Do you ever really need an excuse to hop on a ferry and head over to Bainbridge Island? The charming, wooded haven with beautiful views of the Sound and Seattle feels like it’s worlds away from the relatively fast-paced life of the city, yet it’s only a 30-minute ferry ride. While it’s easy to spend a day hanging out on the beaches or meandering down back-country roads, the main drag on Winslow Way, walkable from the ferry, actually boasts a fabulous new art museum, lauded restaurants, and some seriously sophisticated shopping, with one-of-a-kind boutiques that can make your holiday shopping for that special item a cinch.
At Petit and Olson (156 Winslow Way E., 201-3262), where French Provincial vintage decor meets eclectic, modern bohemian, you’ll find women’s clothing that’s both stylish and Pacific Northwest-inflected, like flannel shirts with lovely, detailed printed backs and gorgeous cashmere sweaters with intricate designs, as well as unique accessories like handbags and hats. There are also plenty of items for the home, like luxe pillows and bedding, some of it made by local designers. This store is so chic that it snagged a write-up in Elle Décor a few years ago.
Meanwhile, over at Magnolias (123 Winslow Way E., 842-8333), across the street, it’s all about shoes—mostly. But not just any shoes; these all look like something you’d find in Europe, and run the gamut from on-trend booties in styles you won’t find at Nordstrom to clogs, sandals, flats, and sneakers that truly manage to fuse comfort with style. But if it’s too difficult to pick out shoes for someone, this shop also has plenty of fashionable jewelry, like cute copper rings, handbags, scarves, and bath and body products. Where else will you find a bar of soap with a ferry and the words “Bainbridge Island” emblazoned on it?
For the book lover in your life, Bainbridge Island truly boasts one of the best indie bookstores in all of greater Seattle. Eagle Harbor Book Co. (157 Winslow Way E., 842-5332) has been around since 1970, and its cavernous space is expertly curated. From shelves with the hottest, current reads in fiction and nonfiction and interesting staff picks to a great cookbook section and an entire area in the back devoted to kids’ books (complete with a couch to read on), Eagle Harbor is the kind of place you can easily while away hours in, and one where book sellers openly approach you to talk about what you—and they—are reading. A week before the election, my daughter bought a Hillary Clinton biography, and a staffer gave her a free Hillary button when she checked out. It’s that kind of little touch that make it a don’t-miss destination.
Looking to send a far-flung family member or friend a little token of the Pacific Northwest? Then Millstream (122 Winslow Way E., 842-4495) is your place, featuring sculpture, artwork, jewelry, and other home decor that is mostly local-made and celebrates the scenery and native history of the area. From prints with ancestral symbols to sculptures that feature flora and fauna of the region, you can spend a little or a lot—depending on your budget. Housed in a charming cottage on Winslow Way, it’s right in the heart of Bainbridge. n