For me, living in Seattle is like entering heaven while I am still alive; like the prophet Elijah. I have been living here since 2004, and I still cannot stop marveling at the beauty of the place. Seattle, as a metropolis, is blessed with an incredible combination of both geographical and human beauty. This combination is what makes Seattle such a great place that keeps on blossoming. One example of this local combination is the Bloedel Reserve.
In 1951, Prentice Bloedel, the owner of a local timber company, and his wife Virginia purchased their Bainbridge house on a 150-acre logging site. They lived there for 30 years (until 1987), during which they transformed the landscape in to the beautiful and serene gardens that it is today. In 1970 the family donated the reserve to the University of Washington. Today the reserve is a non-profit public garden.
When visiting Bloedel Reserve, plan at least an hour and a half to walk around. Most of the paths are shaded so it’s a perfect spot to spend on a hot summer day. My favorite part of the reserve is the marsh. If you are a painter you will appreciate the many visual beauties in this spot.
To get to the Bloedel Reserve from Seattle take the ferry from downtown to Bainbridge Island, and then drive on WA-305 N for about 12 minutes until you see the brown sign to the reserve. On weekends during the summer time, if you go in a car, give yourself plenty of waiting time to get on the ferry; you might not be able to board on the next leaving ferry. If you want to avoid waiting time go early in the morning; when there is less ferry traffic. Going on the ferry by bicycles or motorcycles does not require extra waiting time.
Bloedel Reserve admission fee is $15 for adults. Check the website for different rates for seniors, military, students, and children. Regular visiting hours are 10am-4pm. During the summer months the reserve is open from 10am-6am from Thursday to Sunday.
Other things to do on Bainbridge Island:
Visit downtown Winslow for shops, restaurants, and the art museum. We had a lovely brunch at Café Nola. Getting there from the ferry is very easy – turn left at the first light; onto Winslow Way E.
If you feel like gambling, you can visit Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort
Golfers can find several golf courses on the island.
And if you want to enjoy more nature, the island has several parks.
Fay Bainbridge Park is not far away from the Bloedel Reserve. You can walk along the water there .
Gazzam Lake Park is wildlife preserve stretched over 444.6 acres.