Thursday, February 20, 2014

Exploring the Kitsap Peninsula

The Kitsap Peninsula is just a ferry ride away from the downtown waterfront of Seattle with two ports (Bremerton and Bainbridge).  Visitors have the option of either walking-on the ferry or driving their vehicle onto the ferry. If you want to explore the whole peninsula, then you definitely need to bring your car. When the weather is warmer, there is a trolley on Bainbridge Island that will take you from the ferry terminal to Lynnwood (mentioned in more details later in this post). The peninsula consists of over 250 miles of shoreline, picturesque towns with amazing scenery, and outdoor activities.

I have been to the peninsula a couple times already but my visits have been somewhat rushed. Recently, I took a daytrip with some friends and there was so much to see that we didn’t have enough time to visit everywhere….looks like another trip needs to be planned for the near future, oh darn..haha!

Our strategy for the trip was planned with an ongoing Kitsap Peninsula bucket list I have started and then one of my friends added to the list as well.  The plan was to visit Bainbridge Island, Hanesville, Indianola, Poulsbo, Silverdale, and Bremerton. There were not any outdoor activities planned during this trip because of the lovely Pacific Northwest rainy weather, but the day we went hiking could have been appropriate (in my opinion anyways, but I like hiking in cool weather); also because we wanted to explore the cities on the peninsula.

The trip began taking an early (7:55am) ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island.  Bainbridge Island has several small towns, and some have an interesting history. We drove first to Blackbird Bakery and enjoyed baked goods (recommend their scones and lavender cookies) and coffee in the small town of Winslow. Then we visited Lynnwood, which contains a 1930s era movie theatre (Nebraska was the movie showing), and the newly constructed Pleasant Beach Village that contains several shops and cafes. In the summer, the island’s farmer’s market is located across the street from Pleasant Beach Village. A unique and whimsical aspect of Pleasant Beach Village is dispersed throughout the area are sculptures and artwork. The main themes of the art incorporated frogs, cats, and mice. My favorite is a cat chugging a latte.

This is at Pleasant Beach Village, just a cat drinking a biggie
Then we made a visit to the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial. The motto of the memorial is “Nidota Nai Yoni” which translates to “Let It Not Happen Again”.  This memorial is symbolic of when 227 men, women and children were removed from their homes, rounded up by the US Army soldiers armed with rifles and boarded a ferry to Seattle. The memorial contains a Story Wall and there are homemade cranes hanging throughout the entire Story Wall.

The beginning of the memorial path

The story wall remembering the 227 Japanese

Cranes were hung all throughout the story wall
After the visit to the memorial we went back to Winslow and visited the newly constructed Bainbridge Art Museum, which can be completed in 30-60 minutes. Then we headed down the street to Streamliner Diner for brunch. Their biscuits and gravy is their well-known item; I enjoyed my Eggs Benedict (really good hollandaise sauce); however, I was not a fan of their hash browns (they weren’t crispy enough in my opinion).

Some of the artwork on the second floor of the Bainbridge Art Museum
Then we were off to visit Point No Point Lightstation in Hanesville. The lighthouse isn’t the most impressive that I have seen here in the Pacific Northwest; however, the area provided a trail that wrapped around and provided a scenic shoreline. We walked the trail a little bit and encountered a high density of bird watchers.

Next stop was Indianola’s 900 foot long pier. Walking the pier “can” provide sweeping views of the Sound, distant Seattle Skyline, Mount Rainier and the Olympic mountains. Needless to say, it was cloudy the Saturday that we visited so some of the views were not so “sweeping” but the clouds created an effect that made for dramatic photos.

The 900-ft pier located in Indianola.

This was on the side of the road and I thought it was so intriguing; inside the firepit was a palace figurine.
Poulsbo was the next stop and one could spend an entire day just exploring downtown Poulsbo. We ended up spending a few hours on Front Street. Poulsbo’s downtown buildings are infused with Norwegian influence. Two recommendations are to make sure you visit Liberty Bay Books and Sluys Poulsbo Bakery.

Inside Liberty Bay Books

Mural located on Front Street in Poulsbo

Getting yummy desserts from Sluy's Bakery

Mural located on Front Avenue in Poulsbo

Waterfront in Poulsbo
During this visit we ended up not getting to explore the city of Silverdale. Our last stop was to the city of Bremerton. The majority of the items on the bucket list for Bremerton were already closed by the time we got to the city, but we ended up having dinner at Noah’s Ark since we were in the mood for a burger. The ambiance of the restaurant contains I can only guess of every single Noah knick-knack ever created. The food was only okay and I highly suggest sharing an order of fries (because it's a large order).

Our departure from the Kitsap Peninsula was out of Bremerton’s port, which is twice as long of a ferry ride as from Bainbridge back to Seattle. The cool thing about the ferry ride was that it was just before the Superbowl game (which the Seahawks were in) and the 12th man was lit up on the Russell Investments Center. The 12 stretched across 18 floors of the 42-story building, and it makes for a stunning addition to the Seattle Skyline at night.

Coming back to Seattle from the Bremerton ferry

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