School is back in session and we just finished our tenth summer on the island.  Both my girls are in high school this year and yes, what they say is true, time just flies.  It always seems to be a reflective time when another school year starts. Our decade on the rock has really been all that we hoped it would be, and more.  The schools have been top notch, the community small, close and safe, the natural environment lovely and the air clean. As a California native summer is indeed my favorite season, there is no denying that.  I love the sun and this summer was warm (I grew tomatoes this year – yay!). But, the fall season is certainly a close second.  September and October are fabulous months for sunny clear days in Washington. I love fall yard work and the crisp air. Since September and October have this stellar weather there are a lot of fantastic things to do on and around the island as we wrap up summer and say hello to fall. Many not he lost below have been a family tradition for us.  Here are some of my favorite fall events on the island:

Fall Colors on Bainbridge Island

A Taste of Lynwood – Lynwood Center/Pleasant Beach Village – September 16th 11am to 8pm – after a four year hiatus this festival of food and music returns.  The weather report looks good, so wear comfortable shoes and come hungry. There will be two band stages and several food options. Bainbridge Youth Services is even sponsoring a fun run at 9:30am to kick things off, the Baker Hill Challenge.  Click here to see the full band line-ups.

Classes at Bainbridge Gardens – the list is long, but my favorites are Northwest Newcomers on September 16th an 20th and the Fairy Garden Workshop on September 24th.  Classes start at 1pm.  Call to register for the fee based classes 206.842.5888.

Fall Food Festival – At the Farm Kitchen in Poulsbo – September 17th from 12-4pm- off island, but worth the drive.  A free event, but local vendors will be selling food.  See the fabulous Farm Kitchen in full bloom and soak in the warm sun while you enjoy local eats.

The Annual Harvest Fair – Sponsored by Friends of the Farm  – September 24th on the Johnson Farm from 11am to 5pm. This is an all day affair that celebrates local farming. Great food, games and fall sights. Suggested donations $5 kids/$10 adults.

Northwest Newbies Nature Hike at IslandWood – Sunday September 24th from 1-3pm.  Explore fabulous IslandWood with a guide.  Learn about common native species and soak in all the fall colors.  I love climbing the old firetower at IslandWood in the fall.  I am happy to be the sponsor of this event.  If the event is full, join the waitlist, there is a lot going on that day.  $5 admission charge.

Oktoberfest – held in September ;) on the 23rd at the Day Road Industrial Park from 3-9pm.  Enjoy local breweries (a 4,000 square foot beer garden – wow!), sausages, pretzels, wine and bands.

24th Annual Pumpkin Walk Fall on Bainbridge Island– As we look to October you have to think Pumpkin Walk. A trail blazed with carved pumpkins, food and games, what could be better on a dark, fall night.  This is a Bainbridge Gardens tradition and will be held on October 13th and 14th (a little earlier this this year) from 6pm to 8pm.  This is a benefit for the Bainbridge Island Boys and Girls Club.  There is no admission charge.

On September 14, 2017, in Activities, Beyond Bainbridge, Community, Events, Personal, by

The Seattle Wheel by Jen Pells Windermere Realtor Mid-Way Through a Good Year | A Bustling Springtime

Even though the first quarter of 2017 didn’t start that slowly, it sure felt like it did. But the second quarter was a different story. We were flat-out busy between April and June. Personally, it was my busiest quarter to date. There were 141 home sales on Bainbridge during Q2, which was a 31.8% increase over last year and a 306.5% increase over 2009 (for those of you who remember those days). The only second quarter to get even close in the past decade was 2013, when 125 homes sold.

The Mechanics of Price

Still, a curious piece of data accompanies all those sales: the median price of homes sold in the first half of 2017 increased only 3.6% over the comparable period last year. That is the slowest growth of prices since 2012-2013 (when it actually went down). Here’s why this is significant: even though there is healthy demand, buyers are showing restraint and patience. This, I think is a good thing. The basics of presentation, pricing and negotiating (which really good agents bring to the table) still prevails. You cannot just take a house in any condition, throw a price at it and expect success. This is one of the factors that differentiate Bainbridge from the Seattle market. The flip side is that a major source of new buyers on Bainbridge are frustrated Seattle buyers who are tired of dealing with the city’s growth and market conditions. Our office was involved in 96 Bainbridge transactions during the first six months of this year, 30 of which (or 31.3%) involved Seattle and Eastside buyers. When we expand the circle, we see that out-of-state and Seattle buyers accounted for 51% of our transaction in the first six months.

Goings-on with Condominiums and LandFrom the Seattle to Bainbridge Ferry by Jen Pells Windermere Realtor

Our condominium marketplace has had a booming first half of the year. Sales climbed from 38 in 2016 to 50 in 2017 (almost a 32% increase) and the median price rose from $404,500 to $499,250 (up 23.4%), finally surpassing 2007’s previous record of $468,000. It took a decade for these numbers to return, and we’re happy to welcome them back.

Land is now the only remaining soft spot in our market. Sales were down 39% from last year but median prices rose 14%. We attribute this mostly to no new large parcel sales and the possibility that people are intimidated by the new construction process. The planning and designing phases of any new project are exciting, but then come permitting, the search for contractors and all the costs. With quite a bit of new construction coming on line, people seem to be waiting to see what someone else has built.

A Construction Zone

There is quite a bit of new construction on Bainbridge, which means the development topic is getting a lot of attention among locals. Bainbridge Island is such a great place to live that the pressure to grow comes naturally. History tells us that restricting growth will push up prices and eventually affect the market’s diversity. However, growth is a concern to existing resi-dents who fear it will spoil what makes the community desirable in the first place. So the community stance has been to try to limit de-velopment to specific pockets of the island as a way of preserving rural character in general. When we map the major new construction projects, we see that this goal has largely been met:

Winslow: Grow Village, Wyatt Way (DA Horton), Weaver, Bainbridge Landing, Finch, Freestone Landmark (Wing Point), Freestone Ferryview (Wing Point)

Lynwood Center: The Roost, Pleasant Beach

Rolling Bay: Sunrise Square

These projects are all within designated growth areas. Indeed, the only multi-home development out of the growth centers is the 10-home project going in at Torvanger/Sunrise Drive, and that’s being built on a 12-acre parcel.

From the Seattle to Bainbridge Ferry by Jen Pells Windermere RealtorFavorable Conditions

How long will this pressurized market last? Anyone who experienced the 2007 market, which was also quite active just before it changed dramatically, is reluctant to make long-term predictions. However, there are some key differ-ences between 2017 and 2007. Today, the lending and banking environments are far healthier. Also, job growth is the primary fuel of real estate growth. And our local economy is far stronger now than then. Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner had this to say about regional job growth in his Q1 2017 report:

Washington State continues to add jobs at a steady rate. (We) continue to see unemployment fall and I anticipate that we will see this rate drop further as we move through the year. In all, the economy continues to perform at or above average levels and 2017 will be another growth year. 

Ever the Rock

Yes we have growth and new construction, but there is diversity in the construction (family homes, homes ideal for downsizers, and homes close to services). When you drive around the island, you find most of it untouched by new developments. We also have the best parks, hikes, beaches, bays and communities in Puget Sound. Our region’s star is still rising as a great place to live and work and we are one of the premier neighborhoods in it. Growth pressure will continue; it’s up to all of us to work together to ad-dress it in ways that honor the past, present and future of this great place.

 

From the firetower at IslandWood on Bainbridge Island.

I am so thrilled to be sponsoring this fabulous event- the Northwest Newbies Nature Hike.  IslandWood is a true treasure on the island and I love that they open their doors to the public many, many days of the year.  Tomorrow’s hike already has a waitlist, but I am sponsoring another hike in the fall on September 24th too.  Check in with IslandWood in the morning about tomorrow’s numbers or be bold and how up in person ;)  Check out their calendar for special events and Public Site Tours – the next one is July 16th.  Personally, I love their suspension bridge and fire tower – you’ve got to go.

A view looking down through the old firetower at IslandWood.

 

Welcome to the Neighborhood!

Start a journey for connecting to your new sense of place.  Your new home is a diverse, ecological treasure just waiting to be discovered.  Let’s take a hike to learn the “Fab Five” native trees, common bird species, and discover all the new sounds, textures and smells of your new home.

We’ll make time to hear about where YOU are from, and how it is different and the same to Western Washington.  Your questions about “what lives here” are highly encouraged.  We can’t wait to meet you, neighbor.  See you on the trails!

  • All ages welcome
  • Please no dogs unless they are a service animal
  • Space is limited for this guided walk!
  • Rain or shine people – we’re in Western Washington!

We appreciate our sponsor of Northwest Newbies – Jen Pells Real Estate!

The amazing suspension bridge at IslandWood.

 

On July 9, 2017, in Activities, Community, Events, Parks, by

More and more of my clients are spending a week or more on the island to explore and house hunt. It is what we did way back in 2004 when Bainbridge popped onto our radar as a place we might want to live. We stayed in this cool beach house that is still a rental today.

If you plan to visit the island and soak it all in and see the real-life-non-tourist Bainbridge, I recommend you visit the following spots on the island.

Lyle Beach Bainbridge Island

Lytle Beach on Bainbridge Island.

Visit the South End/Lynwood Center/Pleasant Beach Village – Many tourists start and stop in Winslow, but great things can by found in Lynwood Center. The Treehouse Cafe is an excellent, casual place to eat.  Lynwood Theatre is a terrific old-style theatre. Also at Lynwood Center and Pleasant Beach Village there is shopping, coffee, a deli, a B&B, a wine bar, restaurants, a bakery, a farm store, frozen yogurt, and a community (membership based) outdoor pool.  It is the gem of the south end – the south end hub not to miss.  When in the vicinity also visit Lytle Beach, a road-end public beach that has a sandy beach and terrific south-west exposure. Also stop at Fort Ward Park, which has miles of easy walking trails with water views, picnic areas and a boat launch.  Both spots are great for soaking in the sun on the south end.  For eating at Lynwood Center, besides The Treehouse Cafe, we also really love Sawan Thai Kitchen and the Beach House Bar & Grill.  For a more formal dinner the Manor House is excellent.

Rolling Bay – Take a quick walk around Rolling Bay. This is the north end hub.  In comparison to Lynwood Center it is very small, but it is a community gathering spot, nonetheless.  There is an old fashioned post office, cafe, and the best Italian Market on the island, Via Rosa 11.  Stop by Via Rosa for lunch or dinner and enjoy their wood fired pizza oven. Bay Hay and Feed is an icon of the island.  They has a terrific gift shop, garden nursery, and feed store.  When you are up north, visit Fay Bainbridge Park, our waterfront park on the north end with views towards Seattle.  At Fay there is a play ground and tons of drift wood.  For future reference, Fay Bainbridge even has a campground a great shelters to reserve for parties.

Battle Point Park – There is so much to see here.  I love the the 1.5 mile loop around the park, but in earlier years when my kids were little I loved the awesome wooden play park.  We have spent hours and hours at softball games and soccer games at this park. Their turf fields for soccer are newer and excellent.  There is also a mini-gymnasium, planetarium, mountain bike track, ponds, and tennis. And the best part – it is cleared and sunny!

Winslow – So, Winslow is pretty terrific.  I would recommend hitting Blackbird Bakery, I love their toast and jam and a pot of tea.  Mora Iced Creamery also fabulous, you really can’t go wrong on flavors, but I love their brownies and cheesecake.  If you find yourself withoug kids I love The Harbour Public House  – AKA The Pub.  It is on Eagle Harbor with stunning views of Seattle.  They have terrific burgers, fish and chips and beer, but I love their fish tacos with a glass of rose.  Again, if kid-less, we like Island Vintners and Eleven Winery for wine tasting or a glass of wine – or two.  Some of my favorite stores in Winslow are Eagle Harbor Books, Calico Cat Toy Shoppe, Bon Bon Candies, Churchmouse Yarns & Tea, and Wilderness Outdoor Store . . . and there are many fun ones in between.

Closer to the ferry in WinslowBainbridge Island Museum of Art is an excellent space to walk through.  The exhibits change regularly and the BIMA Bistro has the best food.  A terrific spot for lunch – one of my favorites.  If you have kids in tow, make sure to visit the Kid’s Discovery Museum, right behind BIMA.

People visiting for an extended time usually want to check out grocery stores and shopping.  Be sure to visit Town & County Market.  Not only is this the spot of shopping, especially specialty food items, and seafood, but the salad bar and hot bar are the place to be at lunch time on Bainbridge.  Sometimes I go there three times a day.  Behind the Town & Country Market is the Waterfront Park and Dock.  At the park is a great kid’s playground and the beginning of the Waterfront Trail, which winds its way down to Eakin/Gowan. My very favorite breakfast on the island is at Streamliner Diner.  It is adjacent to Town & Country Market.  They serve dinner, too, but I love their breakfast, especially their biscuits and jam and crispy hash browns.

The Grand Forest – If you are a walker/runner, you will want to explore the Grand Forest.  The trails are extensive, groomed and fun.  There are several parking spots.Exploring the Grand Forest is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon. Nearby is Bainbridge Gardens.  A field trip in and of itself, this is our biggest nursery and a great place to have lunch at The New Rose Cafe.  There is also a fun gift shop.

Some other must see places:

If you happen to be here on a Tuesday, please go to Hey Day Farm to have Dinner. You can eat on a real, working farm and have some of the most fantastic food on the island.  They do not take reservations, so you need to arrive at 4:30 to try and get a 5:00 seating, but I think it is worth it, especially in the summer.  Be prepared for a three hour, multi-course experience, so probably better without kids, but my favorite dinner on the island, hands down.

The Bainbridge Public Library – excellent Children’s Library and story time.

The Aquatic Center – two pools, a spa, water slide and lazy river. Swimming lesson, swim team, master’s program, and water polo teams. Stop by and take a look.

BARN – Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network – new facilities for all kinds of crafting – woodworking, glass blowing, fiber arts, kitchen arts, writing, metal shop.  As of this writing they give tours on Sundays.

On June 23, 2017, in Activities, Community, Moving, Personal, by