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Friday island photos: driving to the grocery store

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07 May 2010

Friday island photos: driving to the grocery store

heading into town. see the ferry in the distance?

It's late morning, somewhere around 10. Lu is not due for her nap for a couple of hours. The sun is out.

Let's go. Let's go to the grocery store.

everything a blur of green

Most of the drives we take on the island include flashing blurs of green. Most of the island is fields and forests, with a few houses tucked in behind the stands of trees. Try to take photos and I have this.

that's the farm I wrote about

Here's the farm I wrote about last month. It's on our drive into town, which means that we can keep checking in on the state of the farm. There's a profusion of green plants these days.

stop signs don't happen often, so we need lots of warning

There aren't that many stop signs on the island (and only the four-way stop in the middle of town has a flashing yellow stoplight). Most of the time, it's open road. When one approaches, you want to know it.

watch out for deer

We see the Deer Crossing signs far more often than stop signs. Believe me, you need these as a reminder.

During the summer, nearly every yard you pass has a pair of deer chewing on plants. (Most gardens are fenced in the middle of a field around here, to keep the deer out.) On warm nights, we drive slowly down the hill toward our house. Deer dart out all the time. I really don't want to hit one.

Not a day goes by from spring to fall without seeing deer around here.

out on the open road

It's open road.

It's fully spring. Every tree has leaves. Everything is finally here.

time for a curve in the road

Time for a curve in the road. Climb a little hill, wait for the houses to disappear, and pass the clutch of stationery bikes parked on the side of the road, and then we see...

Tramp Harbor


This is Tramp Harbor. (I swear.) This open swath of water, the waves breaking into the shore, the Cascade mountains lining the bottom of the sky on clear days, the sailboats in the distance — this is part of our drive into town.

I will never grow tired of this view. Usually, at some point when we drive by this view, either Danny or I sigh and say, "Can you believe we live here?"

I still can't.

I used to jump off this dock at night

And I've lived here before.

I used to jump off this dock on dark nights in summer, the hot air just starting to cool, the phosphorescence glimmering green in the water. My friends and I looked down, took a deep breath, held hands, and jumped.

That cold water was a shock to the lungs, every time. We came up roaring.

I haven't done that in a long time. But I think of it every time we pass this dock.

my favorite beach

That is my favorite beach on the island, possibly in the world. KVI beach. It has an official name. I don't know what it is. Everyone calls it KVI because those radio towers belong to a Seattle station with the call letters of KVI. I don't listen to the station, but I love that beach.

When I was a teacher here in the 1990s, I used to go to KVI on warm days and grade papers up against the bluffs.

people love to bike on the island

Here's a sure sign of spring. Bikers on the road. In the summer, some roads are thick with packs of men and women in matching jerseys and intent expressions, pedaling hard down the road. You have to drive slowly, and on narrow roads there is no chance to pass them.

Another chance to practice patience.

all kinds of green now

I love this road. When I lived in New York, and rollerbladed Central Park, sometimes a certain curve would remind me of this road. It always made me sigh.

that's the high school where I used to teach

That's the high school where I used to be a teacher.

the main highway

Now we're on the main highway. 40 miles an hour. That's the Country Store on the left. That's really the name. The Country Store.

We bought Ozette potatoes there a few weeks ago, to plant. I hope they grow.


We're closer to town now. That's Minglement, the coffee roaster/health food store/gathering place for the community. When I taught high school here, this was the roasting plant for Seattle's Best Coffee. About 11 am, in the middle of teaching Greek and Latin roots, I would stop to sniff the aroma coming in the classroom. Hmmm. Guatelmala roast.

Now, we buy gluten-free flours and oats there, along with island eggs and meat. I love that front porch.

it's still mostly green on the main highway

More blur. Even on the main highway, this close to town, there are still fields and trees. Always trees.

that's the fish shack on the right

You might remember that last year I wrote about the fish shack on the road where we buy salmon and halibut directly from the fishermen. There it is, on the right.

Open every weekend.

there are lots of churches on the island

There are a lot of churches on the island. A lot. This is a small town, after all.

the movie theatre

There's one movie theater. It always reminds me of the movie theater in The Last Picture Show. They play current movies, though.

Someday I will see a movie in a movie theater again.

Casa Bonita

This isn't really on the way to the grocery store. It's one block over. The day I took these photographs, we had to make a quick stop at the post office. And so, this.

This is one of two Mexican restaurants on the island. I think it's the better one. When it first opened, we all piled in, because the food was authentic, the cooks direct from Mexico. After awhile, it started to go downhill, toward Tex-Mex, toward the standard tastes of American expectatations of Mexican food. I didn't go for years.

Now, though, it's back to fiery and alive. Every time I have been, I've left smiling.

the latin store on the island

Next door, the island's Latin store. Truly.

It's meant to serve the immigrant population who have come here to work in the restaurants and work on the farms. We go in for spices and other foods, however. I love that this little small town on an island, which could be entirely homogeneous, is not all white. Not by a long shot.

finally there

Here we are. At the grocery store.

It's quite a drive.

Can you blame us for going nearly every single day?


At 11:32 PM, Blogger Gemma said...

Beautiful Shauna. I could do with a dose of greenery and a dose of island life right about now...

At 11:56 PM, Blogger Demetra said...

Hello Shauna,
I love this post. I have spent quite a lot of time in Seattle and surrounding islands. Incredible area. I grew up in Missoula, Montana, and now live in Athens, Greece. ! I love your tweets, your spirit, your tales of love and babies, your information and now, your drive to the grocery store! In fact just this morning I created a group on Facebook for Montanas in Europe and for Northwesterners in Europe. Just in the spirit of exactly what you are depicting here, and wanting to connect with others who KNOW it. -Demetra Lambros

At 11:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pt. Heyer. I was squired around Vashon when visiting my sweetie, before I lured him back to the big City.

At 5:49 AM, Blogger Cheryl Arkison said...

Thank-you for the glimpse into your routine. Maybe one day you'll be running there? Or too far? Either way, just gorgeous and I can see how the view would fuel your grocery trips,inspiration, and your runs.

At 5:59 AM, Blogger magpie bessie said...

Hi! You pretty much convinced me to pack up my family and move west! Not that I needed much convincing, but looks ideal to my reckoning. Now I just need to get my dear husband on-board with the Great Escape Adventure! Thank you for sharing!

At 6:36 AM, Anonymous Diane said...


If it's 5-10 miles (or less), you could try biking it once a week. You get an appreciation for things at the pace of biking that you don't by driving. As much as you see - and think you see - in a car, you see so much more when you bike. Once a week or once every two weeks I bike into downtown Oakland for the farmer's market there and return home piled high with Asian greens. And while it scarcely has the beauty of your area, I do see many interesting things on the way. I wave to school crossing guards, pass the Thai temple with monks sweeping out front, notice the new coat of paint going up on a grocery store, etc. It's a great trip.

At 6:51 AM, Anonymous Tara said...

Thank you for the tour!
And for reminding me to notice my own drive to the grocery store.
Even way over here in the mountains of East Tennessee, my drive looks much the same - all green + fields + deer and farmers.


At 6:54 AM, Blogger jenA said...

Now now, my darling. You gotta know that Tex-Mex outside of Texas is just sad Gringo food, and Mexican outside the Southwest is just dressed-up Taco Bell. Please don't give our authentic cuisine a bad name!

At 7:06 AM, Anonymous erika edith said...

Beautiful. I grew up in a small community on Vancouver Island - and that is exactly how I remember drives to anywhere. The green blur of lush beautiful trees and the little memories of all the sites you pass.

At 7:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I know the spot in Central Park you are thinking of --- there is a curve on my drive (rural Southern Indiana) that reminds me of the same spot. . .

At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Dana said...

Nothing can totally capture the beauty of that place, but you came close! Both times we have come to visit, it has been cloudy. I can't wait to see the island in all of its glory. It is such a gorgeous place.

At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous peek into your lovely island scenery! Looks positively idyllic -- I think the greenery is showing off just for your blog. =)

At 9:03 AM, Anonymous meg said...

Gorgeous photos! I love Vashon~ such a unique and beautiful place! I used to hop on my bike and ride from my house in west seattle to the ferry, ferry over and bike the island. Pre-kid. It has been trickier with the toddler....soon though. Your pics might have been all the inspiration I needed!

At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Cookie said...

Tex-Mex is WONDERFUL in TEXAS! Outside of have to wonder.... Please don't confuse Tex-Mex with bad Mexican food. Tex-Mex is spicy and full of flavor. I am a former Texan who now lives in Arizona and I have yet to eat really good Mexican food here, but Texas... Texas has GOOD Mexican food!

Thanks for the green tour!

At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rent the movie "Emotional Arithmetic" with Susan Sarandon, Gabriel Bryne, Christopher Plummer and Max Vob Sydow. When Susan and Gabriel' caracters are driving in the pickup truck going to the grocerie store, that's my road (or part of)... but no the house ... and the view...

At 9:09 AM, Blogger cindy* said...

what a gorgeous drive...lucky!

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Abbie said...

that is amazing. I was holding my breath the entire way. What a lovely place!

At 10:03 AM, Blogger McDolan said...

Thanks for the tour of home :) I will have to go home to my favorite beach KVI real soon! I love that place too!

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Kelly said...

Not one food photo, yet so delicious. Could eat you all and that place up. xoxo

At 11:00 AM, Anonymous AmandaonMaui said...

Yep yep I remember a lot of that from my visits over. We had to go fix some things at my partner's house so we went to the hardware store, The Malt Shop, and Thriftway (for POG... Do they still have that? Try it sometime. It's a Hawaii favorite. Not very good for you but a nice treat.) He showed me the bike in the tree and the grave marker with a chainsaw.
He lived one block south of Cemetery Rd. Up the hill from the Jesus barn.
I plan to go back the next time I am in Seattle.

At 1:03 PM, Blogger Nicole said...

I'm from Seattle and living in SoCal... your pictures made me ridiculously homesick. The island is beautiful as usual, great pictures too!

At 2:07 PM, Blogger akhdesign said...

I love that you are so far north and still have real Mexican food. I am a newly discovered Celiac, and I have been wondering how safe the Mexican restaurant waters are. Can you offer any hints?

At 5:27 PM, Blogger RavenM said...

Beautiful drive, thanks for sharing :)

I envy you the ocean view, I get to drive two hours a couple times a year and soak up all I can, but a least I live close enough to do that.

At 9:44 PM, Anonymous molly said...

This is pure balm for my ex-pat Northwest soul. Thank you, Shauna, so very much.

At 10:18 PM, Blogger Kathleen said...

The yoga studio, owned and managed by one of my teachers, Kathryn Payne, is in the same section of town as your grocery store. Kathryn is a fabulous teacher and a wonderful person to boot. I'm sure you'd love her!

At 10:40 PM, Anonymous Tai Rae said...

By the third picture I knew you were on Maury, and once you mentioned the exercise bikes it was certain! Last summer I picked up your book at an island yard sale (near the golf course actually, the big tennis court on the north side of the road) right after I had started making the transition to gluten free. Eight months living in the city, stressing over school, made me lose sight of my health goals and didn't give me any spare reading time. Now that I am back on the island, more time on my hands, more time in the kitchen, more time to read, I am bound and determined to give up my addiction to sweet sweet wheat, to read your book, and to get myself into a state of happy health! Glad to have found you online, maybe we will bump into each other one of these at the Island Thriftway.

At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Carolyn said...

Gorgeous photos, and I love your blog, but I'm a bit concerned that you were taking pictures while driving with your child in the car...?

At 12:44 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Love the Vashon tour. My family has a cabin in Ellisport on Tramp Harbor. So fun to see pictures in my vacation stomping grounds.

At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Rowing Mom said...

I love my Island! Thanks for sharing your pictures - it never gets old. Every day (11 years now) we also say "Can you believe we live here?"

At 5:01 PM, Blogger Brenda said...

The drive alone is therapeutic. Now how on earth do you remember what you're driving there for in the first place???? Guess you're not easily driven to distraction, eh?
Thanks for taking us all along, B=)

At 1:30 PM, Blogger MsJess said...

Surely as two self-proclaimed south park aficionados it must give you and Danny some joy to eat at place called Casa Bonita? (PS casa bonita is in fact a real place in colorado with cliff divers and puppets and according to my grandmother who lives in CO, terrible food)

At 6:56 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I love these pictures. I spent something like 8 summers on Vashon as a music camp counselor. Your pictures are bringing back some incredible memories! We would spend every Saturday at the laundromat, alternating our loads of laundry with pizza and beer from Rocky's (obviously not gluten free). On our way back to camp we would stop at the Thriftway and pick up supplies for the big BBQ we'd have that night. I look forward to visiting again soon...maybe during Strawberry Festival! You are extremely blessed to be living on such a beautiful island!

At 7:19 AM, Anonymous Patty said...

Shauna, a beautiful blog that probably did more for tourism than the chamber of commerce. But, I must flag you on your Tex-Mex comment. Like Jen said, what people outside of Texas see is processed food. I am Latina, grew up on the Texas border, and always had non-processed, great food. True Tex-Mex isn't smothered in cheese, sour cream and black olives. It's the smell of wonderful pinto beans with onions, tomato and tomatillo, fluffy rice colored and spiced with tomatoes, lean beef, grilled fish, tender pork, aguas dulces, sweet-roasted corn in a cup with chili pepper, etc. Each region along the border has its foods, based on the population and local culture. That being said, your photo makes me want to shop at the little store you pictured.


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