Wine On The Rock: Bainbridge Island

Sunset magazine calls Bainbridge Island “the Northwest’s newest wine destination.” It’s no wonder the island’s seven wineries drew a sold out crowd for their annual summer weekend bash, Wine on the Rock. Check out my article in the Kitsap Scene here and photos of the day below.  I only made it to five of the seven wineries on the day I went, but will be visiting the other two in a few weeks.

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Bainbridge Vineyards where we started the tour, picked up our wine glasses and passport to the seven wineries and listened to some folk music. All of the wine produced by this winery comes from grapes grown in their historic Bainbridge Island vineyard.

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Perennial Vintners, a small one man & friends operation and the next door neighbor to Bainbridge Vineyards. If you’re a fan of French white wines as I am, this artisan vintner produces some great local variations. Some of the grapes come from Bainbridge Vineyards and the art for the labels of their wines sourced from local grapes is the work of a Port Orchard artist.

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Eleven Winery is the brainchild of a former professional bicycle rider whose wine fans toured Wine on the Rock by bike. The Poulsbo tasting room for Eleven closed a few years ago to consolidate the wine-making and tasting operation in a Bainbridge Island industrial park off of Day Road. Wine tasting was accompanied by a terrific country western duo.

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Rolling Bay Winery is in a neighborhood and if it feels much like you’re dropping by a friend’s home to visit and have a glass of wine, it’s because you are. The tasting room and patio are located in the winemaker’s yard and if you didn’t know him before you arrived, you will by the time you leave. His grapes come from one of Washington’s oldest vineyard’s on the east side of the state.

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Also located in an industrial park (and next to a brewpub) Fletcher Bay Winery has regular wine and music events on Saturdays opening up their doors to a patio that adjoins the brewery patio letting connoisseurs of both wine and beer sip to music.

A Beautiful Day for the Tribal Canoe Journey

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It was a beautiful day for a canoe journey. Standing on the long pier at Suquamish, you could see them as they rounded the point at Jefferson Beach, paddles glistening as they pulled in a rhythmic motion -tiny canoes against the skyline of Seattle and Mt Rainier. Throughout the day on Monday seventy tribal canoes landed on the shores of Suquamish for a two day layover as they make their way to Olympia, the final stop of this year’s Tribal Canoe Journey.

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We’re lucky in Kitsap County – we have two tribal nations who both annually play host to the canoes. It’s about 26 nautical miles between the landing at Suquamish and the previous day’s resting stop hosted by the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe. In prior years the tired pullers would land on the Suquamish shore and, with a handful of volunteers, hoist their heavy, wooden dugout canoes on their shoulders to walk up the ramp to the lawn in front of the House of Awakened Culture. This year, a group of Navy men and women stationed in Kitsap County volunteered to carry the canoes.

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It was an inspiring sight to watch each canoe stop before landing to ask and be granted permission to come ashore (often in their tribal language) from Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman. Yellow-shirted Navy volunteers then waded into the water, lifted each canoe and carried it uphill passing by the flagpole with the waving flags of the United States and the Suquamish Tribe to the applause of watching spectators. The symbolism of that cooperative effort was heartwarming – the original first peoples of Kitsap County sharing their culture and tradition, getting assistance from young Navy men and women, most just passing through on a tour of duty, to the applause of a crowd of Native and non-Native spectators, all under the flags of two sovereign nations.

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Over the next two days there were evening salmon and clambake meals served by Suquamish tribal members and community volunteers followed by tribal singing, drumming and dancing by the visiting tribes – a tradition that allows the visiting tribes to thank the host tribe for it’s hospitality.

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I went back on the second day to sketch the canoes, every one a work of art sitting on the grounds around the House of Awakened Culture. Each is a dug-out canoe made of trees that are found on each tribe’s land. The style varies by tribe though all have to be seaworthy enough to withstand the open water canoeing of the Salish Sea and Puget Sound. Some are painted, some bear tribal flags and wreathes of cedar branches. Some canoes have made the journey more than once and others are first-timers. The new Makah canoe was carved by students at Neah Bay High School.

It amazes me, the number of local residents I know who’ve never attended the Canoe Journey ceremonies hosted by the Suquamish or Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribes because they think they’re not open to the public. They are. You can watch and photograph the canoe arrival and departures, attend the evening dancing and drumming ceremonies and even volunteer to serve food and clean up. The tribes ask that you’re respectful and that you don’t bring or consume alcohol or drugs as the Canoe Journey is a tradition that promotes health and healing for the pullers and the tribes.

 

The Children’s Forest in Silverdale

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Tucked into one end of Newberry Hill Heritage Park in Silverdale is a tiny new addition called The Children’s Forest. Newberry Hill Park is a multi-use park of 1200 acres and nearly 15 miles of trails allowing horses, mountain bikes and walkers. It’s well maintained trail website provides a brief description of best and permitted uses of each trail and the volunteers who maintain it had clearly been hard at work when I walked it over the weekend. But it was The Children’s Forest that captured much of my attention.

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The wide gravel paths are ideal for strollers and a new covered outdoor meeting area is a perfect group space for classes, youth groups, day cares or families to use.

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There appear to be plans for interpretive signs such as this first one providing facts about the Oregon Trail.

Similar to the rest of Kitsap County’s heritage parks that are not supported by public funds, Newberry Hill Heritage Park is maintained by a loyal group of volunteers that include Scouting troops, church and community groups, the next door Klahowya High School Environmental Club and an oversight group of Stewards who work tirelessly to build and maintain the trails including the Children’s Forest. Because this park is a multi-use facility, its oversight Stewards represent the hiking, mountain biking and equestrian interests in the county who work together to insure the park is safely used by everyone. They’re always in need of more volunteers.