Vashon Island: The Hardware Store

Lighthouse on Vashon Island

Summer’s here! It’s the Fourth of July! That means it’s road trip time across the country. Here in the northwest, a road trip can quickly turn into a ferry trip and back to a road trip again. I decided to hit the road and the water for a little adventure to Vashon Island today. I was a little nervous to set out solo, but I figured, ‘Hey, It’s a small Island…how lost can I get?” So, I hopped in the car and set out without a road map, a GPS, or a general sense of direction. I just had a plan to explore and maybe even get a little lost on a small island with big potential.

Not your average "Hardware Store"

Mission #1 on my Island adventure was to find somewhere unique to eat. You can’t get more unique than… a hardware store? Actually, it was “The Hardware Store” where, instead of nails and hammers, the tools of choice are forks, knives and wine bottle openers. THS is the oldest commercial building on Vashon. As you might imagine, it started out as a retail store and eventually transitioned into a restaurant. These days, the only screwdrivers you’ll find are the ones that come served on the rocks. Situated at the busiest cross street on the island (a blinking red light) it seems to be a crossroads for locals and tourists alike, and it was my first stop in town.

Palouse "Cloud 9" Riesling

Much like a real hardware store, THS has a wide selection of “inventory” to choose from on the menu. Breakfast looked awesome with skillets and smoked salmon eggs benedict, but it was lunch time by the time I sat down, past noon, in fact. In my world, that means I don’t have to be ashamed to day drink and order a glass of wine! It just so happens, this restaurant carried a Riesling from a winery I passed on the way into town. Perfect! The Palouse “Cloud 9” Riesling really was one of the best I’ve tasted here. It was the perfect mix of sweet and dry… just right, as Goldilocks would say!

Crab Cake With Roasted Red Pepper Aioli

The lunch selection has a little bit for everyone: Salads and veggie sandwiches for the vegetarian crowd, cheddar bacon burgers and Reubens for the carnivores, and Penn Cove mussels and fish tacos for the seafarers. I had the crab cakes with a side of greens. The cakes are small for the price ($14), but what they lack in size they make up for in meatiness. These definitely aren’t cakes stuffed with breading to make them look like they have more crab than they really do. These cakes are crammed with crab… Big juicy chunks. Overall, it tasted good and I was happy.

Creme Brûlée

Since I traveled all this way, I decided it was my duty to have dessert. They had creme brûlée on the menu for crying out loud! I think it’s my purpose in life to try creme brûlée from as many different restaurants as I can. Sadly, I was kind of disappointed by this one. The creme was cold and the brûlée was a little too burnt. Felt like it needed a little more TLC.

Fair Trade Store on Vashon Island

With fuel in my body, it was time to ditch the fuel in my car and stroll the shops on the main drag through town. The cutest store I found was a shop called “Giraffe.” It’s a fair trade store that carries products from something like 50 different countries, so you can feel good about supporting artisans from developing countries. I highly suggest you stop by for two reasons: 1) they offer you complimentary tea in a ceramic cup while you browse, and 2) they have an honest to god palm tree at the entrance. I’m pretty sure it’s the only one north of California!

Complimentary Tea

I came home with Peach and Ginger Jam made in Swaziland of all places! I can honestly say I can’t wait to have toast in the morning.
My last stop of the day was to the lighthouse on the other side of the island. The beach is covered in driftwood. So pretty! It reminded me of taking walks along Lake Superior as a kid. One year, my parents actually dragged home a big piece of driftwood for the yard!

As my day trip came to an end, I realized I didn’t get lost once on the way… except for in my thoughts now and then. Solo road trip success!

Driftwood Near Vashon Lighthouse

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