July 29th, 2014
The neighborhood bar seems like a good option, but you want to do more than stare at the television across the bar. Instead, hit the town to play a stimulating round of trivia, and even walk out with extra cash in your pocket!
Trivia Time Live is a Pacific Northwest team trivia brigade that hosts trivia in Kitsap County almost nightly, with two of these events taking place on Bainbridge Island and one just across the bridge! Instead of a quiet bar and monotonous questions, these trivia games are bustling with energy, featuring good music, food and drink specials, and a rambunctious crowd ready to have a great time. The entertaining hosts (including our beloved Jane Darrah) prepare each trivia night with a roster of stimulating questions, and teams compete for a prize or pennant to stake your claim as reigning champion. You may surprise yourself with how well you play—seemingly useless information can make the difference between a team success and fueling your fire to win next week.
For a weekday getaway, head to the Bainbridge Island Brewery & Taproom on Thursday nights from 7-9 to enjoy fantastic local beer and an absolutely full house of happy trivia goers. Come alone, or play on a team at the brewery trivia events—dogs are welcome, so bring in your canine companion for some moral support! Another trivia event on Bainbridge Island takes place on Saturdays at Island Grill, starting at 8 PM. Here, you can order from a full menu and have a cocktail from the friendly bartenders behind their full bar.
Just outside the island, Suquamish’s Clearwater Casino entertains Trivia Time Live every Wednesday in the Beach Rock Lounge starting at 8 PM. Teams can have up to 10 players and compete in four rounds of trivia. At halftime, the leading team gets a round of drinks for half price, and there are cash prizes for placing in the top three teams!
Follow Team Trivia Live on Facebook to read the weekly hint that can be used as a clue to answer a bonus question, chat with other Trivia Time teams, and stay excited about spending a night out with friends sharing drinks and laughs, and maybe even a winning prize!
July 17th, 2014
It’s here—the time we’ve been waiting patiently to enjoy, when the sun hangs high and long, and suddenly Bainbridge Island is exactly what it sounds like: a summer paradise. Island neighborhoods begin to resemble each other, with windows swung open, fruit trees dropping apples and plums, paddleboards strewn across front yards, multicolored chairs encircled around a fire pit, bicycles, sailboats, panting dogs, sprinklers, budding gardens, and the echoes of playful laughter as the sun sets in vibrant hues across the sky.
Fall, winter, and spring have prepared this island for three months of summer splendor. During those colder, wetter seasons, the island feels cozy and normal, a place where people live, work, and enjoy the Pacific Northwest life. But, when summer comes along, we all drink the Kool-Aid. Out come short shorts, daring wake surfers, and bronzed sea kayakers swarming the coasts while cyclists and joggers enjoy the shaded forest roads. Tourists pour from the ferry boats, with unfolded brochures stretched before them, wondering where the can travel to experience the best of Bainbridge Island—its natural beauty.
While many of us are frequenters of swimming and hiking spots on the island, some folks are new, or simply traveling and trying to enjoy every last drop of sunshine while here. So, here’s some advice on a few local (but not too local, don’t worry) spots perfect for swimming and hiking.
Swim the Sound
Although we’re on an island, much of the coastline is inaccessible. There are a handful of public beaches perfect for an afternoon in the sun, hidden away from larger channels of cold water. Manzanita Bay is a cove on the island’s northwest coast with a public beach access on Dock Street. Here, water tends to stay slightly warmer and the beach less windy with full sun exposure. During low tide, the access point has a small, sandy beach area from which you can enjoy front row seats to a spectacular view of the Olympic Mountains while swimmers travel back and forth from the floating dock in the center of the bay. Be cautious of private property while swimming at Dock Street—make sure that you’re not parking, swimming, or beach combing beyond public limits.
Point White Pier is a different swimming experience. A big hit among the crowds of youngsters on the island, this pier is located along the incredibly scenic Crystal Springs Road on the southwest end of the island. With parking across the street and well-marked signs along the way, the dock can host large groups of daring jumpers. With a wooden ladder nailed along one of the pilings, the fun is in the rush. Jump in and experience the rejuvenating, cold Puget Sound water tingling your skin. Some are tough enough to skip the ladder and swim back to the rocky shoreline. On hot summer nights, head to Point White Pier to watch the bioluminescence—tiny organisms that become phosphorescent when disturbed, like glowing glitter underwater—dance off of the pilings beneath the dock and burst into a glowing show as you swim amongst it.
Hike in the Forest
The healthy, vibrant forests on this island make for an incredible and fulfilling day of hiking. With innumerable plant and fungus species to identify, as well as old growth trees and dripping moss, it’s easy to lose track of time in the Grand Forest, located in the center of the island. Multiple trails branch from trailhead parking lots at either Mandus Olson Road NE or Fletcher Bay Road, which lead you beneath the canopies to a beautiful open field in the center of the preserve—a wonderful place to take a breath of fresh air and watch the clouds pass by.
Gazzam Lake rests on the southwest end of Bainbridge Island. This trail has a wide variety of attactions, from coastal to lake access. A trail—perfect for an evening run—winds through the healthy forest with many tree species living amongst each other. During dusk, listen carefully for the owls living in the trees. An access to Gazzam Lake provides a spectacular view of flora and fauna that thrive in freshwater ecosystems. If you’re interested in hiking down the steep coast to the water, enjoy a beach view of Port Orchard during a long and colorful sunset.
June 4th, 2014
The airport flooded, the highways packed, hotels booked, and sidewalks buzzed with over 250,000 folks from around the world who had arrived in Seattle to enjoy and participate in our annual free festival, Northwest FolkLife. The independent nonprofit organization has held this event in Seattle Center over Memorial Day weekend since 1972, drawing a crowd that consists of diverse cultures and backgrounds for four jam-packed days of music, participatory dancing, cultural showcases, food, and workshops. Local artists shared stages with international names to bring four days of non-stop entertainment; if you were to attend each event to its fullest, it would take 28 days consecutive days to experience!
Gospel, bluegrass, world music, elementary school choirs, local singer/songwriters, funk, country, electronic, Native drum circles, and reggae—the list of music genres is nearly as long as the list of performers squeezed into the festival. On some stages, world dance performers featured traditional ethnic dance to the live music of their culture, while other stages hosted performers getting the dance started in the heart of the crowd until nearly everyone was on their feet. Sunday’s Mosaic Stage featured a full day of reggae, ending with Seattle’s Clinton Fearon & The Boogie Brown Band, a festival staple for more than 20 years and longtime, long-loved reggae group in Seattle.
At Northwest FolkLife, diverse music isn’t the only thing flooding your senses. The smell of funnel cake and ethnic food lingers in the air, swirling with the cool mist from the international fountain beneath the shade of the Space Needle. Children with vibrant face paint zigzagged through the crowds, cotton candy in hand. Some folks rested in the shade, watching collections of hula-hoopers and fearless dancers move to the sounds of the music from onstage. Others enjoyed each others company in the beer gardens featuring organic and gluten free options.
Vendors line the walkways with unique booths and colorful crafts reminiscent of a bohemian street fair. I watched woodworkers, jewelers, batik artists, and clothing designers charm envious customers as I strolled through, savoring the vegetarian sambusa I ordered for lunch from Portland’s Horn of Africa, which serves traditional food from the coast of Northeast Africa. As I wandered into the Fisher Pavilion, lured by the sound of strumming fiddles and tapping feet, to my surprise I caught sight of hundreds of smiling faces dancing in synch. This contra extravaganza draws many generations of contra dancers year after year to experience the folk tradition of contra dancing with a diverse crowd. Beginners are urged to dance with a drastic wave of the arm by red-faced, panting elders who are willing and eager to teach starry-eyed onlookers the ways of contra. I wasn’t brave enough to try, but I felt the energy from the sidelines and smiled along with everyone.
The greatest thing about this festival? It’s free to anyone, even if you haven’t a penny to spare. You’ll find buskers, travelers, and aspiring musicians putting it all on the line between stages, food carts, and craft stands with an instrument or two, an upside down hat with a sign that says “anything helps,” and a passion for music shared by all in attendance. In the crowds, you’ll find local legends, students, neighbors, homeless, out-of-towners, sailors, young families, artists, pockets of pre-teens, and every other walk of life. Judgment is laid to rest at the entrance, and everyone enters on the same level. It’s a wonderfully inclusive festival fueled by the donations of the able and the energy of the willing. Staffed by over 6,000 volunteer performers and 800 volunteers (yes, performers all volunteer!), this is truly a celebration of Northwest culture and togetherness.
May 19th, 2014
Up until September of last year, Bainbridge Island climbers had to travel to Seattle or Bremerton to get their fix at the few climbing gyms in the area. The ferry and bus rides were enough to keep local climbers from commuting for regular training, and even worse, keep potential climbers from falling in love with and becoming committed to pulling rock. Then, along came Jason Lawson, who built the Island Rock Gym (IRG): a beautiful climbing platform nestled in the Coppertop Loop off of Sportsman Road with 40-foot walls and a bouldering garden that’ll get you horizontal, vertical, and every way in between.
The dilemma of the Bainbridge climber, be it minor, is that of commuting to access solid outdoor (and indoor) routes. Although there is fantastic climbing off of exits along I-90, as well as various locations such as Index and Vantage, these sites aren’t exactly post-work, two hour practice spots, but rather weekend warrior commitments that most are unable to pledge consistent time for. Once upon a time, Bremerton hosted a branch of the indoor climbing gym known as Vertical World, which, when closed down, cut Kitsap County off from relatively accessible indoor climbing. Things grew stagnant and the climbing limitations began stacking up. Lawson’s IRG expanded the opportunity for both new and seasoned climbers to excel while creating a hyper local climbing culture that simply hasn’t existed until now. The staff is knowledgeable, experienced, and more than willing to cheer you through the toughest routes, while the friendly gym members are eager to skillshare and offer an impromptu belay when needed.
For a new climbing gym, IRG membership rates are affordable and there’s rarely a wait to get on a wall. The aesthetic is vibrant, with color-splashed walls dotted with every hold you’ll ever need to train on. What they lack in massively horizontal overhangs they make up for with intricate routes that send your body in convoluted positions that work every muscle. If you’re like me and climb hard when you find the time, tape your hands—these routes are so addictive you’ll climb till you’re raw.
While many of the rope and bouldering routes are difficult and require advanced strength and agility, about half of them cater to beginner or young climbers. In fact, IRG has a youth program that exceeds many, with bouldering and rope trainings that even advance into route setting. Beginning ate age four, these classes and camps focus on getting youth accustomed to rock walls both on and off the rope. The IRG Climbing Team, starting at age eight and ending at 18, delves into advanced beta technique “geared towards endurance, technique, strategy, and strength,” according to their website. Their events extend to seasoned climbers as well, holding courses on anchor building that may serve as refreshers, as well as hosting presentations by professional athletes in the field.
There’s no time like springtime to get ready for a summer of outdoor adventure. Whether you need a refresher on lead climbing and anchor building or to ready your muscles for prime climbing season, IRG is the place to be. After a good climb, walk the short distance over to Bainbridge Island Brewing Company for relaxation, beer, and good company. Climb on!
April 4th, 2014
At the annual Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet held on January 25th, 2014 I made a presentation of a series of 20 photographs that were displayed for 20 seconds at a time… Pecha Kacha style. Concurrently, I read a 20 second profile of the business and other interesting facts about the industry.
This year’s presentation theme was about the often anonymous businesses that contribute to the island’s economy through manufacturing and industrial operations. The intent was to illustrate that the commercial capacity of Bainbridge Island is not just the retail storefronts that everybody is familiar with; but, there is also a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit that works, often hidden amongst the trees, if you will, that goes relatively unnoticed.
The photos were taken by Mr. Joel Sackett.
I’ve uploaded the slideshow here for you to take a look: Slideshow
March 13th, 2014
For all of you with pretentious-detectors, beware: I have welcomed the identity of poet into my life. Before, I just considered myself someone who wrote occasionally. Now I think that poetry, the art of poetry, is a way that I understand the world around me. How do I explain? Take for example photography. Once you get more and more involved in photography, you are not only a photographer for the split second you snap a photo. No, you walk around, always, seeing things in terms of composition, of lighting, of placement and movement. It is by continuously remaining open that you can then relate your experience in a moment of creation. So it is with poetry, I think. You walk around wide-eyed and in love with each thing you see then write about it.
The bizarro videogame Katamari Damacy comes to mind too. The sole purpose of the game is to roll around as a sticky ball and grow bigger. You start out sticking to small objects and increasingly gather larger and larger items on your body until soon you are rolling down skyscrapers. I think that it works as a metaphor for the artistic endeavor. From the second I leave my front door and head out into the world for the day, I am a sticky glob and take note of everything I see. By the end of the day I am chock full of the ephemera of my day. To write a poem I would take each piece off of me and lay it on the page. If I do a good job, the poem should stand as a simulacrum of the concert of emotions of my day. If I do a really good job, I manage to pick off all the junk of my day and get down to my skin and, once there, pick off the flesh with renewed vigor.
Serendipitously enough there is a copy of Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life in the bookshelf in the house where I live. Ever since reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek I have been desperately in love with Dillard. She too lived on an island in the Sound, though more isolated and further north than I am now. The Northwest, it seems, is a literary hotspot. The rain, the mountains, the forest, the countless coffee shops, all of it gestures toward the literary. So I decided to pick up her book I hadn’t (gasp) yet read. In it, she remarks upon the difficulties and impossibilities of leading a writer’s life. She tells a story of trying to chop firewood: for the longest time she was terrible at it, could never make sizable pieces of firewood for burning, only small useless chips. Eventually she learned that to do it right, you don’t aim for the wood but the chopping block beyond it. After that realization she had a high stack of wood ready to burn, hurrah hurrah! And so it is with writing, you aim, always, for the obstinately blank page, the screen of flaring pixels, and try to etch out your flawed creation despite the sea of blankness and incorrigibility.
From what I can see so far, Bainbridge is a fantastic place to be an artist. Open mics are everywhere, the art museum is free, people are warm and welcoming and willing to share their craft. Guitar players come out in droves to perform, you can’t walk down the street without bumping into a writer, and artist exhibitions pop up continuously. So it is not so hard to be young on such an island. It is quite easy to walk around and feel welcome and on the cusp of many chance encounters. And so I throw my own voice out there, in the form of a small poem, to join the artistic community of Bainbridge. The Pacific Northwest has me thinking about the incomprehensibility of city sewer systems, mountains, whales, the Pacific Ocean, and ant colonies.
Lesson from Blue
Dates, appointments, schedules,
details, all details, slide right
off me like sea trash off a lost whale
during a cataclysmic storm in the far reaches
of the Bering Sea in the icy grips of November.
That is ok because even though I cannot hold
a pen between my flippers to write you,
I am a whale and can sing-song a semblance
of a message for the whole ocean to hear:
I am late, but coming.
March 13th, 2014
By Andy Butter - The lovely Christine St. Pierre (See BIMM Part 1 & 2) and I share a house, internships at YES! Magazine, and barista duties at Pegasus Coffee House. We’ve also been jointly asked to blog about our experience of being “young on Bainbridge”. I think that this will be great for you, the reader, to see how two people put in the same place can come out with two vastly different (or not?) experiences. But first, a little background info from me.
I moved to Bainbridge at the beginning of the new year to start a four-month long internship at YES! Magazine. After a grueling 40-hour Amtrak ride all the way from Minneapolis, which promptly dispelled any romantic notions I had of train travel, I found myself, still swathed in all my winter gear, in downtown Seattle. Laden with all my belongings, I waddled to the ferry and bought my first of many tickets to come.
Trains, busses, ferries, skyscrapers, taxis, business-people. All of it strange and unfamiliar to me. I grew up in Grand Marais, Minnesota, a tiny town of 1,300 people on the northern shore of Lake Superior. Grand Marais has one stoplight, two grocery stores, and three seasons: almost winter, winter, and still winter. To me, Bainbridge is not small or remote but quite a bustling place, especially considering its proximity to Seattle. Living on Bainbridge is not a tuning-down, a sinking into a bucolic dream, but instead a foray into a chaotic whirlpool of new faces and places. I can’t stand and gawk forever though, I have to get out in the world and see it, then blog about it!
An important part of integrating yourself into a new place is to meet people and make friends (duh). Sometimes that’s easier said than done. But no worries, for those less gregarious, less adept at navigating the innumerable pitfalls of social interaction, I have compiled a bullet-proof list of my way to make friends while slinging coffee at Pegasus. Godspeed ye, and good luck making friends out there, friend.
Midwestern Themed Clothing
I have a sweater that features two proud owls and the word “Wisconsin” in bold white type. I have a bright blue shirt that has the outline of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan encased in a heart. I often wear shirts that feature Northland College, my alma mater in Wisconsin. Every time I don cloth from the heartland I am always engaged in a fun conversation while I’m cashiering. Apparently, everyone on the West Coast lived in the Midwest at one point, or has a half-step-semi-second-cousin-in-law that does. Once I admit my origins the conversation turns to the weather. Once we start talking about the weather I am in the zone; I grew up in Minnesota, I could talk about the weather for days. Friendship: forthcoming.
Did you hear about the giant that threw up? Really? Because it’s all over town. How do you organize a party for the solar system? Simple, you just planet. These jokes are terrible, I’ll agree, but if you happen to chuckle, or at least show the common courtesy of chortling, then we have a starting point for rapport. After rapport, a budding acquiantanceship. Soon I’ll be your children’s godfather, just you wait.
Only to be used ironically. Results may vary.
A Sprinkling of Pop Culture References
After I take someone’s order and they fumble around for exact change I may ask them “Where’s the money Lebowski?” If they raise an eyebrow and give me the $2.17 without saying a word, I move along. But if they proudly proclaim their proclivity toward nihilism, then we have a blossoming friendship on the way. Don’t be disheartened if the references don’t start a friendly conversation right away. This method of friend-making often takes time and persistence. It also has the possibility of alienating you from those around you. Play it cool, man. If 90’s movie quotes aren’t working out, try a line from Game of Thrones. No one picking up on your amazing whistled rendition of Europe’s “The Final Countdown”? Bring it back with a hummed chorus of the Beatles’ “Penny Lane.”
Note for those that enjoy higher-brow culture: This method of making friends can work for you too! For example, I saw a young woman reading a book of poems by Elizabeth Bishop. We talked about our favorite poets. We then learned each other’s names and shook hands. Friendship!
February 20th, 2014
Missing those Salish Blues in our clam chowder? Blame the Navy. As reported by KOMO News, http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Navy-Oil-spill-in-Hood-Canal-larger-than-first-estimated-245240911.html , the Navy lost control of about 2,000 gallons of oily waste last week,. The spill forced the Kitsap Public Heallh District to close the beaches for shellfish harvesting http://www.kitsapcountyhealth.com/environment/shellfish_advisories.php on February 12th as a precaution.
In the meantime the pub has been getting it’s clams from Western Washington ocean beaches…however, you will notice they are Manilas.
As soon as the Hood Canal closure is lifted we’ll get back to the lovely Salish Blues that Baywater Inc. has been growing and harvesting for the pub’s now famous chowder and steamers.
February 18th, 2014
The Kitsap Community & Agriculture Alliance (KCAA) invites you to participate in a special West Sound Agritourism Workshop, an event to initiate the Kitsap Peninsula as a destination to West Sound small farm, nature and other outdoor activities. KCAA believes small farms & gardens, nature & environmental groups, lodging facilities (including Bed & Breakfasts), and other value added producers would benefit greatly from sponsorship and participation in this event.
When: February 22nd, 2014 from 8:30am - 4:00pm (Lunch provided)
Where: Bremerton Boys & Girls Club (3102 Wheaton Way, Bremerton, WA 98310)
$25 General Admission
$20 KCAA Members (Special code sent to members via email - contact KCAA for more info)
$10 for Students & Interns - must enter Intern/Student at check out for special pricing. Please bring student ID/Verification to workshop.
Tickets can be purchased by visiting: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/559822
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or for more information. Event agenda and poster below:
February 7th, 2014
By Christine St.Pierre - The hinges squeak on the coffee house door and I shift my gaze toward the entryway with the rest of the Pegasus staff, programmed to greet the sound as another customer shuffles in from the cold. From behind the counter, I greet the newcomer with a smile and ask, sincerely, “How are you?” Too often, the person is shocked by the authenticity in my tone; they’ll raise their brow, tilt their heads, pause to think, and, with a sigh, say something to the effect of, “I’m well, but [insert personal detail here].” Step one in making a new friend: care.
Step two: remember. The next time they walk in through those squeaky front doors, I’ll ask, “How did it go with [restate personal details from last conversation here]?” And so it begins; a relationship that had the dreary potential of being a simple exchange of money and coffee becomes something more. This is how I met most of the folks on the island with whom I’m building strong friendships—young or old, male or female. I realized that this little community wants to let you in, so I found an opening and slipped on through.
The final step: memorize their drink orders. Do this and you’re in forever. No foam. Soft-boiled eggs. Add an inch of water. Tie the tea bag. Whole wheat, a little burned. Split-shot quad-shot extra dry soy cappuccino with a splash of vanilla and sugar in the raw. Extra hot, please!
Working these shifts is the equivalent of hanging out with friends in my kitchen. Regulars get their drinks and sit at the bar. We begin chatting, and more of them file in, greeting each other and catching up. They leave together in small groups, probably off to a job or farm or hike or musical endeavor, and I feel all warm inside knowing I’ll see them the next morning—same place, same time, same drink.
Since this friendship journey began, I’ve been to some really cool places with some really cool people. The Grand Forest, for example, has a beautiful field at the end of a series of trails that is perfect for cloud gazing, singing songs, and sunset yoga. Once, on my way to this field, I ran into a Pegasus friend who was heading into the forest to gather stinging nettle with a group of plant-loving locals. Later, we crossed paths again, and they graciously shared stinging nettle pesto and soup with me. As the clouds parted, we stood in a circle and dined on the foraged nutrition, photosynthesizing while we discussed our appreciation of the forest.
Of course, there are less happenstance ways to form bonds and experience the island, like attending the open mic (Tuesday) or open jam (Thursday) nights at Pegasus. If, like me, you’re not a trained musician, bring your poetry on Tuesdays and slam it out! Or, if, like me, you love to sing, bring your voice on Thursdays; Larry, a regular jammer and real sweetheart, has an extensive catalogue of folk, blues, and bluegrass songs that are easy to learn, and he would love to add to the queue if you’ve got something in mind. The Bainbridge Brewery also offers live music on Wednesday evenings, which makes for a wonderful transition from climbing at the Island Rock Gym just across the Coppertops parking lot.
Not long ago, I began my life on the island attending events like these by myself, enjoying the culture while watching the community interact from a distance. Now, I’m in it, and all it took was a little coffee.