Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bainbridge Island's Bloedel Reserve: What a Way to Walk

When we walk, we naturally go to the fields and woods: What would become of us if we only walked in a garden or mall?  - Henry David Thoreau

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

Japanese 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.


Dave Wenning said...

This post was too wonderful not to share at Google+. Hope you don't mind that I did that.

Ron Mitchell said...

Wow, what a walk through fantasyland! Nice photos and text, Jill.

jill said...

Hey Dave, thanks for sharing on Google+. Still waiting to go viral. In the meantime, just enjoy blogging and reading fellow bloggers post.

Thanks Ron! Yes, didn't post half the photos I could have. Congrats on your Mingo Junction reading.

Dave Huitt said...

Hi Jill,
This is really a great intro to what sounds like a wonderful place to visit. I sure would put this on my to do list.
Thank you for opening up a new area to me, I do love going on hikes in the Pacific Northwest,
Thanks again Capt. Dave

Joseph Ladd said...

What a wonderful post Jill. It's such a beautiful Reserve.

jill said...

Capt. Dave, hope you make it to the reserve some time, yea, hiking here in the PNW is splendid.

You're welcome! Thanks for the comment.

Lesley said...

So serene. A different experience that the Butchart Gardens (which we visited in June), but much more peaceful and equally lovely. I will put this on my "to go" list.
Thanks Jill!

Ivan said...

This place looks amazing! Thanks for sharing, Jill.

Ed said...

What a nice looking jaunt. It is so nice I don't have to make a list of places I want to visit in the PNW, I just have to come to your site Jill!