Nature the way man intended it: the Bloedel Reserve at Bainbridge Island is the most scenic way to enjoy a green landscape at your own pace.
The Bloedel Reserve is tucked a half hour’s ferry ride away from the west side of Downtown Seattle, and about a fifteen minute drive from the ferry landing. However as soon as you get off the road and start your walk the reserve becomes a true garden of curiosities.
One hundred and fifty acres await in the middle of Puget Sound to be explored. Over half the reserve is second-growth forest (true to habitat) but the rest is man-made and “sculpted” with planting borders, natural paths, and a very well-maintained landscape. The natural wildlife thrives in this man-made habitat (bald eagles nest at the bluffs and the reserve has a bird sanctuary), in stark contrast to four giant man-made structures scattered through the space: a welcome house styled as a French country inn, a storage facility posing as barns, a French chateau where a family once lived, and a Japanese guest house complete with its own zen rock garden.
The reserve was originally a family-owned estate but was given to the Arbor Fund. The Bloedel family essentially took the land and made it their own, replete with moss gardens, open wheat fields, and a reflection pool similar to the one in the gardens of Versailles.
Reservations are required to enter the reserve, and there is an admission fee of twelve dollars. But bring your cameras and lots of film to capture all the moments you’ll find yourself surprised at the workings of nature.