Saturday, October 13, 2012

Kitsap Favorites

Now that I've been living in Bremerton for a year and a half, I figure I've been here long enough that I should have a Kitsap Favorites list to keep track of the places we've gone.  Like my other favorites lists, I will come back and update this post as we find new places and events to enjoy, and I'll place a link to this post in the margin on my blog for easy reference.

Places to Go / Daytrips:

- Seattle Aquarium.  We've been to many aquariums around the country.  Although the Seattle Aquarium is somewhat small compared to others, it is a pretty nice aquarium with good exhibits.  We particularly enjoyed seeing the baby sea otter.

- EMP Museum.  I HIGHLY recommend the EMP Museum.  This place is awesome.  If we were staying in the area, I would buy the annual pass so we could go back again.

- Pike's Place Market in Seattle.  Oh my!  What a cacaphony of sights, sounds, and smells!  Just looking at pictures, you might be inclined to think to yourself, "Self, so what?  It's just a market."
- Seattle Seahawks.  One of my Sailors did a reenlistment here, and it was pretty awesome.  They allowed ten of us down on the sidelines to watch the Seahawks warmup.  I got hit in the shoulder by a practice field goal kick.  Head Coach Pete Carroll walked over and shook our hands and took pictures with us.  We got to watch the team run onto the field and stood on the field saluting during the national anthem.  Then we went up to our seats to watch the game.  Warning:  The Seahawks stadium is known as the LOUDEST in the nation.  It was deafening.  I saw kids there wearing headphones.

- Northwest Trek Wildlife Park.  We enjoyed this place.  You ride a tram / open-aired bus around the park and get to see tons of caribou, elk, mountain goats, deer, and other animals in their natural habiat.
- Olympic Game Farm.  I haven't actually been here yet, but my family has been a couple of times with visitors while I was out at sea.  I've seen the pictures, and it looks pretty cool.  You drive through in your own car, and you'll have all sorts of animals sticking their heads in your windows to eat bread out of your hand.

- Port Townshend.  Fort Worden State Park and the town of Port Townshend are where the movie Officer and a Gentleman was filmed.  Fort Worden was one of three forts guarding the entrance to Puget Sound and the approaches to Seattle, and the old concrete gun emplacements on top of artillery hill command a very nice view.  We also walked out to the Point Wilson Lighthouse and got to climb up and see the beautiful Fresnel lens.  The view from the top of the lighthouse is also pretty spectacular.

Weekend Getaways:
- Great Wolf Lodge, Grand Mound, WA - it's a hotel with a big INDOOR waterslide park.
- Evergreen Air & Space Museum and Waterpark in McMinnville, Oregon
- Astoria, Oregon - Goonies never say die!

Outdoor Activities:

Hiking and Snowshoeing:
- Green Mountain - Gold Creek Trail - close by, not too difficult, might be okay for kids depending on how used to hiking your kids are.
- Guillemot Cove Nature Preserve - close by, short easy walk with kids.
- Mount Rainier National Park - Snowshoeing at Paradise - I want to go back sometime and do the Park Ranger guided snowshoe trek.  It is open for kids 8 yrs old and up.
- Olympic National Park - Dosewallips River
- Olympic National Park - Hurricane Ridge in snow - in winter months they have sledding here for kids under 8.
- FAV! Olympic National Park - Hurricane Hill in summer
- Olympic National Park - Mount Zion - steep and strenuous hike, not recommended for kids.
- Olympic National Park - Marymere Falls and Spruce Railroad Trail - short hike to beautiful waterfall, easy for kids.
- Olympic National Park - Obstruction Point to Deer Park - long hike for adults only.
- Olympic National Park - Staircase Rapids - short and easy hike, easy for kids.
- FAV! Snoqualmie - Snowshoeing and Tubing

- See also Kitsap Kayaking Resources
- Port Gamble kayaking (Hood Canal)
- Belfair State Park kayaking (Hood Canal)

Places on my "to do" list but I haven't made it there yet:
- Hiking Cape Flattery
- Kayaking Nisqually Flats
- Weekend trip to Victoria or Vancouver, BC
- Weekend trip to Pacific Beach - Navy MWR has a beach hotel and cottages there

Restaurants:  I've been exploring and trying many different restaurants around the Kitsap peninsula, but here are a few that I have been back to more than once:

- Barbie's Cafe in Seabeck.  I found this place totally by accident when coming back from hiking Green Mountain, and it quickly became my favorite on the peninsula.  Nice little cafe on the Hood Canal with excellent food, and if you're lucky you'll get to watch the bald eagles soaring around the dock outside while you eat.

- Oak Table in Kingston.  THE BEST BREAKFAST on the peninsula.  They also have a second location in Sequim, and somebody who shall remain nameless accidentally entered THAT location into our car's GPS and started driving toward Sequim one Sunday morning.  Thankfully somebody else in the car had a clue and said, "Why are you driving past the exit?"  Granted, Kingston is about a 30 minute drive out from Silverdale, but it's totally worth it.

- Port Gamble General Store in... well... Port Gamble.  Also has excellent breakfast.  To wit - lemon ricotta pancakes with fresh blackberry compote. 

- Mike's Four Star Barbecue in Port Gamble.  Although I'm not a fan of their cole slaw, everything else here is delicious.  If you've got a large party to feed, Mike's does a great job with catering - just pick up some large trays of ribs and beef brisket and you're all set!

- Fondi's Pizzeria in Gig Harbor.  My kids beg us to go here all the time.  They love the pepperoni rolls that are on the appetizer menu.  I am also a big fan of their pizza and wish they were closer to our house.  Our favorite pizza place in Silverdale closed down and we haven't found a suitable replacement, so we've been making our pizza at home.

- Yacht Club Broiler.  Right on the waterfront in Silverdale, WA, the food is delicious, the service is good, and the prices are reasonable.  Twice now, I have hosted large group parties for 20 or so people there, and Yacht Club Broiler did a great job and for a very reasonable price.  (Thumbs down - they serve Pepsi, but so does just about every other establishment in Kitsap County.)

- Burrata Bistro in Poulsbo.  Think butternut squash ravioli.  My kids don't like this place (food too fancy), so we don't go often, but I LOVE their culinary masterpieces.

- That's Some Italian Restaurant in Poulsbo.  This is a family favorite for us.  The name is kinda cheesy and the prices are a little steep, but the food is really good.  I think my kids just like to eat here for the garlic bread and meatballs.

- Juanito's Taco Shop in Chico.  Little shack on the side of the road with great Mexican food.

- Tacqueria El Huarche in Silverdale.  There are MANY Mexican restaurants around here, but for those of you from San Diego, this is where you can get a California Burrito (carne asada burrito with french fries just like Santana's on Rosecrans in San Diego).

Ivar's Seafood in Seattle.  This is worth the ferry ride over to Seattle.  Take the Bainbridge Island Ferry over, get off the ferry and turn left.  Ivar's is one of the first restaurants on your left hand side.  Top notch food and service.

SUSHI.  While I've been happy with the plethora of Mexican restaurants to choose from, I've been disappointed by the selection of sushi.  Probably just because I was spoiled coming here from Pearl Harbor where I had dozens of awesome sushi places to choose from and ate sushi multiple times per week.  There are two places here in Silverdale - Origami Sushi and Hakata.  Neither are great.  Hakata violates their agreement with the credit card company and won't let you use a credit card unless you spend $25 or more.  Their sushi isn't bad, but the quantity I received was small in comparison to the price I paid.  Origami likes to put gobs of mayonnaise on their rolls.  Yech.

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