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Thursday, September 9, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Bainbridge Island: Wandering through Winslow on a late-summer day

Seattle Times Travel editor

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The walk: Every walk should begin this way — with a 35-minute boat ride across Puget Sound on a brilliant late-summer Saturday morning. Chalk it up to life in the Pacific Northwest — and a visit to the farmers market in Winslow on Bainbridge Island.

The market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday, April through October, and besides giving islanders a chance to do a little shopping, the market provides mainlanders with the opportunity to experience a bit of the idyllic life on this big Puget Sound rock.

Here's what you do.

Walk or drive your car onto the Bainbridge Island ferry at Pier 52 on the Seattle waterfront. The walk, frankly, is easy — though uphill at times; downtown Winslow is only a few short blocks from the ferry terminal on the island. Take the car only if you want to explore the rest of the island while you're there — or spend about $25 more than you have to.

Once you disembark on the Bainbridge side, walk a couple blocks uphill on Olympic Drive Southeast to Winslow Way East and turn left. (By the way, at that intersection are a visitors center and chamber of commerce offices should you need more information or help.) Directly ahead, to the west, is downtown, where there's plenty to do and see. You'll have no trouble spotting places to eat or to shop or to catch a quick drink.

About two-thirds of the way along, you'll come to Madrone Lane, and that's where you'll turn right and head uphill, a bit more than a block, to the city park and the farmers market.

You can't miss it, frankly. It appears that every marketeer invaded Costco on the same day and snatched up every matching white tent he or she could find. It's got to be the most neatly arranged, most boutique-y farmers market ever, one that no doubt would turn the turnips of any chip-nailed earthworker from the likes of Kansas.

No matter.

Enjoy the booths, as many as 36 of them on a busy day, offering everything from jams and greens to handmade glasswork and iced Americanos.

A visit to the market, though, gives you a great excuse to wander the streets of Winslow, a chance to see its waterfront vistas and take a quick jaunt through some homey neighborhoods.

When you're done at the market, head back the way you came on Madrone and continue heading west on Winslow until you reach Madison Avenue South.

Turn left and head downhill to the waterfront, where Madison ends and intersects with Parfitt Way Southwest. Follow Parfitt to the right. Head uphill about a block to Wood Avenue Southwest, taking a bit of time to enjoy the architecture and that great view back over Eagle Harbor, where you first arrived.

At Wood, turn right and walk another block north to Winslow, where you'll turn right again and walk back to Madison. There, turn left. Along the way, you'll get a taste of some of the city's older bungalow homes and small gardens — beautiful in late summer.

You'll be heading uphill as you walk north on Madison, past shops and homes to Wyatt Way Northeast. Turn right and walk another block to Ericksen Avenue Northeast.

Again, along the way, notice the housing. Winslow must be a small-town capital for interesting small-scale residences — brand new, clustered and smartly designed. They are worth noticing.

Once on Ericksen (a right turn from Wyatt), you'll be heading south and downhill back to the heart of town.

And that's about it. The walk (from ferry dock back to ferry dock) is about two miles.

Secret tip: For a pleasant alternate route between downtown Winslow and the ferry terminal, try the Waterfront Trail. Before you go, print out a PDF map with detailed information on the trail. On the Web see www.ci.bainbridge-isl.wa.us/news&events.asp. Near the bottom of the Web page click on "Bainbridge Island Walker & Bicyclist Guide 2004/2005" (see Pages 8-9).

Lunch or snack stop: Either pick up some food in town (at the farmers market; one of the cafes; Town & Country Market, a Winslow fixture; or at Pegasus Coffee on Parfitt Way) and then walk down through the parking lot on the west side of Pegasus to the water.

There you'll find a spectacular spot to sit, eat and enjoy the view over Eagle Harbor and its ferry landing to the water and island views beyond.

Access: There are several uphill climbs in this walk, though none of them is overly strenuous. There also are several blocks with no sidewalks, so you're either using the road shoulder or in a few spots the roadway itself.

Bus/ferry: For easy going, leave your car home and take the bus to catch the Bainbridge Island ferry at Pier 52 on the Seattle waterfront (Metro routes 66 and 16 go there directly, and numerous routes serve downtown, only blocks away).

If you do drive, driver and vehicle will cost you $12.50 each way, plus $5.70 round-trip for each additional passenger (same as walk-ons). Remember that car and driver will pay on the return trip, too.

See www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries or call 800-843-3779.

Terry Tazioli: ttazioli@seattletimes.com or 206-464-2224.

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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