Summer’s Dog Days & Rolling Bay Winery

The dog days of summer are unusually doggy here in ExplorationKitsap land. We normally enjoy temperate daylight weather to do our thing, but with successive days of 90 degree plus temperatures and hazy skies from the fires in Canada, I’m reversing my active time of day. This morning I went for a power walk, shopped for groceries, watered and dead-headed my outdoor plants and baked up some barbecued chicken, all before 8 AM to take advantage of cooler weather. Last night I sipped a glass of my favorite local wine in the dark on my deck for the same reason.

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Fusion is a white blend made by Rolling Bay Winery, a Bainbridge Island establishment with a river rock tasting room resembling a Hobbit house. Fusion is my favorite wine to drink while listening to live outdoor music on the tasting room patio; my favorite wine to drink in the dark on my deck and my favorite wine in which to drop frozen peach slices. Shhh. Don’t tell Alphonse de Klerk, Fusion’s affable Dutch maker that I do that. Though really….it’s the perfect dog days of summer libation.  It might also be best not to mention that I drink my peach infused Fusion in a copper Moscow Mule mug because if it’s good enough for vodka and ginger beer, it’s perfect for a lovely white table wine.

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Rolling Bay Winery has a schedule of tastings accompanied by live music throughout the summer at its Hobbit house location and exciting plans to open a second larger tasting room and production facility a few miles away.  Check them out. No Moscow Mule Mugs. No frozen peaches. Just a great selection of award-winning whites, reds and a rose served properly in a wine glass, sipped on a sunny patio/lawn to live music. What better way to while away summer’s dog days?

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.

Kitsap Sites On the National Register of Historic Places

I may not have mentioned this previously. I’m a freelance travel writer. I love the research that goes into an article. And I can ever so easily go down the internet rabbit hole which was exactly how I ended up on the National Register of Historic Places website.

It began with an article idea about architectural styles that I pitched to a regional magazine and they liked it. Then I began to research and found myself in the murky depths of online digital archives with links about strange architectural style names: Carpenter Gothic, Brutalism and Slick Skin anyone? Anyone?

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Masonic Hall Port Orchard

However, in the pursuit of the history of one particular building, I found myself on the National Register of Historic Places and wondered how many sites in Kitsap County had been awarded that designation. Surprisingly it turns out there are 19 and they’re as varied as the county itself. There were 20 but one of the sites, the Sidney Hotel in Port Orchard, built in 1891, burnt down in 1985. Apparently they take away your active designation when you cease to exist.

The National Register is maintained by the National Park Service. The list includes districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that have been identified and documented as being significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering or culture. There’s a fairly lengthy state and federal process involved in being named to the list so kudos to our 19 recipients.  In alphabetical order, here are Kitsap County’s sites deemed worthy of the title:

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Agate Pass Bridge Suquamish

The Agate Pass Bridge in Suquamish

Bremerton Elks Temple Lodge (currently called the Catholic Services Max Hale Center)

Camp Major Hopkins on Bainbridge Island (currently called Camp Yeomalt)

Coder-Coleman House in Bremerton

Filipino-American Community Hall on Bainbridge Island

Fort Ward Historic District on Bainbridge Island

The Hospital Reservation District in Bremerton 

Jackson Hall Memorial Community Hall in Silverdale (also known as Silverdale Scout Hall)

The Marine Reservation District in Bremerton

Masonic Hall in Port Orchard

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton

Charles F Nelson House in Olalla

Officers Row Historic District in Bremerton

Old Man House Site in Suquamish

Point No Point Lighthouse in Hansville

Port Gamble Historic District in Port Gamble

Puget Sound Radio Station District in Bremerton

Shelbanks in Bremerton (also known as Kean Cabin)

U.S. Post Office in Bremerton

You may be wondering why the three Reservation Districts in Bremerton are in bold? It’s because I’m as intrigued as you are about their history and anticipate a future blog post about them. What exactly is a Radio Station District? Why is there a Hospital Reservation District? Will the internet rabbit hole reveal the answers?

Bainbridge: The Holiday Village of Bloedel Reserve

At any time of year, Bloedel Reserve’s acres of twelve distinct gardens and trails provide seasonal inspiration. Formerly the extensive property of a prominent Seattle timber family, the land and residence are now a reserve tended to by a year-round crew of landscapers and volunteers. In December, the 1920’s era grand home on the property transforms itself into a Holiday Village in miniature.

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The public rooms on the main floor of the residence are filled with displays of handcrafted miniature houses, some of them fanciful such as this multi story tree house.

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Others are scale models of European chateaus and castles set in tiny winter scenes.

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And other houses depict the modest living conditions of the early immigrant settlers who came from Europe seeking a better life.

Each house is furnished inside with exacting detail, much of it handmade and replicated from historical photos.

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Even the newspaper used to insulate this log cabin home from the Midwest winters is an authentic miniature addition.

The homes and their interiors were a labor of love for 85 year old Dwight Shappell and his wife, Rolande. The owners of the former Dwight’s Flowers on Bainbridge Island created these holiday works of art. While he cut the tiny shingles, balconies and wooden parts to create the exteriors and furniture, she stitched the curtains, bedspreads and upholstery. Rolande passed away in 1991, but Dwight still presides over the setup of the holiday village each December and serves as its docent.

The Holiday Village is on display from December 10-31 during Bloedel’s regular hours on Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-4pm.

Paint Out Winslow & Poulsbo

French painter Claude Monet was an accomplished early proponent. So was his French compatriot August Renoir. Because it was French painters who took the act of formal painting out of stuffy French drawing rooms and studios and into the great outdoors, the art of painting in the open air is called plein air – French for outside.

Painting in the open air became more popular in the mid 1800’s with the invention of transportable paints in tubes and small folding easels. Up until then painters made their own paints using ground color mixtures and linseed oil.

Plein air is enjoying another revival with a hip new moniker – Paint Out and the support of Kitsap north end arts organizations. Bainbridge Island and Poulsbo sponsor Paint Out events to encourage anyone, from professional artist to hopeful beginner to go outside and paint subjects in their community.

At Paint Out events artists must begin and end at a designated time using any paint medium they choose to create a work of art about a subject in their community. And they have to paint rain or shine.

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The annual Paint Out Winslow, sponsored by Bainbridge Arts and Crafts is happening this coming weekend, August 13th and 14th in downtown Winslow. Artists will have only 27.5 hours to complete a work of art, beginning at 10 AM on Saturday. The painting must be finished by 1:30 PM on Sunday and delivered to Bainbridge Arts and Crafts for judging with an awards ceremony following at 3:30 PM.

On Saturday and Sunday morning, the public is encouraged to wander, watch the artists at work and, if interested, buy directly from them. Last year’s Paint Out event included paintings done at the marina, Winslow Green, Waterfront Park and along Winslow Way. This year artists are encouraged to consider the coffee shops and restaurants along Parfitt Way, the ferry terminal and museums as subjects.

Interested artists can still sign up and pay the $40 registration fee at the Bainbridge Arts and Crafts website or by calling 206-842-3132.

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Poulsbo’s successful inaugural event, Paint Out Poulsbo was held in May. Sponsored by the Peninsula Music and Arts Society, Artists Edge art store in Poulsbo and Northwest College of Art and Design, the event was a combination of timed painting celebrated with music during the all-day May 6th judging at Northwest College of Art and Design.

Poulsbo’s organizers gave artists 96 hours to complete their painting and, because it was co-sponsored by a local art school, the judging included a student category ranging from age 5 to college age.

As guests wandered the exhibit music and dance was provided by the Farragut Brass Band and A’eko Hawaiian musical group. Dates have yet to be set for the 2017 Paint Out Poulsbo but organizers were enthused about the turnout for the first Paint Out and are promising an annual event.

Whether you consider yourself an artist or an appreciator of the arts, watching painters at work is a treat. Catch them in Winslow this weekend. They generally like to chat about their work, but remember, they’re on the clock to get their painting finished.

 

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.

Meigs Park, Bainbridge: Home of the State’s Largest Ledum Bog

While commuting Highway 305 on Bainbridge Island most drivers are probably unaware that some of the highway parallels a trail located in a park  with the biggest ledum bog in the state. Or that some of the land in the park was once a dairy farm owned by the founder of Port Madison on Bainbridge. Or that the park gate features a rat sculpture.

Meigs Park consists of 120 acres of preserved land, some acquired by the Bainbridge Parks Department and Bainbridge Island Land Trust in 1992 and some under a joint agreement with the Parks Department and City of Bainbridge. Most of the park isn’t accessible because of the fragile nature of the ledum bog but there is a maintained public trail that runs parallel to Highway 305 and a parking area at the corner of Koura Rd. and the highway.

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Ledum is a plant whose leaves are used to make Bog Tea. Also known as Indian Tea and the Indian Tea Plant, ledum was used first by local Native American tribes as both tea and for medicine to cure inflammation. The last owner of the property considered building a spa featuring the bog’s water.

Before the land was owned by the parks department and city it was a dairy farm owned by the descendants of George Anson Meigs who built the Port Madison sawmill and founded the community that now exists there. In addition to his Port Madison waterfront holdings, Meigs, began the dairy farm which operated until 1950.

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The trail has remnants of  its use as a farm. Just off the trail is the ruined shell of an old trailer.

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The gate that used to divide the park from the Meigs property is still there along with its decorative and inexplicable rat eating a piece of cheese.