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A holiday shopping paradise

More than a mere summer retreat, Bainbridge Island has much to offer during the holidays

Calico Games, Puzzles, and Toys on Bainbridge Island’s historic Winslow Avenue readies itself for holiday fun and festivities. Photo credit: James Williams

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Bainbridge Island is well known for summer tourism and activities. What it is not known for, and probably should be, is the historical and holiday fun it brings to the Northwest.

Downtown Bainbridge is one of only 12 locations recognized by Washington's Trust for Historic Preservation. This distinction not only brings a great deal of honor to the city, but also ensures that experiences include buildings of historic significance and staff members who are true experts in their field. Every store, shop, diner and restaurant located along Winslow Avenue in Bainbridge, is rife with personality and wonder. From Skookum Clothes and Folk Art to Calico Games, Puzzles and Toys, historic Winslow Avenue has every shopper covered.

To ensure that those wanting a great holiday shopping experience are perfectly satisfied, the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association is bringing back its Holiday Passport event this year. For the second year in a row, 46 locally owned shops will take part in this holiday extravaganza. All participants need to do is enter any of the locations and receive at least 30 stamps in their passport guide books. They will then be automatically entered into drawings for prizes, including four different $25 gift cards to participating establishments.

A similar opportunity is available for children; after all, they are what the season is all about. Elves on Shop Shelves invite children to search for stuffed elves on the shelves at 33 participating stores. Once a child has received at least 15 stamps, he or she will automatically receive a small gift from Calico Toys in addition to being entered in a drawing to win a giant stuffed toy, also donated by Calico Toys.

Executive Director of the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association Jerri Lane and her team have worked tirelessly to ensure a maximum amount of entertainment and joy will be had by everyone participating in Bainbridge's holiday season this year.

The holiday shopping season and festivities begin with the winter farmers market and tree lighting ceremony Nov. 28, but that is only the beginning of a season of winter fun.  

For the 22nd year, Soks Martz will put on the annual Christmas In The Country (Dec. 4-6), largely a driving tour that winds through the rural, spruce-lined roads of Bainbridge Island. While following the map, those taking part in the tour will journey into the wondrous history of the island and witness, as well as have an opportunity to purchase, great works from local artists, craftsman, musicians and chefs. The tour includes activities for all ages as well as historical sites. Children are invited to take pony rides and visit with Santa himself. Through Soks' hard work and dedication, she is able to offer this magical event at absolutely no cost: Christmas In The Country is designed as a festive and fun get away from bustling streets and frustrating traffic. Go to for more information.

Through the tireless work of people like Lane and Martz, Bainbridge's downtown area has become a holy grail for holiday shoppers. On Winslow Avenue alone, located in the heart of downtown, the variety of shops and eateries offers everything for everyone, and best of all, they are all within walking distance.

From sports apparel, Skookum Clothes and Folk Art to Eagle Harbor Book Company and several art studios, Bainbridge Island has the answers to all of your holiday needs. This shopper's paradise is topped off with a top-notch staff, who will greet you at the door with a sincere smile and answer your every question while the ambience comforts you as if it were your own home. The only downside to visiting Bainbridge Island this holiday season is that you may never want to leave.

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