Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Brief Visit to Kitsap County


It's been one of those rare late autumn weekends with mild and dry weather and the occasional appearance of the sun. We planned to go to Kitsap County yesterday, particularly to explore "Little Norway" - Poulsbo - of all places, because my Minnesota-born husband grew up on lefse and figured that would be a good place to get some. So that was as good an excuse as any!

But it wasn't meant to be. He was asked to work yesterday, so we postponed our trip for today.

Originally, we were going to take the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, but at the last minute, we decided to just drive there instead. It's only about an hour and 15 minute drive. By the time we drove to downtown Seattle, waited in line at the ferry terminal, and took the 35 minute ferry to Bainbridge Island and then drove to Poulsbo from there, it wouldn't really be any faster anyway. I liked the drive, especially as it took us past Bremerton and the sight of all the Navy ships lined up in the bay.

We arrived in Poulsbo around 9:45 this morning. Evidently, we came on the wrong day. Poulsbo was sleepy, and even after 10 AM, it didn't wake up too much. We were able to check out a few shops that were open, but the majority of shops were closed.

The highlight for us was Sluys' Bakery. I've never seen a bakery with such a huge selection. They are known for their Poulsbo bread, which I didn't try. But I did try one of their cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting, which was probably the most delicious cinnamon roll I've ever consumed in my life. More importantly, they had homemade lefse - as big as dinner plates - and Lance purchased 2 packages to bring home.

Another highlight for us was the Marina Market - a small market in historic downtown that has a startling selection of European groceries. We saw a lot of German stuff. They had stroopwafels. They had lutefisk TV dinners (I wish I could've taken photographic evidence of this, but sadly, I didn't). I was remarking to Lance that if I saw some Norwegian milk chocolate (yes, Switzerland and Belgium are known for their chocolate, but Norwegian milk chocolate...I can't tell you how creamy and wonderfully decadent it is), I would get it. As soon as this utterance escaped my mouth, I saw the familiar bright yellow wrapper that said "Freia Melkesjokolade" - YES! YES! YES! Despite the price ($9 for a large bar), we had to get some. When would we stumble on such a treasure again? It was rare enough when we lived in Germany - Lance would bring me this chocolate whenever he had to go to Norway, but those trips were few and far between.

Around 11:30 or so, we said goodbye to Poulsbo. I would like to go back when there's a festival going on or something, so we have an excuse to stay longer.

I wasn't ready to just go home, so I told Lance to set Port Orchard as the destination on our GPS. We were going to have lunch there. The nice thing about Port Orchard is that it's across the bay from the Naval base, so we had a nice view of the ships. I was interested in seeing the Kitty Hawk especially, because my brother served on the Kitty Hawk early in his Navy career, and the ship was decommissioned in Bremerton. But there were a few aircraft carriers and we were unable to identify which one was the Kitty Hawk, at least from that far away.

After admiring the view, Lance picked Amy's On The Bay as our lunch spot, which was a nice choice. I ordered clam chowder in a toasted sourdough bowl with a side salad. It was exactly what I needed, even if I didn't know it at the time. It hit the spot. Lance enjoyed his burger. And they offer a 10% military discount, so bonus! I liked the ambience - it was casually elegant and the staff was attentive to our every need.

We encountered the same issue with Port Orchard that we did with Poulsbo - very little was open. So after strolling down the main downtown street, we said goodbye to Port Orchard and headed home. As it turns out, our timing was good. It started raining shortly after we left, and I was getting a bad headache anyway and ended up napping all the way home once we crossed the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Even though it was only for a few hours, it was nice to get out and enjoy the weather and see something new.

I took a few pictures today. Also, here's the link to Amy's On The Bay - highly recommended.

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