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.


In an era shadowed by threats of environmental catastrophe, economic crisis, and social collapse, we are witnessing a mental shift in the next generation to whom the torch will be passed. By and large, the Millennials, born between 1980 and the new millennium, have been raised in a heavily consumer-centric society that has disassociated with the notion of living simply and sustainably off the land. As society wades deeper into these treacherous seas, communities have taken precautionary steps to keep themselves afloat.

Millennials are rising to the challenge by transitioning into a way of living that reclaims traditions long ago abandoned at the risk of being lost forever, traditions like homesteading, permaculture, fiber and textile production, natural medicine, and sustainable agriculture. As the price of produce and meat increases, so does the shift toward community gardening, urban farming, and agricultural education. Call it nostalgia for a romantically rustic way of life or call it necessity; either way, the growing trend in our generation, and in general, is growing organic food.

On this island, there is no shortage of small-scale farms with a focus on organic food that is grown in healthy rotation with the seasons. These farms, which foster deep community roots and innovative approaches to energy efficiency, such as natural irrigation and solar power, are staffed by pockets of Millennials with a passion for connecting to the earth and growing organic food that nourishes their bodies and the environment.

Nearly all farms on Bainbridge Island are supported by a crew of Millennials driven either by devotion or curiosity, and from what I’ve experienced, they’re really wonderful people—they’re my friends. With lives that can be mapped across the globe, these young farmers make up a colorful portion of this community, contributing music, art, and, well, food, that keep Bainbridge Island moving forward. With long, exhausting days in the sun and an intense summer push, they’re hard to find out on the town, but rather at intimate potlucks and picking sessions around a bonfire surrounded by fields of slow growing produce.

You’ve seen them bouncing between mud-caked work trucks and local restaurants with bins of fresh produce; you’ve smiled at them at the farmer’s market as they explain how to perfectly massage your kale for dinner tonight. They’re rugged and tan, with soil stained fingertips and disheveled hair hidden beneath a wool cap. They travel across the country with all of their belongings packed into their hatchback making stops at farms along the way. They conduct educulture programs aimed at introducing young children to the art of farming organic food and give property tours that showcase their happy plant and livestock production. They’re WWOOFers, interns, grantees, dreamers, spearheads; they are the future of a newfound relationship with food that just might save us all.



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!


Bainbridge Island is populated by a wide variety of talented individuals, many of whom are deeply rooted in their community. Some are masters in craft trades, others in farming, arts, business, engineering—the list goes on. Each have developed expert skills, and each has the ability to share their skills within the community.

So, when offered Pegasus Coffee House for a location to organize a weekly event, I thought intensely about the direction I wanted to take it. The purpose was to unite the scattered collections of younger, like-minded people who were either brought here to pursue a passion or raised in the area and stayed because of a love for this magical place. Although drinking, games, and music are exciting ways to gather and create friendships, I wanted these events to amount to more than social hour. That’s why, with a little help from my friends, I created Seaside Learning Collective, a free school on Bainbridge Island.

At Seaside, your peers and friends are the teachers, giving lectures, leading discussions or workshops, and sharing their knowledge in order to promote community involvement. These classes demystify topics like homesteading, fermenting foods, or bicycle maintenance. By making these topics accessible, members of the community are more likely to participate at home, which can lower one’s living expenses, strengthen community bonds, and work toward a more sustainable environment and local economy.

The structure of free schools varies across the globe. Initially, fellow organizers and I drafted an intricate outline regarding donations, scheduling, and sign-ups. We researched global free schools to see how they ran. We planned websites with open discussion forums. We invented a money and sign-up system that would provide funds to the class teacher, the free school, and Pegasus. Just before launching, though, we scratched it all and trimmed it down to bare bones: a donation bag is passed around at the end of each class, and each class is open to any and all community members, regardless of advanced sign-up. Free coffee and tea are served during the class, and on special occasions the bar is open and alcohol may be purchased. At its heart, Seaside Learning Collective strives to bring people together for the purpose of advancing knowledge and promoting community.

Ryan Montella taking questions at Butler Green Farm

Ryan Montella taking questions at Morales Farm

The months of March and April held some incredible classes hosted by young members of the community with a passion for their craft. Farmers from Butler Green Farm led a tour through Morales Farm, discussing design strategy and agriculture strategy. Another islander directed a hands-on fermentation and cultivation workshop with various work stations where attendants could make their own kombucha, yogurt, or kraut, and they brought the final products home! On the other end of the spectrum, we have hosted classes grounded in arts and intellect, such as a creative writing workshop or discussion on the importance of gratitude and giving.

The months of May and June are packed with exciting opportunities to participate in a folk songwriting roundtable, learn the basics of direct action and community organizing, experience another farm tour, create your own drop spindle and yarn, or even experience the ancient method of transcendental meditation through percussive drumming, led by a woman traveling from Greece to lead workshops in the greater Seattle area. We are very fortunate to be expanding, both in our teachers and attendants, to a broader audience.

While a class or two has been held at another location on the island for the purpose of a farm tour, most classes occur each Wednesday, from 7:30-9:30 at Pegasus Coffee House. I, along with the rest of Seaside Learning Collective, hope to see you there!


Coyote Woodshop Owners Drew Reynolds & David Kotz

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

Stitch ‘n Bitch

March 28th, 2014


Every Tuesday at Bainbridge Island Brewing Company, a group of wool-clad islanders sit in a circle around heaping piles of yarn, casting and binding and looping and dropping stitches in the slow, methodical creation of their latest sweater, cowl, fingerless gloves, or beanie. The gathering, called Stitch ‘n Bitch, consists of local folks interested in textiles, knitting, drinking craft ales, or genuine conversation.

Knitting has always seemed out of reach—an unachievable skill. I tried to learn a few times, but constantly dropped a stitch in each row, making tiny little triangles that were ultimately useless. I gave up, and as the years have passed, so have the windows of opportunity to learn this social folk tradition. Ironically, I always imagined the years passing while I knit socks on the front porch, swaying in a rocking chair and watchin’ the crops grow. The time had come!

When I approached the group for the first time, I was met with warm smiles and chairs slid over to make room for me. They continued on with their conversations while their buzzing fingers robotically repeated pattern after pattern, seemingly detached from the rest of their bodies. Impressed and intimidated by their dexterous mobility, I introduced myself as an aspiring knitter with an unfortunate “ya can’t teach an old dog new tricks” disposition. The group deflected my lack of confidence, having all been there at one point, and offered words of encouragement, assuring that I would be able to knit and create in no time. Then, one stitcher pulled a beautiful ball of steel blue merino wool from her bag and held it out to me.

“Here, learn with this!” she suggested.

“For me? You’re just giving this to me?” I asked, shocked.

“Do you like it?”

“Yes, it’s amazing!”

“Then make something beautiful with it!” She smiled, and everyone continued on chatting.

No big deal. Just a perfect ball of merino wool yarn. Gifted to a stranger, no less. What a community we’ve got here on the island! The next day I bought my first pair of knitting needles–sized nine per suggestion of the group–and began courting a lifelong relationship with knitting. Since that first Stitch ‘n Bitch, I haven’t come far with the craft, but I have built relationships within the group. Each stitcher has a loving, warm character. Often they’ll cook each other food and bring a sharing dish to the gatherings.

The gatherings are organized by Tatyana Vashchenko, co-founder of Local Color Fiber Studio, a fiber dying duo consisting of Tatyana and Emily Tzeng, who cultivate and forage various plants to use for dying natural yarns. These two sell their organically pigmented yarns at farmers markets and online at Come meet Tatyana, Emily, and the rest of the Stitch ‘n Bitch craftspeople on Tuesday nights between 7 and 9 PM at Bainbridge Island Brewing Company. Support your community, support local art, and, while you’re at it, support local beer!

Playin’ in the Band

March 13th, 2014


At around seven o’clock on Thursday nights, Pegasus Coffee Shop undergoes a transformation: the small tables, previously occupied by laptops and foamy lattes, are rearranged and used as placeholders for cocktails, tall beer, and sheets of music at the dawning of Biscuits & Gravy, a three-hour jam session hosted by local musician Ethan Joseph Perry. Folks flood in through both entrances with instruments in tow, greeting each other with nods, hugs, and playful banter between old friends.

Incoming musicians strategically dance across the coffee shop, raising instruments above their heads and shuffling through the maze of chairs, tables, guitar cases, and people in order to grab a spot in the large circle materializing around the front fireplace. Non-musicians also take their place around the bar, ready for the pickin’ party to begin. People walking past the front windows often stop and smile, curious and warmed by the sight of community collaboration. A few welcoming waves from the jam circle urges them to come inside and join; they laugh, shaking their heads as if to say, “I couldn’t do that!” and walk away with a smile equal to ours.

Then, with a one, two, a one, two, three, four, the atmosphere ignites into a frenzy of string instruments and vocals as the group begins the ascent. Laughter and side conversations at the bar are drowned out by the fifteen or more new and veteran musicians encouraging each other to play loud, sing out, take it away, and bring it back. The choice of song is determined by a clockwise rotation around the circle, with each musician bringing a different flavor to the group. An old Grateful Dead tune may be replaced by a John Prine sing-a-long followed by a little Neil Young, and so it goes. The keeper of the song also passes along jam solos to various members of the group. Courageously and at a moment’s notice, the soloist takes the song to a new level. You’d think they’ve been playing together for years—and, in many cases, you’d be right.

I sit high on a stool behind the circle’s inner layer of musicians waiting for a song I know, a wave I can catch and ride straight on home with the rest of the crew. As soon as it hits—that old familiar tune—I sing out in harmony with the women and men around me, and our voices blend with the fiddle, guitars, mandolin, banjo, stand-up bass, harmonicas, and impromptu table drums, swirling in a vortex around the circle and reverberating off of the tiny coffee shop’s walls. Every Thursday, the energy is palpable, the happiness contagious, and the feeling of community undeniable. At the stroke of ten o’clock, the session comes to an end with Pete Seeger’s “Goodnight Irene,” and the musicians part ways, ready to do it all again next week. Join in!

Bainbridge Businesses Win!

January 10th, 2014

776705_t607This past year was a great one for many businesses on Bainbridge Island.  If you are a local or a frequent visitor of this town, then you’ve certainly noticed the influx of shoppers this year, especially during the summer months and holiday season!  Google recently revealed their 2013 eCity Award winners for each state in the nation, and they named Bainbridge Island as the number one online business community in Washington!!

It states on the website, “Bainbridge Island…has more than just epic scenery: its bakers, fudge-makers and artists are using the web to stay connected with visitors long after they’ve snapped their last photos”.

Bainbridge Bakers is one local business that has taken their presence online, and has ran with it.  Armed with a frequently updated Facebook page and Instagram account, owner Michael Loudon shares moments from important local events as well as images and updates on his bakery’s delicious food and drink.  Bainbridge Bakers is currently undergoing construction on their second location right by the ferry terminal in the Island Gateway complex.

Other businesses, in addition to their Facebook pages, are using ecommerce to stay connected with customers.  Eleven Winery, The Traveler, and we here at Parfitt Way (Pegasus Coffee House and the Harbour Public House)…these are just a few businesses that have made it easy for customers to shop for their products online long after they have taken the ferry back to the mainland.

2013 was indeed a great year for local business as you can also read about 2013 and indicators for 2014 on the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance Website

For more information on the eCity awards, visit

One Call for All

December 23rd, 2013

OCFA site logo - 308 x 154 pixels



A Bainbridge Island Institution and tradition the One Call for All organization is continuing to channel the generous donations, over $1,000,000.00 in the last year, to support the numerous causes and groups that do so much to enhance the life and experience of the Island. Just some examples, Montessori Country School is in its 40th year of getting children started on the path to a lifetime of learning and working together in a sharing and caring environment. Entering its third generation of leadership the school is an innovative source of childhood learning experiences. Another beneficiary is IslandWood. This outdoor based learning center for all ages is located on 225 acres which brings participants into the natural world that is seemingly ever more distant and isolated from the sounds of the birds, woods and waters that surround us. Originally started in cooperation with the Seattle public School IslandWood has evolved into a grand resource for Bainbridge as well as the surrounding communities. Since 2001 the Bainbridge Island Youth Symphony has been bringing Island youth into the world of music. With the December 15th concert in Seattle the orchestra celebrates what promises to be the best year ever. With many other good causes and organizations to support these few are just the tip of the iceberg. Please give generously. One hundred percent of your gift goes directly to the recipient of your choosing. For additional information visit



Trivia Time Live Logo

Monday nights are Trivia nights at Bainbridge Island Brewing!  Begun in January of this year and hosted every Monday from 7-9 p.m. (unless there’s a Seahawks game), these trivia nights draw crowds from both on and off the island.

And it gets rowdy.

Chuck Everett, one of the owners of Bainbridge Island Brewing, commented on the energy of the weekly event, saying he looks forward to it every week.

“It’s very lively,” he said.  “Typically there are anywhere between 8 and 15 teams going on.”

Chuck said that there are plenty of regulars, but also competitors that come from off the island.  Prizes and bragging rights are highly sought after.  First prize is awarded five pints of beer, second prize gets three pints, and third place winners receive one pint.

One of the brewery’s Trivia regulars is Bainbridge’s own Houston Wade.  Houston is a trivia-hopper, and has been to countless trivia competitions both on and off the island.  He has been attending Bainbridge Island Brewing’s Trivia night since June.  His answer when I asked about his favorite part of Trivia?

“Crushing everybody,” he replied.  He noted that his team usually holds their own against competitors.

Team sizes can vary.  One person can make a team, or a large group can as well.  Houston noted that he has seen up to 15 people on one trivia team.

Monday night Trivia is hosted by local islander Steve Nagel, of  Trivia Time Live .  Bainbridge Island Brewing provides snacks, and players are welcome to order out pizza and bring it with them.

Beat the Monday blues and head over to Bainbridge Island Brewing to play some trivia!  Just make sure you get there early.  It does fill up.