Top 20 Washington State Trips

Bloedel Reserve

The Bloedel Reserve is an exquisite garden and chateau on Bainbridge Island near Seattle.

This idyllic estate feels like a small slice of Europe in Seattle's backyard, with meadows, formal gardens, ponds and a french-style chateau. 

How do I get to Bloedel Reserve?

Take the scenic 35 minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island, then drive another 7-miles north to the Bloedel Reserve. The Bainbridge Island ferry leaves from Pier 52 at the Seattle waterfront. Check ferry schedule.

Tickets to Bloedel Reserve

Check here for hours and admission.  Food and picnics are not permitted, so you'll need to drive to Winslow on Bainbridge Island for refreshments.

10 best things to do at Bloedel Reserve

Set aside 2-hours to explore the gorgeous Bloedel Reserve.  The Gardens are sublime and lull visitors into a sense of peace and tranquility. 

  1. After entering the Bloedel Reserve at the Gate House, stroll through The Meadow, where the Bloedels used to keep a flock of sheep.  

  2. Follow the path to the Wetlands Area with abundant bird life at Bloedel Reserve.

  3. Catch sight of deer as you pass through a thickly wooded forest along a boardwalk.

  4. The Bloedel's former residence soon becomes visible.  The grandeur of this French-Style Chateau is enhanced by the sweeping lawns and elegant pond in the foreground.  This is one of the most photographed areas at the reserve.  Tour the front rooms of the Chateau.  Admire the beautiful views of Puget Sound from the Living Room and Library.  Drinking water is available here.

  5. More surprises await as you wander down stairs to the Waterfall Overlook to admire a Rhododendron Garden.

  6. Further along the path the Japanese Garden is another highlight.  It was designed in 1961 by Fujitaro Kubota (see Kubota Gardens). 

  7. Explore the interior of Japanese Tea House at Bloedel Reserve.  It was constructed in 1964 overlooking a Zen garden with rocks and sand. 

  8. The primeval Moss Garden is a short distance away, leading to the lovely Reflection Garden.  

  9. The stunning Reflection Garden at Bloedel Reserve consists of a rectangular shaped pool, framed with a formal hedge.  The Garden is completely unexpected, and the perfect place for quiet contemplation.

  10. Check Bloedel Reserve Events, including Art Shows, Squash Scavenger Hunts in Fall, and Guided Walks.  Check events.

History of Bloedel Reserve

The Bloedel Reserve was originally owned by the University of Washington when it was a completely undeveloped piece of land.  It was then purchased as a weekend retreat in 1906 by Seattle resident Angela Collins after her husband's death.  (Her husband was John Collins, the 6th Mayor of Seattle).  A French-Style Chateau was constructed in 1931 that still stands today. 

The property was then purchased by Prentice Bloedel in 1951, the heir of a lumber empire in the Pacific Northwest.  Prentice retired to the property in 1951 and resided there with his wife until 1986.   The Arbor Fund was established in 1985 to manage the property, and the gardens were opened to the general public in 1988. Prentice Bloedel was the driving force behind the garden, and transformed 150-acres of undeveloped land into a magnificent sanctuary.

Other things to do near the Bloedel Reserve

Visit charming Winslow on Bainbridge Island with lots of shops and restaurants and 3 museums, or the nearby Scandinavian town of Poulsbo. Stop by the excellent Naval Undersea Museum at Keyport.

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