We’ve recently returned from a long weekend trip to Seattle. Actually, the trip was to Seattle, then to Spokane, a stopover on the way back at Lake Chelan, and then a few more days in Seattle.
One of the tricks we normally use to get some extra time when traveling for a short trip is to take the redeye home. This doesn’t always seem like the best idea when I wake up as the plane touches down in Atlanta, but redeye flights are normally less crowded, you have a better chance to upgrade, and if you’re crossing the country, a decent time to sleep. Now, none of that seemed to work out for us this trip, but that’s just a little detail. The important thing is that we had all day to explore Seattle instead of spending the day in airports.
So, to maximize our time, we grabbed the 3:45pm ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. The ferry is only $8 per person, round trip. Queuing up for the ferry is similar to boarding an Amtrak; you’re held behind a gate until just a few minutes before the ferry leaves, so there’s a mad scramble when the gates open. Here’s a tip: Head up to top deck, facing Bainbridge to get the best view. If you’re lucky enough to have a beautiful night, as we did, you can head over to the port (left) side and watch for Mt. Rainier on your way out to the island.
When you arrive on Bainbridge, you’ll disembark and head up to the ferry terminal. Take a left out of the front door and walk around the edge of the parking lot where cars line up to get on the ferry. You’ll pass a few small businesses on your right and there’s a little incline, but keep going. You’ll come to a large intersection where you’ll see the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art in front of you. Take a left here onto Winslow Way. If you have time you can stop in to see interesting exhibits of local artists and themes from the area, including from the broader region of the Puget Sound.
Continue down Winslow Way towards town and take time to visit some of the small and interesting stores along the way. There’s a great store, The Traveler, that has great luggage, maps, clothing, and more. Keep going down Winslow Way and you’ll come to Hitchcock’s. Now, we were there in May and had a wonderful time, great service, amazing food, and a great day to sit outside. Recently, I’ve noticed a number of bad reviews on different sites, so I can’t tell you what’s going on there, but I will assure you that we had an amazing evening.
We started out with some of the Cocktail Hour oysters, only $1 each. I think we knocked out about 24 of those, then about half dozen or so of the other kinds, just to round out the oyster tasting. Pay special attention to the finishes on the oysters, one with tomato was a little strong. Though I normally defer to the chef, I really like simple oysters, so I’d stick to the mignonette sauce, or something else that allows the oyster to speak for itself. We then enjoyed a great terrine, followed by simple green salads with a rich and fatty blue cheese dressing. I chose a simple pork dish with local veggies and Heather enjoyed a perfectly cooked halibut entree. A nice sticky toffee pudding finished the night and we headed back to the ferry terminal to catch our ride back.
I’ll admit, it was a little bit of a struggle to get to the island, enjoy ourselves, have a nice relaxed dinner, get back across the water and make it to the airport in time. But, honestly, totally worth it.