Bremerton’s Art Deco Buildings

Who knew downtown Bremerton was filled with so many architectural gems back in the day? Many of them became victims of new construction or remain standing but not in the full glory of their past lives. But six of them – all Art Deco buildings designed by Seattle architects are still standing as vital contributors to the downtown cultural scene. Check out my article here and then get yourself to the epicenter of Bremerton and check them out for yourselves.

Port Gamble’s Tea Room

I’m a sucker for a pot of Earl Grey tea paired with fresh scones, Devon cream and jam. It must be the Randall in me though I happen to know my English forebearers came from sturdy tenant/serf stock and likely never set foot in the manor for high tea.

Poulsbo had a tea shop which disappeared several months ago and recently resurfaced in Port Gamble as Mrs. Muir’s House: Tea and Treasures. Located in one of Port Gamble’s adorable historic Victorian houses, the setting seems a more fitting location for a spot of tea. Christine Wingren, Tea Artist and Curator, owned the Poulsbo tea shop and moved to Port Gamble for its ambiance.

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The front half of the tea shop is where you find the treasures. Teas. Teapots. Teacups. Tea towels. Jams. And every possible tea time accessory imaginable.

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There’s a Harry Potter room filled with retail treasures to inspire the retail in fans of the J.K. Rowlings wizarding world series.

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The back of the shop is the tearoom. Each table is a curated version of English propriety. Lace tablecloths, china teacups, chintz. There’s a small room that accommodates single parties or you can be served in the sunny main room.

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The menu includes sandwiches and crepes as well as fresh lemonade and ginger beer, but I was there for the Devon cream and scones. It did not disappoint. There are two types of tea services – Cream Tea which consists of scones, Devonshire cream, jam and marmalade and fresh fruit as well as a pot of tea, all for $7.95 or Full Tea which includes all of that plus a sandwich and side for $15.95.

Mrs. Muirs House: Tea & Treasures is open Thursday through Tuesday from 10AM to 5PM.

Watching Artists at Work

Watching paint dry isn’t how to spend a weekend. Watching artists at work, on the other hand, is. They do the waiting while you admire their technique, the subject matter and the fact that Kitsap County has so many talented painters who work en plein air (French for outside). On May 12th you have an opportunity to see them at work at Poulsbo’s waterfront park as they vie for cash prizes in a timed event called Paint Out Poulsbo. In mid-August you can see them at work in Winslow on Bainbridge Island. Check out the details in my latest article published in West Sound Home and Garden.

Belfair’s Theler Wetlands Trail: A Place of Contemplation

I walked the three mile round trip loop of Belfair’s Theler Wetland Trails today expecting to write about the well maintained trail system, the habitat and the birds. Instead I’m writing about the art and memorial benches. Yes, the trails and bird watching are worthy subjects, but I was alternately distracted, inspired and made contemplative by the man made objects in the ecosystem.

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It began at the entrance with a charming memorial called Zachary’s Playground. I don’t know who Zachary was, but the idea of a loving memorial for living children made me pause and wonder about Zachary and his family.

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A bit further down the path was a bright green metal memorial bench dedicated to Harriet Root. I have no idea who Harriet was, but the pot of pink flowers next to the bench told me somebody cared very much about her.

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The actual entrance to the trail is marked by an elaborate metal gate of native trees and shrubs – a beautiful ode to the art of metalwork.

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Continuing down the path are carved wooden sculptures that greet the entrance to the Mary Theler Exhibit Building.

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Mounted next to the building is a 27 foot whale skeleton, one of the most complete in Washington. A two year old grey whale washed ashore near Belfair State Park in 1999 and was buried to decompose. Two years later it was cleaned, dried and reconstructed before being placed on display after a dedication ceremony led by the local Skokomish Nation.

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Behind the Mary Theler Exhibit Center is a salmon mural of intricate Northwest wildlife scenes.

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…..and a Bob Dylan tribute

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…….and a sculpture of a great blue heron made of metal rectangles engraved with names.

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The next memorial bench was dedicated to Shelley Horton who would have recently  celebrated her 50th birthday. I don’t know who Shelly was but my guess is that she loved a party and I’m pretty sure I would have liked knowing her.

20170502_134503 Then came an aggregate concrete memorial bench to Florence Crosswhite who must have loved great blue herons. I would have liked her as well.

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This simple memorial bench to Kathleen Landrum sat on a small promontory overlooking the estuary. It didn’t need any adornment. Its placement begged for some sitting and thinking.

My wetlands trail walk turned out to be much more than an opportunity to get some exercise on a rare no rain day. Whoever planned for the art and memorial benches turned my walk into a more soul-feeding activity. There were people who cared about the wetlands and wanted to have a trace of themselves memorialized there. There were artists who integrated the wetlands habitat into metal work, sculpture and painting. And Bob Dylan had something to say about the ecosystem as well. It felt like I had company on my walk. It will take community to save places like Theler Wetlands and maybe that was the message I was supposed to hear.

 

 

 

The Suquamish Museum

Posted on a vibrant yellow sticky note (the extra large kind) behind my computer is a list of topics I keep intending to blog about but don’t because I’m so easily distracted by other topics. The Suquamish Museum, that beautiful and educational gem showcasing Suquamish Tribal history and artifacts as well as temporary exhibitions about other Salish Sea tribes, is a 15 minute drive from my house. At 34 years old, it’s one of the first tribally owned and curated museums in the country. I often take guests there. I intended to blog about it. But writer Kristin Butler beat me to it in an informative article published in Indian Country Today. I share it here.

The Labyrinths of Kitsap County

There are nine public and semi-public labyrinths in Kitsap County. Nine contemplative circular walking paths, all evolving from a labyrinth history that began in 5th century Egypt. I posted a blog about it last year and then revised it for use by West Sound Home and Garden’s online magazine who published it here.

Winslow’s Waterfront Loop Trails

I’m a walker. But you already know that from this, this and this post. In my ongoing search for interesting Kitsap walking paths, I discovered Winslow’s Waterfront Loop Trails, a series of interconnected walking routes that hug the shores of Eagle Harbor and then loop back through downtown commercial and residential Winslow past interesting sites. A handy walking map can be found at the ends of the trail or downloaded here.

Armed with the detailed map, I discovered I’d previously walked portions of the trail, but walked it without really knowing the history and sites along the way. With the map I discovered I’d unwittingly passed by:

  1. The only known grove of Monterey Pines in King or Kitsap counties.
  2. A shipyard that built WWII minesweepers
  3. The site of an old strawberry cannery
  4. The filled in ravine that formerly divided Winslow into two communities
  5. Historic bungalows lived in by shipyard workers

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And 6. My favorite Bainbridge pub located in Ambrose Grow’s 1880’s home

There are two loops to the Waterfront Trail, each about two miles long. This is a historical and nature walk that’s best done with plenty of time to observe the sites. For a deep dive into the history, the walk conveniently passes the Island Center School House which now serves as the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum. The museum is filled with artifacts of the island’s past and very helpful staff who want to insure all your questions are answered.