Life with kids on Bainbridge Island

Having grown up in the East Bay and Sacramento, California, living so very close to so much water is relatively new for me. I am still sometimes caught off guard when I wind down Blakely Avenue and almost drop into Eagle Harbor. Or when I am touring around, looking at houses and boom, I come to the edge of a cliff to find Manzanita Bay. You can’t get very far around here without running into the water, which, well, I must admit, is pretty great.

But, with the hustle and bustle of daily life, which includes family, work, sports, errands, we constantly have to remind ourselves to head out to the water, to make the time to enjoy it. My kids love going to Fay Bainbridge Park on the north end of the island. They love to collect sticks and rocks and dig for clams at low tide.I love to watch them run around while I gaze at Seattle and try and spy bald eagles.The setting is truly amazing.And when we are there, I wonder why we can’t get there more.

Lytle Beach is another beach well worth exploring. Being on the southern end of the island, it is usually more sunny and warmer than waterfront spots on the north end. Folks that live near by have great beach access and the beach has lots of interesting shells and rocks for inspection and collection. While there, you can enjoy the view of Rich Passage and watch the Bremerton Ferry wind its way to and fro. And, on a clear day, which we have had a string of lately, Mt. Rainier is ever-present.

The other night, taking advantage of the lengthening days, we headed out to Hawley Cove Park out at Wing Point, very near the ferry terminal.From the parking area you can walk (my kids like to run because it is downhill) on an easy, path down to the water.Once there, you can access the beach and have a front row seat when the ferry docks.It is kind of cool to be digging in the sand and look up and see the ferry right there, like it appeared out of nowhere.

My husband is great at getting the kids out and about and he and our youngest especially like to fish. An easy spot with kids is Point White Dock out at Crystal Springs. The dock is convenient to fish from and there is a rocky beach to explore where you can find very large, very colorful sea stars or starfish. I haven’t seen any fish come home, but they have had fun catching and releasing the small fish they have reeled in.

So, join us, throw caution to the wind and clean that bathroom next weekend. Hit the beach, hit the trails, remember to take advantage of all the island has to offer.

On February 23, 2008, in Activities, Community, Personal, by

Before I moved to Bainbridge Island, I lived a mere five minutes from Target.Daily, if I wanted or needed, I could cruise the aisles for diapers, wipes, laundry detergent, Pottery Barn knock-offs, or dig through the clearance end-caps.

From Bainbridge Island, the closest and easiest Target to get to is in Silverdale, which is thirty plus minutes away. Therefore, now trips to Target require planning, making a list and waiting until you have time to commit at least two hours (counting drive time and shopping time) to a shopping trip.

When I shared this fact about Target being thirty or more minutes away with my friends back in California, they would gasp, not being able to imagine being cut off from quick trip to Target for cheaper paper towels or a last minute birthday present. And for a while, I shared their horror and wasn’t sure if my household would make it financially, logistically or emotionally. But, what I have come to realize, and have to remind myself of, is that this lack of commercialism is really what we were looking for when we moved to Bainbridge Island.

I admit, I do miss my Target, but I don’t miss the busy streets and intersections that came with Target. I don’t miss the fact that Target was becoming the only option for shopping in my old neighborhood, because they, like many big box stores, run the small businesses out of the community.

I love supporting the small businesses like Calico Cat and Eagle Harbor Books on the island. My worry was that I was not going to be able to afford supporting them because, you do pay more at the register for the items. Now, when you factor in drive time and gas, to a bigger city like Silverdale, the price gap narrows, but the real savings, I have found comes from not being in Target three times a week. Because, yes, I would go to Target to buy paper towels and laundry soap, and perhaps that birthday gift, but while there, I would buy some note cards that were on clearance and maybe some frames I didn’t really need, but looked so cute on display. I was spending more money each time they got me through their red doors. Well, now that my trips are limited, I am buying less C-R-A-P and if I am paying more on Winslow Way, (our main street downtown) it is balancing out nicely because, I am buying less overall.

It goes along with the theory of a smaller, bigger life. I don’t really want to support stores that import goods from countries who pay their employees, pennies per hour, but the price is tempting when you see it on the shelf. Here on Bainbridge Island, I am supporting the independent bookstore when I buy a birthday gift at Eagle Harbor Books and I am buying high quality wooden toys, made here in the USA with stricter standards when I shop at Calico Cat.I am buying less junk to fill up my home and in the end a landfill, something I think more about the older I get.

So, Target is still there and I will probably still shop there once a month, but I am enjoying the small town, chain free Winslow Way for the majority of the things I need and not really missing, anymore, the things I don’t.

On January 25, 2008, in Community, Personal, by

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