Vashon: Your Office Away From The Office

For many urban dwellers, Vashon and Maury Islands serve as an idyllic rural getaway. Every weekend, especially during the summer months, these islands call out to the cyclist who craves country roads, the couple who yearns to stroll endless beaches, and the seekers of solitude who are looking for a healthy dose of Mother Nature’s finest peace and quiet.

Well, don’t tell anyone where you heard this, but Vashon’s various charms and pleasures can even be found…during the week! In fact, on a typical weekday, Vashon’s country roads and endless beaches are even emptier and quieter. I discovered this fact seven years before our family decided to call Vashon home. It was an ominous Wednesday at the office which promised to be packed to the rafters with stress and frustration. Therefore, in a courageous decision to confront my professional problems head-on, I fled Lower Queen Anne and headed for the island!

Tramp Harbor

Tramp Harbor

On that magical Wednesday, and on many memorable weekdays since, I simply took my work out on the road with me. I’ve always enjoyed working from my car. First of all, it gets me out of the office and all that a day at the office implies. Secondly, it puts me more in touch with that which never fails to inspire me…fresh air! First, I use my time in the ferry line and on the boat to make some calls and clear the decks of potentially annoying obstacles. Then, I arrive on the island and head straight to Tramp Harbor. Located near the portage which separates Vashon from Maury Island, Tramp Harbor offers a number of excellent spots where you can park your car and make yourself right at….work. If you have a portable chair with you, there’s even a long fishing pier which separates you a bit from the traffic along the road. With fishing boats trolling past only a couple hundred feet off-shore, my fingers fly across the keyboard of my laptop. If it’s a rainy day, I’m even more focused, as the pitter-patter of rain on my windshield helps me beat a client deadline with room to spare.

After a satisfying morning of productivity, I give myself a nice lunch at one of Vashon’s rather limited selection of eateries before adjourning to Point Robinson for Free Association Time. Before moving to the island, my Vashon getaway days were always scheduled around situations where I knew that some time to walk and think would benefit me and/or a client greatly. I’m not sure there’s a better place to serve that purpose than on the beach which stretches to the south of Point Robinson Lighthouse on Maury Island. This is a beach where rain simply is not a sufficient deterrent to creativity. And if I happen to get a sunny day, Mt. Rainier looks close enough to touch.

After an afternoon spent walking, talking, and filling my digital voice recorder with inspiration, strategic planning, and pointless rambling, I’m usually ready to call it a day. I head back to the ferry for some catch-up phone calls before returning to the urban jungle.

Now, I live on Vashon and work from home. Tramp Harbor is a five-minute walk and the lighthouse is a five-minute drive. Even though my home office is just 150 square feet, my REAL office is over 30 square miles of beach, forest, rolling meadows, and NO landlord!

Try it sometime. Grab the laptop and the cell phone and move your base of operations out of Office HQ. Waiting for you on the other side of the ferry is Vashon, the biggest and most beautiful conference room in all the Northwest.

Kathy is ready to help at your Burton office.

Kathy is ready to help at your Burton office.


Other Mobile Offices on Vashon

Here are a few other great places on the island to set up shop for a workday-that-doesn’t-seem-like-a-workday:

-Wingehaven Park. It’s just off Cunliffe Road, not far from the north end ferry. It’s a hike down to the park, but it’s usually empty and has a picnic table with a grand view of Mount Rainier. The ruins of an early 20th century balustrade along the bulkhead will make you feel like you’re on the shore of a lake in Northern Italy.

-KVI Beach. Look for the radio tower on the water at Tramp Harbor and you’ve found it. Easily accessed with plenty of great sitting logs from which you can set up shop. Look for harbor porpoises and then tell your clients and colleagues about it for maximum effect. One cautionary note: Prolonged exposure to the radio tower on the beach has been known to heighten tolerance for conservative talk radio in some laboratory rats.

-Lisabeula Park. This little gem of a park is on the west side of the island on Colvos Passage. It’s an excellent spot from which to launch either a kayak or a killer sales proposal. Usually deserted on weekdays, you’re sure to to find the perfect picnic table to serve as a temporary desk.

by Jeff Hoyt