Monday, April 19, 2010

Bainbridge Island

So, yesterday our planned meeting of the book group fell apart on us due to a lot of complications on a lot of people's part. We had been intending to meet at the Teahouse Kuan Yin in Ballard (west of the university district) to discuss the Percy Jackson novel THE LIGHTNING THIEF, but with the afternoon unexpectedly free, we decided this wd be a good time to visit Bainbridge Island, adding it to our successful 'visit-an-island-in-the-Sound' trips, starting with last year's trips to Whidbey Island and then, a few months later, San Juan.

Bainbridge Island is much closer and much easier to reach: we just drove down to the Tukwila park-and-ride, took the light rail up to Pioneer Square, walked from there down to Pier 52, and took the ferry across to Eagle Harbor. Arriving at the August Moon Teahouse, we found it is no more, calling for a change in plan. So we strolled about a bit, stopping in a nice local bookstore (Eagle Harbor Books: "independent since 1969") which apparently does a lot of book signings and promotions of local authors. Another place had some really nice antiques and art pieces, including a Naga door and some 4,000 year old Mongolian pots, but our search for a place to sit down and enjoy a nice pot of tea continued to elude us.

One place, a candle store called Paraffine, sold tea, but it turned out to be tea leaves (in many different varieties, packaged in Finland), not tea you could drink then and there. I hadn't realized the Finns were big tea drinkers -- though it does make a kind of sense; I knew the Russians loved tea, and the Russia had ruled over Finland for a good bit of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, but it hadn't occurred to me that any acculturation had taken place. I departed, three packets of tea (Sir Robert's Blend, Manor Blend, and Assam TGFOP) and three candles (a sm. yellow, a black pyramid, and a red spiced beeswax votive) the richer.

Not far away was Churchmouse Yarns & Teas, but here again there turned out to be no tea-drinking, only dry tea; we departed from there with 3 oz of their Canadian Breakfast and a free sampler of their Churchmouse Winter blend ("Created especially for Churchmouse Yarns & Teas by Steven Smith Teamaker").

And then, finally, we came across the Blackbird Bakery (and not where our map said we wd), where in addition to pastries and the like you cd buy a large pot of tea and take it outside to relax and enjoy a nice hot cup. So we sat outside, enjoyed our tea, talked about the RIck Riordan book (we both liked the whole series), and watched an industrious little sparrow take care of any crumb anyone might drop.

After that we wandered back down to the ferry, took it back across (turns out you can see Seattle quite distinctly from the Bainbridge harbor, well enough that even someone with my eyesight cd make out the Space Needle to the north and stadium to the south. Reversing our earlier sequence got us home long before dark, where the cats all insisted it must be suppertime. A pleasant trip, if less memorable than the Whidbey and San Juan ones.

Next time, we'll give Vashon a try.

current reading: the CATH MAIGE TUIRED [11th century], tr. Eliz. Gray [1983]


Ardamir said...

Not sure if it is true that Finns are big tea drinkers. I know few people who drink tea regularly. It is said that we are the biggest coffee drinkers in the world though.

Btw, Finland wasn't under Russia in the 18th century, we were part of Sweden then. Sweden lost Finland to Russia in 1809 (the 200th anniversary was "celebrated" last year).

John D. Rateliff said...

Hi Ardamir

Thanks for the information and correction. I'm glad to have both.
So the surprising news I learned was less than reliable. Ah well. Glad to learn about the coffee thing; apparently one thing yr area and mine (Puget Sound) have in common. When we go to other parts of the country now, we're struck by how few coffee stands there are. Acculturation at work.