By far my favorite thing on Bainbridge Island was visiting the Bloedel Reserve and the beautiful gardens there (I also had an AMAZING croissant, but we'll get to that in a later post). Since Mr. and Mrs. Bloedel died in the '80s, their estate has been cared for and opened to the public, walking paths designed carefully to wind you around the property for a peaceful and wonderful experience. There are only about 20 parking spots - once those are full you have to wait until someone leaves. They try very hard to make your experience there quiet and reflective. The docents are incredibly nice and enthusiastic about the property - two greet you at the gate and another waits at the visitor center but for the rest of the two mile walk you are on your own. Because you'll want to take it slow and look around, the two mile walk takes about two hours.
I can't share ALL my photos with you here (I took over 100 and my battery died before we'd quite finished - the spare was in the car) but here are some of the highlights.
There is so much more to see - beautiful views of the water, the perfect pastoral meadow, a moss garden, a long stately reflecting pond, preserved wetlands and PNW rainforest... it's truly a treasure.
Visit, if you're in the area - you'll have to take a car to Bainbridge though because it's not right in downtown. But it's only about 15 minutes from the ferry by car. April to August, make a reservation. And if your mind works anything like mine you may disappointed to hear that they don't allow weddings at the Reserve. Darn. However, there are apparently concerts sometimes that I think would be amazing to attend.
P.S. In general, I had a wonderful birthday weekend. Ryan spoiled me, we shopped, we went to the Cheese Festival at Pike Place Market on Saturday, I got peonies, Ryan made me a red velvet cake (from scratch! What a man.) and yesterday I spent a lovely day by myself, reading in the sunny yard, tidying the house (am I the only one who likes a good cleaning day?) and had some wine and cheese with Ryan when he got home. Thanks to all for the birthday comments, facebook messages, and emails! Xoxo.