The Kitsap Peninsula
Time for Another Break
Since the last trip things have been pretty insane at home. After the completion of the addition that was mentioned in the last post, we proceeded to update the interior of the existing house. We have been living in the basement while work is being done on the main level and upper floor. Definitely time for a break!
November travel has it’s limitations, so we decided to explore the Kitsap Peninsula a bit. We have been through the area a few times traveling to other destinations but have never really explored the area. I had winterized the trailer, so we booked an Airbnb in Poulsbo.
Another interesting thing happened, Liz injured her knee right before we were scheduled to leave, so we debated on whether to go since we had no idea what kind of activities we would be able to pursue. Our decision was to take the e-bikes and some light hiking gear and see what happens.
The drive was easy with moderate temperatures and no snow on the pass. Other than the normal traffic issues on Hwy 18 and through the Tacoma area on I-5, all went well. The North Cascades and Mt Rainier were glistening n the sun with the early winter snow peaks.
Arriving in Poulsbo
Poulsbo is right off Hwy 305, which is the main highway through the Kitsap Peninsula. The Airbnb condo we chose is on Front St, which is the historic downtown waterfront area. The waterfront is far enough off 305 to have a very nice quaint feel to it. We found the condo with no problem and moved our stuff in from the truck. Our parking area was behind the building so it took a few trips to get everything in and up the stairs to the condo. The condo is above a small little store selling home decor goods of the gnome variety. Of course that appealed to part of our group. The building was at one time an auto repair shop which of course was interesting to the other half of our group.
After getting settled we walked down Front St looking for some dinner. Unfortunately, most of the restaurants are closed on Monday and Tuesday, so we grabbed a bit to eat at a The Green Light Diner, little place that looked like it might be kind of fun. Unfortunately there is nothing too positive to report about our experience there, the staff however were very friendly.
Poulsbo has a fun little historic downtown area on the waterfront that is known as Little Norway. The small town was settled by Norwegian immigrants and apparently the language here in the early days was primarily Norwegian. The main metro area around Poulsbo is pretty much like anything else in the Greater Seattle Area, lots of congested traffic and a lot of people! The little historic downtown is comfortable and quaint and we were very glad that we booked our Airbnb there.
Today we explored the historic downtown area and generally got a feel for the area. Of course we had to check out the bakery. We also explored the town by car, getting a feel for the area in general. We discovered Central Market, which is a part of the Town & Country Markets chain in the greater Seattle area. The market has a great salad bar and some to-go prepared entrees which we took advantage of for a few of our meals while staying here.
While driving around yesterday, we came across Fish Park, an area within walking distance of the condo we ere staying in. We walked the waterfront boardwalk and trail to the end, the about another 1/4 mile to the park.
After exploring and hiking around Fish Park we went to the Heritage Museum across the street from the condo. We learned about the Norwegian influunce Poulsbo is known for and the history of the town.
Day 3 ~ Port Gamble
Today we made the short drive (16 miles) to Port Gamble. Our intention was to check out the Heritage Park to do some hiking. When we got to Port Gable we walked around town a bit. The wind had quite a bite to it coming off the water and as we explored the small town and it’s history, we made the decision to forego the hiking and just enjoy the day looking around town.
Port Gamble is a very clean little town on the water with an interesting history. The Walker-Ames House is a landmark of this little town and is supposedly haunted. The town was built as a ‘company town’ for the mill that was established there in the 1800s and many of the original buildings remain, although now being used for other purposes. We had a fun time exploring the little town, with the exception of a disappointing experience when we went into a small little place to grab a bit to eat. There, we discovered what we suspect is the rudest waitress known to mankind. That was such a contrast to all the other friendly people we interacted with in Port Gamble.
There is a little cemetery from the 1800s on the hill above the town center. Walking through that cemetery made me ponder on what life was like in that era. The headstones were mostly people aged from early thirties to mid-fifties and several children. It was an eye-opening experience to consider the life expectancy of that time period and the hardships that must have gone along with that.
We enjoyed the day at Port Gamble. This might be a fun place to come back to in warmer temps for some kayaking.
Day 4 ~ Bainbridge Island
We decided to go investigate Bainbridge Island today. I had been to Bainbridge Island before for some bike rides, but had not ever had the opportunity to really explore it, and Liz had never been there.
Bainbridge can be accessed by bridge from the Poulsbo area, so we made the short drive. The roads and parking areas on the island are very tight and narrow, we would not want to go onto the island with our trailer. The island is beautiful with very dense foliage and has a vast array of parks and hiking areas. We picked a few things to explore while here. It appears that the residents are quite active, we saw a large number of cyclists and hikers. Of course kayaking and boating is a huge attraction as well.
We started off parking at the downtown area and walking the waterfront trail, then walking around town and getting a feel for the area. Our next stop was the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial. The memorial is an outdoor exhibit commemorating the internment of Japanese Americans from Bainbridge Island. It was built at the location where the American Japanese were escorted by military with bayonets onto the ferry to remove them from the island. It was quite sobering to read the kiosks and displays illustrating what happened and how it impacted the lives of innocent people just because of their heritage. It is a dark stain on our American history. The memorial is a reminder—“Nidoto Nai Yoni” (Let it Not Happen Again)—of what happened on March 30, 1942.
The Labyrinth, our next stop was a lighter more tranquil experience. It is a thirty-six foot diameter circle with intricately laid stone paths in a quiet setting overlooking the water. We always enjoy coming across labyrinths, but this one was exceptional as it is set in mortar and very well done. The artist came from Portland, OR to create it and gathered all the stones from the local beaches.
The Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve was our last stop on the island. The trails in the reserve get very little sunlight due to the dense foliage and feels much like a rain forest. The trails are heavily used and we saw several other people on the trails. This preserve is one of many parks and reserves on the very hilly island.
View Bainbridge Island Photos HERE
Day 5 ~ Seattle
We initially intended for today to be a ‘No Agenda” day. We always build a free day into our travels when away for a week or more. As were were just relaxing in the morning, the idea came up that it might be fun to go into Seattle to watch the Zags game at the Climate Pledge Arena. The arena, which is a complete rebuild of the former venue, that was built for the World’s Fair in 1962, is pretty amazing.
The Zag’s performance however was not so amazing, it was pretty difficult to watch that game, but the day was an adventure. We drove to Bainbridge Island again and walked onto the ferry, leaving our truck in the parking area. After the 30 minute ferry ride, we then walked up the Seattle waterfront to Seattle Center where the arena is. We then proceeded to be disappointed with the game. After the game we walked through Seattle Center looking at all the holiday lighting before the 1.5 mile walk back to the ferry, barely catching the ferry as it was preparing to leave.
All things being said, it was an interesting day. We were cold and wet when we got back to the ferry, and were glad to be back to the condo at the end of the evening.
Day 6 ~ No Agenda
Just a quiet day in Little Norway, the ‘free day’ of this little getaway. Of course we had to visit the bakery again. 🙂
Day 7 ~ An Auto Tour
For our last day here, we decided to explore some areas up towards Port Townsend. We have been to Port Townsend before on some of our trips and always enjoy that little town, so we spent a bit of time there as well.
Our first stop was Port Ludlow.
We have driven through this area before, but neb=ver stopped to investigate Port Ludlow. As it turns out, there is not really a town there, just a lot of residential pockets that are accessed by dead end roads. The marina and resort seem to be the center of everything, but it really has no place to park and explore. We drove through the area looking for a little downtown area without success. The only thing that resembled any type of commercial zone was a small strip mall type structure with a gas station.
The area is very tranquil and scenic but seems to be only for residents and guests to enjoy.
From there we drove out to Fort Flagler State Park on Marrowstone Island.
We had never been on the island before. The island is accessed by going through Indian Island, which is completely occupied by a US Navy Magazine handling munitions for US Navy combat ships and missile submarines for operations world wide. Marrowstone Island has a somewhat depressed economy feel to it with most of the housing being not well maintained and cluttered with what appeared to be unused items and abandoned vehicles.
Fort Flagler is almost 800 acres and looked like there would be some good trails there to explore when we were researching it. The reality is that the trails were marshy and submerged when we got there, and the grounds were pretty sparse without a lot to explore. Fort Flagler, along with Fort Worden (near Port Townsend) and Fort Casey (on Whidbey Island), was built as part of a triangulated defense system to protect Puget Sound in World War II. We drove around the area a bit, then decided to head to Port Townsend.
Port Townsend never disappoints. We we walked around the waterfront area for a bit just taking it all in. Places come and go in the waterfront shops and we discovered a new place called Tommyknocker’s They had a sign on the window that said ‘Frozen Hot Chocolate’ so we thought we had better go in and see what that was all about. Well…
So that was kind of tasty! They have pasties that you can either purchase to enjoy there, or they offer it as ‘take and bake’ to prepare at home. We picked up a couple of pasties to enjoy back at the Airbnb.
It was an interesting day seeing some of the areas we have not previously seen in this area.
See Todays Photos HERE
In Conclusion, we had a nice break from all the turmoil back home. We didn’t end up using the bikes as the weather was not conducive to fun biking and with the type of exploring we did it was easier not to have to deal with all the cold weather bike clothes on our various stops. We got in some fun little hikes and walkabouts and saw some areas that were new to us. We have often wondered what the Kitsap Peninsula has to offer and while we didn’t see everything, we got a pretty good feel for what it is all about.