon Island is a piece of cake—yet, I’ve only been to Vashon twice and both were day trips, 10 years apart. This time, we’re here for two full days and I couldn’t be more excited to explore all the island has to offer.

We start by checking into our digs, the lovely and dog friendly Lodges on Vashon. If I were to design the perfect setting for communal living, this would be it. First, the Lodges feature two comman spaces, the Public House and the Pavilion. The Public House features complimentary coffee and tea, an ice maker and lounge room, where you can eat dinner with friends and fellow lodgers at the large table or steal away to a corner and catch up on email. The Pavilion features an open-air patio, with firepit, heat lamps, cozy seating areas and a comfy couch for relaxing by the gigantic gas fireplace with Fido.

Located along the tree-lined edge of the property—be sure to keep an eye out for deer—the Meadow Lodges feature a separate bedroom with king size bed, seating area with gas fireplace, well-stocked wet bar, and a cozy nook with two twin beds. Best of all, the bathroom features French doors that open onto a private outdoor patio—take in the fresh air while you shower—there’s ample room for two—plus in-floor radiant heat, hand made soaps and amenities from local artisans and super soft terrycloth towels.

Once we drop off our gear, we mosey to downtown Vashon, where we can’t resist stopping in at Glass Bottle Creamery (pictured above, on right) for some homemade ice cream. Thya enjoys a scoop of plain vanilla, while we go a bit more exotic with strawberry balsamic swirl and chocolate chip with fresh mint. Further south, we pay a visit to Seattle Distilling, where they hand craft gin, vodka, whiskey and coffee liqueur from scratch, “grain to glass,” using locally grown botanicals including Vashon lavender, elderberry and coriander, Washington wheat and barley, and coffee roasted fresh from Vashon Island Coffee.

Next, we visit Nashi Orchards, where they make small batch cider to taste and take home. Upon arrival, we are greeted by resident Bouviers, Ursula, Gunther and Franz. While the dogs frolic in the adjacent orchard, we sip Perry (pear cider). My favorite is the award winning Chojuro, made with Asian pears—it’s super crisp, not too sweet and I can’t resist buying a four pack.

Back in town, we end the day with dinner at May Restaurant and Bar—the only Thai restaurant on Vashon, but one of the best in all of Seattle. We start with an appetizer of fried watercress and finish with their famous Phad Thai paired with a glass of Dragon’s Head Cider—also made locally.

The next morning, we grab a latte at Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie and head to Point Robinson Beach and Lighthouse—we are lucky to be here on a clear, sunny day to enjoy the view of Mt. Rainier in all its glory.

After exploring among the driftwood in search of seashells, we’ve built up an appetite. Unfortunately, we find out the dog-friendly patio at The Hardware Store is closed (we still highly recommend brunch or lunch here when it’s open), so we head to Zamorana for some authentic and delicious Mexican food (the fish tacos are the bomb) at one of the outside tables.

While our visit to Vashon is short and we can’t squeeze everything in, we have a few more recommendations: Grab a ginger brew or one of the many vegan offerings at Pure. Check out the Vashon Island Saturday Farmers Market, open April to December, where you will find all sorts of locally made goods, from soaps to cider. Swing by the pooch-friendly tasting room at Palouse Winery or grab a mouthwatering pastry at Snapdragon (the back patio is dog friendly). Speaking of baked goods, Vashon Island Baking Company, who also own Glass Bottle Creamery, makes amazing pastries—we hear the maple donut is to die for!

Also located on Vashon, is the Northwest School of Animal Massage, offering full, professional certification programs plus individual classes to learn massage, aromatherapy, reiki, shiatsu and acupressure—all for animals, of course.

Vashon is also home to the annual Sheepdog Classic, which we learn is the most attended herding event on the West Coast. Enjoy local fare, fiber arts, and other artisan crafts while witnessing working dogs in action (  

Check out more photos from our visit to Vashon Island! 

More Information
Vashon Lodges
17205 Vashon Hwy SW, Vashon

Seattle Distilling
19429 Vashon Hwy SW;

Nashi Orchards
25407 Wax Orchard Rd SW;

May Kitchen & Bar
17614 Vashon Hwy SW;

Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie
19529 Vashon Hwy SW;

17722 Vashon Hwy SW; 206.356.5684

Glass Bottle Creamery
17637 Vashon Hwy SW; 206.463.1033

Palouse Winery
12431 Vashon Hwy SW;

Point Robinson Beach and Lighthouse
3705 SW Point Robinson Road

Northwest School of Animal Massage
9704 SW 156th Street;
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