Count On It

Most people think Seattle’s Space Needle was the highlight of last week’s birthday trip counting down to 60 candles on my cake. The Space Needle is cool. Especially with the world’s only revolving glass door.

But it wasn’t the highlight.

That honor is reserved for the Bloedel Nature Reserve on Bainbridge Island.

On the ferry back to Bainbridge Island!

Our original itinerary was Bainbridge on Monday, Seattle on Tuesday. But the Reserve is closed on Mondays. Bummer.

“Instead of spending the rest of the day in Seattle, how ‘bout catching the ferry back to Bainbridge?” I suggested to Chris as we stepped out of the Space Needle elevator on Tuesday.

Entrance to the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island.

“I thought you wanted to spend your birthday seeing the Seattle sights?”

“Not really,” I shrugged. “I’d rather be outside. In the forest.” I suggested we scoot back across Puget Sound and spend the day exploring the world-famous Bloedel Reserve.  

“Let’s go!”

“It’s your birthday,” Chris smiled. “Whatever you want, babe.”

Just behind the front entrance to the Bloedel Reserve.

So we caught the next ferry back to picturesque Bainbridge Island. Spent the rest of my 60th birthday exploring the Bloedel Reserve. Counting its accolades, which include “one of North America’s 10 best botanical gardens.”

And they’re not kidding!

This place is major league awesome!

Beautiful, isn’t it? Bloedel residence is in the background.
Soak up some solitude at the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island!

From the Bloedel web site:

Bloedel Reserve is a wonder of nature, created by the imagination, vision, and a passionate love of the natural world shared by our founders, Prentice and Virginia Bloedel. Working with the rugged geography of the land, they artfully transformed a rough-hewn Northwest forest into a harmonious series of curated gardens, structural features, and distinctive landscapes, with nature as canvas and paint.

Internationally-recognized for the inspirational beauty of its refined gardens, natural landscapes, and preserved forests, Bloedel also excels in environmental stewardship of its 150 acres. Open year-round, there’s something new to discover in every season: ever-changing landscapes, guided walks, expert lectures, summer concerts, special seasonal events, and more.

Birch trail!

Anemic afternoon sun drifted through the evergreens as we strolled through the Reserve. Jackets and gloves were in order. But we had the place pretty much to ourselves.

150 acres of awesome!

We spent the afternoon meandering the Reserve’s many trails. Exploring its Japanese guest house and garden.

Japanese guest house!
How cool is this Japanese garden?!
Front of the Japanese guest house.

Checking out multiple ponds, including a reflecting pool. Soaking up the solitude.

Did I mention the Moss Garden near this Reflection Pool?
Talk about “a walk in the woods!”

You don’t rush through the Bloedel Reserve. You don’t run and you don’t hurry. You slow down. Breathe deep. And Take. Your. Time.

We also popped in to the Bloedel residence. It reminded me of the Von Trapp family villa. “The hills are alive…”

Bloedel residence.
“Anyone home?” Bloedel house features a docent-led tour.
Bloedel house.
Mrs. Bloedel loved swans.

The Bloedel residence features a stunning panorama of Puget Sound out the back door.

Back of the Bloedel Residence.
How’s this for a backyard view? Puget Sound from the back of the Bloedel Residence.

Talk about primo “forest therapy”! Not bad for a 60th birthday bash. Not bad at all.

We’ll be back. Count on it.

The Bloedel Reserve is located at 7571 NE Dolphin Drive, Bainbridge Island.

Fall / Winter Hours

Open Tuesday – Sunday.
Closed Monday.

  • 10 AM Gates open
  • 3 PM Last admission
  • 4 PM Grounds close

For more information and admission prices: 206-842-7631

2 Responses

  1. Hilda Smith

    Sounds and looks like you had a fabulous birthday and what a beautiful place to connect with nature. Love the photos. The bonus was having the place practically to yourselves.

    • HikerBabe

      Agreed! It was chilly but beautiful. Thanks for commenting, Hilda. ☺