How to Spend a Morning on the Kitsap Peninsula

IMG_0343_LUCiDIn anticipation of our bike trip to Vancouver Island, British Columbia for my birthday, we really wanted to get the bikes out and make sure everything was in working order.

There are so many great motorcycle rides in the Pacific Northwest that we had no trouble pulling out a list of routes that would allow us to slowly re-acclimate to the bikes while taking in new sites throughout the region.

Our last big bike trip was around the northern half of the Olympic Peninsula, and I had been wanting to return to explore more of that area.

While we were looking for something a little closer to home for this first foray of the season, heading west seemed like a good idea so we settled on exploring the Kitsap Peninsula.

We woke up early on a Saturday morning, caught the ferry from Edmonds to Kingston and set out to enjoy as much as the peninsula as possible before the heat of the day set in and we started to melt.

I did some light research ahead of time to make sure I had at least a rough itinerary for our ride. There are so many places to explore on the Kitsap Peninsula that I ultimately narrowed it down by proximity to the ferry. My plan was to make a loop and explore Bremerton, Port Orchard and Bainbridge Island, along with anything else we discovered along the way.

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Our ferry ride was great and before I knew it we were buzzing along to Bremerton for breakfast. I read rave reviews for a little brunch spot called Hi-Lo’s 15th Street Café that was just outside of downtown Bremerton so we made that our first stop.

This place was absolutely fantastic—from the incredible service to the amazing food. One of my favorite things was that upon arrival, we were able to grab a cup of coffee to consume while we waited for a table. What a perfect way to keep people happy while they wait! I filled my cup and doctored it up at the little station, and we headed outside to wait for a table to become available.

The place is small but fun to walk around with its interesting colors and murals and the awesome VW bus you can eat inside! We took some pictures and it wasn’t long before we were able to snag a little two-person table outside.

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Brian was thrilled to discover they had a biscuits and gravy dish where they actually pour the biscuit batter in a waffle iron so you have biscuit waffles that are then smothered in gravy! I think it’s actually his new favorite breakfast dish!

He was also excited at the end of our meal when our waitress brought us an old lunchbox featuring the Beatles and told us we could pick out some candy.

Before we could peek inside and explore our options, we had to wait patiently while she played us a Beatles tune on her kazoo! She was actually pretty good and it was really fun–well worth the wait for our candies!

We were stuffed and happy as we left the café and headed into Bremerton to check out the USS Turner Joy.

We found some parking a couple blocks from the water and walked down to the Bremerton Boardwalk. It was lovely out and we spent a little time just wandering around by the water.

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I read about a really interesting little ferry ride between Bremerton and Port Orchard that uses an old boat from 1917 that was part of the “Mosquito fleet!”

This 10-minute, one-mile run is served by the Carlisle II, a historic boat built in 1917 that was part of the “Mosquito Fleet,” the thousands of steamships that steamed through Puget Sound from the 1850s to the 1930s. The fleet went out of business in the 1930s when roads and rail replaced the boats, but the Carlisle survived and is now part of the Kitsap Transit system.

Neither of us could remember being on a boat that old before so we knew we had to give it a try! There was a farmer’s market in Port Orchard that morning that I wanted to explore so we decided to buzz over to Port Orchard for a little while and then tour the USS Turner Joy and finish exploring Bremerton upon our return.

We waited on the small foot ferry but unfortunately the Carlisle wasn’t running that day. Instead, we paid as we boarded the Admiral Pete, one of the regular foot ferries serving Bremerton and Port Orchard, and then enjoyed a quick ride across the Sinclair Inlet to Port Orchard.

The sky was clear and the Olympic Mountains were peering over the harbor as we pulled in—what a beautiful setting!

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As we headed up the ramp, we veered right and wandered around some of the old buildings, admiring the huge murals and peering in the windows of some of the old shops.

We circled around to the boardwalk and made our way along the water toward the farmer’s market. It must have been low tide because there was a sea of crazy, bright green plant life that stood in stark contrast to the brown shore.

We saw a few people braving the beach, including a guy and kid. The older guy would keep lifting the big rocks so they could peer underneath and see if any marine life was hiding away from the sun.

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The farmer’s market was more goods and services than produce or food products so we didn’t end up spending too much time looking around. It was also already starting to get hot and walking around on the pavement got a little less fun as we wandered around.

The ferry was about to head back to Bremerton so we returned to the boardwalk and got in line for our return trip.

We boarded and were zipping across the water when I suddenly recalled that I was supposed to be supporting a work event on social media that afternoon—and had left my work phone at home! I thought I was going to be sick—there was no way to support the event from my personal phone because I didn’t have access to our organization’s social media accounts on that device, and I didn’t have the phone numbers for the people working the event, who were planning to text photos and updates to my work cell.

I couldn’t believe I had forgotten that phone and felt absolutely terrible. The event was going to start in about an hour, and I didn’t know what to do. We could race back to the Kingston ferry and try to get home as quickly as possible so I could cover the majority of the event, but there was no way I would make it in time to support the entire thing. The only other option was to write it off as a miss and finish out our plans on the peninsula.

If you’ve ever met me, you know there was really no question about what we were going to do. Brian was in total support and as soon as our ferry touched the dock we were running to the bikes and speeding toward Kingston.

The ferry back to Edmonds felt like it took twice as long as usual, but Brian encouraged me to enjoy our last few moments of the trip and reminded me that we would get home when we got home, and I could support the majority of the event when we got there (which I did).

As if it knew I needed a little cheering up, Mt. Rainier was out in all its glory overseeing our ride home—taking in that view, I couldn’t be completely disappointed in my day.

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I was so mad at myself for my mistake and that we had to cut our Kitsap Peninsula trip short, but what we saw was a perfect little taste to whet our appetite to return.

Brian promised me we would go back—it’s a short ferry ride away—and I can’t wait to finish exploring Bremerton, Bainbridge Island, and all the little towns throughout that area of the Kitsap Peninsula.

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