It only takes a 30-minute ferry ride and short walk to get to the heart of Bainbridge Island, the downtown area of Winslow, whose streets are lined with shops and eateries. Though you can easily spend a day wandering this quirky hamlet’s thriving arts scene (and wine tasting rooms) on foot, you’ll want to bring your car to explore a little farther afield. Here is your island checklist.
Stop for culture. Winslow pulls out all the stops for its monthly First Friday Art Walk (November 1). Wander along Winslow Way while enjoying art installations at shops, galleries, restaurants and the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA). This month, BIMA features Seattle artist Jessixa Bagley’s illustrations, fine art and installation work in her new show, Worlds in Pictures; and Jite Agbro’s Deserving, a two-story exhibition of mixed-media collage silhouettes by the Nigerian-American artist and Seattle native. Check out the Meet the Artist series on November 9 and November 23 to hear artists discuss their processes and the meanings behind their art.
“Under The Mind” by Jite Agbro, on display this month at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art. Courtesy of Bainbridge Island Museum of Art
Smell the roses. Explore 150 acres of native and exotic flora while strolling through the Bloedel Reserve, a botanical garden featuring 14 different natural and human-made landscapes. It’s also a prime spot for appreciating the vibrancy of fall foliage, thanks to a thoughtful collection of deciduous trees.
Get fueled. Bay Hay & Feed is a feed store, nursery, market and coffee shop (called Rolling Bay Café); sip your latte while wandering through the abundant nursery plants.
The coffee shop at Bay Hay & Feed. Courtesy of Bay Hay & Feed.
Locals love B.I. Fish Co. for dining on the catch of the day, either grilled or pan-roasted in fresh tacos topped with pickled cabbage and special sauce, or poke style with rice and mixed greens. If you’re after a more traditional approach, i.e., British-style fish and chips, head straight to Proper Fish, just off Winslow Way. It was opened last May by the original owners of Seattle’s beloved Nosh food truck.
Fish and chips at Proper Fish. Courtesy of Proper Fish.
Staying for dinner allows you to experience a roving meal between chef Brendan McGill’s empire of excellent Bainbridge restaurants: antipasti at Bruciato, dinner at Hitchcock and drinks at Bar Hitchcock.
Shop around. Eagle Harbor Book Co. has been a mainstay of the community since it first opened its doors in 1969 as Betty’s Books. Nearly 50 years later, this still locally owned bookshop offers a cozy nook in Winslow where bookworms can get lost between the lines.
Take in the views. Rockaway Beach Park (4112–4128 Rockaway Beach Road NE) is the perfect place to catch an iconic view of the Seattle skyline—Space Needle and all. By taking a short walk down the road in Port Blakely, you can check out Hall’s Hill Labyrinth (Rockaway Bluff Road NE and NE Halls Hill Road), a unique fixture completed in 2014 that’s perfect for a short meditative stroll.
Since 1971 when the graduating class of Bainbridge Island High School painted Frog Rock, it has been a photo op and roadside attraction for passersby and residents. Don’t miss the later addition: a little ladybug painted right beside the frog.