A Dozen Ways

to Spend Summer

on Bainbridge

Summer on Bainbridge Island
Today is the last day of school. Typically, the official first day of summer in the PNW is the 4th of July. This year, however, we are having a superb, sunny June. Usually June-gloom is the norm. This year, the sun has been out in full force and happily, summer has started early.  So, since school is out and the sun is out, you need this list!

Some of my favorite things to do on the island in the summer are:

1. Participate in the All-Comer Races at the Bainbridge High School track  – all ages welcome.  July 6th  – August 26th 2015, 6:30pm start time.  Jim Whiting has retired, we have a new organizer this year.  Look for updated info on this forthcoming.

2. Attend a Farm Dinner with Americana Music at Hey Day Farm on June 20th.  Or attend a Summer Berry Tart Making Class on June 18th.  Many options for fun at this picturesque farm on the south end of the island, check out their event’s calendar.

3. Enjoy a Wednesday Summer Concert in the Park, Sounds of Summer sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department.  July 8th – August 19th at Battle Point Park.

4. Pick strawberries or raspberries at the Suyematsu & Bentryn Farm.  While you are there you can also buy farm fresh vegetables. Or just down the road cut colorful dahlias and pick blueberries at the Bainbridge Island Blueberry Co.

5. Spend a summer evening attending a hands-on pizza making class on June 23rd at Intentional Table.  The 206 Pie guy makes a mean crust.  A fun night out in Winslow, for sure.   If you can’t make this night, check their calendar for more fun options.

6. As summer heats up the island becomes one great big blackberry patch and the picking is abundant and free.  Fort Ward Park and Battle Point Park are great locations. After you pick a batch make blackberry muffins or blackberry ice cream.

7. Summer nights are best spent at a beach.  Lytle Beach and Treehouse Cafe Pizza are my favorite combination.  Rockaway Beach and Fay Bainbridge Park are also picturesque spots to enjoy a summer evening picnic.

8. If the heat of the summer gets too hot, a hike in the Grand Forest is a nice place to cool off in the shade of the stately trees. This map is a great resource too for island-wide trails.

9. Renting a boat at the Back of Beyond on Eagle Harbor is a great way to get out on the water. Canoe and kayak rentals have many flexible rental/time options.

10.  Cool off at the Bainbridge Library and if you have kids sign them up for the Summer Reading Program.  Afterwards, make a stop at Mora Iced Creamery (their seasonal blackberry ice cream is terrific by the way) or Sunshine Yogurt to make a sweet toast to summer.

11. Enjoy a nice meal or cocktail outside, either on your own back patio, the Harbour Public House or The Beach House Bar at Pleasant Beach Village.

12.  If you are the adventurous type you can join the crew that regularly jumps off the Point White Pier at summer evening high tide.  Fun to watch even if you are not up for the jump.

On June 17, 2015, in Activities, Community, Parks, by

Winter 2012 on Bainbridge Island

About the Weather . . . Does it Really Rain All the Time?

There is a poster you can buy in souvenir shops in Seattle that we locals find amusing. It says “We Turn the Rain Off When You Leave.”  Kinda true. My parents look at the weather forecast from their sunny patio in California and gasp in horror of images that look like this.

Bainbridge Island Weather - looks scarier than it is

Bainbridge Island Weather – looks scarier than it really is.

To the folks down south the rain looks kind of scary.  Seattle certainly has its reputation. And, for the most part we locals are ok with it because we consider it population control. But,  I am leaking out some of the truth here.   All of the photos above were taken in the last few weeks. All on different days. All demonstrating that the Seattle area is not always gray. No way.

The Rain

The rain is not constant, nor is it a pouring rain (usually).  It is typically more of a drizzle and usually does not last the entire day.  I do wear my trusted North Face rain jacket most of the winter (I consider it part of my uniform), but I don’t carry an umbrella or even wear rain boots.  So, on the weather forecast it might show rain, and it could very well rain, but by 2pm the sun could be out. But, the weather forecast does not seem to change – again our form of population control.

The Grey

The grey is also what folks ask about and fear. I will be honest and tell you grey and green are the predominate backdrop for our lives from November to May. Many a day. But, do know it is NOT constant.  The sun does come out and give us much needed breaks.  Do we have five days straight of grey?  Sometimes. But, to balance that out we just had five days straight of SUN too.  And yes, was it fabulous.

The Snow

A few days a year, we get the white stuff too.  This year we had about a week of it and the local news always comes up with clever names for it.  Like this January it was, Snowpacalypse.  In 2010 it was Snowvember.  In 2009 it was just the Snow Storm, not as clever, no. But the news makes a big deal about it because, unlike cities like Chicago, we aren’t super prepared for snow.  We don’t have fleets of snowplows or de-icers.  So, the world sort of stops for a few days.  The kids get snow days (hurrah) and most people do not have to go into work.  Over the last five years it really has not been a major inconvenience in our life.  As long as the power stays on, we are good.  But, yes, folks do lose power, but most people around here are prepared with back-up generators, wood stoves or propane stoves (things I chat with newcomers about when they buy a house here).  As long as you have a secondary heating and cooking source, you are in pretty good shape.  And a 4 wheel drive helps too.

My kids love the snow because snow = sledding.  For three or four days a year, the kids get to sled around the hills in the neighborhood instead of going to school.  A nice winter treat.

The Dark and the Light

So, this has been my biggest adjustment.  Because Seattle is much farther north than Northern California, getting darker earlier in the day has been the hardest thing for me to get used to. Much of the winter it is dark, dark, termed “dark o’clock” by one of my funny friends, by 5pm.  And it is still dark at 7am when I am getting the kiddos up for school. It is very challenging not to hunker down and drink hot cocoa at 6pm and be in for the night.   Getting out and staying active, even in the dark, can be challenging, but not impossible. I can say I have adjusted and stilll get out in the evenings for meetings, gatherings, and even running.

The flip side to the dark in the winter is that in the summer it is light at 5am and still light at 10pm at night.  It is hard to get the kiddos to bed when it is light . . . but mine just stay up.  And it is oh so delightful to be out at the beach at 9pm at night or gardening in your garden after dinner.  The light is just different from what I was used to.  An adjustment. One I can say I have made after five years.

The Sun

It does exist.  Really. Again, note the photos above.  We just wrapped up a fabulous five day stretch of sun.  It still might be cold, like 45 degrees. Mid-westerners insert chuckle here. But, the sun does come out and much more than I expected it would in the winter (again, when I was in CA watching Frasier and imagining Seattle weather).  And when the sun comes out here, with the water, the snow covered mountains, the green trees, the eagles, and the ferries . . .  it is pretty darn spectacular. Breathtaking really.  I love being outside, love exercising outside and I have found that I get out and get more exercise here than I did in CA. I love running and walking alongside the water and the cool air and temperature are terrific for running (unlike 100+ temperatures in the Sacramento summers).

Don’t Believe the Hype

So, do know it does get grey.  And it does rain. But, although the forecast for this week looks like ick on the iPhone, it is just our little secret weapon.  The rain, although part of the local color, is not constant. I will still get out and walk and run six out of the next seven days, alongside many other active islanders.  And I hope to see you and the sun while I am  out there.



On February 10, 2012, in Community, Parks, Photos, Top 5, by
Snovember on Bainbridge Island.


So Thanksgiving week was a crazy one. Monday started with the threat of some light snow flurries and ended with three inches of snow.  On Tuesday it escalated into a wind storm, which then resulted in island-wide and county-wide power outages (60,000 people in Kitsap County) – which, is actually a big deal when it is like 20 degrees. Folks were stranded on roads and at grocery stores, waiting out the storm.

Life Stops

But, with the power out and roads too icy to drive life sort of stopped. We were fortunate to be home Monday afternoon when things got dicey. I was a little panicked getting our youngest home from school, because her school is at the top of a hill, a hill that was littered with cars in ditches on the way up (never a good sign), but we made it (love the Volvo 4X4).

So, after we were all home safe and sound, it did not take us long to realize you pretty much cannot do the things you normally do when you are stuck at home because of snowy/icy roads and have no power or internet.  You can’t play Wii, watch Netflix, go to your friend’s for a playdate . . . or get some work done.

Unplugged and Ok

I must say, coming into the holiday, I was feeling a bit overloaded by my computer, phone and social media, so I think the timing was pretty ok. That said, we are going on day four of no Internet, and now I am getting grumpy. But, I am thankful for my little iPhone, which enabled me to work and connect with clients near and far. Luckily we have power now and super luckily we have a propane stove and a cook top that gave us heat and soup during the outage. I am also thankful we live in town, walking distance to Safeway and Town and Country Market.

Talking and Walking

So, what do you do when there is no power? This week we read and we talked and we walked and the kids did a bunch of sledding. I finished three books stacked next to my bed, all left partially unread from the frenzy of fall. Things were mellow and we ate dinner by candles and the kids really did not complain at all. They enjoyed sleeping on the fold-out sofa next to the propane stove. Out of the ordinary is fun for kids, remember.

Two snow days on Bainbridge this week = two days of sledding.

Two snow days this week = two days of sledding.

One great thing about living on this beautiful island is that when I am feeling depleted and overstressed, I walk or run in a majestic place like along the water at Fort Ward, the Grand Forest or Battle Point Park. It is my recharge, my reboot. I did not have that in the city we lived in for 8 years.

Unplanned Reboot . . .or a Crash

So, this week was a major reboot. The kind you hope for when you plan a trip to Hawaii or a weekend away. But, this one was better, because it was unplanned, did not cost anything, and came over the holiday that reminds you what really matters.

I know I am thankful for my happy, healthy children, my healthy, kind and amazing husband, and my wonderful, warm home on this beautiful island. I am also grateful for my health and for family and friends near and far. All of today’s advances and technologies are supposed to make life easier, but I think they just make us more accountable, which in turn often results in pressure and stress. The days will inevitably become normal again as power and internet are being restored and roads are now cleared. But, I know this little impromptu respite from the norm will become a fond memory, one we will indeed long for on some of those long, normal days.

Snovember on Bainbridge

Snow on Bainbridge

On November 27, 2010, in Personal, by

Girl Scout Cookie Sales on Bainbridge Island

Girl Scout Cookie Sales. Beware, be prepared, be glad. Starting this evening, happy Girls Scouts will be taking Bainbridge Island by storm selling cookies outside of: Safeway, Town and Country Market, Silverscreen Video, and they’re going to try and catch you coming off the ferry too. Clear the freezer out because Thin Mints only come once a year and they freeze really well! Have your cash or check ready ($4 a box) because sales will only last until March 16th!


On February 29, 2008, in Community, Personal, by

Relocating from California to Bainbridge Island

Scrolling through a “What If”writing exercise I did years ago,I read down the list of things I had written:“What if I had joined the peace corps?  What if I had gone into marketing?What if I had three kids?” . . .  and so on until I read down to the last one, “What if I moved to Bainbridge Island?”I was taken aback because that last one actually did happen since I made that list years ago.Last year (2007), we moved two states away, leaving our home, family, jobs, and friends to start anew on Bainbridge Island.

While traveling through Washington state several years ago, our family stumbled upon this quaint little island with no freeways, 35 minute ferry access to Seattle, old fashioned downtown parades, great little schools; the ideal small town to raise a family. After leaving, my husband latched onto the romantic notion of taking the ferry to work and I was smitten with the top ranked school system and warm community.

So, fast forward several years and the “what if” is now reality, and from my experience this is what I now know about relocating a family.

Every City Has Positives and Negatives

Make your list and give things weight. Does restaurant quality weigh the same as school quality? Look at the positives and negatives as they apply to your life now and in the next five years. Living in an urban environment may appeal to you when the kids are gone, but the suburbs may be the way to go when the kids are home and in school.

Find a Community

When you do land in your new spot, get out and look around. Do not stay in and wait for a community to come knocking at your door. Do things you really like to do and use being in a new city as an excuse to do them. If you haven’t been able to justify taking that art class lately, now is the time. Join the gym, get in a knitting circle, join a book club or mom’s group. Online groups are a great way to start. For example Bainbridge Island has a group called IslandMoms that gives advice on topics from parenting to remodeling and alerts the community to family centered events.

Put on Your Oxygen Mask First

Or don’t forget to arrange your life so that you are happy, while you are arranging the lives of children and husband. For the moms out there, remember yourself. When we got here I busied myself signing the kids up for camps and lessons, arranging play dates, setting up new dentists and doctors for everyone, but for a while neglected myself and my personal needs. I was lucky enough to meet people and start feeling at home along the way, but it took me a few too many months to start signing myself up for lessons and finding groups I was interested in. Only when I did, did feel like I was putting down roots in my new community.

Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don’t

Don’t play that game. When my husband got a job offer that looked like it was going to be all that we wanted it to be, we were somewhat torn because we were not unhappy living where we were, but we knew living the next five years in a city, with kids, would bring changes we didn’t want.Very quickly we decided we had to make the move, knowing we would always regret it if we didn’t.Only later did I realize that regret can go both ways.If we had stayed we could have blamed everything that went wrong in our lives on that fact that we did not make the move.After moving however, I started blaming all the hiccups on the fact that we moved, determined that we would have been happier if we would have just stayed.That was a game we quickly had to stop playing.Every place and situation can lead to good or bad, I have learned perspective and attitude play a bigger role when handling life’s hiccups, wherever they may be.

What You Left Were Things and Relationships

The good thing is, you take the memories with you. I was very sad to leave my garden and all the roses I had gotten from my husband and kids over the eight years we lived in our house. I was sad to leave the kids’ playhouse behind and the great kitchen we had remodeled. I have realized now that even the testaments of love, the roses left behind, mean the same and hold the same value in my heart as they would if I looked at them daily. I have the memory and often cherish the kindness and love that they symbolize. I am lucky because those same acts of love continue to show themselves in my life. Relationships are harder to continue long distance, we all know that. And we all know that often after someone moves the relationship ends all together. That can also lead to a feeling of loss and sadness. That is ok, a wise friend taught me that it was ok and actually good to be sad about leaving people. That means, she said, that the times and relationships I had made had value and weight, were real and worthwhile. That, was a good thing. It would be “sad,” she said if I could just pack my bags, head out of town and not think twice about the people and memories in my current community. I had lived my life and that was a good thing.

Memories Can be Made in Your New Place, Keep the Good Traditions, Fold in the New

Right away start looking at ways to build family traditions and look to your new surroundings for inspiration. In our old city, on weekends, we would take long walks and end up at a coffee shop, talk to neighbors, pet dogs. Now, we are not really in walking distance to a coffee shop, but we have beaches only minutes away where the kids can gather sticks and chase crabs, good times. We used to go out as a family every Friday night, enjoying time together as a family. Our restaurant choices aren’t as wide here, so we still go out, but it is more like every other week, so instead we have pizza and watch a movie on the Fridays we don’t go out.

Change is Not Easy, But It Gets Easier the More You Do It

I can get comfy pretty fast. After changing schools, then districts as a teacher, then grades, I was warming up to change. Later, I changed careers altogether and went into real estate. That was a big change and kind of scary at first. But, as they say, nothing worth doing is ever easy. All this change, prepared me for the big change of relocating my family. It was not easy, but now that we are on the other side, I can say it was well worth doing.

On January 20, 2008, in Community, Moving, Personal, Real Estate Business, by

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