Up on the northeastern side of Bainbridge Island, the 150-acre Bloedel Reserve offers it all: A lovely stretch of trail that meanders through a forest-fringed field, Northwest woods dense with undergrowth, an elegant Japanese garden, European manor-style gardens, and a moss garden, with grand views of Puget Sound.
To quote their brochure:
The parts, so very different from the other, work together to create a whole, just as the movements of a symphony, which may very dramatically in mood, still create a single work of art.
While I enjoy walking briskly along the trail for a good workout, really, it's so wonderful here that it's hard not to stop along the way and contemplate the beauty of the surroundings. Which, after all, is what a great garden is all about.
A friend of mine who grew up on Bainbridge remembers the estate and country manor being inhabited by the Bloedel family. Since then this Northwest timber family has vacated the premises and turned it into the current reserve open to the public. Creating the reserve became a lifelong passion for Prentice Bloedel after his retirement.
It's a landscape full of contrasts, with an underlying purpose: for walking and appreciating nature, whether it's in the form of the bird refuge along the wooded trail, or in the Japanese garden, where moss-covered rocks lie still, surrounded by carefully raked gravel.
|In the moss garden|
On my first trip to the reserve some years ago, a group of us helped a friend's mom celebrate her 60th birthday by taking our bicycles onto the Bainbridge ferry from Seattle, then bicycling up island to explore the reserve's grounds and gardens. A great way to get plenty of exercise and the nourishment of all that cultivated and natural beauty.
But today the trail and paths beckon: Just walk.
When You Go
The Bloedel Reserve is open every day except Mondays, with an admission fee of $13 for adults. Click here for location and directions. Besides being a fabulous place to walk, they hold concerts in the field, lectures, classes, and occasional special events. Check out their event calendar here.