You may be just settling into Seattle, but no holiday here would be complete without discovering a few of the many great day trips from Seattle. One of the most popular local excursions can be experienced via a 35-minute journey on a Washington State Ferry across Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island. No other tour can match the views from the super ferries. Disembark in Winslow for a respite at Blackbird Bakery or just sail right back over to catch unmatched vistas of the Emerald City, Mt. Rainier and Cascade Mountains.
Bainbridge Island possesses many surprises, but its best-kept secret resides a few miles from the ferry terminal. The Bloedel Reserve sits on 150-acres of former forest, swamp and marshland. Shaped over five decades by lumber baron heir Prentice Bloedel, you can wander the Reserve for hours, stepping through the moss garden, reflecting by the Rhododendron Glen or in the meadow overlooking Puget Sound. It’s an easy drive to Bloedel, or catch the public Kitsap County shuttle from the ferry to the Reserve during the summer months.
The ferry town of Winslow is as picturesque as Bloedel’s Camellia Grove, possessing Eagle Harbor Book Co., one of the region’s best bakeries and a dozen tasteful boutiques, all framed by a white steeple from the local congregational church. Blackbird Bakery’s lemon blueberry scones may be the best in the state, but there are many other bakeries to try on the five-block Winslow Way East. Pegasus Coffee House offers baked goods and a great all day breakfast menu.
It’s no surprise that a village as quaint as Winslow would draw top foodies in search of a simpler life within 35-minutes of Seattle. The Hitchcock Delicatessen and Charcuterie and The Madison Diner capture culinary trends from Seattle and beyond, while Restaurant Marché adds a French twist to the countryside culinary celebration.
San Juan Island, Washington
There’s plenty of traditional dockside dining, featuring Dungeness crab and oysters grilled to order, in Friday Harbor. But at Friday Harbor House the menu is elevated to haut coastal cuisine with “flash fried kelp & calamari” featuring locally harvested bull kelp. Numerous ice cream shops serve Lopez Island Ice Cream, sweetening our moods toward mellow island life. Located four miles outside of Friday Harbor, Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes provides every type of rustic lodging imaginable from lodge rooms, log cabins, platform tents and campsites to a 1978 Excella Airstream trailer.
But the Winslow aesthetic soars beyond ambience, shopping and cuisine. Bainbridge Island Museum of Art features exhibits that reflect the surrounding environment and fit beautifully within the museum’s sympathetic structure, from the ship’s bow curve of the exterior to the George and David Lewis Roof Garden.
The visit somehow improves when you depart. Catch an evening ferry back and you’re likely to see the sun ignite the Seattle skyline as Mount Rainier also glows in the background
Written by Crai Bower