PNW

Seattle Day Trips: The Best of Bainbridge Island

Do you ever just want to get on a ferry and sail away to a quiet island full of super beautiful houses, nice parks, friendly people, and great little small businesses to explore? We do! Guess what? Bainbridge Island checks off all those boxes and is only a short 30 minute trip from Seattle. 

Getting there

To get to Bainbridge Island you will need to take a Washington State Ferry out of the ferry terminal in Downtown Seattle. You can get on the ferry on foot/bike or drive on. Both have their benefits. Walking on is eight dollars round trip. Even if you just ride to Bainbridge, and then turn around and come back it is worth eight dollars! Walking on does limit you a bit once you are on the island though, while the quaint downtown is all within walking distance some of the parks and businesses require a car/bike to get to. 

Ferry to Bainbridge Island

If you drive on it is usually around $15 - $25 (depending on how many people you have in the car) and then you can access whatever you'd like once you arrive. This is the route we normally go. Make sure to check the scheduled departures before you head there to time it right! 

Food and Drink

Streamliner Diner - Believe us when we say there is no other spot to get breakfast on Bainbridge Island. First off, if we ever had a breakfast joint, we would want it to have this exact vibe. It's so authentic and homey. A cup of coffee and some of their jam, it just makes you feel at home. We love their Citrus French Toast, A.B.C.T (I mean who actually wants the lettuce on a BLT? Really...you might not have ever minded it, but when we ask would you rather have cheese over lettuce...you think cheese obviously), Eggs Benedict, Biscuits and Gravy and probably anything on the specials board. 

Streamliner Diner Breakfast

Hitchcock Deli - This spot has a cult following in the PNW. They have several locations now, but the O.G. is on Bainbridge. People rave about the Pastrami, but we love the Cuban! Their quirky sign and unique locations are a joy to visit, with friendly staff and ethical food, it's a great lunch spot. 

Via Rosa 11 - This little Italian grocery store is a killer place to grab a bite. They make all their pasta and desserts in house. It's expensive, we but could eat their delicious handmade pasta until we POP. If they have meatballs on the menu, drop everything and order them all. No, we mean it, just ask how many meatballs they have back there and order every last meatball.

Blackbird Bakery - Is there any day that can’t be made great with a wonderful cup of coffee and sweet treat? Blackbird Bakery is a local bakery with a small town feel, and we love popping in for a slice of lemon tart or cinnamon roll. Good luck choosing what you want from the pastry cases though - we usually walk away with something for later as well!

Blackbird Bakery Bainbridge Island

Bainbridge Brewing - This brewery has one of our favorite logos in the Pacific Northwest. We love their tribute to the ferry boats we enjoy so much living up here. Bonus: They also have amazing beer AND some really awesome locations. Their alehouse is in downtown Winslow and is a new and more modern space to hang out with some friends over a beer (and maybe a game or two). Their brewery is a short drive outside of town, but it is worth a trip if you have a car. We are big fans of their Kolsch and Grapefruit IPA.

Bainbridge Island Brewing

Eleven Winery - Eleven Winery is a great spot to break up your exploring and grab a tasting, poured by friendly staff. They have two locations, a tasting room within walking distance from the ferry in downtown, and their winery is just a short 5-mile drive up the road. Both are small spaces that provide an intimate setting to taste their variety of wines. Note the winery location is only open on the weekends and often has events, so make sure to check out their calendar when planning a visit to see what they have going on.

Things to do

Eagle Harbor Book Co. - As huge lovers of books, we always seek out the local bookstore in small towns like Bainbridge Island. Eagle Harbor won’t disappoint. They sell both used and new books and have a wonderful set up and selection to keep you browsing for days. The staff is incredibly kind, and they are right on the main street in Downtown.

Eagle Harbor Book Company Bainbridge Island

Bloedel Reserve - This 150 acre public garden and forest preserve was created by Mr. and Mrs. Bloedel when they purchased the private property in the 1950s to build their home. Over the years they worked to create a haven they would open to the public in the late 1980s and locals and visitors have been enjoying the grounds ever since. You can easily spend a few hours here exploring the trails, forest, and the beautiful home of the Bloedel’s. It’s open and wonderful to visit year round.

Bainbridge Island Museum of Art - This museum might not be incredibly big, but it is packed full of great art, including a ton of local artists and PNW culture. It’s also a beautiful building to be admired and only a short walk from the ferry terminal. Definitely worth a visit if you are a lover of art and culture.

Fort Ward State Park - If you want to take a quiet stroll along the waterfront, we recommend heading over to Fort Ward State Park. It has some old forts for the history buffs in the group and beautiful views of the Puget Sound for everyone. There are a few different trails to explore to get some exercise, great views, and fresh air.


 Cute shop right off the ferry - stop in to shop for clothes, candles, and home goods.

Cute shop right off the ferry - stop in to shop for clothes, candles, and home goods.

This is our short list of the best of Bainbridge - did we leave anything out? Let us know in the comments if you have other favorite spots to visit!

Our Favorite Books Set in the Pacific Northwest

pacific-northwest-books

The Rain or Shine duo are avid readers. And what is better than falling into a good book that is set in a location you are familiar with. It just makes it that much easier to follow the character through their lives. We've compiled our favorite books set in the Pacific Northwest for your reading pleasure! 

Full disclosure: You aren't going to find Twilight on this list. But no judgement, we poured through those books too -- just not on our favorites list. 

Snow Falling on Cedars

Snow Falling on Cedars is part historical fiction, part murder mystery, and part love story. Based right after WWII on an island off the coast of Washington State, you experience the story of the Japanese internment, interracial love, and the culture of small-town America in the 1930s-50s. This amazing, bestselling novel by David Guterson sheds light on the tragic history of the Pacific Northwest during the Second World War and what these events meant in the long-term for many Americans. 

Buy it here.

Where'd You Go Bernadette

This book will make you laugh out loud, which makes sense because Maria Semple, the author, also writes for SNL, Arrested Development, and Ellen. In Where'd You Go Bernadette you hop between the viewpoint of Bernadette, the misunderstood mother, and Bee, Bernadette's incredibly smart and adorable daughter. Things get interesting when Bernadette disappears and Bee must put together the clues to find out where her mother has gone. If you're a Seattleite, you'll also get the added pleasure of many local references! 

Buy it here.

Today Will Be Different

Another hilarious and witty book by Maria Semple (see above) set in Seattle. If you enjoyed Where'd You Go Bernadette, you'll enjoy this too. A well-to-do mother living in Belltown has to battle with her life as it goes off the rails. If you like dark humor and Seattle, you'll enjoy this one (maybe slightly less so than Where'd You Go Bernadette though). 

Buy it here. 

The Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

This book takes you back through history as the narrator, Henry Lee, a Chinese-American, discovers a parasol in the basement of the Panama Hotel, a remnant he is sure belonged to someone he knew as a child in Seattle. Readers flashback and get to experience a much different Seattle through Henry's memories. One full of growth and excitement, but also stained with racism. It's a gripping story and you'll find yourself falling in love with Henry as he tells his story. 

Buy it here. 

The Art of Racing in the Rain 

The Art of Racing in the Rain is presented from the viewpoint of a very clever and adorable dog, Enzo. Enzo is the loyal companion of Denny, an up and coming race car driver who seems to be confronted frequently with near-impossible situations (cancer, custody battles, it really isn't a walk in the park). But in between the trials and tribulations there are moments of joy, like in any life. Enzo tells the tale of his owner with compassion and fierce loyalty. Full disclosure: This one might leave you shedding a few tears, especially if you are a sap for dogs. 

Buy it here. 

Beautiful Ruins

This book immediately pulls you into a world that everyone wants to be apart of. Readers spend most of their time being transported between the Italian coast and Hollywood (with some visits to the U.K. and the PNW as well) as a lost-love story emerges. Pasquale is an innkeeper in a 1960s Italian fishing village. Dee Moray is an American actress visiting. Love sparks. And so begins a story that spans 50 years, jumping through decades and keeping you enticed at every page turn. 

Buy it here. 

The Orchardist

This is the story of a quiet orchardist, William Talmadge, who tends orchards in the Pacific Northwest in the early 1900s. William's quiet life is interrupted one day when two pregnant runaways show up on his orchard. As William let's these girls into his life you learn of their troubled past and as the years unfold, you also learn of William's history. This book is full of heart-wrenching moments and isn't what one would consider a "feel good" story, but it's powerful and moving in so many ways it's a must-read for fans of PNW fiction. 

Buy it here. 

Boys in the Boat

This real life underdog tale will not only have you engrossed in the history of the sport of rowing (who knew it was so interesting?!), but also brings you through one of the U.S.'s most trying times as a country, the Great Depression/pre WWII era. The book focuses on the story of Joe Rantz, a teenager who has barely a nickel to his name and makes his way onto the University of Washington rowing team and slowly works his way to greatness. This book transports you back to a Seattle we have only seen photos of and takes you through the ups and downs of a team of men learning about integrity and hard work. 

Buy it here. 

There are so many more than what is just on this list, but these are our recommendations. What are we missing? Let us know in the comments! 

Salish Lodge and Spa: A Relaxing and Rejuvenating Weekend Getaway

We all love to get out of the city every once in a while. Luckily in our area it's fairly easy to do. We are surrounded by remote, beautiful landscapes full of small, quaint towns. Snoqualmie is no secret; it's a great place to visit and slow down for a weekend, but what I think a lot of people don't know is it shouldn't be treated as a day trip. Oh, no. Because nestled above Snoqualmie Falls is Salish Lodge and Spa and it's an attraction in itself. Book a night and experience the history and beauty of the area. We promise you won't regret the decision. 

Here's why. 

Every room comes with the guarantee of relaxation. 

If you look up relaxation in the dictionary, it will basically say, "Why are you reading this dictionary, go to Salish and you'll know what relaxation means." It won't... but seriously, just wait you are going to be so relaxed. 

Almost every room at the lodge comes with a view of the Snoqualmie River. Every room has a jetted bathtub and goose down feather bedding. Every room has a fireplace that burns real wood. This gives off an amazingggg smell of firewood. Oh, and the rooms also come with either a balcony or a window seat, which means fresh air and waterfall sounds. See? Told ya. 

The staff are wonderful and they truly love the place they work. 

No one wants to get to their relaxing hotel getaway and have a "too cool for school" hipster staring back at them. Leave that in Seattle and arrive at a place that is happy. Salish is full of people who are proud to work in a place of esteem and history. Smiles and good humor are in abundance, which makes visiting that much more enjoyable. 

The restaurants on the premise are full of delicious food and beverages.

Salish has two amazing restaurants. The main restaurant, The Dining Room, serves up PNW fare in a stylish dining room. The best seats in the house overlook the falls, giving you the opportunity to eat your country breakfast or pan seared pacific cod while enjoying a great view. The bar in Salish, dubbed The Attic for its top of the line views from the peaks of the lodge, is great for more low-key dining. Grab a flatbread and the famous honey hopped ale for a casual night... wait for it... enjoying the view. 

honey ale on tap at Salish Lodge

The spa seems to be a place you could go to and then die happy.

Getting the "spa level" package when you stay at Salish will take your experience to a whole new level. Their therapeutic soaking pools and full suite of spa services will leave you zen AF. 

 The soaking pools at Salish are calling your nameeee. Photo cred: Salish Lodge and Spa

The soaking pools at Salish are calling your nameeee. Photo cred: Salish Lodge and Spa

They are committed to the environment. 

In 2011, Salish decided to commit part of their property to start an apiary for honeybees. They've now tripled their hives and these bees pollinate 80% of their flowering crops and provide the lodge with their (now famous) honey. They also have an 800 sq. ft garden that provides the on site restaurants with organic, locally-raised produce. #HealthyLiving

Even the breakfast comes with a bit of history.

Salish has been around since 1916, which means it has a teeny bit of history attached to it. Back then it was just a small eight cabin lodge offering a place to stay and a big breakfast for travelers about to head through the mountains. Now it's a beautiful, award winning hotel that is a popular destination for travelers near and far. Be sure to appreciate the native art that decorates your room and the wood-burning fireplaces.

 Salish Lodge back in the day! 

Salish Lodge back in the day! 

Salish's best tradition happens in The Dining Room -- The Country Breakfast. Prepare your stomach and you'll walk away a happy camper. It's a four course breakfast that will take you at least an hour and half to finish, but it comes with a history of nourishing hungry travelers and the last course gets you a healthy serving of the local honey. Definitely well-worth the price tag. 

Who doesn't love a good waterfall? 

When you stay at Salish you literally sit right on top of one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Washington State. At 268 feet, Snoqualmie Falls is truly a sight to see. The park that is built around it offers great views and a nice history lesson. Don't forget to watch out for the Peregrine Falcons that nest nearby. And also the selfie sticks, those things come out of nowhere. 

The gift shop is on POINT.

We do our christmas shopping here because it is full of all the best goodies. This isn't a place you go to buy a tacky t-shirt and an orca stuffed animal. It's the real deal. Think luxurious bath bombs, beautiful ornaments, and the best honey products made with love from the Salish honeybees. You'll want to budget to leave behind some of your weekend spending money here. 

honey from Salish Lodge

Check out our post "5 Things to Check Out in Snoqualmie, WA" for ideas if you have time to kill.

Have you stayed at Salish Lodge? We would love to hear your favorite memories and tips in the comments! 

Buy The Glass: 5 Great Glasses of White Under $10 at Pike Place Market

Note to readers: We have two fairly low standards for our wine:  it tastes good and gets us a buzz. We realize this is not necessarily the “right” way to view wine so we brought in expert Amy Dickson to give you the lowdown. You might see her popping up on the blog as a guest writer every once in a while! 

 White wine is perfect for a sunny, warm day

White wine is perfect for a sunny, warm day

Last week’s weather warmed so significantly and quickly, my palate skipped right over desiring a glass of rosé and straight to white. I decided to nip down to Pike Place Market to see what glass pours could quench my thirst without breaking the bank. I’ll need those extra pennies for true rosé season soon.

Here are my suggestions for five outstanding glasses of white wine at Pike Place Market, all under $10 a pour.

Le Pichet: Patrice Colin Blanc Vendômois, 2014

Coteaux du Vendomois, Loire, France, 12.5%, $7.50 per glass

At Le Pichet, the proprietors expect and encourage you to order a glass of wine with, well, everything. That’s why the daily menu includes 11 white glass pours under the $10 price point, with most hovering around $7.50. With a demi-pichet (a small jug of wine) holding two glasses for a dollar less, it’s easy to explore these food-friendly wines over lunch with a date. 

After a stimulating flight of five delicious whites, I settled on this Chenin Blanc. Tart, lightly aromatic, and with a hint of both spice and minerality on the finish, this wine likes food and can pair with most menu items at Le Pichet. Go wild and order one of everything.

Tip From Behind the Bar: Nearly all wines on the menu are organic, sustainably grown, and are often women-owned wineries. 

The Tasting Room: Naches Heights Vineyard, Pinot Gris, 2014

Naches Heights AVA, Washington, 13.8%, $7 per glass

The Tasting Room, hidden in Post Alley at the Market, specializes in serving some of Washington state’s hard-to-find artisan wines. With a substantial list offering drinkers anything from small taste flights to full bottles, it’s a great place to discover the 13 AVAs of Washington — especially on the patio when the sun is shining.

I worked my way through an appetizing flight of wines, but I had to say, the pinot gris was my favorite. The wine was star bright, clean, and of a strong character.  I’ll be back to enjoy a chilled bottle on that patio as we ease into the summer months. 

Tip From Behind the Bar: Wherever possible, the grapes at Naches Heights Vineyards are grown using organic or biodynamic practices. Grown in a high altitude volcanic soil vineyard, these grapes translate to a wine displaying citrus, honeysuckle, and pear notes. It hits on the front and mid palate, making it easy to drink with food or on its own.

Radiator Whiskey: Domaine Labbe, Vin de Savoie, 2012

Savoie, French Alps, 12%, $9 per glass

Who goes to a whiskey bar to order a glass of white wine? This lady right here. Located in the heart of Pike Place Market, Radiator Whiskey offers an extensive list of potent potables with a focus on brown water and barrel-aged cocktails. Don’t let that stop you oenophiles out there as I promise you can find a delicious glass of white.

Made from 100% Jacquère grapes, Vin de Savoie tends to be a fairly neutral mountain wine. However my glass was palate cleansing, cool, and showed dense minerality. We are talking like “licking wet stones in a rain storm.” This wine cuts through fat and that’s a great glass pour at a place that also serves a smoked half pig head. I am not saying to pair these two together, but if you need a refresher after a meal like that, Vin de Savoie is your friend. It was a good accompaniment to my dish of tater tots topped with gravy and egg.

Tip From Behind the Bar: On warm days they flip the windows open in a unique manner, spilling in sunshine. Wonderful for sipping white wine in warm weather.

Steelhead Diner: Parejas Cellars, Albarino, 2013

Dutchman Vineyards, Yakima, WA, 13%, $9 per glass

“Nothing south of Oregon — Nothing east of Idaho.” With a tagline like this, you know it’s PNW hyperlocal at Steelhead Diner. I was delighted to see eight glasses of white wine at the sub-$10 price point. I explored a chardonnay, a pinot gris, and a riesling before settling on the albarino.

This is a smooth, crisp, and very tart dry white wine. You’ll encounter scents of pear, apricot, and spice. It has a clean, long-lasting finish. This traditional Spanish/Portuguese varietal is doing well in Washington soil and is best friends with shellfish. Maybe give it a whirl with the Naughty Clams or Paella dish?

Tip From Behind the Bar: Steelhead’s menu (and wines) change all the time based on season and availability, so if you want to try this glass pour, scuttle on in.

Chocolate Box: Waitsburg Cellars, ‘Three’ White, 2013

Boushey Vineyards, Yakima, WA,  12%, $26 per bottle ($6.50 per glass)

Half a block off the main market drag is Chocolate Box, a seemingly twee chocolate shop selling truffles, chocolates (edible or sipping varieties), and a ton of wine. Yes, that’s right: WINE. The back end of the shop is part tasting bar / part bodega with one entire wall devoted to Northwest boutique wines. The friendly staff at Chocolate Box will even help you pair your wines to some of the delectable truffles found in the shop.

I put together a unique flight of Washington wines and after sipping through the varietals, I fell in love with the Waitsburg Cellars blend. Composed of 53% Grenache Blanc, 40% Marsanne, and 7% Picpoul, this is a new world wine coming from the Yakima AVA, but in an old world style. Slightly vegetal, this wine tastes of pink grapefruit pith and Meyer lemon. I agree with the winemakers that this wine has the grip and structure of a French blend and I would be interested in setting a bottle down for a year or two to see how it develops.

Then again, I might not be able to wait that long as summer seems to be knocking at our doors already.

Tip From Behind the Bar: They sell only by the taste or the bottle, but you’ll quickly see that a small taste will lead you to the right bottle in no time. 

Do you have a favorite glass of white wine at the Market? Let us know and we’ll be happy to try it as well. Enjoy your spring and Salud!

Special thanks to Marcel at Le Pichet, Wendy at The Tasting Room, Sarah at Radiator Whiskey, Tony at Steelhead Diner, and Christopher at The Chocolate Box for their wealth of knowledge they lent to making this post possible. 

Amy L. Dickson is a communications professional, freelance writer, and contributor to Rain or Shine Guides. She’s currently training at the NW Wine Academy for her Level 1 sommelier certification. Follow her at @amyldickson75