I knew it was there and I had always meant to go.
Plans were made but, mother nature had intervened each time with bouts of nasty weather. One time it even snowed! I couldn’t seem to make it to Bloedel Reserve, a botanical garden on Bainbridge Island. Another time I had made plans to go there for my birthday. We rented a room so the day could be spent at the reserve before going to dinner at Mossback, a favorite restaurant of mine in Kingston. As we drove toward Bainbridge Island, the sky darkened and raindrops began to fall. It rain hard for the next two days. We went straight to the restaurant where we spent about four hours eating and drinking in their Rabbit Hole cocktail lounge. A good time but, let me tell ya, it was no walk in the park!
The years passed and thoughts of going to Bloedel faded.
The last few months have been busy.
We’re in the middle of remodeling our house so, even with a little time off around the holidays, there wasn’t much time for rest and relaxation. I had plans to go back to work after the New Year and, as you can imagine, I was feeling burnt out from not getting a break. I decided to try to get in a visit with Lucy, an old friend of mine who just moved to Seattle this last May. I thought we could meet for lunch; either I could go to Seattle or she could take a ferry to the Peninsula. In the end we both picked the Peninsula because it would give us more of a chance to explore. Of course I was secretly thinking, this could be my chance to go to Bloedel! but I worried that if I said it out loud my bad weather jinx would return.
That Saturday I woke up relaxed. The only real plan for the day was to eat lunch. It wasn’t sunny, but there was a certain calm in the air. I picked Lucy up from the ferry at noon but, neither one of us was hungry yet, so I asked about going to Bloedel “to explore?”
She said, “Sure!” and off we went!
I hadn’t looked at the directions in years, but we kept the GPS off and decided we would either get there or somewhere else. This was suppose to be about exploring! I knew that if we made it to the Agate Passage Bridge we’d be off the island and Bloedel would be in the rearview mirror. I drove slowly down the 305, and when we were almost to the bridge, I saw a sign for Agatewood Road. We turned in, but didn’t see a sign for Bloedel until we got to Dolphin Drive. We were so close! Then, right before we got to the Reserve, there was a wildlife rescue shelter which made Lucy very happy since she’s a bird lady. If they hadn’t been closed, that would have been our first stop.
The gate was open and the volunteers showed us where to park and said to come back to the gatehouse before starting our walk. There at the gatehouse, they told us we had made it to the last day of holiday events. They gave us a map of the 150 acre reserve and pointed out the location of the manor house. If we made our way there, we were to go inside where cookies and hot cider were being served alongside a miniature village complete with an electric model train. I love anything miniature and got nearly as excited about that as I was for the gardens! We spent a long afternoon there. Lunch turned into a dinner (to Poulsbo for German food and beer!) and then back to Port Townsend for an overnight.
What better way to reflect on that day than to start with water?
Water is such a strong element in this garden, it’s no wonder that people go there to be quiet and reflect. There are ponds, bogs, streams and waterfalls and of course, the house itself looks out toward some of the best “borrowed” scenery around: the Puget Sound!
You can see the ferns for the trees
Even in winter, the moss never sleeps.
Let’s get really small now and visit the Holiday Village.
These were hand built over the last 50 years by Dwight Shappell, a volunteer and docent at Bloedel, using mostly recycled materials. They are displayed every holiday season at the reserve for the enjoyment of all. Yay!
I’m so glad that I finally made it to Bloedel. It turned out to be the pause that I needed before the New Year and work started again. I hope to get back to Bloedel someday, possibly in the spring when the garden starts to wake up? Lucy? For now, I will leave you with my last and favorite video of Lucy and the Reflection Pool. Enjoy the New Year and remember to take the time to relax and reflect!