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.
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.
“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.
“It’s your birthday,” Chris smiled. “Whatever you want, babe.”
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!
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.
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.
We spent the afternoon meandering the Reserve’s many trails. Exploring its Japanese guest house and garden.
Checking out multiple ponds, including a reflecting pool. Soaking up the solitude.
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…”
The Bloedel residence features a stunning panorama of Puget Sound out the back door.
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 –
- 10 AM Gates open
- 3 PM Last admission
- 4 PM Grounds close
For more information and admission prices: 206-842-7631