Belfair’s Etched Glass Artist:

Around Belfair it’s still called Hippie Hill Community. It was some old friends and the price of the land that drew glass artist, Randy Calm and his wife, Cathy from Chicago to Hippie Hill nearly 47 years ago. Then, there were thirteen homesteading families, no electricity and the couple lived in a teepee while hand building their house with some help from their neighbors.  “I don’t think anybody knew what they were doing then”, laughed Calm, “but the house is still standing.” To make a living the couple worked at the now defunct Werberger Winery near Grapeview where they ran the tasting room, worked in the vineyard and learned about winemaking.

They’ve come a long way since those days. Not only is their house still standing but their property is also the home of Phoenix Design South, Calm’s hand built studio where he turns out custom designed residential and commercial etched glass. Read more about glass artist Randy Calm in my WestSound Home and Garden article here.

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?

Astronomy: Kitsap County Has Plenty of Star Gazing Opportunities

The hype is on for the upcoming August 21st Great American Solar Eclipse. It seems everyone is heading to Oregon to catch the sun’s mid- morning, nearly three-minute total blackout. Oregon wineries are sponsoring eclipse parties, Salem’s minor league baseball team is hosting an A.M. game with an eclipse break and hotels/campgrounds/vacation rentals have been sold out for months at exorbitant prices. If your interest in the celestial skies is greater than an expensive trip south to stand in the dark for a few minutes, there are plenty of opportunities in our own community to learn about astronomy. Read about them here in my latest article in WestSound Home and Garden magazine.

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.

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.