The school years zip by even quicker than when I was a kid . . . and here we are in July. Summer is already well underway and I don’t think I even have the lunchboxes packed away. The end of the school year is so busy . . . my excuse for not blogging. But, here are some end of the year memories, Bainbridge style: some photos of the end of the Softball season, the Blakely school concert, Blakely Field Day, Parent’s Night in Kindergarten, and some beach time from a field trip and the last day of school. Now that I’ve had a chance to catch my breath, tomorrow we are off to the Grand Ole’ 4th (which is so big it has to start on the 3rd) in downtown Winslow. Hope to see you there.

On July 2, 2009, in Community, Personal, Photos, by

Last night was the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association’s 7th Annual Girl’s Night Out. The Pacific Northwest weather gave us all a break from the rain and I had a fun time with friends shopping, eating and supporting the local merchants.

We explored the new Sweet Deal location and the new Kennedy & Kate location. Both stores just recently moved onto Winslow Way and both stores look cute and hip.

While at Kennedy & Kate last night, I made an amazing discovery: the Master Cupcaker, a baking genius, Bradford Crowder. He made mini cupcakes last night for the event and he makes one mean cupcake – he actually makes all kinds, chocolate, berry, lemon, vanilla – fabulous. He does not yet have his own shop, but he does bake for events. I am certain you will see more of him and his cute cupcakes on the island. Yum!

Bradford Crowder

Master Cupcaker


On May 8, 2009, in Activities, Community, by
The tip of Wing Point on Bainbridge with the Seattle skyline in the not-too-far-off background.

photo jen pells

Last week our little island was written up in the New York Times. The article has some great images of the island and quotes from local islanders. It is nice to get so much attention. We were in Coastal Living at the end of last year and have been featured in Sunset, as well. I guess we are quite the vacation spot.

The thing I found interesting was how the NY Times article made it sound like there are just a bunch of vacationers here. Funny, because we chose the island for all the reasons it makes sense to live here full time – and raise a family. The great schools, the low crime rate, the proximity to the city. The article does mention this, but the slant is heavy on our isle being the place to get away.

Now, we do like the same charm the tourists like too – the coffee shops, art galleries, and comfy bookstore down in Winslow. The charm is fun and quaint. The bonus with Bainbridge is that you also have a community of folks that make living here and raising a family viable. You can’t do that in every little charming spot. My husband and I spent a lot of time in Mendocino before we had kids and would have loved to live there. But, there were two problems, no jobs nearby, and not a big population with kids in school, i.e., not a great place to work and raise kids. For us, Bainbridge is the right mix of rural and urban. So, maybe the article has a point, living here is just like being on vacation full time?

Link to the great slideshow from NY Times article

On January 19, 2009, in Community, Homes, Real Estate Business, by

December proved to be a wild month for weather here on the island. If you live here, you already know this. If you are reading my blog from afar, know that Bainbridge does not usually get snow like this. But, since the rest of the country had crazy weather this winter, we thought we would too. Snowfall of a foot plus occurs once every ten years here, so they say.

But, on an island, in a small community, the snow did some interesting things for Bainbridge. For one, the snow fell and stayed for a while. Here, we are not prepared like they are in say, Colorado, for example. The snow plows are not stacked up in the city maintenance yard. So, many folks were homebound for four or five days. Schools shut down, the ferries were sparce. The snow gave families some extra hunker-down time. Families walked to the nearest hill and sledded for as long as they could stand the cold. Luckily we had advance warning for all of this and folks stocked up on goods.

Which leads me to the second thing the snow did for Bainbridge, it helped the local merchants. Many people did not want to or could not leave Bainbridge because of the weather. So, days before Christmas, downtown Winslow was bustling, snow and all, power, or not. The downtown area got a much needed end-of-the-year boost. The merchants were busy . . . many ran generators and were open when the power was off. I was happy to see a very busy downtown scene at the end of a challenging economic year.

So, as the snow melts, life, as we know it here, is resuming. Folks are heading back to work, the chains are off – I now remember what my yard looks like. But, the kids, of course loved the snow, and I know mine are ready for the next round of snow – and sledding.

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On December 30, 2008, in Activities, Community, Personal, Photos, by

One fabulous thing Bainbridge Island has going for it is its wide selection of high-end, ferry-close, harbor view condos. If when you think of condo, you think of a cramped, dark, noisy space, think again about condos on Bainbridge. The best benefit to living in a condo on Bainbridge is that many of them are located in or near Winslow within walking distance to shops, restaurants, the ferry, grocery shopping, the theater, gyms, etc. If you want to ditch your car and commute to Seattle, the ferry and your feet could be all you need.

Condo living offers an easy lifestyle. A new condo, in Winslow, can be purchased new from the 300’s. The key word here is new. These new, high end homes, like the town homes and flats in Madrone Village offer quality finishes like wood floors, fir trim, stainless steel appliances, large windows, and solar tube sun lights. Venturing into the $400-600K range can afford you a harbor view and square footage into the 1300’s and up. Now, if you are looking for an entry level condo and it does not need to be new, resale prices start at $169K, but a two year old resale condo, that was never lived in is $211K at Island Crossings.

Many buyers are excited when they start looking at condos, but sometimes get turned off when they see the association fees. However, if you take a closer look, you’ll see that the fee usually includes a large array of utilities and benefits, like phone lines, exterior homeowners insurance, garbage, water, sewer, parking, security, exterior maintenance, and cable and reserves for future maintenance like a new roof. They could go on to offer a work out room, pool, computer lab, etc. When you add up all of these items, you usually find that the home owner’s dues are quite fair. Current research has shown that “80 percent of (condo) residents said they received a good return for their assessments in the form of such services and amenities as landscaping, trash pickup, exterior lighting, pools and tennis courts. Monthly assessments paid by interviewees ranged from less than $25 to in excess of $500.” See the article Are Condo Dwellers Happy? Study ranks satisfaction, written on February 1st, 2008 for some timely information about how happy condo residents actually are. Once people move into condo life, overall, they appreciate the association running their complex, and actually enjoy all those rules. The Are Condo Dwellers Happy, article goes on to say that, “74 percent believe rules protect and enhance property values.” More than likely residents enjoy the fact that people are not hanging up purple curtains or parking their old RV in their reserved parking spot. Clean white window coverings, neat patios, well-kept landscaping and a lack of RV’s can do wonders for your home value. See also HOAs Get High Marks for more on that topic.

The main appeal, I found, after touring the new condos on the market is that they all speak to the idea of a simpler existence. If you have a little less space, it affords you greater things like a view and beautiful, quality finishes. And, you have your choice of personal style from what is on the market. Madrone Village offers homey, classic architecture, with bead board and craftsman era trim. Seabreeze on Bjune offers some of that same feel with a more modern, urban feel in its exterior architecture. All of the work has been done in these fine, new condos, they just await your selection and inhabitance.

Note:  In my annual blog “clean-up” many article links were removed from this blog post, as they were broken.

On February 22, 2008, in Homes, Real Estate Business, by

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