Traditional Polar Bear Plunge at Lytle Beach

Polar Bear Plunge on Bainbridge Island.

Polar Bear Plunge on Bainbridge Island.

Another very Bainbridge tradition.  Make sure you don’t party too hard on New Year’s Eve so you can make it to the Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s Day.  No need to sign up, just show up a little bit before noon on January 1st, 2018 at Lytle Beach with a swimsuit, a towel, and enough nerve to jump in the very cool Puget Sound waters. Every year a local takes charge and blows a horn to signal the start of the plunge. Parking can be tight and tricky, so I’d suggest arriving around 11:30.  Some folks come earlier and make a bonfire.  Fingers crossed for another sunny one!

What: Bainbridge Island New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge

Where: Lytle Beach on the south end of Bainbridge Island

When: Noon on January 1st


On December 29, 2017, in Activities, Community, Parks, by

Yes, you did hear holiday music in your cul-de-sac.  That was another classic island tradition, the musical firetruck.  The annual tour around the island is already underway.   I am never quite ready for Christmas, but the outdoor lights are up on our house, so it really must be that time of year. I do love that the truck hits our neighborhood on the 23rd or 24th every year to put an exclamation mark on the holiday! And it is fun to see the truck around the island as we lead up to the merry day.  Thank you Bainbridge Island Fire Department for this very Bainbridge tradition.   Listen for the truck 5-9pm from now until Christmas Eve.  Link to a larger version of the map and schedule here.

And note, if the truck has extra time they can and do make additional laps through your neighborhood.  We have been lucky enough to see them twice in some years.

Bainbridge Island Musical Holiday Truck Map 2017

On December 13, 2017, in Activities, Community, Events, Neighborhoods, by

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

September went by in a flash.  And the colorful month of October has officially arrived.  I have said many times how much I love the weather in October on Bainbridge Island.  It is sunny.  It is crisp, but cold and the colorful leaves make a perfect backdrop for many fun activities on the island.  There is no excuse to sit around in October.  Here are 10 things to do this month:

Fall on Bainbridge Island | Jen Pells | Realtor

1. Bon Fire Pizza at the Taproom | Friday, Oct. 3rd, 3pm-9pm at Bainbridge Island Brewing

Bon Fire Ovenworks will be at the taproom with their mobile brick oven. Go and enjoy great pizza with friends and your favorite brew.

2. Super Squash Scavenger Hunt | Oct. 4th – Nov. 2nd at Bloedel Reserve

The Super Squash Scavenger Hunt  is included with admission to the Reserve. Tour the pumpkins, search for squash and just enjoy the colors at Bloedel in the fall. Children will be given a special map to help find the all the hidden squash around the grounds and once completed, will receive a prize. Suyematsu Pumpkin Patch on Bainbridge Island

3. Find the Perfect Pumpkin | Anytime in October at Suyematsu Farm

Pick your pumpkin from the vine.  Go on a hay ride and play in the hay maze.  Pumpkins, squash and other fall produce for sale.

4. HOWL-o-ween | Oct. 26th, 1-4pm at IslandWood

Bring Your Own Pumpkin. A community favorite for ten years running. Free but Pre-registration required.

5. Little Shop of Horrors | Oct. 10th-26th at Bainbridge Performing Arts

One of the longest-running off-Broadway shows of all time, this affectionate spoof of 1950s sci-fi movies has become a household name and will be on stage on Bainbridge for the month of October.  Buy tickets here.

Fall on Bainbridge Island | Jen Pells | Realtor6. Eagledale Apple Festival | Oct. 18th, 2-4pm at HeyDay Farm

An open house at Heyday Farm. Celebrate the wonderful apples in the neighborhood and enjoy cider pressed from their old fashioned apple press. If you have your own apples to bring and a jug, they’ll press them for you and give you juice to take home. No apples that have fallen on the ground, please (although they do take those for their pigs). The event is free with no registration required.

7. Pumpkin Walk | Oct. 17th & 18th 6-8pm at Bainbridge Gardens

The Pumpkin Walk is a fun, festive, family-oriented event hosted by Bainbridge Gardens. The proceeds of this popular, non-scary event benefit the Bainbridge Island Boys and Girls Club. Food and games. Donation at the door.

8. Spooky Woods Forest Walk | Oct. 18th-Nov. at Bainbridge Island Parks

Forest Walk from dusk on October 18th until noon on November 1st. Location to be determined – check here for exact location. Decorated forest trails. No characters. Unguided.  Bring your flashlight. Go anytime. Free.

9. Farm Dinner | Oct. 25th, 6-8pm at HeyDay Farm

Enjoy a casual evening on the farm with live acoustic music and appetizers in the barn then join fellow island foodies in the historic farmhouse and share a fall family style meal of food right from the farm. $75 per person. Reserve tickets here.  

10. Downtown Trick or Treat | Oct. 31st, 4-6pm in Downtown Winslow

Wear your costume and join all of your island neighbors on Winslow Way and trick or treat from shop to shop. Family fun.  Spooky music. Hot cider.  And don’t forget the pumpkin ice cream at Mora.


Day Trips from Bainbridge Island

The sun was pretty shy over this past three day Labor Day weekend.  But on Sunday, it popped out in the afternoon, so our family did the same.

Less Than an Hour Away

In well under an hour, you can get from Bainbridge Island to Point No Point.  A quaint little lighthouse greets you and a long beach for walking, drift wood for building, and rocks for throwing await your arrival.  After the sun and wind (it is very much a point that juts out into the sound, thus the wind) you can head over to Port Gamble, a 10-15 minute drive from Point No Point for some great sightseeing in this cozy, colorful, historic port town.

Port Gamble is a Photographer’s Dream

Great shops, a Sunday Farmer’s Market, antiques, museums, restaurants and ice cream can easily consume your afternoon.  If you go, make a stop at the General Store Cafe.  The store serves up some good old fashioned ice cream, but the cafe is in the back, under new ownership, and has outstanding food and service.  Their breakfast is grand and their chicken salad sandwich and blue burger make an excellent lunch.  If you have not explored Port Gamble or Point No Point, put them on your list.

Days Trips from Bainbridge

On September 7, 2010, in Activities, Beyond Bainbridge, Personal, Photos, by

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