I love living in two very different communities. After a year of calling both Seattle and Bainbridge Island home, I know I’ve found the balance in life that works for me. I split my month between South Bainbridge and the Maple Leaf neighborhood in North Seattle. Waking up in my Bainbridge home never gets old; the smell of the sound, the waves from the ferry, the gulls with my morning coffee…then on to the 7:05 ferry to head to the big city. The trip over gives me a chance to prepare for my day and enjoy the views from the top deck. Arriving to the city that I’ve called home my whole life was a bit odd at first, but I’ve come to love Seattle all over again. I love the bustle and business of it (strange to say about my little berg I grew up in), all day knowing I’ll end my day back in my Japanese garden on the island.
A few weeks a month I stay in Seattle full time, especially during the busier times of year in real estate. Moving from Wallingford to Maple Leaf has allowed me the chance to explore another area I hadn’t spent much time in. Maple Leaf is an interesting neighborhood as it’s one of the last pre-war neighborhoods, which is why the sidewalk ends at 92nd. There’s a good combination of old century and new world charm homes with the last decade bringing a wave of newer construction. It’s been so fun walking out my door and finding new places to eat and parks to walk through. If you find yourself in the Maple Leaf neighborhood here are a few spots I recommend:
A true Maple Leaf icon. If you haven’t had the chance to eat at Snappy Dragon, you are missing out. Judy Fu has been whipping up amazing Chinese food since 1993 and shows no signs of stopping. The signature jiao-zi (boiled dumplings) are served with Judy’s tangy dipping sauce and if you’re not careful you might just eat a whole order by yourself (and I wouldn’t blame you).
I’ve only been once so far, but it was memorable, so it makes the list. This small restaurant is located to the right of the Southbound freeway entrance on Lake City. Just look for the yellow building and you can’t miss it. Mojito has been serving authentic Latin American food for 18 years and almost everything on the menu comes with tostones, which are tasty, twice-fried plantain slices.
If you’re looking for a great cocktail, check out The Maple. Located right on Roosevelt, this pub serves great cocktails, craft beers, and seasonal dishes. It’s the perfect stop to grab a drink any time of the year with a cozy fireplace inside for the rainy season and outdoor seating for the sunny Seattle days.
For all your tile needs, there’s no better spot than Art Tile Co. In business since 1947, the pros at Art Tile can help with your project from finding tile that match your specifications to installation. And you can even bring your dog!
The Rez is a local icon that’s been around forever. It’s a classic drive bar located across the street from Maple Leaf Reservoir Park. If you’re looking to snack on some decent pub food and drink a cheap beer this is the place for you.
Opened in 2013, this 16-acre park sits on top of the 60 million-gallon reservoir. The park features a play area, sports courts, gardens, and on a clear day there’s viewpoint of Mount Rainier and Lake Washington.
I’ve loved exploring Bainbridge, some of my favorite things to do are walk among the old grove trees in the Grand Forest, venture around the Gazzam Lake trails. It’s also fun to learn more about the local history. Fun fact: Pleasant Beach, my neck of the woods, is where the local timber industry used to be and was home to the brothels, which is how it got its name. There’s also a lot of different house styles ranging from Northwest contemporary, modern styles, 90’s boxes, and rustic cabins. If you ever make the trip over to the island for a day, here are a few of my other favorite spots you can check out:
A newer restaurant owned by a British expat, Proper Fish serves fish and chips, classic mushy peas, and a rotating selection of chowders, made fresh daily. All their cod is sourced from boats that use a sustainable hook and line technique.
Located in Pleasant Beach Village, The Beach House is an upscale restaurant perfect for a nice night out. Their BBQ heirloom carrots are so tasty my mouth waters just thinking about them. Boasting the Island’s best happy hour and bar, The Beach House is 21+ except Sundays from 9am-1pm for brunch.
Opened in 2010, Hitchcock serves farm-to-table dishes inspired by the PNW. My favorite thing to do is order the chefs choice – you tell them how much you want to pay and they’ll bring you food and wine until you’ve hit your cap. No matter what they bring to the table, it’s always delicious.