bridges lighthouse

Built in 1915, Point Robinson Lighthouse stands guard over Vashon’s east side.

An afternoon tour of the east side of the island includes sights such as the famed Bicycle Eaten by a Tree—a Douglas fir that’s engulfed a rusty bike. Near the hamlet of Burton, the Judd Creek Bridge provides a tree-framed view of Quartermaster Harbor, Maury Island, and Puget Sound; snowy Mount Rainier shines in the background. From here, it’s a short ride to the stately red-roofed Point Robinson Lighthouse, which has guarded the east side of the island since 1915 and still dutifully emits two white flashes from its 38-foot tower every 12 seconds.

We’d had enough exertion, so the next day we avoided all nonessential physical activity and slipped into the Vashon Bookshop, where I fished an impeccable used copy of Ken Kesey’s Sailor Song from the shelves, then walked a few steps to the Vashon Tea Shop to lounge and read in a wicker chair the rest of the afternoon.

Back at the cottage that night, we set out on a starlit walk. But bright as the stars were, we couldn’t see our hands in front of our faces, let alone navigate a path in the dark. Instead, we sat on the porch in the inky darkness. The car-clogged city felt farther away than ever, our closest companions the unseen crickets and that frog chirping away in the pond.