I recently took a trip to visit my dear friend Linda (and her husband, Tom) on Bainbridge Island. I’ve visited before with Hubby, but this was mostly a girl’s trip. Gretchen (Linda’s sister) and I flew up mid-September and were thrilled to escape the last days of a heat wave that had swept our usually-mild climate out, and ushered in temps and humidity resembling Houston!
We arrived to a glorious 70 degree afternoon with lows expected in the high fifties. Ahhh, this is what the week before fall should feel like.
Linda had a flexible itinerary for us and the first day had early morning shopping on the Island and then a much anticipated visit to the Bloedel Reserve. Created by Prentice Bloedel (son of a prominent lumber company owner) and his wife, Virginia, the couple lived on the 150 acre property from 1951 until 1986. The pair worked with landscape architects, Thomas Church, Richard Haag, Fujitaro Kubota and Iain Robertson, but the overall vision was that of Mr. Bloedel. The grounds and house are more beautiful in person than any photograph can capture, but I wanted to share a few of the images with you. If you ever get to Seattle and care to take the ferry to Bainbridge Island, this is a worthwhile stop.
Linda is on the left, I’m on the right. Since it was such a sunny day (unusual for Seattle surrounds, right?) the hats were useful.
The walkway up to the front door of the house was shaded, but the home is lovely and there is a tour available (free with your admission to the grounds) of the downstairs.
The front lawn slopes to a pretty pond, where, the day we visited, several Canada Geese (Goose?) were enjoying the mild weather.
This is the back of the house…the view from the back is…The property was donated by the Bloedel’s to the University of Washington in 1970.
The side of the house provided one more spot to relax while absorbing the beauty of the grounds.
The Canada geese followed us around to the back of the house to keep an eye on us as we sat admiring the view of the sound.
This reflecting pond is a calming space and the general area where, upon their death, Virginia and Prentice were buried
More than half of the 150 acres are left untouched as second growth forest. Prentice believed that the serenity of the natural habitat was a place people could “gain wellness”.
There is an abundance of teak benches in various spots off many of the trails. They invite you to sit and smell the forest, so to speak.
When trees are toppled by storms or high winds, the Bloedel allows them to remain and new trees sprout up from the deep roots. This old tree root almost looked like a sculpture of a spider web. My photograph doesn’t do it justice.
In deeply shaded locations lichen and moss cover this fallen tree trunk.
The Bloedel’s planted a moss garden with dozens of varieties of mosses. Volunteer ferns crop up and you’ve got a beautiful sea of green.
There is a Japanese inspired tea house complete with zen sand area but I failed to get a photo due to the afternoon shade.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little escape.