It started like it almost always does…not a lot of sunshine. Odd, because this has been a record year for sunshine and early spring in Seattle with clear sunny El Nino days! We were really ready for a few days away after spending the first two days of our vacation in our PJ’s cleaning our condo…it is never too late for a good spring cleaning and sprucing up. But, boy…it was time to get outta town!
So, when it was time to go, we made a quick get-away with little packing, open minds and lots of enthusiasm for finding new and fun things as well as being more than ready to enjoy our usual traditional rituals of a late fall short-stay in Winslow, WA. We try and make this trip each season. (For the spring trip details see Blog Post /Trip Tips: Winslow, Bainbridge Island, Early Spring March 2014.)
We headed for our usual Pike Place Market lunch at Copacabana; and, it was wonderful. We promise to try something new next time; but, we needed our fix. This restaurant is billed as Seattle’s only Bolivian food and it gets great to fair to awful reviews from others. We are fans – period! The Copacabana salad is one of my favorite salads of all time – fresh with avocado, shredded radish, tomatoes, olives, and plain old iceberg lettuce with a way vinegary dressing that I sop up every bit of with all the soft white bread and butter they will give me (they are generous about it!); and, for late summer this is such a reminder of the salad days about to elapse.
The paella was really good and steamy with lots of different flavors, sausage, chicken, artichoke hearts, mussels, pimento. As a faux foodie this dish is hit-the-spot on for me.The service was wonderful as is our usual experience. This would most likely be our last outside-on-the-deck meal of the season! And, this is the deck to do that on – so Seattle with the bustling shoppers below, a singing busker’s raggedy rough voice cutting through the crisp air, the beautiful plantings and the ferry-across-the-water Olympics’ mountain-view in the distance. Pick a table wisely to get it all!
After our leisurely lunch, we strolled through the market looking and listening. It is of course a foody and photographers dream. (And, with my new camera with me, I was reminded of this great photo op, again!) We looked at things we had never really stopped to notice before.
Sarah Clementson’s Water Painting Stand…”paintings fresh every day.” She is responsible for the annual commemorative Pike Place Market Calendar that, after 33 years, is sought after by collectors. Her work is gentle water colors – impressionistic and pleasing. There are many maritime and Market themes and scenes. Her business card is a darling little piece with 12 miniatures of her work and a 2014 calendar inside and contact info. The Studio Solstone is in the atrium at the south end of the Market. It is outside DeLaurenti’s Italian shop, our next stop.
We browsed DeLaurenti’s (as we always do) next looking at the worldwide chocolate (always drawn to the chocolate); and, specialty items from Italy. The store is well stocked with imported things. Bucatini was our pasta find for this trip. I just had it for the first time on a cruise to Alaska and wanted to give it a try with my homemade summer sauce…a watery one, but highly seasoned that would coat the pasta’s long tiny tubes. This is the “in” pasta right now! It was not that expensive and nicely packaged – a great find for my sibling’s food and fun baskets at Christmastime which with Mario Batalli’s classic recipe would be a hit. Olive oils caught my eye and the packaging was beautiful. So many imported choices.
Outside the back door, a crowd at Daily Dozen Donuts…maple bacon donuts! Lots of donut making to watch.
Tenzing Momo & Co Herbal Apothecary and Perfumeria tucked back behind DeLaurenti’s is a find: “…herbs, vitamins and tarot cards…tinctures…homeopathics” and …jars and jars of them lined the walls…incense…I love incense matches and had not seen them for years. So many fragrances. They are the best for a quick room freshener; I keep them in the bathrooms. So many things to see and smell here…lots of candles. This shop has serious fans. It is small and you have to move carefully if crowded.
We did our usual bouquet shopping (really there is nothing more “Pike Place Market” than carrying your white paper wrapped flowers around the Market while you shop); and, found a beautiful bouquet but wanted to look some more…when we realized it was “the one”, Jon went back to get it. As he stepped up, a woman in front of him asked for it! The vendor noticed and said he could make one just like it…so, we had a fresh one made and were very happy! ($10 and a two dollar tip!)
These bouquets are beautiful but they do not last. To increase the life of your bouquet unwrap, cut all the rubber bands off and get as much of the foliage you can off the stems that would be under water in a vase. Freshly cut the stems and put in a vase with a splash of Clorox and 2 crushed aspirin or 2 tablespoons sugar. Change water every other day, re-cut stems and add new Clorox, aspirin or sugar. I do this to extend the life of all my bouquets. And, for the price: getting 5 days of beauty of the most interesting seasonal stems in generous sized bouquets still worth it. This time of year Dahlias are in and the pink and white ones are so sweet, Chilson’s Pride. Ala Mode (coral and white tipped), Arabian Night (dark burgundy) and Jim Dandy (dark red with white tips) are striking in the various bouquets.
Me posing with my posies!
And, after an hour, we were ready to get away and the sun was coming out!
As is our usual luck we got right on the ferry (don’t you do this – get the ferry schedule-it changes by the season). Headed for our usual place: Best Western Plus Bainbridge Suites. We wanted to stay in the back but changed our minds and got moved to a room closer to the front. It was a king bed in an alcove and a fully equipped kitchen, dishwasher, 2 burners, and even a little knife block w knives…sweet!
Headed for Safeway on foot across the street…the basket was chock full of fun things when we got through and our 3 movies picks, on the 3 for a week for $7 deal, this time were: The Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Budapest Hotel and Inside LLewyn Davis. The find of the night was the Safeway Artisan Bagels (great price and selection, huge and really good!) We have a thing for sesame and added red onion, tomatoes, cucumber and cream cheese. Lunch had been filling so this simple meal did the trick.
Settled in to watch The Exotic Marigold Hotel. I loved it! Jon not so much. Perhaps, it is a chick flick? I thought the cast was amazing, Judy Dench, Maggie Smith, and other less know; but, great English actors. The story line was sweet and fitting, I thought. The premise is a young East Indian man inherits a run-down hotel and decides he will market to a clientele of Ex-pats from Britain, who can’t afford fancy retirement homes. It is a great idea…not counting the run-down condition of the place and the assaulting nature of Indian culture on naive elders. There are interesting twist and turns in the plot, enough so, to keep me engaged and caring about the characters. (3 1/2 stars – Me, and 2 stars – Jon).
Try Safeway’s artesian bagels!
Then to bed. We made plans to explore, get to a second visit of the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA), go to the Bainbridge Island Nursery for lunch and drive around the island. Not sure in what order or what else would pop-up that would strike our fancy.
Two things to absolutely grab in your exploring are: the Maps of Bainbridge Island
done by the Chamber of Commerce and the well-done quarterly publication: Currents. The maps will come in handy and Currents is chock full of everything going on: articles, clever calendar of events and info. It is published by The Bainbridge Islands Art & Humanities Council.
Day Two of Away–
Sun the next day! First stop was the Senior Thrift Store. It is small and not a lot there; but, worth a look. Garage sales on this island are notoriously good – so stop if you see one!
This shop is in the Waterfront area of Fay Bainbridge Park one area we have not really explored…another good reason for us to come back here or another option for you on your visit! And, a tide table is a good thing to have when visiting Bainbridge – low tides make for great walks and exploring. High tides can catch you unawares.
Off we went to Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA): striving to be “a collecting museum with a focus on artists and collections from the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas, as well as the broader Puget sound region.” Wow! This place does not disappoint. This was our second visit. The exhibits were again great! All of the galleries, from the Permanent Collection and Artworks on loan, to the pictures in the Bistro by Fred Lisiaus’s “Terra Sublime” show, are packed with treasures. This is a relatively small museum, two floors with nooks and crannies equaling five exhibit galleries, the Bistro (want to get lunch there sometime…great little menu); and, an outdoor space that all together feel big and very artistically relevant.
Max Grover’s Hunter, Gatherer, Painter in the main gallery was full of color and whimsy. Full of fun and fun things to look at: the 3D canvas of a view finder was amazing.
Vintage collections of all sorts of collected things played off his paintings and vice-versa. The multi-dimension aspect of the exhibit was visually exciting. It was a happy show- so much to smile at and enjoy. Grover says of his work: “I show the extraordinary in the ordinary. I take everyday objects and show the magnificence in them.” And, especially: even the magnificence of kitsch like his hula dolls and Hawaii collection! Grover is an artist and illustrator living in nearby Port Townsend. His exhibit is described as “…diverse, whimsical collections of souvenirs, toys, statuettes and ephemera.” The sheer volume of this collection is amazing (one can only imagine what his home and studio look like!) and the artistic way of display and juxtaposition with his paintings culled chaos into artful pairings and eclectic works. He teaches classes in his studio in Port Townsend, WA. Address: Max Grover, 820 Water St, Port Townsend, WA 98368 Phone: (360) 385-5051
Then to the small second floor Sherry Grover Gallery which is one of my all-time favorite exhibit spaces I have ever seen in a museum. This room is dedicated to books: hand-made and hand bound all displayed beautifully. Exhibits change out at least three times a year as do the main room exhibits. Each new show is simply titled “Chapter – with the latest version number”. This time, an additional show: “You CAN Judge A Book by Its Cover” included 25 different covers and bindings of the same book all made on the 25th anniversary of its publication. It was so interesting to see all the variations. The best part was accidentally meeting Cynthia Sears and her husband Frank Braxton, who are the islanders who made this part of the museum a reality and curate and own many of the books displayed. They had visitors and were showing them all sorts of secrets tucked away in nooks and crannies of the room. They were generous with their information of the collection and allowed us to eavesdrop. The video playing was of Frank in his younger days as a book binder in Los Angeles. He took the time to narrate what we were watching. It was enlightening and such creativity on display!
Cynthia Sears and Frank Braxton, hands on in the handmade book gallery.
The final exhibit we saw was of potter Jenny Andersen’s: Offerings. The room of the exhibit was stunning. The colors were rich and deep and accented each complicated and metaphoric piece beautifully. We asked about the exhibit and learned it was done with a colorist. It looked it! One of the docent’s went to get her name: Karen Jantzen.
The film worth seeing and showing in the auditorium was of Jenny Anderson and her potting process and sculpting community she in which she teaches and works . It was intriguing and informative. And, explained why “offerings” is the name of this exhibit. The firing was a communal event of sculptors in the area and the resultant pieces of Anderson’s are in this collection.
We continued to walk the grounds which are so beautiful and then headed by car to Winslow Way for a main street stroll. We ran into an interesting project called The Listening Trees. This is a series of seven trees in planter boxes in different spots on the Island around town. White tags covered the trees creating its own look of “foliage” and each was a written response by people walking by to a question posed at the tree stand. Our two favorite answers on the tree we stopped at were in response to the question: What would like to be more of in your life? The first simply said: “Patient”. The other said: “To be more like Beyoncé”. It was very fun to read the answers. There were hundreds of tags.
Spencer Weglin, the builder of the tree displays for Virginia Mason Bainbridge Medical Center, as part of the Virginia Mason Listens Campaign, was on hand at the tree by the Winslow Mall. It was nice to meet him and hear about the project first hand. He was “pruning” away the old tags to make room for “new growth”.
We decided to just walk the street and see what we could see poking into the shops. The Paraffine is intriguing…a candle store; but, more…with interesting indigenous art from around the world. Shop keeper Carl was fun to chat with and he is a good source on teas and has a great selection of them. He has been a shopkeeper on the Island for 11 years. Interestingly, the main clientele is off-islanders passing through. Locals head for big box stores in Silverdale, it seems.
The Bon Bon is a candy store with a pretty good selection of licorice…Jon always is on the look-out for that. Bulk candies are fun to mix and match and the wrapping is beautiful – a great gift to oneself or others.
After a look around, we stopped for lunch on Madronna Lane, at the Spoon and Fork a little, really tiny, cute, bright, yellow hole in the wall. My bacon, lettuce and heirloom tomato sandwich was on great homemade wheat bread but the tomatoes did not beat our home grown in our Magnolia P-Patch. Jon’s lentil soup and beet salad were a complete disappointment lacking flavor and not filling him up. But, sitting in the sun in the café style street was pleasant; and, the people watching is always fun when you are not a “local”!
We finally made into the well-known and touted Blackbird Bakery; we had failed at attempts before. It was packed with lunchers and treat-seekers. The case was filled with great looking cakes and sweet and savory pastries. Jon had a chewy, large oatmeal raisin cookie just to top off and sweeten the granola feel of his lackluster lunch. The cookie was not disappointing!
Because of this we missed Mora the great ice cream place we loved last time and very close by. We will be back for more Mora for sure! This is the season of lavender ice cream one of my favorites! (BTW-There is a Mora in Kingston and Poulsbo.)
The weather was sunny and holding. We decided to drive around the island. It was a perfect day. I recommend the route we did. Be careful though, the streets are narrow and windy in spots. We headed down Country Club Road, veer right before it ends and travel Toe Jam Road (I know…), to Safe Beach to Fort Warden Hill Road. NE Oddfellows leads to Pleasant Beach and Crystal Springs Drive where there resides the little, old summer shanties of the Island.
They all perch on the non-beach side of the road – there old cabins and some just shacks; also, some new and older and still glorious homes. On the beach side of the road: views, little docks, groups of chairs, old boats, and campfire pits. It is a throw-back to another time and all quite charming and interesting. One very shack-y house with 2 bedrooms and 1 bath on a true sliver of land was for sale for over $500,000. We grabbed the listing for the fun of it and it had great plot maps of all the properties along the road. Fun to look at and dream about what our version of our own Bainbridge summer place would be. You will go past Point White Pier and eventually end up in a newly developing part of the Island on its south side called the Lynnwood Center.
We had never really noticed the new development going on there in our previous visits. It looked interesting and we spent a little time driving around the new hotel and event venue/restaurants/shops. In an old-fashioned original Tudor home a movie theater resides with a small shopping center -upscalish and intriguing. Just across the street, the new Pleasant Beach development is riffing off the architecture of the older section. We decided to come back the next day to find out more about what was going on there. A new hotel, event venue, more ground being torn up above and new interesting shops across the street of the establish shops. The restaurants looked good, the pizza at The Treehouse Café (in the older section) was imprinted on our minds as an extended family, kids, parents and grandparents dug in. There was the sunny, breezy feel of relaxation that comes with new money and a certain expectation and satisfaction of living the good life surrounded by salt water and breezes. These folks exuded that feeling. Sun Valley, ID and Whistler, BC have the same feel to me.
Back to the hotel and another movie night. The Grand Budapest Hotel is an odd little film. Wes Anderson, director is known for his stylized sets, acting direction and film colorization. The acting was good enough but the story did not hang together for me. Jon on the other hand enjoyed it. The acting was intriguing. So, it was just the opposite in ratings from the night before. (2 stars Me and 3½ for Jon). I sliced a red Anjou pear (my favorite pear because of its bright fall color and taste, this was the first of the season and it is a short one) and put a dollop of fig spread and slice of Beecher’s Flagship cheese on top and microwaved it for about 15 seconds. It was great! So much a European style dessert.
Third Day of Away–
The next morning we ate from the ample breakfast bar at the hotel and pondered what to do. We wanted to visit the Bainbridge Gardens Nursery for sure and the rest was up in the air. The weather had changed and was not as friendly. We did go to the nursery and got some interesting garlic bulbs for our P-Patch winter bed and got some great ideas for some designs for birdhouses which are integrated in our P-Patch beds back home.
When it came time for lunch we opted out of the The New Rose Café there, which we had enjoyed in past visits; and, headed back to the Lynwood Center and the Treehouse Café for pizza and a look around the new development Pleasant Beach Village . The sun was out again by then. We wandered into Barn Cat Boutique and stumbled upon Robin Wright who filled us in on the development.
It had gone bankrupt and a local real estate person had bought it and was continuing the plans. Soon to be done was the latest phase a pool/club, in addition to the hotel and event venue. We walked the property and found it appealing. The Whimsical art on fences, in front of buildings and in flowerbeds was neat. We inspected the hotel rooms and while nice they were pricy and had no real views. The best view of Pleasant Bay is from the open deck on the event venue. These places and spaces can be rented for conferences and weddings.
We settled down for lunch at the Treehouse Café and a thunderous explosion was heard accompanied by a puff of smoke down the road. A transformer had been blown. That meant the Treehouse was out of business until repairs could be made.
As I previously mentioned, this side of the street is in the old part of the Lynnwood Center. Across the street the new part was doing fine and lights were on. We went across the street and had a too pricy and rich lunch at The Market Place at Pleasant Beach. It was just awful from the salad dressing on the bacon spinach salad to the soup and sandwich.
Across the street is the very cute Lynnwood Movie Theater, a music store that has little concerts outside on summer nights and the Pan d’ Amore Bakery. Worth a stop. I loved their refrigerator magnet with the weekly bread schedule which is fairly extensive: Caraway Rye, Ciabatta, Fig, SD Seedy and much more, fresh bread every day of the week except Sundays. This shop is also in Port Townsend and Sequim. Their Cowboy Cookies are worth a try, a savory hearty little treat, they had two kinds, with swirls of veggies and cheese and the pear tart we had was excellent. Not an extensive bakery but interesting.
Next door is the store front of an interesting historical farm on the Island – Heyday Farm. The storefront had a few in season veggies and eggs and cuts of meat. But, what I loved most was the brochure about this island endeavor. The brochure is so visually appealing as is the concept: “Celebrate, Gather and experience the Food and the Farm…is a family-run 25 acre sustainable and historic farm…our four bedroom farmhouse and farm kitchen allow guests to learn about local food and to be nourished on a working farmstead nestled within picturesque and small island community on the Puget Sound”.
They have “comfortable guest rooms, custom cooking classes, field to table meals and unique farm experiences and they also serve as a venue and host for “celebrations that center on high quality local food produced ethically right here…” This reminded me of Agritourism in Tuscany! And, in my own backyard! Gonna be back for that experience and a report in a future blog.
We had had a great get-away and were ready to head home. We still had the relaxing ferry-ride and a few extra hours to unpack and relax back in hometown Seattle. The ferry was overrun with Seahawks fans for the opening day game, glad they were walk-ons it could have been a long wait. The excitement of the fans sporting all types of Seahawk gear and rowdy before the game mood was exciting – gave us the “Go Hawks!” feeling as we headed into our possible second Super Bowl win season.
We ended this trip feeling we had a lot of adventure and discovery. And, the best thing about a great getaway is the feeling: that when you leave you can’t wait to come back. And, that was exactly how we felt.
Note: All information presented in this blog was correct at the time of publishing and changes are not the fault of the author.