We boarded the ferry directly after we dashed through the Pike Place Market. In case you couldn’t tell, that is REAL blue sky in the picture… so very very lucky! My aunt told us how unusual it is to get an entire day without rain in Seattle. Usually I have terrible fortune when it comes to the weather, but on this trip it has been just perfect (knock on wood). We had a clear view leaving the harbor, and getting to see the city skyline from the water afforded us the most amazing view of downtown Seattle. On our way out, we passed the Space Needle, which has been painted orange for it’s 50th anniversary. I didn’t like the color much but it was a really neat landmark to see. My aunt had asked if we had wanted to include that in our day of sightseeing, but I wasn’t super interested to wait in line for ever, just to look at the rest of the city from the top of a tall structure.
So we chose the ferry instead.
As we chugged out of the harbor, we meandered to the opposite side of the ferry so we could catch a view of the island we were heading for. My aunt told us that a lot of people who live on Bainbridge Island actually work in Seattle. They ride the ferry over every morning and evening. There were also a lot of beautiful second homes on the island as well. We disembarked from the ferry and were herded towards the main street of the island with all the other visitors.
The town was charming, and flourishing too by the look of it. Little boutique shops and high end cafes and book stores lined the tiny street. People milled around with shopping bags in their hands, going in and out of stores. It was a great place to spend the afternoon.
We followed the signs on the street to a small museum that was located off of the main street a good ways. What we found on exhibit there was worth the whole trip. The museum focused on the history of the small island, which has always maintained a large Japanese population. In the 1940s, this entire population was rounded up and sent to an internment camp near Death Valley. The main exhibit at the museum consisted of a series of black and white portraits and photographs by Ansel Adams of the internment camp and the people living there. Japanese internment isn’t something we talk about much in everyday American life, and to see these pictures, and read about individual peoples’ experiences during this time was extremely powerful for me.
It was also incredible to learn about how the non-Japanese citizens of the island felt about their Japanese neighbors. Rather than viewing them as spies or enemies, they saw them as the same friends that they had always lived with. They kept the Japanese farms going, took care of their houses, and when they came home, they were welcomed with genuine love and warmth. I think this is very different from the reactions of most of the rest of the country at that time.
We did not leave enough time to stroll back to the ferry, and by the time we got to the dock we were flat out running. There were about 10 other people who were also late, and we just barely made it before they pushed off (or whatever it is they do with big boats like that). I bet the pack of stampeding people looked really ridiculous to anyone who was watching at the time.
I was beat after our day trip, and was excited that all we had planned for the night was to go out for Thai food. From the Pike Place Market, to the Seattle-Bainbridge ferry, to the small island history museum, I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect way to spend our only day in Seattle, Washington. The only thing I can hope is that next time through we have a little bit more time!