Bloedel Reserve, Pond, Historic
An Afternoon at Bloedel Reserve

On a sunny spring afternoon, I had the pleasure of visiting one of my favorite places in the whole world – Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, a 40 minute drive from Port Ludlow.

The reserve is an award-winning 150 acre, public garden that has a mixture of perfectly fern and foliage lined trails, landscaped gardens, a Japanese garden, a moss garden, a reflection pool, and the Bloedel family’s former estate home.

Upon my arrival, I was greeted at the gates to the Reserve by a friendly guest services representative who provided me with a map and let me into the grounds. As I opened up the map to figure out my path, only to get lost later on (whoops!), I was immediately drawn to the quote at the bottom of the map – “Nature can live without man, but man cannot live without nature.”  And with that, I began my journey from the Gate House & Gift Shop out onto the Reserve.


I walked down beautifully manicured woodland trails with distinctive tree stumps, flowers, ferns, and foliage. As noted in the map, Mr. Boedel thought signs and labels on plants were distracting to the experience and instead, wished for each guest to interpret the gardens from their own perspective. This lead me to, arguably, my favorite spot in the whole Reserve – the Reflection Pool.

reflection pool

I sat on a bench overlooking the pool and took a few minutes to breathe in the fresh air and take in my surroundings. I started to feel immediately relaxed. Mr. Bloedel believed that nature has restorative powers and as I sat at the Reflection Pool I started to feel those restorative powers Mr. Bloedel alluded to.

After a meditative break at the Reflection Pool, I made my way over to the Japanese Sand & Stone Garden. The beautifully raked gravel and stone garden transported me to what felt like a different place and time. Each fixture of the Reserve is unique and the Japanese Sand & Stone Garden is no different. One aspect of the Reserve I love so much is the perfectly placed benches. Throughout the trails and features, you can always take a seat, relax, and enjoy your surroundings.

japanese garden

I stumbled upon a beautiful pond with views of the Bloedel family’s former estate home. Stunning? Breathtaking? Magnificent? All of these adjectives, and more, cannot accurately describe the incredible views and feeling of serenity. I felt at peace walking land I know many have walked before me and many will walk after me. I felt incredibly miniature while simultaneously feeling a deep connection to the ground below me. I once read somewhere “There is no WiFi in the forest but you will never find a better connection,” this certainly held true.

bloedel residence

As I made my way to the Former Residence, I spotted a family of geese and the signs of spring were everywhere. Life was in bloom.


The Former Residence which was finished in 1931 and was the Bloedel family’s home from 1951-1986. The historic home features many of the original home furnishings and is a great place to ask volunteers questions or learn more about the Reserve. I spoke with a sweet gentleman who has been a volunteer at the Reserve for the past year. I asked him what he loved about the Reserve and he told me his favorite thing is that there is always something new to take in each and every time you visit the Reserve – so true. Behind the Former Residence, there are spectacular views of Puget Sound. I highly recommend taking the time to walk out onto the lawn and imagine what it must have been like in 1931.

puget sound view

After leaving the Former Residence, I got a little lost…but with my trusty map and carefree attitude I did not mind being found – wherever that may have been. I ended up back at the Reflection Pond. I took another minute to reflect on what a lovely day I had at the Reserve and kept finding my mind traveling to the Prentice Bloedel quote “Nature can live without man, but man cannot live without nature.” In that moment, nothing felt truer.

I highly recommend taking the short trip out to Bloedel Reserve during your stay in Port Ludlow. The Reserve is located at 7571 NE Dolphin Drive on Bainbridge Island and is open year-round, Tuesday – Sunday from 10am to 4pm.

Written by: Kaitlin Chester

Boats, Marina, Harbor, Olympic Peninsula
Q&A with Robert Perry

Every year at the Port Ludlow Marina we are lucky to host The Perry Design Rendezvous featuring Robert (Bob) Perry’s boat designs. 45-50 boats come out for the rendezvous and it is a great chance for sailors to see other Perry designs.  Perry has 47 years of professional yacht design experience in addition to 54 years of involvement in yacht design. Recently, I had the pleasure of conducting a Q&A with Bob Perry.


Photo Credit: Tom Larsen

How did you become interested in boats and sailing?
As a kid, it just came on me. 8th or 9th grade I had to give a talk and use visual aids. For some odd reason I chose to give my talk on sailing and I have no idea why. So I got a bunch of books from the library and started reading about sailing. The spark was lit and I slowly developed a more and more intense interest in sailing. It’s just a part of us that can only be satisfied by sailing.

How did that passion for boats and sailing transform into designing boats?

Perry: High school mechanical drawing classes bridged the two. I got kicked out of band for bad behavior and the only class they could put me in was mechanical drawing. Within two weeks I owned the class and I became passionate about mechanical drawing. My teacher who was very nourishing, a big, gruff guy, he knew how to nurture. He helped me buy mechanical drawing equipment to draw at home. Well what am I going to draw? At school I drew the assignment, at home I drew boats.

I worked at a meat market after school. I was walking home and walked by a drug store with a magazine rack and I saw a boating magazine. There was a sail boat on the cover and I looked at the boat and at that point in my life I thought that was the most beautiful man-made thing I had ever seen. I began drawing and collecting magazines. I was fortunate that my high school geometry teacher was a sailor and he suggested I visit a local yacht designer in Seattle and join the yacht club. He showed me the doors and pointed the way.  I attacked it with the kind vigor a 16-year-old has.

George the drummer arriving for the Perry Rendezvous on his Tayana 37 at Port Ludlow.

Photo Credit: Tom Larsen

Where is your favorite place to sail?

Perry: British Virgin Islands. The water is warm for swimming, the wind blows, the ratio of sailboats to power boats is skewed in favor of sailboats. It’s a sailor’s paradise. Good food and music.

What advice would you give to a 16 year old kid who is interested in sailing and design the way you were?

Perry: Sail a lot. Study a lot. Stay focused on the goal. I did it, you can do it.

Q: How did the Perry Design Rendezvous begin? Why Port Ludlow?

Perry: It was my idea years ago. We had about a dozen boats and we did it for about 5 years and it stopped for a while. About 20 years ago the rendezvous began again and Port Ludlow was chosen as the destination. It was convenient. Everybody liked it. It just seemed like the perfect – kids, dogs, picnic grounds, the staff always bent over backwards to make us welcome. I just loved it. I love the feel there. So it has carried.

What is your favorite aspect of the rendezvous?

Perry: I’m not going to pretend it’s not a huge ego stroke. There is a lot of humility involved when I see people enjoying in my boats. It’s a party. I like the boats lined up on the docks and check out each other’s boats.


Photo Credit: Tom Larsen

The Perry Rendezvous will be at the Marina for the weekend of August 19th and in the words of Mr. Perry, “it’s a party,” – so stop by the Marina that weekend to see some of the beautiful Perry design sailboats.

Interested in hosting a Yacht Club Cruise or Rendezvous? Contact Kori Ward, Marina Director, at 360.437.0513 or email kward@portludlowresort.com. Click to view our 2016 Rendezvous and Yacht Club schedule.

Written by: Kaitlin Chester

Beach, Puget Sound, Hiking, Trails
Port Ludlow’s Trail System

In Port Ludlow we are so lucky to have over 26 miles of maintained hiking trails and that is in huge part to the Port Ludlow Trails Committee and the Trail Stewards.

The trail system was originally created from service roads that remained in Port Ludlow from Pope and Talbot. Hikers in Port Ludlow banded together and created a trail by connecting Timberton Drive to create a loop for two sections of the service road. This introduced the possibility for more trails and potential trails were then identified.

The Port Ludlow Village Council, the South Bay Club, the Ludlow Maintenance Commission, and Port Ludlow Associates all agreed to contribute funds and the Trails Committee Budget was allocated. This cooperative effort benefits the community, residents, guests, and the general public.

Beach Loop Trail

Beach Loop Trail

The Trail Stewards, currently 34 individuals managed by two coordinators, hike particular trail segments and perform blackberry bush maintenance. The Trail Stewards report back to the Trails Committee if major maintenance is needed, for example after a large windstorm. The coordinators then take care of the issue or assemble a crew to do so. The Committee is always looking for volunteers to join in on “Fun Day.” Fun Days are limited to two hours for volunteers to beautify, enhance, or fix a portion of the trails.

There are two trails under development. The committee recently received full approval to build Osprey Trail through a Ludlow Maintenance Commission Greenbelt and a large area of approved DNR property that will join together three existing trails – Teal Lake Loop, Olympic Terrace Loop, and Niblicks Loop.


Niblicks Loop Trail

The trails are a wonderful asset to the Port Ludlow community. Whether it is joining in on a “Fun Day Crew” with community members to complete two hours of maintenance on the trails, enhancing and embracing the natural surroundings, or getting some great outdoor exercise – the trail system is an integral part of the community.

To get involved with the Trails Committee contact Larry Scott at mclgscott@cablespeed.com, sign-up for the Fun Day Crews email list, or come to the regularly scheduled Trails Meeting on the first Tuesday of each month, alternating between the Beach and Bay Clubs.

Written by: Kaitlin Chester

Pickleball, Active Lifestyle, Resort
The Resort’s Newest Activity…Pickleball

It is truly all here in Port Ludlow.

As the spring weather gets nicer (a record 83 degrees in Seattle today!) you see more and more people kayaking Ludlow Bay, hiking & biking Port Ludlow’s 26 miles of maintained trails, beach combing and searching for beach glass, and so much more. The Resort is thrilled to add a new activity to that list – Pickleball!

I will show you where

Pickleball is a sport that was created in my hometown of Bainbridge Island, WA in 1965. It is a combination of ping pong, tennis, and badminton. I grew up playing on courts on the island and in PE class throughout middle school and high school. I feel extremely nostalgic writing about the sport, thinking back to games played with friends outdoors and heated PE competitions.

As the story goes, three fathers whose children were bored with the typical summer lawn games created what would become known as pickleball. Some say that it was named after one of the family’s dogs – Pickle, and others say it came from the concept of the pickle boat “where oarsmen were chosen from leftovers of other boats”.  No matter how the sport came to be named, it is fun and easy to pick up quickly.

My friend and co-worker Claire and I rented pickleball paddles and balls from the Front Desk at the Inn and went to the courts to paddle it out. Pickleball paddles are smaller than a tennis racket but bigger than a ping pong paddle. Not sure how to play? No worries. The Front Desk Attendant gave Claire and me a packet with rules and strategy.

pickleball balls and paddles

I hadn’t played in years and Claire had never played so we knew there would be lots of laughs as we tried to figure out what the heck we were doing. We briefly referenced the packet and we started to paddle it out.

In this racket sport, you serve under handed. The tennis player in me kept messing that up and Claire and I laughed as we enjoyed the beautiful spring evening and each other’s company. Once we got past that, Claire and I got in a great rhythm of volleying the ball back and forth.

The game is played to 11 points and the winning player must win by two points. Well…Claire and I didn’t exactly keep score as we were too busy having fun, chatting, and enjoying the weather. We wrapped up our outing after about an hour of play and ended the night with a glass of wine and dessert at The Fireside.

wine and dessert

So whether you’re a seasoned pickleballer or a beginner, give it a try. You’re sure to have a great time. Pickleball equipment can be rented at the Inn’s Front Desk for $5/person.

Written by: Kaitlin Chester

Opening Day at the Port Townsend Farmers Market

The first Saturday in April kicked off Opening Day at the Port Townsend Farmers Market.

farmers market

I’ve been to many farmers markets, but the Port Townsend market is a unique experience where each week you have the opportunity to interact with local farmers, artisans, and foragers while enjoying a strong sense of community around the farm-to-table culture.

The morning kicked off with a ribbon cutting by Port Townsend Mayor, Deborah Stinson, and Washington State Department of Agriculture Director, Derek Sandison. Both Stinson and Sandison echoed in their speeches the farm-to-table values The Resort at Port Ludlow & The Fireside seek in our food & beverage program – to provide the best, in-season ingredients from our local farmers, foragers, and artisans. Whether it is produce, seafood & meats, or hard cider/wine, Chef Dan and The Fireside team seek to provide a high-quality, local food experience.farmersmarket

After the ribbon cutting, the goat parade began. People of all ages were oohing and ahhing over the goats, especially the babies (who doesn’t love a baby goat?!), and as the goats made their loop throughout the market, thus was the beginning of the farmers market season.

goat parade

I realized I came empty handed with no bag or basket to put my goodies in, so I stopped by the Port Townsend Farmers Market booth and I am proud to say I bought the first Port Townsend Farmers Market tote bag of the season!


One aspect of the Farmers Market I love so much are the personal connections you make with the different vendors. I was happy to see familiar faces at the booths from years past as I checked off my shopping list. From my produce list, to looking for a unique birthday present for my mother, to a last minute engagement party present – the farmers market provided everything I was looking for.

The Red Dog Farm booth is one of my favorites, and their market manager, Devon, is so kind and helpful. Last summer Devon told me about a potato I had never heard of, German butterballs, which are now a staple in my kitchen. It is the connection to the food and the farms that take what could be an ordinary shopping excursion to an elevated and memorable experience. The booth was packed full of beautiful produce and I was able to get green onions, potatoes, radishes, and carrots I needed for a soup I was making that afternoon.


Daily Bird Pottery is one of my mother’s favorites and as her birthday is coming up in a few weeks I scouted out some mugs, dishes, and bells she might be interested in. As I perused the pottery and thought about which item she would like the best, I listened to live music playing in the background, enhancing the shopping experience tenfold.

daily bird

Next up was to find a last minute present for an engagement party I was attending later in the weekend. What is better than a bottle of Finnriver Artisan Sparking Cider? If you’ve never had it, I couldn’t recommend it more. Finnriver had a special, limited edition Golden Russet Sparking Cider that I knew my friends would love and I just couldn’t resist – I bought a bottle for myself as well.


As I was wrapping up my shopping for the morning, I found myself drawn to the Crust Pies booth. Offering both savory and sweet pies, I knew I had to end my outing with a special treat – the Curried Cauliflower (Aloo Gobi) pie. It was absolutely delicious and I enjoyed each and every bite of the flaky crust and tasty interior. I look forward to trying more of Crust Pies offerings in the weeks to come.


If you haven’t been to the Port Townsend Farmers Market, check it out. You won’t regret making the trip to the eclectic shopping experience. The Port Townsend Farmers Market is on Saturdays from 9am to 3pm from April to December.

Written by: Kaitlin Chester

Driving Range, Olympic Peninsula, Golf Course
Lunch & Lesson with a PGA Professional

I’ve experienced many of the amenities Port Ludlow has to offer.

I’ve rented kayaks at the Port Ludlow Marina and enjoyed a sunny afternoon on Ludlow Bay. I’ve savored numerous meals at The Fireside. I’ve slumbered in one of the beautifully appointed guest rooms in the Inn at Port Ludlow. I’ve hiked many of the 26 miles of maintained hiking trails in Port Ludlow, truly It’s All Here…but confession, I’ve never played golf!

So, I decided it was time to change that and take a golf lesson with my co-worker Darren Posey, Head PGA Professional. The Port Ludlow Golf Club launched a new lesson program this year – Lunch & Lesson. The two hour program includes a one hour lesson followed by lunch at Niblicks Café.

Darren and I met up at the Pro Shop and as he gathered the Callaway clubs for our lesson I started to get a bit nervous. What if I didn’t hit the ball? Or even worse, what if I threw the club? Darren calmed my nerves as we headed out to the driving range which houses the Port Ludlow Learning Center.


Since I was truly a beginner in every sense of the word, Darren started by instructing me on proper grip – the correct way to hold the golf club. Once I had that down, we moved onto actually swinging the club.

Darren explained that a golf swing has two parts – a back swing and a forward swing all on a rotation. He had me practice swinging as he went and grabbed some golf balls and tees. It was finally time to try to hit something with the club. I swung the club at the tee, and missed, several times as Darren kindly guided me and provided me with helpful hints that would ensure I would hit the ball. “Don’t lock your elbows,” he had to remind me several times.

When the club made contact with the ball and I watched the ball soar over the driving range I felt a huge smile stretch across my face. The excitement of watching the golf ball soar, enjoying the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, the peacefulness of the golf course…golf is truly an art. In a single moment I understood why golfers are so passionate about the sport. Not all the golf balls I swung at that day went where I would have liked them to, but my appreciation for the sport and my desire to want to learn more grew.drivingrange

After my lesson, Darren and I had lunch at Niblicks Café, located in the PortLudlow Golf Club Pro Shop. My Thai Chicken Salad was delicious and we enjoyed watching a golf tournament on TV as we discussed what I learned in the lesson.


Port Ludlow Golf Club has three PGA Pros to learn from, Ted Wurtz, PGA Teaching Professional, Adam Barrows, PGA Assistant Professional, and of course Darren Posey, PGA Head Professional. All three are excellent teachers and enthusiastic about helping you learn and improving your golf game – whether you’re a novice like me or just wanting to brush up on skills, I absolutely recommend booking a Lunch & Lesson.

To book a Lunch & Lesson, contact the Pro Shop at 360-437-0272.

Written by: Kaitlin Chester

Dog, Hiking, Trails, Olympic Peninsula
Hiking Niblicks Loop

When the sun is shining in February in Washington, you know you’ve got to get outside and enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.



I grabbed my fiancé, Jake, and our dog, Chimi, and we headed out to Niblicks Loop Trail. With our handy Port Ludlow trail map, we parked at the end of the Port Ludlow Golf Club parking lot and headed out on the 2.5 mile loop. The lush tree-lined loop is well maintained by the Port Ludlow Trails Committee which takes care of all 26 miles of hiking trails in Port Ludlow.



We walked out to the dirt access road and came across a fellow hiker with a dog. After the dogs made friends we were on our way. We hiked up past the water tower and then downhill we intersected with Timberton Loop – just according to plan.


Niblicks Loop is absolutely beautiful with breathtaking views of the golf course. Chimi had a blast checking out and sniffing the trees, grass, and streams of the trail and Jake and I were in awe of the serenity and peacefulness the quiet path brought us. In the distance you could hear golf clubs hitting balls far and wide and Chimi even found a golf ball on the trail that she took as a token of our fun adventure. The three of us had a great time.


Seeing that it was February, the trail was muddy in certain places so dress weather appropriate if you choose to hike this trail. The trail had several hills, so if hills aren’t for you, refer to the trail map. With hikes of varying lengths and ability levels, there’s a trail in Port Ludlow for everyone.


If you haven’t had a chance to hike in Port Ludlow or are looking for opportunities to hike with others in Port Ludlow, check out the Port Ludlow trail map or join in on a hike with the Port Ludlow Hiking Club – you won’t regret it.

Written by: Kaitlin Chester

Eggs, Omelet, Breakfast, Waterfront Dining
The Most Important Meal of the Day

Many have said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not start the day off right with a farm-to-table breakfast at The Fireside?

My fiancé, Jake, and I decided to kick off a lazy winter weekend with breakfast at The Fireside and per usual, our meal did not disappoint. We started with Bloody Marys – delicious! One of the best either of us had enjoyed in a long time and the drink was topped off with all sorts of tasty garnishes including lemons, limes, onions, olives and dilly beans. As we waited for our breakfast, we basked in the views of Ludlow Bay, the Olympic Mountains, and otters swimming around the Marina docks.


Jake couldn’t decide between the Biscuits & Gravy or the Coast-to-Coast Omelet so he went with both. He enjoyed a half order of the fresh made biscuits and country style gravy with Finnriver farm fresh eggs. The sausage was delectable and the dish quickly became a new favorite of Jake’s.


The omelet was just as enjoyable. The eggs were a beautiful, golden yellow – the way should be, and were cooked to perfection. The omelet was accompanied with herbed country potatoes and Pane ‘dAmore toast. Jake said the sides were “the sugar on top”.  Knowing the ingredients are local and in-season added a level of sophistication that cannot be ignored.


The whole breakfast menu sounded so tasty with dishes like Challah Pain Perdu, Chef Dan’s Eco-Granola and a seasonal Fruit Parfait, but I ended up deciding on the Old Fashioned Irish Steel Cut Oats. The oatmeal was slowly cooked in milk and topped with caramelized apples and brown sugar. This oatmeal is arguably the best oatmeal I have ever had and I thoroughly enjoyed every bite. To sum it up in one word, YUM.

Jake and I left The Fireside with full bellies and plans to bring back friends and family for breakfast. Chef Dan’s culinary creations are always delicious whether it’s breakfast at 9am or dinner at 6pm. No matter what meal – breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you choose to savor in at The Fireside you’ll be far from disappointed.

Breakfast is served at The Fireside from 7am to 11am, Monday through Saturday and Sunday Brunch is offered from 7am to 2pm. Make your reservation at 360.437.7412 or on Open Table.

Written by: Kaitlin Chester

Happy Hour, Beverages, Food, Dining, Resort
A Truly Happy Hour

Have you been to Happy Hour at The Fireside?

Every day from 4pm to 6pm The Fireside has a rotating menu with $5 tapas and daily drink specials. I met up with a couple of co-workers for happy hour, and not to be redundant but it sure was a happy get-together.

The tapas menu was delicious and included dishes such as Grilled Asparagus with Port Balsamic Gastrique and an Egg Mimosa, a bread basket with local bread from Pane d’Amore bakery with Olive Tapenade, Hummus with Grilled Pita Bread, and Deviled Farm Fresh Eggs with Applewood Smoked Bacon. To sum it up in one word, YUM… and to top it off, the presentation was beautiful.


         Grilled Asparagus with an Egg Mimosa

The drinks were just as delectable with $5 wine and tap beers and specialty cocktails including cosmopolitans, margaritas, martinis, and more. My colleagues went with glasses of wine but I couldn’t pass up a Fireside margarita on the rocks with salt. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint.


      Fireside Margarita and Hummus with Pita

We left in great spirits, planning for the next time we could meet up for tapas.

So the next time you have a free afternoon, perhaps spend it with your friends and neighbors having a happy time at The Fireside.

Written by: Kaitlin Chester

Trivia Night at The Fireside

Have you attended Activity Night at The Resort at Port Ludlow? Once a month The Fireside hosts a community activity night for an evening of fun, relaxation, and visting among friends and neighbors. Each activity night comes with a pre-set, family-style menu created by The Fireside’s Executive Chef Dan Ratigan. Past activities have included coloring books which was such a hit it will be back by popular demand in April.

January’s activity was Trivia and what fun we had. The questions were challenging & enjoyable and the food was delicious. Port Ludlow Golf Club’s Shelly Washburn, General Manager, and Darren Posey, PGA Head Professional, were our hosts for the evening and separated us into teams for five trivia categories – general knowledge, current events, music, TV & movies, and geography.


Darren Posey and Shelly Washburn

As Shelly and Darren passed out the answer sheets and we were asked to come up with team names as our first course arrived – SpringRain Winter Greens with a Champagne Vinagrette, Candied Hazelnuts, and Point Reyes Blue Cheese. My co-worker Claire and I came up with our team…The PLA Power Players and other teams included The Movers & Shakers and The Recyclers. It was time to put our best Jeopardy hats on and put our knowledge to the test.


As we went through the different categories there were lots of laughs, silly guesses, and joking amongst the different teams as Shelly and Darren kept track of our scores for each round. Claire and I giggled as we guessed wrong on a question about an Elvis tune and let me tell you the rest of the teams didn’t let us live it down. With everyone in good, competitive spirits, the second course was delivered – Cedar Planked Steelhead with Braised Local Greens and Warm Potato Salad. We were all in awe over Chef Dan’s delectable creations.


The last round, geography, was a tough one. But the dessert – Theo’s Chocolate Decadance soothed the pain of coming in 2nd to last place. The winners, The Movers & Shakers, each won $30 gift certificates to use at the golf course or at Niblicks Café.


Theo’s Chocolate Decadence

As the evening came to a close the room applauded Shelly,  Darren, and Chef Dan for an evening of delicious food, a healthy dose of competition, and for the joy of connecting as a community. All the teams lingered in the lobby on the way out. We laughed among one another about our answers that were way off, facts we had learned, and begun making plans for February’s Activity Night – Card Games.

Card Games is coming up on Tuesday, February 23rd and you won’t want to miss it. To make your reservation contact The Fireside at 360.437.7412.

Written by: Kaitlin Chester

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