On the forested western side of Bainbridge Island, along its 53 miles of shoreline, lie two bays: Fletcher Bay and Manzanita Bay.
According to historians, and in keeping with Bainbridge Island’s past as a recreational destination for early-twentieth century tourists, a pavilion, camp grounds, a store – and by the 1930’s – a bowling alley were built at Fletcher Bay, bringing day campers and overnight tourists from Kitsap County and Seattle to the “sunset” side of Bainbridge Island. The pier at Fletcher’s Landing was the closest access point to Kitsap County via ferry. It’s halcyon days long gone, Fletcher Bay’s shallow cove is sleepy now, quiet and relaxed.
Tucked beneath trees on a beautifully landscaped property on the edge of Fletcher Bay with water access and a waterfront barbecue is the guesthouse at Fletcher Bay Landing. A stand-alone guesthouse as well as a separate in-house apartment serve island visitors looking for quiet, yet spacious accommodation, fabulous western sunsets, and a place to launch a kayak or canoe onto the waters of West Puget Sound.
One bay north of Fletcher Bay on the west side lies the larger Manzanita Bay. Where Fletcher Bay is intimate and shallow, Manzanita Bay is a larger, deeper glacial scour.
There, on its northern arm at Little Manzanita Bay, is Aunt Margie’s Beach, a guesthouse perched high on the bluff with water access to the beach below. Furnished in retro 1950’s rattan modern with fresh Hawaiian fabric and complete with an large authentic field-stone fireplace, Aunt Margie’s Beach is re-opening for the season in late May.
Aunt Margie’s Beach rents by the week (Saturday to Saturday), has enough room for families as well friends vacationing together, and comes with the amazing Margie McDevitt herself, who lives on the property below at the water’s edge. Water access to 100 feet of sheltered waterfront is down a steep but handsomely landscaped slope. The view of the bay offers a glimmer of sun on the waves and an array of wildlife in the nature corridor that are all part of the charm — and why people come back year after year to Aunt Margie’s.
As you tour the island, stop in at these two lovely bays and get a sense of old Bainbridge. Bring a picnic and savor the sunset. (Click here for a road-end map and the many water access points on Bainbridge – scroll down to page 3. )
- Fletcher Bay Landing: (206) 842.4396; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Aunt Margie’s Beach: (206) 842.6969; email@example.com
Resources used for this article are available at Eagle Harbor Books:
- Walks on Bainbridge by Dave and Alice Shorett
- Picture Bainbridge, Bainbridge Historical Society