When I told Lady and Dad that Justin and I would be celebrating the 4th of July in Seattle, they decided to join us! They flew in on the afternoon of the 2nd just in time for the weather to turn cold and wet, which meant that instead of grilling steaks on the roof, we indulged in some burgers, onion rings, and deep-fried asparagus on the covered patio at Uneeda Burger.
We didn’t let the dreary weather deter us from our plans for the 3rd, though. After a leisurely morning involving bagels from Eltana and fresh pastries from Sea Wolf bakery, we made our way to Bainbridge Island where we promptly ate lunch, shopped for rugs, and then met up with Pam and Greg for ice cream. Because let’s be honest, when I’m in charge travel is basically just an excuse for playing connect-the-dots between delicious gustatory moments, gorgeous textiles, and gardens.
What gardens, you ask? Well, the ones created by the heir to one of the local lumber fortunes on the north end of Bainbridge, now called Bloedel Reserve. How they managed to pass under my radar for the past five years is a mystery, but we fixed that!
Similar to many of the big estate gardens I’ve been visiting in England, the reserve is a cultivated version of “nature” that showcases the extraordinary natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. A footpath guides visitors around the property through various zones. First an expansive meadow full of waving grasses and wildflowers . . .
. . . followed by lush forests with ponds and ferns and picturesque little mushrooms that lured many a family member from the path for photos.
Eventually we stumbled out of the woods into the manicured domain of the mansion house, which looked inward toward a woodsy lake, and outward to the Puget Sound.
After lounging in the library, a friendly groundskeeper informed us that the park closed at 4pm. It was 4:15pm. So we dutifully ventured back out into the verdant landscape and took the long way back to the car — there was still more to see! First a lovely, woodsy reflecting pond . . .
. . . then a formal Japanese garden that had clearly taken inspiration from Ryoanji and other famous gardens in Japan.
From there up a little path to a wicket-enclosed clearing of shamrock-like oxalis . . .
. . . and on past a reflecting pool, a moss garden, and more meadows. By the time we got back to the car we were so far past closing time we risked being shut in the park. Plus we were hungry again! So we drove into Poulsbo, where we found a bustling Norwegian bakery and promptly purchased All The Donuts. In a fit of prudence, we decided to eat real food for dinner and save the donuts for the ferry ride back to Seattle.
As luck would have it, during the crossing the sun came out and treated us to a beautiful view of Seattle’s skyline from the deck of the ferry.