Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Puget Sound Idyll

My friend Michel was raving about a fantastic spot near Seattle she discovered on a weekend with friends, so I asked her to share it with all of us. Thanks, Michel!

Last month, we had tickets for a Saturday night show at Jazz Alley in Seattle, and assumed we’d stay downtown as we usually do. But when our favorite B&B and affordable downtown hotels were booked, I turned to Craigslist Seattle for an alternative. In just a few minutes, I hit the jackpot when I found a “vacation rental” post for Porpoise Cottage. Located right on the water, about 10 miles from the Bainbridge Island ferry landing on the Kitsap Peninsula, it turned what was going to be a city weekend into an island escape.

The 3-bedroom “cottage” is located in the tiny town of Suquamish, home to the Suqamish tribe and burial ground of Chief Selath (often called Chief Seattle). The house sits just above Madison Bay with a fabulous deck that overlooks a gorgeous 180-degree east-facing view of water, water, water. Once we arrived and settled into the Adirondack chairs, we didn’t want to leave. It was a lazy pleasure to enjoy the morning sun with a cuppa Stumptown and a good book, though I frequently abandoned reading to gaze at the sparkling water and watch osprey fishing. Sunday morning, we spotted porpoises cutting through the bay. At night, it was equally compelling to linger on the deck, sipping wine and talking, with the bay glimmering in the moonlight.

Our good luck in finding the house was magnified by the full August moon. Our Friday evening ferry trip west to Bainbridge, and our Saturday evening ferry trip east to Seattle for the Jazz Alley show, were breathtaking. With the sun setting in the west, we watched the Seattle skyline gleam with a rosy glow as the huge, creamy moon rose behind it. To the west, the Olympic Mountains turned deep purple against a fuschia-colored sky. The passengers gathered on the ferry deck stood silently in slack-jawed amazement. If that view was a drug, it would definitely be heroin.

Suquamish is a short drive from Poulsbo, which has a Saturday farmers' market and a good grocery store called Central Market. We loaded up on vegetables, peaches and tiny sweet strawberries at the farmers' market, picked up just-baked bread at a downtown bakery, and snagged some briny salmon and other supplies at Central Market, and returned home with our booty. We cooked and ate with abandon all weekend and spent far less than we would have eating out in Seattle.

Madison Bay is prime kayaking territory, so next time we go, we’ll get up close and personal with the bay. Unless, of course, the veil of sun-induced laziness descends again and we simply can’t move from that inviting deck!

Details: Porpoise Cottage on Puget Sound near Suquamish, Washington. E-mail for information or reservations.

Photos by Bruce Kerr.

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