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Our Community: Bainbridge Island

Bainbridge Island is an island city in Puget Sound, located in Kitsap County.  The island's twenty-eight square miles have a population of 23,000, making it the second largest city in the county.  For thousands of years the island belonged to the Suquamish people,  then in 1792 the island's first European visitor, Captain George Vancouver arrived.

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Another sea captain, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Charles Wilkes gave the island its name while on a surveying tour of the Northwest in 1841.  Settlers took advantage of the island's forest resources in the nineteenth century for a large sawmill at Port Blakely and a busy ship-building industry.  Immigrants came from Japan and Philippines to farm.  Today, residents appreciate the rich history of their island home, with its many cultural and community events and recreational opportunities.

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"The Green Isle"

Bainbridge Island has earned its reputation as "The Green Isle" by working to maintain green space and carefully control development.  A wide variety of parks and open spaces are available to island residents and visitors.

Fay Bainbridge State Park - a seventeen-acre marine camping park, with sandy beaches and views of Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains.

Fort Ward State Park - a 137-acre marine park with a long, rocky beach on Rich Passage, and a boat ramp; there's even an underwater park for scuba divers.

Public Parks and Open Space - The Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park and Recreation District cares for twenty-five parks covering 1,400 acres, with twenty-three miles of trails, an aquatics center and a ball field.  There are some extraordinary locations for those seeking a wild or secluded destination: rocky beaches, quiet coves, trails through forests and wetlands, and even public agricultural lands with tree farms and vineyards.


What We Like Best About Bainbridge

On-Island Shopping, dining & entertainment - Bainbridge has a number of shopping areas scattered across the island.  Quaint Winslow has its mix of restaurants, , book and travel stores, art galleries, and boutiques; Lynwood Center has an old-time movie theatre; High School Road has a development with a mix of modern stores.  Bainbridge Performing Arts is a thriving community theatre where islanders can come for plays, musicals, improv nights, and educational programs for children through adults.

Vibrant, active community - Every month of the year has events sponsored by island business, arts, and civic groups - some to benefit worthy causes and others just for fun!  Art lovers can participate in First Friday Art Walks at local galleries or see the work of local artists at Studio Tours in July and December.  Warmer months bring Concerts in the Park, a Bluegrass Festival and the weekly Farmers' Market. Bainbridge in Bloom offers public tours of spectacular private gardens on the island.  The Chilly Hilly, a 33-mile bicycle race around the perimeter of the island, gives the thousands who participate views of Puget Sound, the Cascades, and the Olympics as a reward for pumping up and down the island's hills at this annual February event.  July's Grand Old Fourth is a high point of summer, with a parade and street fair in Winslow.

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"Island Treasures"

Bloedel Reserve - a 150-acre wildlife sanctuary sitting on a former estate that features forests of Northwest evergreens and managed landscapes with Japanese, reflection, and moss gardens

Islandwood - This 255-acre outdoor learning center located on the south end of the island.  Since its founding in 1998, Islandwood has provided environmental education and community stewardship opportunities to many in the Western Washington area, from school children through graduate students.

Ritchie Observatory - The observatory is housed in the former Helix House at Battle Point Park.  Operated by volunteers from the Battle Point Astronomical Association, it houses the largest public-access telescope in the Northwest.

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Easy Access to What's Best in the Pacific Northwest

Bainbridge Island is a self-contained community, but a ferry and a bridge connect it to the rest of the state.

To the East -  The island serves as a suburb to Seattle, allowing many island residents to use the 35-minute ferry ride from the Winslow dock to commute to jobs in Washington State's largest city.  Other ferry riders take advantage of the many cultural, educational, and recreational opportunities that Seattle has to offer, or the skiing, hiking, and other recreational possibilities in the Cascade Mountains and Eastern Washington.

To the West - A drive northwest on Highway 305 leads to the Agate Pass Bridge, connecting the island to the Kitsap Peninsula.  Travelers can continue on to Poulsbo, then north to the Hood Canal Bridge and  the Olympic Peninsula, with its national park, forests, and spectacular beaches.

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