Slow play is a menace at a great many golf courses around the world. At Holmes Harbor Golf Course, it might be welcome. The 18-hole layout checks in at a featherweight 4,279 yards for a par of 64, meaning most full rounds can be played in just over three hours. For some, that's precious little time spent soaking in the panoramic views of Puget Sound, watching golf balls float against the backdrop of the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges, and building trust with the course gophers. For beginners and novices, however, the course is an opportunity to enjoy golf in a picturesque setting without the usual punishment inflicted by more difficult courses. Though most of the holes are short??No. 18 is the lone par 5??they aren't without drama: the par 3 eighth hole, for example, features a 100-foot drop in elevation from tee to green.
It sounds just like a movie: a former Disney employee and a former mayor team up to run their own theater. That's exactly what Jeff Brein and Sam Granato did in 1988 with Bainbridge Cinemas, where they still spend Friday and Saturday nights tearing tickets and scooping popcorn. Besides Bainbridge Cinemas, their theater collection—Far Away Entertainment —oversees seven other local theaters, including the historic single-screen Lynwood Theatre. Opened in 1936, Bainbridge Island's first talking picture house now specializes in independent features and foreign films in which actors rearrange the English alphabet to make strange new sounds.
Over at the two-screen Admiral Theater, projectionists give newer Hollywood releases a second run, plus host screenings every year for the Seattle International Film Festival. Far Away's five remaining theaters, each with three to five screens, show digital versions of Hollywood's freshest celluloid. Lean back in the Anacortes' reclining seats, or scarf down an all-beef frank at Oak Harbor while taking in a flick or live screening of the Metropolitan Opera.
The tenure of US Coast Guard?certified Captain Brett as captain of the Island Whaler began as a dream. In the course of nine months, he had a recurring dream about an unusual flatbed boat, which replaced his normal dreams about beating up Napoleon with Horatio Hornblower. More than a year after the visions stopped, Brett discovered his fantasy boat sitting in a parking lot in Anacortes. He now owns that boat and pilots the open-topped Island Whaler through picturesque waters to view the multitudinous wildlife found in and around Deception Pass.
The open deck and low-slung cabin of the seafaring sloop grants easy, panoramic views of the steep, rocky landscape. Captain Brett chimes in against the breeze with educational details about the pass's historical significance, structures, and ecology. Throughout the tours, spritely fauna with unevolved senses of stage fright perform lively, natural ballets as visitors potentially lock eyes with bald eagles, seals, porpoises, gray whales, and Pacific Northwest giant squid.
At age 5, second-generation islander Johannes and his father paddled along San Juan Island, their kayaks crossing paths with troops of orca whales. This foray ignited the young adventurer?s twin passions for kayaking and stewardship. Now, Johannes? team of outdoor enthusiasts deftly navigates the waters surrounding San Juan Island, imparting knowledge of marine wildlife to paddlers. Guides not only skim the region?s waterways, but lead expeditions across the islands during multiday tours. Groups may paddle along remote islands in search of seabirds and lost tugboat captains, and then hop on bicycles to pedal down rural back roads dotted with lavender and alpaca farms.
CDR's woodsy Oak Harbor battleground provides an ideal landscape for furious paint-powered skirmishes and chromatic combat. Two full-sized airball fields with felt turf furnish the terrain, as does a woodsball field featuring buildings, brush cover, vehicles, and protective bunkers. Gallantly leap over fallen firs, cross the wooden bridge, and risk becoming a canvas to save a fellow warrior, then feel free to immortalize the triumph by inscribing your family crest into the trunk of an enemy tree. CDR Sports Paintball Park is open to prospective markers on Saturdays and Sundays.
The origin story of Gig Harbor Golf Club has a certain Rockwellian flavor. In the early 1950s, the Wollochet Community Club?a group that included local community leader Walter Hogan?discussed building their own country club. The idea generated buzz throughout the community, who invested not just money, but sweat equity. After purchasing a 114-acre farm with a brilliant view of Mount Rainier, the club's charter members took to etching the course into the land, using all of the tools they had at their disposal?some even used spoons, screwdrivers, and garden rakes to dig rocks out of the soil and flatten the turf.
Opened in 1961, the 9-hole labor of love still stands, having benefited from a half century of maturation and trading out fedora hats in favor of flags. The course?which measures 5,420 yards from the farthest tees?presents ample opportunities to score, including four short par-fours in which some golfers may be able to drive the green. The course features two distinct sets of forward and back tees (four tees total), so golfers can play it twice over for an 18-hole round that has a different front- and back-nine experience.