PNW Bainbridge Spring 2024

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SPRING ISSUE 2024 yesterday, today, tomorrow Splish Splash Keeping the Faith Paint Night Legacy
© 2024 Sotheby’s International Realty. All Rights Reserved. Sotheby’s International Realty® is a registered trademark and used with permission. Each Sotheby’s International Realty office is independently owned and operated, except those operated by Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. This material is based upon information which we consider reliable but because it has been supplied by third parties, we cannot represent that it is accurate or complete and it should not be relied upon as such. All offerings are subject to errors, omissions, changes including price or withdrawal without notice. If your property is listed with a real estate broker, please disregard. It is not our intention to solicit the offerings of other real estate brokers. We are happy to work with them and cooperate fully. Equal Housing Opportunity. ON AT HOME BAINBRIDGE ON THE MARKET & RECENTLY SOLD Beckey Anderson Real Estate Broker 310.450.0750 12627 Kallgren Road NE, Bainbridge Island Buyer Representation | $2,000,000 10056 NE Knight Road, Bainbridge Island Sold for $1,200,000 | Co-listed with Arthur Mortell 9973 & 9975 Manitou Beach Drive NE, Bainbridge Island Offered at $925,000 | Co-listed with Arthur Mortell

editor’s letter

Without a doubt, in times of need, I have been appreciative of a shoulder to cry on.

Heaven knows that over the past several months I’ve had a couple of occasions—as have the people I care most about, and as have probably most of us—to let the tears flow without fear of judgment or embarrassment. I’ve had disappointments and frustrations and been witness to heartbreak, sickness, divorce—and even a little death thrown in for good measure. Having the space to bare my ache isn’t just good, it’s vital.

But for me, the other equally essential wing of that proverbial soothing bird is laughter…even in the face of great tragedy. There is a healing magic so deep that comes from speaking comedic truth to pain. The quip that turns weeping to giggling. The well-thrown barb that shifts sorrow to joy. The girlfriend who holds a mirror up to my ugly cry face.

Case in point: In November, just shy of my mom’s 90th birthday, she had to have a toe amputated. Sure, it was a little jarring to hear about, but after I got over the initial shock, the jokes just wrote themselves.

Now admittedly I have a funny bone. (My mom now has a couple fewer than before.) But I don’t easily offend, and I probably (OK, I know) say things that are absolutely inappropriate and vulgar, but I believe that at the core of humor’s magic is acceptance that the human condition is far too heavy to be faced solely with solemnity. Mel Brooks said, “Humor is just another defense against the universe.” And Garrison Keillor—one of my dad’s favorites—said, “Humor is not a trick, not jokes. Humor is a presence in the world—like grace —and shines on everybody.” I see it that way too. Grace.

My wish in this new year is that even as we acknowledge that the world is friggin’ haywire, and that life will undoubtedly keep throwing us stinkers, that we remember that laughter is grace. I hope to keep those I love in stitches and that those who love me back will grace me with their absurd hilarity too.

And I hope that within our pages, alongside any sadness, we’ll also find lots of reasons to laugh.


Shortly after writing this, I learned that a dear friend, islander Geri Hagan, passed away on January 1. Geri was hands down one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.She leaned into humor like a pro and the joy she spread was infectious. I’m heartened to know that somewhere there’s an angel watching over us while she’s watching Peaky Blinders. We’ll miss you very much. Rest in peace, sweet friend.


High Notes

Be An Advocate

“Your dad seems to have nine lives, girls!” one of my father’s nurses said with a laugh.

In January, my dear old dad, Harold, had a heart attack. As a result, there were a lot of firsts for me. First time riding in an ambulance. First time spending multiple nights on a hospital cot. First time seeing my dad teeter close to being gone…over and over.

But perhaps the most surprising first was realizing that, while I was medically advocating for my dad, there were others who needed advocates too…including me.

Through the ups—“He’s doing great! Get ready to leave the hospital!”—to the downs—“We don’t know what happened, he just


Allison Schuchman


Stephanie Reese


Connie Bye

George Soltes


Gisela Swift


Mark Swift


Christy Carley, Jeff Fraga, Isabelle Haines, Luciano Marano, Audrey Nelson, Kerrie Houston Reightley, Elle Schuchman, Sophia Soltes, Bajda Welty, Anne Willhoit


Anna Carson, David W. Cohen, Annie Graebner, Kevin Lynch, Joel Sackett, Dinah Satterwhite


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took a turn for the worse!”—my sister and I were there. When my father didn’t have the voice or strength to express how he felt, we spoke up. And we spoke up loudly. We knew when he needed water, knew exactly how to position his head so he wouldn’t be in pain and caught hospital mistakes that could have cost him his life.

My dad’s situation was hard. But he had us. What broke my heart was glancing through open doors as I walked the hallways of the hospital and seeing lone patients with no one sleeping at their bedside. No one to make them laugh, to call the nurse or read them well wishes. Even with my own mounting exhaustion, I was there for him.

One night, amidst the chaos at the hospital, my dear friend Alli called. I told her how we just had another emergency and how my dad was struggling and how we were upset with the hospital staff. All my worries and concerns poured out: When was the last time Harold bathed? When was the last time he had any nutrition? What was his temperature? Why those meds and not these? What about his kidneys? I couldn’t believe they did this or that they didn’t do that. I told her everything and went on and on.

But she didn’t react to the things I was venting about. Instead, she said, “Honey, where are you? I’m worried that I don’t hear you in this. I’m worried that you aren’t taking care of yourself. Where’s Matthew?”

I told her I had it covered. I was OK. I was fine. And I redirected to Dad, Dad, Dad.

She interrupted. “Listen, I need you to do something crazy. I need you to get some ice and put it in a sink and fill it with cold water. Then dip your face in it. Call Matthew and tell him to come. That’s what he’s there for.” Then it hit me: She wanted me to wake up. And then I told her that I just wanted to go run.

“OK, go run around the parking lot,” she said. “Promise me. Go do the ice and then go run.”

So, round and round the parking lot I went. Hot tears. The cold air became a voice: Wake up, Stephanie. When is the last time YOU showered? Had a meal? Took vitamins? When is the last time YOU changed your clothes?

I called my husband and asked him to come. I kissed my dad on the head and went home to shower. I looked in the mirror for the first time in days. I heard the message my advocate sent me: How could I be there for my dad or anyone if I wasn’t taking care of myself? It hit me like the cold air. Advocacy isn’t just about being the one speaking for the patient, it’s also about being the friend who helps the helper by reminding them that their oxygen mask needs to go on first.

I now think about the hospital hallways differently. I know now that there are tired family members, friends, nurses, doctors, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons…people who need a friend at the other end of the line to tell them to splash some ice water on their face and stretch their legs.

So, I wish for every advocate to have an advocate. A lifeline. An Alli. 5
6 PNW BAINBRIDGE SPRING 2024 If Walls Could Talk Couple gives an update and infusion of love to a landmark home 44 CONTENTS 44 spring 2024 FEATURES Flash in the Pond Koi add pizzazz to backyard gardens 30 Leading Ladies Five women of faith lead Bainbridge congregations 52

Gary Groves Retrospective

BIMA proudly presents a retrospective by master printmaker Gary Groves. The highly detailed woodcut prints in this exhibition blend this island artist’s technical skills with starkness, beauty, wonder, and calmness.

THANKS TO OUR EXHIBITION SPONSORS: WWW.BIARTMUSEUM.ORG Leslie & Michael Lebeau Chap & Eve Alvord Kathy Alvord Gerlich John & Ann Underwood
MARCH 1, 2024 – JUNE 2, 2024 Above: Grasses Afloat (Bloedel) (detail), woodcut, 26”h x 37.5”w, edition of 20; Right: Grapevine Series, woodcut; Courtesy of the Artist, photos by Art Grice FREE ADMISSION THANKS TO MEMBERS & DONORS Open Daily, 10 AM–5 PM Galleries open 5–8 PM for First Friday Art Walk 550 Winslow Way East Bainbridge Island Instagram: YouTube: @biartmuseum



Editor’s Letter 4

High Notes 5

Contributors 9

Epilogue 9

Calendar 62


Bountiful Baskets 11

Flower basket sponsors help beautify Winslow

Give ‘Em a Break 12

Moms Morning Retreat bolsters and refreshes


Treasure Island 16

Arts honors return after COVID pause

Female Perspective 18

Bainbridge-based filmmakers boost women in the industry

Shipshape 22

Experts offer guidance for boat buyers

Epic Story 26

Best-selling Bainbridge author’s latest book was decades in the making

Booklovers’ Dream 34

Readers scoop up bargains at Friends of the Library sales

Spring Awakening 36



Bajda Welty urges us to embrace spring’s exuberance Benchmarks for Good 38


Now and Then 14

Pocket park once was hub of island’s strawberry industry

Magic Moments 56


Simple Greens and Potato Soup 42

Tap into spring’s early bounty




government after 17 years in Olympia

Paint Night marks high school milestone

In Focus 64

Leopards and bears and roundabouts, oh my!



Agate Restaurant

Harbour Public House

Pegasus Coffee House


Discount Koi owner, Phil Herring explained that red/white koi are Kohaku koi, the bright yellow one is a Yamabuki Ogon koi, the chubby little girl with its tail in the frame (black spots by the tail) is a Showa koi, and the two copper colored koi to the left of the yellow one are Kujaku koi. These are all common varieties that do well in PNW ponds and run around $12 per fish.

spring 2024



It’s always way more fun to start with happy postscripts than apologies, so in the spirit of springtime and looking at the sunny side of life, we’ll do just that.

The wine pairing event that Adam Foley of Realogics Sotheby’s and sommelier Shayn Bjornholm hosted for Housing Resources Bainbridge (featured in Feeding and Pouring on page 16 of the Winter 2023 issue) turned out to be a big success. “It completely sold out!” reported Foley. “The demand was so high that, regrettably, we had to turn away many interested attendees and calls were pouring in with inquiries for tickets right up until the last few hours before the event.” Foley said that in addition to the evening being a “hands-down triumph,” HRB was able to share its message and secure additional donations from the energized crowd. Even better news is that the event may become an annual affair! Stay tuned.

Now, on to the groveling.

In the Winter 2023 issue’s article about the Bainbridge Island Youth Orchestra (Getting Into the String of Things, page 38), we incorrectly called Thomas Dambo’s sculpture Pia the Peacemaker when in fact she is Pia the Peacekeeper. Apologies to Dambo and Pia. And thanks to the keen-eyed reader who gently pointed out our error.

And lastly, in the Secrets feature from the Fall 2023 issue about St. Barnabas’ Evensong program (Sealed with a Song, page 11) we asked readers to imagine the “sweet, woodsy, heady scent of frankincense and myrrh.” Unfortunately, within your imaginations it will have to stay, because although it’s sung, “Let our prayers rise like incense,” there is in reality none burning, as some people are allergic to it. Even in the absence of rich aromas, the program is running and St. Barnabas encourages visitors to take part. All at 6 p.m., upcoming dates include March 17, April 28, May 19, and June 16.

Isabelle Haines

Isabelle Haines grew up on Bainbridge Island. After graduating from BHS in 2017, she spent a year living in France and then attended Tulane University in New Orleans, where she studied math and English. She graduated in May 2022 and has since happily returned to the Pacific Northwest. Currently, she lives in Seattle and works at an education nonprofit. In her free time, Isabelle loves to read, write, hike, swim, rollerblade and bake pies.

Elle Schuchman

Elle Schuchman is a junior at Bainbridge High School and serves as a student advisor on Bainbridge Youth Services advisory board. An avid tennis player, Elle plays for the BHS varsity team and competed in the state championships (along with her partner Malia Lemieux, also a PNW Bainbridge contributor!) in both her freshman and sophomore years. This is Elle’s second editorial contribution to the magazine in addition to managing its social media channels. In this issue, Elle wrote about BYS’s blue conversation bench initiative on page 38.

Kerrie Houston Reightley

Kerrie Houston Reightley, a 33-year resident of Bainbridge Island, is a freelance writer, with work in The New York Times’ Modern Love and Parenting sections, Huffington Post, and AFAR magazine. Her education includes a B.A. in journalism and political science. Spanning decades, she has represented Bainbridge Island on numerous United States Tennis Association teams, several of which won championship titles. 9

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For a new spin on April showers bringing May flowers, how about participating in the beautification of downtown Bainbridge Island by sponsoring the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association’s Adopt-A-Flower-Basket program?



“Every vibrant small town has hanging baskets that locals and visitors love,” said Kelle Kitchel-Cooper, executive director of BIDA. “But few think of how they’re maintained or where the money comes from to purchase them. Without sponsorship from our generous community, the revitalization of downtown Bainbridge wouldn’t happen.”

For $100, individuals or businesses can help with basket acquisition, care and maintenance.

Sponsors are honored for their contributions by a meeting with the Anna of Anna Carson Photography and Socially Anna, her social media management business. Professional portraits are taken, participants are asked what they love about Bainbridge Island’s downtown and if there is someone they’d like

to honor, remember or celebrate. Carson then creates a tribute that appears on the BIDA website and social media accounts.

BIDA is a network of merchants, 121-members strong, working together to preserve and promote downtown Bainbridge. The organization strives to create a vibrant look and feel, and create community, while supporting the economy through “shop local” efforts. Besides adding color through the hanging basket program each May and working with the city to keep downtown clean, BIDA is also responsible for events such as the July 3 Street Dance, the Art Walk, Hometown Halloween, Elves on the Shop Shelves and more. The association has two full-time staff and an eight-person volunteer board.

Kitchel-Cooper’s floral dreams? “To not just have seasonal flowers, from May through summer, but year-round flowerpots everywhere.”

For more information about BIDA, visit 11


For those who mistakenly believe that coveted mom retreats only exist in unattainable, faraway places, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn of one nearby at Bainbridge Island’s Grace Church on Day Road.

In 2010, Bev Gaines founded Mom’s Morning Retreat because of a desire “to give moms some peace and restoration, like taking an actual retreat,” said mother of three Heather Paar, who acts on the church’s steering committee and as a liaison. “On Bainbridge, they can get a small dose on a regular basis.”

The retreats, which are nonfaith-based, fall on the first and third Thursday of each month, September through June and run from 9:30 to 11 a.m.

And peaceful and restorative it is. For $149 for the season (with no-questions-asked financial aid available) moms of all ages are welcomed into a warm room with natural


morning light, a Turkish rug in front of a fireplace, candlelight and fresh flowers, innumerable self-help books, specialty coffees and teas, and enough pastries and fruit to fill a plate high. The fee also includes an hour and a half of childcare.

A ringing of a bell bowl marks the beginning of each session. For the first meeting this season, mothers were asked to close their eyes as facilitator and owner of Bainbridge Yoga House (and mother of four) Jen Breen sets the stage by reading the poem, “Walk Slowly,” by Danna Faulds.

“It only takes a reminder to breathe, a moment to be still, and just like that, something in me settles, softens, makes space for imperfection….”

It’s so relaxing, in fact, that one woman feared she’d fall asleep, Parr said. “That’s OK, too. It’s a come-as-youare party—even if you’re a hot mess.”

While this season’s theme is Being and Belonging, next on the agenda is Body Work, from simple stretching to outdoor “wonder” walks to closely observe the church’s natural and manicured surroundings. Journaling routinely follows the sessions, with prompts like, “What is essential to you?” Members participate within their own comfort zone throughout and the sessions close with sharing and reflections.

“It’s a place to be playful and explore,” Breen said. “That’s where healing and growth is.”

“It’s not a parenting-advice class,” added Paar. “We’re like a buoy. We’re here to support, listen and guide, not to correct.”

For scheduling and registration information, visit 13
© 2023 Sotheby’s International Realty. All Rights Reserved. Sotheby’s International Realty® is a registered trademark and used with permission. Each Sotheby’s International Realty office is independently owned and operated, except those operated by Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. The Sotheby’s International Realty network fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. LUXURY IS AN EXPERIENCE, NOT A PRICE POINT. Is it time to unlock the true market value of your island property? Kristi Nelson specializes in helping discerning sellers, like you, realize the full potential of their luxury homes. When it’s time to transition to your next adventure, Kristi will guide you with professionalism, discretion, and a deep understanding of the unique Bainbridge Island real estate market. FOR A COMPLIMENTARY MARKET VALUE REPORT OF YOUR HOME, SCAN THE QR CODE OR CONTACT KRISTI DIRECTLY. | 206.391.1718 | GLOBAL REAL ESTATE ADVISOR

now and then

Sweet Heritage

John Nelson Park at Strawberry Cannery Cove is a long name for a small park featuring a five-car parking lot, a single picnic table, a few benches and a pretty view of Eagle Harbor. The name, plus a rock painted like a strawberry at the entrance, are two of the few remaining clues that the modest spot at the end of Weaver Road was once the site of the Winslow Berry Growers Association Cannery, the hub of Bainbridge Island’s strawberry economy.

During harvest season, the cannery operated nearly nonstop, with hundreds of women clad in white aprons and caps forming a human assembly line to wash and stem berries, mix them with sugar and pack them in 55-gallon wooden barrels. At its peak in the 1930s, the cannery produced 500 barrels a day, which were frozen and shipped across the country to satisfy the nation’s craving for strawberries—especially the famed Marshall variety, said to be the


sweetest and juiciest in the world—in ice cream, jam and preserves.

The onset of World War II marked the beginning of the end of Bainbridge’s strawberry era. The cannery grew quiet as the island’s Japanese American strawberry farmers were forcibly deported to concentration camps and resources were diverted to wartime shipbuilding.

In later years, the building was home to concrete manufacturers, cabinet makers, boat builders, fishermen and piano teachers, before burning to the ground in a spectacular electrical fire in 1997.

If we look closely, the little park with the big name can remind us that, not so long ago, the soul of Bainbridge Island was the strawberry.

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Treasure Returned


For the past three years, an important tradition has been conspicuously absent from the Bainbridge Island cultural calendar.

A buried treasure, one might say.

The Island Treasure Awards—presented annually for more than two decades to much acclaim and fanfare—hadn’t been bestowed since 2020.

“People weren’t ready to do it,” said ITA committee coordinator Ellen Bush. “They weren’t ready to get together in big groups.”

This year, however, is a different story.

“[The committee was] really excited to restart the process, and there was no problem just jumping right in and engaging,” Bush said. Announced in January, the trio of 2024 Island Treasures are artist Caroline Cooley Browne, educator Gina Corpuz, and filmmaker Lucy Ostrander.

First presented in 2000 to inaugural recipients historian Jerry Elfendahl and

photographer Joel Sackett, the Island Treasure Awards honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions in the arts and humanities on Bainbridge. Prior to the award’s reboot, its most recent winners were sculpture artist Bill Baran-Mickle and Dominique Cantwell, who at the time was executive director of Bainbridge Performing Arts, in early 2020.

But between then and now, the world (and Bainbridge) has changed, as has the process by which deserving candidates are nominated.

In fact, the program’s hiatus, like so many facets of life put on hold in the lingering wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, was ultimately something of a fortuitous coincidence, Bush said, as it allowed the


committee time to reflect upon, and refine, the nomination process.

“It was such a great point to start looking at how we do things,” she said. “The idea was to be very transparent and very inclusive.”

The process for the selection of Island Treasures is an adaptation of that used in the MacArthur Foundation Genius Awards. Nominators write a letter to the Island Treasure Awards committee describing their candidate, focusing on the quality and creativity of the nominee’s work and how that work has benefitted the cultural fabric of Bainbridge Island. Nominations are researched by the committee and passed to jurors on the selection panel, who make the final selections.

The new twist is that a nominator can now, for all intents and purposes, be anybody.

“We opened up the nomination process to the entire island, and ran ads in the paper and other media,” Bush said. “We wanted to make sure [more] people had the opportunity to nominate.” She also said that members of the awards committee met with as many cultural organizations as possible to better “get the word out.”

The new approach seems to have worked. “We got a very good response,” Bush said. “We got a lot of nominations from people we wouldn’t have thought

to ask. People chose to participate in the process. It was really great and is something we’ll stick with.”

The diversity of the most recent winners speaks to the depth of talent on the island and to the resilience and relevance of the resurgent award. Between the sculptural fiber art of Cooley Browne, Corpuz’s moving stories of the Indipino people of Bainbridge Island and the doc-

umentation of Pacific Northwest history and Pacific Rim cultures in Ostrander’s films, it’s hard to imagine a broader array of accomplishments.

It just goes to show that, once you start digging, there’s no telling what treasures you may find. 17 Learn more at
Caroline Cooley Browne Lucy Ostrander




New Bainbridge-Based Initiative Supports Emerging Women Filmmakers

On an October morning in 2021, local filmmaker Rachel Noll James left her house before sunrise, headed for Hidden Cove. “It was one of those really windy nights where trees had fallen and branches were all over the road,” she recalled. James was on her way to one of the filming locations for “Ingress,” the feature-length, sci-fi film shot entirely on Bainbridge, which she wrote, directed, co-produced and starred in. But before she reached the house, she saw a fallen tree blocking the road. She turned around, deciding to approach the house

Sienna Beckman and Rachel Noll James

from the other side of Hidden Cove, only to find another fallen tree in her path.

By the time she and the crew finally made it in the house, it had lost power. Luckily, the house had a generator, because with a tight budget and a filming schedule of just 15 days, they had no time to lose. Despite obstacles and challenges, the crew managed to wrap up filming on time, and “Ingress” began its festival run last fall, which included a hometown premier at the Lynwood Theatre. In the meantime, James was already at work on her second island-based project, another feature-length film, “Inheritance,” which she also co-produced, wrote and starred in.

Apart from the occasional weather-related chaos, James has nothing but good things to say about filming on the island. Since moving to Bainbridge in 2017, conversations with local artists and supporters fostered a sense of community that gave her confidence to bring her creative endeavors to life. She was able to secure funding through local donors—75 percent of the “Ingress” budget came from tax-deductible donations, and for “Inheritance,” those donations made up 100 percent of the budget. Additionally, a number of community members volunteered on the set or offered their homes as filming locations.

But deciding to move to Bainbridge from L.A.—America’s film epicenter—was something of a gamble. James worried her career might wind down. “The truth is,” she said, “it’s been the exact opposite. This community just reached out and wrapped their arms around us. I haven’t had that before. It doesn’t feel that way in Los Angeles.”

That support allowed James to take creative risks without the stress of trying to please investors or churn out content that might turn a profit. Whereas in L.A., she worried about fitting into a particular mould, on Bainbridge, she has had more time to think about what she actually wants to say with her stories. It’s the difference, she said, “between the investor, studio, executive energy and this kind of artist-first energy.”

Now, she hopes to give other creators access to the same kind of support.

Back in L.A., James, along with friend and fellow filmmaker, Sienna Beckman, founded Emergence Films, a non-profit born of the frustration they experienced as women in a male-dominated industry. Of the United States’ 250 top-grossing films of 2022, just 22 percent of directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers were women, according to a report from San Diego State University.

Emergence works with women filmmakers and underrepresented storytellers, offering consulting services, production support and feedback on pitches. After their experience filming on Bainbridge, James and Beckman had the idea for the Emergence Film Fund, a new donor-backed initiative that will allow women filmmaking teams to receive mentorship 19

working on a film produced by Emergence and later support them through creating films of their own.

“Our goal,” said James, “is to kind of step in where Hollywood investors are turning their backs on women in those first projects and give them the actual tools and the funding to build that resume, to get that experience and to make the films they want to make so that they can find their voice.”

Some films may not generate a profit, but that’s OK, said James. If a film does make money, 50 percent of the profits will go to the filmmaking team and the other half will go back into the fund, giving a head start to the next team of artists.

James hopes that the project eventually could have a global reach, but for now, the initiative will be rooted on Bainbridge. In such a small community, she recognizes the importance of stewardship—being respectful of space and building lasting, communicative relationships.

“People are so excited about having a film project here, and I hope that that doesn’t change,” she said. “This is where all the magic has been happening.”

20 PNW BAINBRIDGE SPRING 2024 Bainbridge Cinemas will be showing
For more information on Emergence Films or supporting the
Film Fund,
“Ingress” March 1 to 7.
email 206.780.0755

Keeping Boating Clients


(And Helping Chart Smart Courses for Newbies)


Founded by Bob Selzler, Agate Pass Marine is a small craft boatyard specializing in the antifoul painting of trailerable boats. The operation began as “an effort to never have to take his fishing boat to a giant boatyard again for bottom paint,” according to the company’s online history.

And for boat-related concerns found above the bottom, there’s an island-based resource for those, too.

The couple behind Passas Small Engine Marine Service & Boat Repair, operations manager Marina Giameos and her husband, lead mechanic Nikos Passas, have been trusted fixtures of the Kitsap County maritime community since 2011. They handle everything from inboards to outboards, gas and diesel engines, system diagnostics, winterization, sea trials and pre-purchase inspections, and have seen the market grow and evolve over time. Since the earliest days of the pandemic, they said, local boat business has been booming—and shows no sign of slowing down.

A boat isn’t something one buys on impulse—or it shouldn’t be.

Whether you’re looking to acquire a trusty fishing vessel, a sleek beauty with sails for the occasional weekend adventure or a seaworthy haven to call home, the cost and demands of owning and maintaining a boat are notorious. And Washington waters are littered with abandoned vessels of every size and type, all of them once loved, but eventually too burdensome.

However, before scuttling your seafaring dreams or ditching your formerly pleasant pleasure craft—regardless of whether you’re thoroughly a salty sea dog or a landlubber who doesn’t know the head from the helm—there are experts at your service on Bainbridge Island.

“Working with recreational boat owners, charter businesses and individuals [and] families who plan to sail around the world, allows our small business to contribute to our vibrant boating community,” Giameos said. “Boat sales on Bainbridge Island have increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, because boating became a safe way to socially distance and enjoy the outdoors,” she explained, noting that some owners used sailboats and cabin cruisers as alternative workspaces during the pandemic.

“Something else that is trending is that many islanders are commuting to Seattle in their boats to avoid ferry lines and city traffic,” Giameos said. “They tie up at Bell Harbor Marina, Elliott Bay Marina or Shilshole Bay Marina.”

More locally, she said, Winslow Wharf Marina, Bainbridge Island Marina and Eagle Harbor Marina have lists and directories of marine electricians, plumbers, mechanics, boat detailers and delivery services, as well as divers on file.

Another local maritime movement is the growing popularity among couples and young families of living aboard a boat. Given the infamously high cost of living and scarcity of affordable housing on Bainbridge Island, it can be, Giameos said, a 23
Lead mechanic, Nikos Passas

surprisingly viable option for those amenable to the lifestyle.

“Each marina on the island is unique and is like a village in itself,” Giameos said. “Living on a boat in one of these marinas or in Eagle Harbor’s open water mooring [and] anchoring area is an alternative affordable housing resource with an extensive waiting list. Post-COVID, many families and college students are embracing the freedom and simplicity of living on their boats.”

So, say that you’re now sold on the idea of getting a boat. The question remains: new or used?

Passas urged potential buyers to arrange a pre-purchase inspection and sea trial before investing in a previously owned

boat. That said, while many might feel safer purchasing a new vessel which has seen no prior wear and tear and boasts a pristine engine, all his years of experience have shown the master mechanic that there are many reasons to recommend a boat with some miles on it.

“People avoid buying older boats with old engines because they know it’s difficult to find the parts,” he said. But new boats with new engines have a lot of technology, he noted. One burned out sensor or persistently misfiring digital signal, Passas said, can prove to be a problem more specific and complex than any mechanical issue that might arise with an older engine. And it can leave a frustrated owner just as beached.

Perhaps most important though, is that prospective buyers know exactly how they want to use their boat—and how much time they’ll have to do so.

“I think, in terms of lifestyle, you have to make sure you have enough time to use the boat,” Giameos said. Letting a vessel sit unattended or improperly stored between seasons is one of the main reasons behind disappointing mechanical problems that come to light with the return of better weather.

And nobody, from seasoned sailor to nautical novice, wants to miss out on good sailing.



The Two-Decade Birth of a Novel

Twenty years ago, island author Kristin Hannah did something fairly routine: She pitched a new book idea to her editor.

By this point in her career, Hannah had a few books under her belt, so she thought she knew what to expect. She’d get her editor’s approval, research the historical context of the book in a “headlong rush,” write the story and send the whole thing off. Then she’d move on to the next book, completing one round of what she refers to as her novelistic cycle of “rebirth.”

But this book was different. This book had a long road to publication ahead.

In February, that 20-year road finally came to an end, with publication of “The Women,” an epic historical fiction narrative about a young nurse’s experiences during and after the Vietnam War. It will be Hannah’s 25th novel—the long-awaited result of that initial pitch to her editor.

When Hannah first proposed “The Women,” she said it was already a story she’d been wanting to write for a long time. She grew up during the Vietnam War and “spent a lifetime trying to fully understand what it was I saw, and what it was I lived through.”


But both Hannah and her editor at the time decided it wasn’t the right moment for her to write the book.

“It just became very clear that I was too young to understand it,” Hannah said. “I needed to have a few more years under my belt, a little bit more understanding, and I needed to be a better writer than I was.”

Instead of writing “The Women” she wrote other novels: “Firefly Lane,” which gave rise to an eponymous Netflix series in 2021. “The Nightingale,” a beloved novel set in German-occupied France during World War II. “The Four Winds,” the Publishers Weekly bestselling hardcover of 2021. With these books and others, Hannah sketched out her place in the literary world—centering women’s stories and establishing a core of loyal readers.

Years later, Hannah said that she’s still grateful for the decision to delay “The Women.” Her other novels’ successes gave her confidence and experience, and by the time the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she was at last ready to take on her long-ago pitch.

“This is the moment,” she remembered thinking. “I’m going nowhere. I’m doing nothing. I have no excuse not to take on this story that I’ve wanted to write for so long.”

So, she wrote it—longhand, like she writes everything. Asking herself the same questions she does for all her historical fiction stories: “Who’s the character to tell the story?” “What part of this large historical canvas am I going to highlight for the reader?” “How do I get to the emotional core of the women’s experience in this era?” She often wrote seated in the Adirondack chair on her Bainbridge patio, wearing a sun hat in the summer and with a fire close by in the winter.

Hannah has been writing on Bainbridge patios for a long, long time. She remembers when her son was attending Bainbridge public schools; just starting out as a writer, she appreciated being able to write during school hours “and still be there for the clogged school pickup at the end of the day.”

Of course, Hannah’s son has long since graduated, and Hannah’s name is now splashed across book covers throughout the country, But she’s still a small-town woman at heart. Bainbridge, renamed “Pine Island,” even served as a setting for Hannah’s 2011 book “Night Road.” And Hannah herself remains involved in local goings on. She jogs in the Grand Forest and at the Port Madison trails and drops off signed books at Liberty Bay Books and Eagle Harbor Books—two of the independent bookstores that have “made” her career.

Only a few weeks before February 6—the day that “The Women” became available in those independent bookstores—Hannah said she was feeling exhilarated and nervous, all at once.

“You never know what people are going to respond to,” she said, “and what they’re going to think of your work. And so you’re just waiting to hear if all of your hard work has paid off.”


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Why Be Koi?


By all measures, everything Phil Herring touches eventually turns to gold. This time around, the owner of Bainbridge Island’s Discount Koi is selling the fish known as the “swimming jewel” of the underwater world.

Beyond the koi themselves, Herring also designs and builds their habitats for a wide range of clients—from those who purchase a 250-gallon plastic tub from Home Depot to owners of multi-million-dollar homes who fill their koi ponds with 30,000 gallons of truckedin water. No matter the budget, everyone is treated to the same charm, verve, and wit … not to mention his impressive depth of knowledge about filtration systems and fish health.

Koi, also known as Nishikigoa, (from the Japanese word Nishiki) are associated with elegance and beauty and symbolize good luck, prosperity and good fortune. Originally brought to Japan in the early 19th century from China as a food source, the fancy cousin to the common carp—whose fossils date back 20 million years—has come a long way. Koi were introduced to the world stage in 1914 during the Tokyo Taisho Exhibition, when Japan’s Emperor Hirohito was gifted the ornamental fish to fill the moat of his Tokyo Imperial Palace.

Herring said that compared to their royal predecessors, his fish niche is “in the gutter” of the koi business. There are 100 types of koi, classified by colors, patterns and body conformation. Herring explained that the most expensive koi are collector/show fish, the costliest of which was S Legend, a 39-inch red and white female that sold at auction for $1.8 million. “It died a year later,” he said. “If you’re spending a million dollars on a fish, you can probably handle that.”


“Mine are an analogy to the dog world,” he continued. “I sell purebred fish, but they don’t represent the breed standard in the way of a show animal. So, these are pet quality. They’re beautiful but not going to be shown. And they’re not for eating, either. We don’t eat our pets.”

From his home-based shop on Puget Sound Bluff, local customers can schedule an appointment to hand-pick from koi varieties including Butterfly, Standard Fin and Butterfly Fin, which range from around $18 to $85, along with Japanese Trapdoor snails, which run $2.50. Patrons may also order online. Herring ships everywhere within the Continental U.S. in a specially engineered insulated packaging material made from biodegradable corn. His favorite shipping success tale was of five fish mailed to Texas in 107-degree weather. “It was supposed to ship overnight on a Thursday, but UPS messed up and delivered on a Monday,” said Herring. “The insulation was so good that they arrived alive and, according to the customer, spunky.”

His koi, Herring said, can grow to 30 inches, but you must take good care of them to see that happen. “You can even train them to eat out of your hand,” he added. “But I’m not big on teaching fish. I want my fish outdoors to be afraid of things that come to the edge of the pond.” He then shared an anecdote about river otters near his home that he described as serial killers. “They kill every fish in your pond and won’t leave until they’re done.”

Herring started Discount Koi in 2020, wanting to change careers in the midst of the first COVID lockdown. 31

An early job playing trombone in Stan Ken ton’s band led to performances at venues including Carnegie Hall, Venice Opera House, Kennedy Center and Mad ison Square Garden. “That was my college,” he said. “I consider that a foreshadowing of what my adult life would be, of getting intensely focused on things.” Later, Herring’s love for music led to owning a music publishing/artist management company, where he honed his instinct for marketing and adver tising. His career then spanned Walt Disney Educational Media; ownership and creation of a multi-million-dollar ad agency with clients such as Nike and American Express; millions in sales with the founding of; and consultation and copywriting for local businesses.

ready to retire and decided that the time was right to try selling them himself. “I saw a local opening and knew I had enough experience in digital marketing to do something,” he said. “It’s such a weird little niche, and most of the people doing it were doing it in a very unsophisticated manner.” It just so happened, he said, that his house is “perfectly laid out,” with a side room and entrance, access to running water and power and a pull-through garage. “We had everything I needed to do this.” His wife, Kim McCall, of Kim McCall Designs, “reluctantly—very reluctantly” agreed.

What does that have to do with selling koi? During the pandemic, all the places where Herring used to buy koi shut down. He wasn’t

The best advice Herring gives to prospective koi owners is to study how to build a koi pond—not just a pond. “There are specific things that need to be done that will make it easier to maintain. The fish will be safer, healthier and happier, and you will be, too,” he said.

“Our business is designed for people who don’t know a lot about koi or ponds. There’s no reason to be concerned about what you don’t know. We’ve made all the mistakes, so you don’t have to.”

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Friends of the Library support


They begin lining up long before the doors open at noon. Excitement builds as the hour draws near. Those waiting to rush inside aren’t Swifties ready to rock nor shoppers preparing to storm a mall on Black Friday. They are booklovers wanting to be the first to get a look at the reads on offer at a Bainbridge Island Friends of the Library book sale.

Why are people so anxious to hit the shelves?

“We’ve got a great book selection, they’re in superb shape and they’re cheap,” explained volunteer Charlie Browne.

“I always step way out of the doorway when I first open the door because I might be trampled to death if I don’t,” joked FOL volunteer and board president Carol Schuyler.

The sales, which average three per month, are held on Sundays or Thursdays from 12 to 4 p.m. at the Bainbridge Public Library. The FOL book rooms, tucked away downstairs, can be accessed from the main library during its operating hours or via the lower-level children’s library entrance for Sunday sales.

Most of the books are in near-new condition, usually selling for $1 to $2.


Magazines, CDs and DVDs are also offered at a fraction of their original prices.

Schuyler said that beyond the obvious bargain aspect, people are drawn to the community of readers who gather for the sales. “People are really bonding,” she said. “We have a lot of regular people who come in a couple of times a month just because something new might be there.” Browne added that the thrill of the search is also part of the fun. “It’s like a treasure hunt.”

Schuyler spent her entire adult life around libraries. After a brief flirtation with becoming a schoolteacher (“I love children but didn’t know that I wanted to teach them five days a week.”), she earned a master’s degree in library science at UW, then worked as a children’s librarian at the Seattle Public Library. After moving to Bainbridge to raise her own young children, she filled a number of roles in the Kitsap Regional Library system, finally retiring nine years ago as director of Support Services.

It only took six months of retirement for her to dive right back in. She began volunteering with the Friends of the Library (customarily referred to by its members as simply “the Friends”) and, before she knew it, was serving on the FOL board as well as the board of the Bainbridge Public Library.

The Friends have existed for more than 100 years, as long as there have been libraries on the island. Browne, who among many other duties is the organization’s archivist, explained that funds were originally raised through “Silver Teas,” gatherings in private homes where supporters listened to speakers and collected donations, but that these days the FOL functions solely as a used book business.

All the books and other items sold are donated by the community. Most are dropped off at the library, although pick-up is offered for large collections. Browne is continually amazed by the quality of donations that come through the door. “We are very fortunate to live in a generous, literate community that takes good care of their books.”

Donors can be sure that whatever they give will benefit the library. “Anything that’s donated, unless it’s dirty or moldy or completely torn up, gets used,” said Schuyler.

In addition to the in-person book sales, valuable items are sold online, while those of lower quality are sold to vendors who sell or recycle them. For those wanting a curated experience, the Buy a Bag of Books program offers a collection from any genre at $5 a bag.

The 65 FOL volunteers handle around 200,000 books a year. Browne stated that the nonprofit brought in nearly $75,000 from book sales in 2023, an all-time record, as well collecting more than $20,000 in direct donations. All of it was funneled back into the library, supporting building and grounds maintenance, staff needs, summer learning programs, adult education and, most famously, the children’s aquarium. (Next time you stop by, say hello to the new candy cane squirrelfish).

For teacher Denise Briggs Potter, donating to the Friends is an easy choice. “The library has played a fundamental role in my family’s life—when my children were little and learning to read, when they grew into young adults and needed a quiet, safe place to do homework or research, and now, for me, when I help students in math,” she said. “The Friends support staff, resources, and the building. What a great resource. We are a lucky community!”

Learn 35
more at
FOL volunteers Jon Davies and Carol Schuyler


Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap...Raindrops splattering on the roof. Spring showers! The sound wakes us from our winter slumber like an unwanted alarm, though the tone is different. It’s the dawn of green in the PNW: the buds of renewal, the sprouts of rebirth, the stirring of inspiration.

Starting March 19, the vernal/spring equinox, more and more signs of this creative exuberance are seen and felt. Lines of fuzzy ducklings paddle along; curly lambs, kids and calves frolic, nurse and nibble the new crop of grass.

Bins of peeping chicks arrive at Bay Hay & Feed, so get your chick cards out!

Everywhere, abundance is erupting. Go!

Carefree birds are wasting no time flirting with potential mates, wasting no thought on gathering sticks, moss, branches, hair and feathers for this year’s nest.

What a time of joy. Only one way forward, one way up and endless possibilities. Time to write down your visions, list them out. Time to write down your dreams, the type you can only imagine when all the guardrails of possibility are removed. Time to write down your inspirations, pay them tribute and thanks.

The spring season is a time to wake up and refresh your energy and outlook. Wake up with outings in the still brisk air, walks and runs in the spring showers. Find a rushing river or stream to sit next to, letting the sound of the flow rinse away the winter cobwebs and physical grogginess. Make yourself move even if you


feel lethargic. Help your body squeeze, flex and circulate the remnants of chill out of your muscles.

Refresh your energy with clear broth, lemon juice added to water, raw and sauteed leafy greens as they are available. Add ginger and turmeric root, green onions and stinging nettle to soup, tea or broth. Avoid animal products for a week in April to assist this energy refresh—like grass, your body’s energy is sprouting up and needs a clear path.

Refresh your outlook with a challenge. What have you wanted to do that you haven’t? Take a class. Spend an afternoon being creative. Plan your garden patch or your dream garden. Challenge yourself to a swim, hike, bike, strength or running goal.

Maybe you feel drawn to a physical, creative or mental goal—make it huge! Make it small! Make it fueled by joy!

Plant physical seeds for summer crops. Plant mental seeds for prosperous accomplishments. Plant emotional seeds for blooms of joy. Plant spiritual seeds for peace and future contentedness. 37

A Benchmark FOR GOOD

Bainbridge Islanders Lee and Jeff Moniz lost their son Tyler to suicide in April 2016 when he was just 21 years old. To spread awareness and promote well-being in his memory, they founded the Tyler Moniz Project (TMP) in 2017, which placed bright blue conversation benches at local parks and schools. The idea behind the benches was to create dedicated spots around Bainbridge for conversation and connection.

So that the initiative’s impact will continue to grow, the Monizes are handing over TMP to Bainbridge Youth Services to further spread awareness about suicide and depression in youth. The transition is being launched in April, Tyler’s birth month.

“As the torch of TMP is handed over to BYS, our hope is that with each new bright blue conversation bench that graces the island, the legacy of Tyler Moniz lives on, leaving a priceless mark on the community’s commitment to supporting one another through authentic affinity,” said Courtney Oliver, executive director and counselor at BYS.

Oliver emphasized the importance of genuine human connection and the impact it has on our mental health as individuals and as a community. “By having a simple conversation, spending quality time together or offering a helping hand, we can foster an environment characterized by vulnerability and compassion.”

Islander Stephanie Paxton Jackson, longtime supporter and donor to BYS, dedicated a bench to her mother; it sits on the Eagle Harbor waterfront, right outside Doc’s Marina Grill. “She was an amazing schoolteacher for alternative high schools, a wonderful listener and had a great skill of making people feel heard and seen,” said Jackson. “She would love to know her name is associated with a project that is committed to these ideals.”

Dedicating a bench costs approximately $3,500 and BYS has a goal of adding at least one each year.

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Comes Home

After a 17-year run in the state legislature, Christine Rolfes has returned to her Kitsap roots as county commissioner.

You’ve worked in state and local governments for more than 20 years. What kicked off your political career?

When I was in my early 30s, I wanted to work on Al Gore’s presidential race in Kitsap County, so I went to a campaign training for women in Poulsbo. In the training, they said: “No, you can’t say you want to be a campaign manager—you have to approach this thinking about what position you’re running for.” I said: “I don’t know. I guess I could run for city council, someday.” They

said: “We’ll help you run. You can do this.” It was that support from other people that made me think I could be successful.

Why did you decide to leave the state legislature?

There is a point in a person’s career where you feel like it’s time to make a change. I loved being in the legislature, but there’s a trend of people staying too long—you can see that at the national level. You want to leave while you’re still respected. You don’t want people saying: “Time for her to go.”

When I interviewed for the county commissioner position, I knew that I already had a cool elected job. If I was going to publicly apply for another job, I had to be pretty sure I wanted it. All the things the county commissioners were working on I was really interested in: a 20-year comprehensive plan for county growth, affordable housing, environmental regulations. It was an opportunity to come back home—and to use my education, my work as a land-use planner for Kitsap County, my work on the Bainbridge City Council and my work in the legislature.

What challenges are you most excited to take on as a county commissioner?

The whole county needs to grow over the next 20 years. I am excited about—and feel responsible for—accommodating new people while keeping Kitsap attractive and vibrant. The goal is to have the growth be more concentrated in already urban areas so that we’re growing up, not out.

We don’t have a healthy housing ecosystem right now, so part of our task is to figure out how to correct for that over the next couple of decades. It’s about all different levels of affordability and size— for first-time homebuyers, for young people to rent, for older people to downsize.

What’s an experience that has influenced you?

I grew up in a family with four kids. I have a twin brother, and my younger brother and sister were also twins. The four of us were basically the same age—we were a little less than two years apart, so we didn’t have the normal family dynamic. That life experience of four kids around the same age molds you as you move through life. My natural tendency is to be a diplomat—I’m not a leader or a follower.

How has your life turned out differently than you imagined it as a kid?

I never thought about being a politician. When I was growing up in the ‘70s, there weren’t that many women in elected offices, so it just wasn’t on my radar.

As a middle schooler, I did want to be the secretary of the Interior. During a career counseling session, one of my friends was like, “That would be really fun, to decorate the White House.” I was like, “No, the person who runs the National Park system.”

What’s one Kitsap County delicacy that you can’t resist?

The fried chicken sandwich at Butcher & Baker Provisions in Port Gamble.

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Foraged Nettles Form Tasty Basis of Quick, Easy Recipe

As we welcome back lighter days, we are also greedily looking forward to the return of all our abundant Pacific Northwest greens. Kale got us through the winter, spinach and lettuces are beginning to pop and we can see nettles coming back to life on our forests’ edges.

Our family enjoys collecting nettles, that free weed that tastes so good. We pick them with gloves and collect them in a heaping basket. Easier to catch than crabs and simpler to find than mushrooms, nettles are a fun forage for beginners. Do be thoughtful and not take more than you leave. When you return to the kitchen, blanch the leaves in boiling water for 3 minutes followed by a quick plunge in ice water. After this, you can remove your gloves, squeeze out the extra water, and proceed as you would for most any green recipe.

This bright green soup will cheer up your table, and with simple ingredients and preparation, it comes together quickly. You can make it with either nettles prepared as above or with spinach, if you prefer your greens domesticated. Really, you could sub in any young green leaf you have on hand (or find popping up out the ground in your early garden). It’s a thin, restorative soup with a big flavor. Serve with a crusty bread and savory side, such as cheese or sliced ham.


1 large yellow or white onion

4 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 pound firm yellow or red potatoes (about 2 large)

1 cup prepared nettles or about 5 ounces fresh spinach leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

To top: spicy radish sprouts or other small green

1. Prepare the greens. (See adjacent story.) Coarsely chop either the blanched nettles or fresh greens to reduce the size of any fibrous stems.

2. Peel the potatoes and chop into roughly 1-inch chunks.

3. Coarsely chop the onion, yielding about 1 cup.

4. In the bottom of a soup pot, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil and the chopped onion. Toss in a little salt. On medium, stir and cook until soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.

5. Add the stock, then the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Raise heat to medium-high and simmer until potatoes are done, about 15 minutes.

6. Add the greens and stir just a minute or two to warm.

7. With an immersion blender (or carefully with a standing blender) blend the soup until smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust, adding a little water if the soup needs to be thinned.

8. Briefly return to the burner over low and serve.

Extra Credit: Top the soup with spicy radish sprouts for a little extra veggie boost. Check out the island-grown Bees and Greens microgreens in the refrigerator case at Bay Hay and Feed.

Nettles are easy to find on Bainbridge in the early spring. Look for the signature sawtooth-edged leaf just about anywhere in our forests, along paths and driveways, or in clusters in any damp, shady spot. Harvest the leaves when plants are young and before they flower. Always wear gloves when collecting as the hairs on the underside of the leaves cause immediate skin irritation.

FUN FACT: Rubbing the underside of a bracken fern on a nettle sting eases the pain.

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The Laurels was formally recognized as a landmark by the Bainbridge Island Historical Register in 2020. Built by Elias Nelson in 1913, the bungalow drew its romantic name from the heritage laurel hedge which surrounds its iconic mosaic stone entry arch. Today, thanks to painstaking renovation and refurbishment by its new owners, Myra and Tom Hudson, it has many colorful years ahead of it, too. » 45

Sited on compass points with its front door opening to the east, Nelson built the home on his poultry farm while he worked as the chef at the Moran School for Boys just up the street. “I think how incredible that must have been in 1913 to build this house with hand tools, what this island must have been like,” said Myra.

While preparing The Laurels’ portfolio for the register’s accreditation, Myra unearthed a trove of history, from its heirloom apple trees to the stone and Douglas fir building materials that were sourced on site. Myra also discovered some pearls about the people who have called The Laurels home over the past century. She learned that the second owners were the Jones family, some of whose children still live on the island, including one of their daughters. “She was born in this house during a snowstorm. They couldn’t get down to the doctor, so she was born right here,” said Myra. “I just feel the spirit of all the people that lived here.”


The renovation was spearheaded by Tom, a professional contractor who owns local building company Hudson Construction, Inc. Like Myra’s research, the construction uncovered remarkable details about the home, including a massive 35-foot fir beam that runs the length of the porch. Because of its size and variety, Tom said the beam was most likely sourced, milled and dried on Bainbridge, perhaps from the site itself. “Thinking about those men raising that beam is fascinating,” said Myra. “We’re awed by the sheer effort it must have taken in those days.”

The Laurels is the Hudsons’ third home together since they married in 1971. The couple first lived in Colorado Springs before moving to Bainbridge three decades ago. Originally, they were considering The Laurels, which faces onto Sunrise Drive in the Rolling Bay Neighborhood just south of Bay Hay and Feed, as more of an investment than as their personal residence. While musing its purchase, the couple brought along their friend, Bainbridge architect Seri Yeckel, with whom Tom has often worked professionally. While 47

walking the property together, they started to see it in a different light. “This house and our other house were the same vintage,” said Tom, comparing it to their former home on Pine Street in the Eagledale neighborhood. “I just like the feeling in an older home.”

After deciding to keep The Laurels for themselves, the Hudsons closed on the two-acre property in January 2018. Yeckel began working on the design and two months later they had the renovation permit in hand. For the next little while, things got messy, or as Myra likes to say, “All hell broke loose.”

“This place was just totally torn up,” said Tom. “Walls were missing, and the front room and porch were filled with furniture and stuff from our other house.”

With renovation under way, and The Laurels not yet habitable, the couple rented an ADU from a friend. “It was nice, except it was kind of like being in college again,” said Myra. “There were no cooking facilities, so we ate out every night, either with friends or in a restaurant. We used to


tease them that they were adopting us, the orphans.”

After a lot of making do—including not one, but two (funny now) late night run-ins with bats—the Hudsons moved in two days before Christmas, just in time to host the holiday with son Sam and daughter Claire, their respective spouses and grandkids.

The Hudsons’ goal for The Laurels’ renovation was to preserve its “character and architectural authenticity,” while bringing it up to date structurally and making it functionable and livable. The Hudsons added roughly 750 square feet to the home’s footprint by bumping out the back and south walls, swapping the space that was the kitchen with the primary bedroom and bath, and adding a brand-new central kitchen on the home’s south side.

Major renovation items—including leveling and reinforcing the original foundation, a complete fireplace restoration, removal of several interior walls and the addition of the new kitchen, pantry and main-level laundry room—required forethought to create a “seamless, sensitive connection between the old house and new additions,” said Tom.

To keep the original interior shiplap siding and trim, the renovation took an

outside-in approach. The asymmetrical exterior cedar shingles were removed so that all new electrical, plumbing and HVAC could be placed, after which exterior plywood was installed and covered with new cedar shingles.

Tom’s design ideas are seen throughout the home—including the custom cabinetry in the kitchen, pantry, laundry, bedrooms, bathrooms and wine cellar—all fashioned in Hudson Construction’s cabinet shop,

as were the raised-panel interior doors designed to replicate the originals. Throughout The Laurels, a commingling of old and new reinforces the house’s continuity. Light switches replaced with vintage button switches, antique drawer pulls used on new cabinetry, restoration of aged door and window hardware and an integration of antique and new custom cabinetry are some of the areas where the warm juxtaposition shows up. 49

The kitchen is perhaps the home’s most striking feature. An absence of upper cabinetry lends extra wall space for the couple’s eclectic and extensive art collection, much of it crafted by island artisans and friends. Myra, who loves to cook and entertain, worked closely with Yeckel to imagine the kitchen’s deep drawers, soapstone counters, farm sinks and multiple shared work areas. “She’s extremely gifted,” said Myra of Yeckel. “She just has a way of hearing you.”

At the kitchen’s center sits a custom trestle table that Myra said was completely Tom’s vision. Made from Wenge, an African hardwood, Tom described it as nearly indestructible, able to withstand the rough and tumble nature of grandchildren, real life living and entertaining. The addition of windows and skylights funnels in natural light and bright white paint balances the dark wood trim.

Just off the kitchen, the butler’s pantry is highlighted by custom glass cabinet doors from the Mesolini Glass Studio. The Hudson’s former home had a similar pantry,

and every time they had a party, they recalled there would be 10 or 15 people who would congregate there, so it was a must-have in The Laurels too.

The kitchen floor is slate and, like the table, is designed to hold up over time. “In this climate you can walk in with wet muddy feet and you haven’t ruined it,” said Myra. “If you have dogs or children, or if your shoes collect gravel. It’s another thing that we learned after living here for 30 years.”

Also central to the home is the original clinker brick fireplace. “As things go, it’s not an elegant fireplace, but it was built in 1913,” said Myra. The fireplace was crumbling and when the Hudsons rebuilt it, they discovered that it had been vented directly into the wall, having luckily never caught the house on fire. Now, complete with a proper box that flues into the chimney, Tom said it draws incredibly well. “One little twig there with a piece of paper and it will start right up.”

Upstairs are two bedrooms, a totally rebuilt bathroom and “Tom’s hangout,” where he carves and paints an impressive collection of ducks and birds and works on his burgeoning oil painting. The room’s wooden walls had been painted blue and the Hudsons experimented with varnishing them but were disappointed with the look. So, Tom took them down, flipped them over to reveal their unpainted side and hide the old paint, and reattached them. They also added transoms (which they’d carried with them since moving from Colorado) which bring more light into the space, and enclosed an east-facing deck to create a bright sun porch.

Myra pointed out that they kept the fir floor, although it’s a bit uneven, and chose not to add baseboards or quarter rounds, keeping with the original design. Throughout the renovation, embracing the home’s imperfections helped the Hudsons preserve its charm. As an example, Myra pointed out where the floorboards in the living room aren’t


exactly straight and, in places, don’t meet up precisely. “There are some quirky things about the house,” she said, “but that’s the character.”

The Hudson’s Labradors are an unmissable part of the home’s character.

Over the years, they have had six labs, including their two current English labs. “The teenager is Jake,” said Tom, “and that senior statesman lady is Gamble. Gamble came with her name. We tried to change it, but she wouldn’t come.”

Each day, Tom walks the neighborhood with Jake, who has a good deal of energy and an insatiable propensity for sniffing. “I think he could probably have a second career working for TSA or drug enforcement.”

Though they’re clearly beloved family members, Tom threatens that they will be the last dogs they’ll get. “You never know,” said Myra. “He might let me have more.” Conversely, Tom wouldn’t be opposed to renovating yet another house, while for Myra, this one is it.

“One of my favorite sayings is to never let your daughter marry a contractor,” she said, “but luckily I have an incredibly talented one.”

“Who’s that?” said Tom. 51


deep dive


s the number of female religious leaders rises nationwide, five Bainbridge congregations are already led by women. Their tenures range from Rev. Erin Grayson, who became pastor at Bethany Lutheran Church on February 1, to Rev. Dee Eisenhauer, who started at Eagle Harbor Congregational Church in 1999.

Following a brief break after college, Eisenhauer plunged into the ministry. “I was shy, but I found out I was pretty good at this,” she said. “I’ve been here longer than I expected. But this is a delightful place to work; the broader community here is wonderful.”

For some of the other women, becoming a minister was a dream postponed or a second career.

Rev. Karen Haig, rector at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, was ordained in 2010. Before pursuing the ministry, she co-founded and worked for Earth and Space Research, a nonprofit in Seattle focused on oceanographic research.

Haig, who has lived on Bainbridge for 40 years, said she’s grateful to have become a minister when she did.

“I was a single mom before and couldn’t have afforded it,” she said. “Motherhood was my first profession; the priesthood was my second.”

Haig is mindful that women haven’t always been permitted to do her job and that some religious groups still do not allow females to lead congregations. A few members left St. Barnabas when she became the first female lead priest, “but very few.”

Grayson said even well-meaning people struggle sometimes with accepting a woman at the pulpit. After all, it was a male-dominated position for centuries.

“Some people say, ‘Good job,’ after I lead a service,” she said, as if it’s bit surprising. “I’ve had people—not here— say, ‘It would be good if you’d wear a dress sometimes.’”

Susan Griggs, pastor at Seabold United Methodist Church, had a first career as a school psychologist and volunteered as a lay minister. But after her husband died in an accident and she received an insurance payout, she “realized I could afford to become a pastor.”

She worked at two churches in Connecticut before moving to Washington to be near her family. Griggs eventually retired from the ministry but was asked to return in 2019 and came to Seabold last July. She noted that she replaced another female pastor, Cindy Roberts.

Griggs, 72, considers it a key responsibility to advocate for social justice. She has delivered sermons on Hamas and Israel, as well as the Palestinian situation, urging the congregation to consider what Jesus would think. At Pride festivals last year in Poulsbo and Bainbridge, her message was: You are beloved, just as you are, by God.

“I will speak up,” Griggs said. “When I interviewed here, one person said, ‘Good. My daughter will have a strong woman to look up to.’” 53
From left: Erin Grayson, Dee Eisenhauer, Karen Renner, Karen Haig, Susan Griggs


The five women often come together for a brown-bag lunch that’s open to clergy of any gender. “Sometimes, we go deep, but mostly we talk. We know we can find instant support or a place to vent,” Grayson said. “If I’m stumped or lost, it’s always wise counsel.”

There’s much to share.

Like her peers, Griggs has been frustrated that people did not return to church in the same numbers after COVID. She’s been brainstorming new ways to draw in the community, including possible Saturday night services followed by a shared meal.

“A lot of things stopped because of COVID,” said Rev. Karen Renner, senior pastor at Rolling Bay Presbyterian Church. “Now, we’re asking what do we want to bring back? What needs to be retired?”

Eisenhauer said she’s been through crises before, but COVID was exceptionally tough. “One thing the pandemic really broke was our relationship with young families,” she said. “It’s caused a lot of grief in this congregation.”

COVID also spawned isolation, sadness and depression for old and young people alike. “Our mission emphasis this past year or so is to reduce the epidemic of loneliness,” Eisenhauer said, “and to listen to people who have stories to tell.”

Renner has worked in the ministry for nearly 30 years. After stints at churches in Texas, Kansas, Oregon and elsewhere in Washington, she came to Bainbridge in 2022—her first time as a lead minister.

Church attendance was “all over the place” Renner’s first year but has stabilized. “We do Advent and Lenten dinners—supper with a small discussion. We filled up the room for Advent with people of all ages. Now we’re wondering if we want to make this a regular thing.”

Also, Rolling Bay Presbyterian has made a commitment to meeting needs of the surrounding neighborhood, Renner said. To that end, it offers community garden plots, and it opened an indoor play space to young families who had

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been using the church’s outdoor playground during warmer weather.

“Who are the people in the neighborhood we aren’t talking to?” Renner said. “We’re hoping to lean into that in 2024.”

Grayson, too, sees the beauty in considering traditions and needs from fresh perspectives. During Lent last year, Bethany established a prayer wall in the sanctuary and set up a large bowl of sand, “where people could simply feel the sand, write in the sand, mess it up sometimes and wipe it clean.” Much like our sometimes-messy lives, she noted.

Grayson came to Bethany in 2022 after working as an associate pastor at Rolling Bay Presbyterian; she was recruited by Rev. Paul Stumme-Diers, who retired early this year. Her initial job at Bethany was faith formation, including education, fellowship, social justice programs and some preaching. Now, she is tasked with ministering to the congregation while it considers her and other candidates to be Bethany’s permanent pastor.


Traditionally, females have been socialized since childhood to care about others, Eisenhauer said, which can be an asset in the ministry. “A colleague and I were chatting, and he said, ‘It’s that relationship thing.’ He just didn’t have that naturally. He puts a lot of his energy into preaching.”

Haig said she treasures “walking alongside people in the most tender and rich moments of their lives.” She noted that three of St. Barnabas’ assisting priests also are women; all retired and unpaid. “They do this from the goodness of their hearts and generosity. They have been wonderful counsel for me.”

Women often are collaborative rather than top-down managers, also a plus in the ministry, Renner said. “I like hearing other people’s ideas. And I get along well with people of all ages.”

Many women share a common interest in dismantling systems of

control and patriarchy, Eisenhauer said. “The more women have a baked-in understanding of how patriarchy operates, the better off we all are.”

Grayson said a major goal is to make worship as inclusive as possible. “We’re challenging people to not simply see God as a white, old man in the sky.” She added: “Church only comes alive as a community when people see a place for themselves in it.”

Griggs said she relishes getting “to spend time with congregants, to know them well, to have them trust me. The feeling of connection can be so intense. That’s just a delight.”

She hopes there will be more and more equality in the world, including in the ministry, and that someday it won’t be remarkable for a woman to accomplish anything. “When first becomes second, then third—then it’s not a novelty anymore.” 55

magic moments

When driving around the island, it’s common to come across strange markings on the streets. The mix of letters and numbers, often painted in thick, white strokes, can be seen in front of hundreds of houses and on out-of-the-way roads—and might be a Bainbridge-only tradition. While they may perplex newcomers and visitors, for Bainbridge and Eagle Harbor High School students, these impressions signify a transition to the rest of their lives.

Known as Paint Night, the custom has been maintained by graduating seniors since at least the mid-1960s. During a designated night at the end of each school year, soon-to-be graduates customarily leave a lasting mark by painting each other’s names and graduation years on driveways or streets near their homes.


Paint Night hasn’t always been limited to current graduates. Some of Bainbridge Island’s senior residents scrawled their high school graduation years outside the Bainbridge Island Senior Community Center in 2016.

The marks left by graduating students, whether recent or distant, serve as a reminder of an important milestone, enduring until time and weather fade them away.

“It’s a nice way to remember everybody,” said Hayden Jobes, Bainbridge High School Class of 2022. “Even though I hadn’t graduated yet [on Paint Night], I felt like I had finished with all this hard work that I put in. People are going to see my name on the road and remember that I was at Bainbridge.”

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Agate Restaurant

Have you heard about Agate?

It’s a gem of a place

According to a gemstone expert, “agates balance the mind, body, and spirit, helping you slow down and center yourself.”

In other words, they have an effect not unlike the Agate Restaurant.

Agate, located near the corner of Winslow Way and 305 next to the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, is the kind of place that makes you feel comfortable and welcome the moment you step in the door.

The reason is simple and comes down to two warm people: chef and owner Paul Mancebo and service and wine director Yolanda Ferrer.

The story began just a few blocks from the restaurant at Bainbridge High School. Mancebo had just graduated in 2004. Still unsure of a career path, he enrolled as a math major at Washington State University, but found himself skipping class to page through cookbooks.

Bowing to the inevitable, he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, graduating in 2007. Following internships at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro in Napa Valley and the Romantik Hotel Spielweg in Obermunstertal, Germany, he spent years on the line in New York, including a stint under Olivier Muller at db Bistro Moderne, where he made the legendary DB Burger—a juicy sirloin burger stuffed with braised short ribs, foie gras and black truffles.

Fast forward to Bainbridge Island and a restaurant named Agate. Mancebo returned to Bainbridge to help in the kitchen but, when the chef left, he took the plunge and bought the restaurant. While that resulted in some changes, Agate’s menu continues to highlight local farms and purveyors, influenced by flavors from around the world.

“Agate has a longstanding loyal clientele who have been patrons of this restaurant for a long time,” said Mancebo. “They know what they want, but there are also things that I want to cook,” he said. “It’s been a learning process to see what people are interested in and how far they are willing to venture outside of their expectations.”

Agate Restaurant

500 Winslow Way East, Suite 170

206-855-3737 59
on this

HARBOUR Public House

The British invented the Pub. The Harbour Public House perfected it.

It’s right there on the Harbour Public House website, big as day. The single word that sums up what the Pub is all about: NOURISH.

That may come as a surprise to diners expecting traditional pub food, such as Bangers and Mash, Shepherd’s Pie and Toad in the Hole, said Paige Dobbs, front of house manager. Fact is, the Pub has been serving the Bainbridge Island community nutrient-rich local food and beverages since 1991.

Like many other Bainbridge Island restaurants, COVID meant big changes at the Pub. Perhaps the biggest shift for people used to the pre-COVID Pub is that it’s no longer 21-and-over only. “We wanted to be a little more inclusive,” said Dobbs “So we changed our liquor license and opened the door to more families and people that may have just moved to the island.”

Already known for items such as Dungeness Crab Rolls and Classic Chowder, the Pub now also offers uniquely delicious choices, including the World’s First Kelp Burger, a 100 percent vegan creation, and Kimchi Poutine, a nod to the poutine offerings that were once on the Pub’s menu.

The Pub aims to provide a welcoming and comfortable environment for people to gather and enjoy locally-sourced food and beverages.

“We try to be as local as possible,” said Dobbs. “There are so many great small farms, wineries and distilleries around us. If we can help support their products, they help support us. And it’s this full circle nourishment of the community that makes the Pub, the Pub.”

on this
Harbour Public
231 Parfitt Way SW, 206-842-0969

feast on this


How a mythical flying horse won over a legion of coffee lovers.

Back when Starbucks was a fledgling business, a fanatical coffee devotee on Bainbridge Island was working to create the perfect coffee bean. Over the years, the coffee roaster—Pegasus founder David Dessinger—sought a roast that would show the island how flavorful coffee could be.

Mentored by none other than coffee aficionado Alfred Peet—founder of Peet’s Coffee— Dessinger finally developed the elusive formula that allowed Pegasus Coffee to bring a classic European-style coffee house to the Pacific Northwest.

And that was just the beginning. Dessinger also dreamed of re-creating the coffee house atmosphere he had loved in Berkeley, California: a place filled with lively discussions, live performances and local art. Pegasus quickly became a thriving gathering place and was named one of the best independent coffee shops in the world by the Financial Times in 2022.

“This coffee house has been a community hub on the island for more than 40 years,” said Matt Grady, president of Pegasus Coffee, who purchased the company in 2021. While Grady is fervent about coffee, he’s just as devoted to building on the arthouse feeling the place exudes. “Pegasus has always been more than a business,” he said. “Our team has also focused on creating safe meeting spaces for communities and supportive homes for local artists.”

Beyond its sustainably sourced, hand-roasted coffees and house-made food, Pegasus features ongoing events including live music, paint night, open mic night and bingo night.

Pegasus continues to grow in other ways as well. “Last year, we joined forces to offer Bainbridge Island Museum of Art patrons a new Pegasus Coffee espresso bar as part of the museum’s redesigned BIMA Bistro,” said Grady.

Now about that flying horse…It turns out that Dessinger loved Greek mythology and was mulling ideas for the company name and logo when he was presented with the Pegasus option. “The flying horse was this inspirational kind of figure, and he just loved the connection to mythology,” said Grady.

Pegasus has been flying high ever since. 61
Pegasus, 131 Parfitt Way, 206-317-6914


1. Show and Tell at BARN

Those curious about the manifold offerings at the Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network can swing by on the first Tuesday of the month for an evening of show-and-tell. Learn from makers and check out projects in the fields of food, technology, fiber arts and jewelry (just to name a few).

First Tuesdays, 7 – 9 p.m.

2. Music at Pegasus

One of B.I.’s most charming haunts offers evenings of live music every Friday, and a recent partnership with Seattle’s Hot Cakes means you can pair award-winning molten chocolate dessert with world-class coffee. Beer and wine are also available. Fridays, 4 – 6 p.m.

3. Vibe Out! at Café Hitchcock

Opportunities for late-night revelry aren’t easy to come by on an island where 9 p.m. usually stands in for midnight. But they’re also not impossible to find—if you know where to go. Join Bainbridge’s own DJ Sidecar every second Saturday for a funky, vinyl-fueled dance party and happy hour.

March 9, April 13, May 11, 9 p.m. - Midnight

4. “The Book of Will” at BPA

For those who are already looking forward to the Bard at Bloedel this summer, Lauren Gunderson’s 2017 comedy offers a prelude to Shakespeare season. Inspired by historical events, the “Book of Will” recounts the quest of two of Shakespeare’s friends to preserve his collected works after his death. March 8 – 24, Fridays and Saturdays 7:30 p.m., Sundays 3 p.m.

5. The Gothard Sisters at Lynwood Theater

Celebrate Saint Paddy’s with lively Celtic tunes from the Edmonds-based Gothard Sisters. The trio has gained an international following for their spirited blend of traditional and contemporary Celtic music and their joyful live performances.

March 14, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.

6. Jean Lenke at the Marketplace

Jean Lenke’s vocals are smooth and uplifting (a perfect start to the weekend). Lenke offers a catalog of jazz, rock and folk music, including original songs, as well as covers of Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell and others.

March 22, 7 – 9 p.m.

7. Ian Hale Skavdahl at Eleven Winery

Ian Skavdahl’s skill with a looping pedal adds a dynamic layer to his genrespanning repertoire (from earthy folk to energetic rock, and beyond). Catch his performance at Eleven’s cozy Day Road location.

March 24, 2 – 5 p.m.

8. Kara Hesse and the Passenger String Quartet at Lynwood Theatre

Based in Nashville, Kara Hesse spent a number of years in the PNW, animating the Kitsap music scene with her distinctive vocals and range of sounds, from breezy country to soulful rock (she’s been compared to Bonnie Raitt). She’s teaming up with the experimental Passenger String Quartet for a dynamic show at the Lynwood.

April 13, doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 7 p.m.

9. Earth Day Expo at Battle Point Earth Day Expo returns this year promising a joyful day devoted to learning about sustainability. The event will also feature games, live music and food truck.

April 27, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

10. Jovino Santos Neto at the Manor House

Hailing from Rio de Janeiro, Jovino Santos Neto is a three-time Latin Grammy nominee and a fixture in the Seattle jazz scene, offering colorful and eclectic compositions. The master flutist and pianist brings a vibrant and playful passion to his shows (check out his Tiny Desk Concert for a taste).

May 5, 6:30 – 9 p.m.

ReFashion Show at Islandwood

Sustainable Bainbridge and Bainbridge

Island Zero Waste’s annual ReFashion (formerly Trashion) Show promises a quirky and inspiring celebration of outfits crafted entirely from used materials. This year’s show includes a “shop your closet” category—designers use only materials that they (or their


In focus


What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Bainbridge Island? Pickleball?

The ferry? Apocryphal wildlife sightings? A complicated relationship with roundabouts?

Wouldn’t it be great to get all of those iconic Bainbridge themes into one image?

How about throwing in some Teslas, a few cyclists, a bunch of bananas (inexplicably hoarded every time the weather turns severe), an “Out of Service” sign (the ferry again) and a completely random leopard?

When islander Jon Liebling found himself with time on his hands while touring the Southwest in his motorhome, he decided to take on the challenge.

“I have a lot of free time and I just created it for kicks,” he said. “There was no master plan.”

Liebling, president and founder of promotional products company, posted the initial image, created with AI image generator DALL-E, on a thread (predictably concerning a roundabout) on the Bainbridge Islanders Facebook page.

From there, it took on a life of its own.

“People started to weigh in,” Liebling said, “so I started to add more things. It evolved in a sort of collaborative way, based on their input.” The final image generated so much buzz that it’s now the Bainbridge Islanders’ masthead.

So why the leopard?

“I didn’t pick the leopard,” he said. “AI picked the leopard on its own. AI tends to have hallucinations.”


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epilogue & contributors

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editor’s letter

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