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I think I’ve spent more time on vacation this summer than any summer since I was still living at home. And it’s been glorious. The most recent excursion was to Bainbridge Island (please note, if you are so lucky to be my facebook friend, you’ve seen most of these pictures and I’m sorry).

Bainbridge is a 20 minute ferry ride from Seattle (check the schedule here) but it’s like being in a whole other state. Densely wooded and lush, you can find all sorts of little vacation pads to borrow for a few days to unwind (this was the house my dear friend Stephanie rented and then let us bum in for a few days). Lot’s more of all price ranges to be found on VRBO.

The island boasts wineries, a small main street with lots of hip shopping, numerous farmers markets, water, water everywhere. Plus, it feels different from a usual vacation destination because people live here and work here all year, year after year.

I recommend you eat at Blackbird Bakery (twice a day at least), I’ve been told Eleven Winery in downtown Winslow is a great place to check out the local wine scene (there are lots of wineries here though, for such a small space), if you go in the summer, stop somewhere like Suyematsu Farm and pick yourself some raspberries (you’ll be surprised how easy it is compared to what they charge you in the stores) and check out the local eateries like Hitchcock, which is a swank restaurant that runs a deli next door for those of us burdened with children we can’t take anywhere nicer than Mickey D’s. Oh, and Bloedel Reserve is rumored to have a winery (which I never ever saw on the never-ending ‘nature walk’ you can go on, but I can recommend the walk because the grounds are stunning). They even have a kiddie museum, which is small but seemingly brand new (read=clean) and pretty fun (read=not to expensive for the small amount of time you’ll spend). Plus they have lots of parks and play areas and beaches for the kids to hang around at.

ps. because no one really wants a Seattle t-shirt, go to Bon Bon’s and buy them Seattle Confections chocolate bars.

Even if you are in Seattle for just a few days, I really suggest you head across to Bainbridge just for a change of pace.

For not very much, you can leave the skyline behind and arrive at the quiet and slower paced Bainbridge and sail back in time for some uber hip, downtown Seattle seafood dinner. AND THEY SELL BEER ON THE FERRY. So, that’s pretty much awesome.

You too can wake up to this every morning, just rent yourself a house on Bainbridge. And may I suggest you leave your kids at home, so that you can sit and drink the entire cup without interruption?

Blackbird Bakery. On Winslow Way. Go in. Ask for all of Helen’s French Rolls. Devour, die of too much butter intake, go to heaven.

Bloedel Reserve. A walk through a piece of history, really, the people who owned this giant property over the years really cultivated the plants and the forest and a sense of serene. And I’m serious, it was serene despite four angry children trudging along with us.

We had to tell the kids to stop picking, for fear we’d get too many berries and not be able to eat them. Ha. Three pints were devoured in 5 minutes, and my kids usually won’t touch raspberries.

I love fudge and it’s really good here. Not grainy and I think they probably make it in small batches, so they can really concentrate on the flavors. Also tons and TONS of other candies. Go ahead and buy some as souvenirs and see if they last until you get home.

Lunch at Hitchcock. Looks like a regular old turkey sandwich until you taste the bread. The bread was out of this world. And they sell a lot of their own meats. Great place for lunch. Additionally, they stock flavored Pelligrino which I’ve been told is quite fancy.