Walking the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island feels more like exploring exquisite rooms perfectly balanced with nature. As you move from one space into another, the light, color, and mood of each space transforms effortlessly. Every bend in a path, placement of a bench and framing of each transition is a result of careful planning and an incredible esthetic eye. All this creates a magical journey through the gorgeous 150 acres of meadows, woodlands, and formal gardens.
Plan a visit to the Bloedel Reserve this spring when the gardens are at their most beautiful. It’s the perfect time for a tranquil getaway to Bainbridge Island, just a scenic ferry ride from downtown Seattle. The Eagle Harbor Inn has a wonderful downtown location, walkable from the ferry and to all the great Bainbridge island shops and restaurants. Reserve your romantic spring escape to lovely Bainbridge Island.
3 Things you Must See at Bloedel Reserve
All of the 23 distinct landscapes have a charm, serenity, and beauty of their own. Each visitor will have their particular favorite garden, view or path. Some linger at the original home with its elegant decor and sweeping views of Puget Sound. Others love the reflection pool or moss garden. However, 3 areas stand out as the most tranquil and unique spots in the Bloedel Reserve:
- The Birch Garden – Walking through the stand of slender white trees feels like a page from a fairytale. The dappled sunlight shines through the delicate leaves and onto the tiny spring flowers under the trees. As the path curves around and the canopy thickens the magical Christmas Pond, with tiny waterfall comes into view.
- The Glen – Just beyond the Christmas Pond, the path straightens and climbs upward to the glen. During springtime, this rhododendron forest is an explosion of color.
- Japanese Gardens – The Japanese guest house and gardens are by far one of the most beloved spaces at the Bloedel Reserve. Visitors can walk around the guest house’s large deck and sit contemplating the two perfectly balanced Japanese gardens.
A Springtime Tour of the Bloedel Reserve
The Bloedel Reserve invites guests to immerse themselves in nature. Take your time while walking the 2 miles of trails through gardens and forests. The whole journey will take about 2 hours but many stay longer to enjoy the views. The path begins in a meadow of colorful tall grass that passes large sheds, once the home of a flock of sheep. Leaving the sunny field, guests enter a deep second-growth forest trail that leads to a small pond.
The pond provides nesting for many birds including ducks and geese. The path exiting the pond winds around a newly added meadow where more than 50 varieties of native wildflowers and 50,000 bulbs have been planted. Imagine all the brilliant blossoms blooming this spring!
The path then crosses the tall trestle bridge over a forest stream and leads to a bog boardwalk. Walkthrough the marsh without getting your feet muddy while enjoying the singing frogs that live among the strange carnivorous plants. The scene changes again as you exit the lush forest and it opens to a large paved path with views of the mid pond and the Bloedel home.
The main rooms on the first floor are open to exploring and public restrooms are also available here. The home is lovely, however, the water views from the back lawn are the most stunning feature of the location. After enjoying the Puget Sound vista, take the stairs at the side of the house, down to the waterfall overlook.
The trail to the right leads to the birch garden that branches off to the bluff trail. The bluff leads to more water views, while the path through the birch forest ends at the magical Christmas Pond. After crossing a tiny wooden bridge, the trail leads to a rhododendron forest, which is a springtime highlight.
After crossing the large paved path and a trail through a forested area, visitors arrive at the graceful Japanese guest house and gardens. The guest house porch overlooks the award-winning garden with a vast collection of trees reflected off a small pond. A serene sand and stone garden stands at the front of the guest house, and a stone path beyond it leads to the moss garden. The velvety mosses and lichens cover tree stumps and the forest floor, with the trail ending at the reflection pool surrounded by yew hedges.
From here the trail leads back to the other side of the meadow where your journey began.
The Best Lodging on Bainbridge Island
Visitors return to the Bloedel Reserve year after year to find peace and tranquillity. In any season the Bloedel Reserve has a unique beauty, but spring is especially vibrant. The luxurious rooms, suites, and townhomes at The Eagle Harbor Inn will make any stay unforgettable. Book your romantic spring vacation and escape to our beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest.