5 Bainbridge Island fall activities your family will love

Bainbridge Island may be small, but it's packed with family fun activities. Part getaway, part Seattle suburb, the island has attracted farmers, vacationers and families looking for a quieter, greener place to live. Just as the weather starts to cool, the island's fall events heat up. Here are a few of my family's favorite things to do on the island in autumn.

  1. Suyematsu Farm's Pumpkin Patch

    In the summer, we pick and simultaneously gobble up raspberries at this farm when that big U-Pick sign gets set up. This time of year we go for pumpkins, big, small and every kind of gourd in between, and stroll around for a million years while my daughter finds the perfect one to haul into the metal wagons. The farm is open every day of the week right now, but if you visit on the weekend, you could also hop a tractor ride as a break from your pumpkin perusing, too!

    Suyematsu Farm 9229 Day Road East Bainbridge Island WA
  2. Bainbridge Gardens Pumpkin Walk

    (Friday, October 19 & Saturday, October 20, 6-8pm) Bainbridge's plant nursery lights up for two nights in the fall on their wooded trail. Locals donate their artistic squash creations which line the easy walking path. It's so popular (and one weekend only), we always debate to put it nicely, wait until dark to enjoy the glowing jack-o-lanterns or go early to avoid the crowds but miss the candlelight effect. Either way, it's fun and all donations go toward Bainbridge Island's Boys and Girls Club. They also offer carnival games, a maze, live music and drinks and snacks for sale. 9415 Miller Road Northeast.

    Bainbridge Gardens 9415 Miller Road Northeast Bainbridge Island WA
  3. Islandwood's HOWL-o-ween Event

    (Sunday, October 28, 1-5pm) Islandwood is an environmental education facility on Bainbridge, and they offer interesting, outdoor community events throughout the year. On Sunday, October 28, 1-5pm, they host their annual Howl-o-Ween event. You bring a pumpkin or five or six to Islandwood, and they have carving tools and decorations to make your own, very special jack-o-lantern. Little ones can even paint their pumpkins. Usually, the trail from the parking lot to the main welcome center is adorned with whimsically carved pumpkins by their expert staff. If we're really lucky, they'll put out some of their famously delicious cookies!

    Islandwood 4450 Blakely Avenue Northeast Bainbridge Island WA
  4. Bainbridge's Downtown Trick-or-Treating

    (Wednesday, October 31, 4-6pm) Who could pass up getting candy? Not my child, so we never miss the trick-or-treating scene on Winslow Way in downtown Bainbridge. The street gets blocked off to cars, and almost all the merchants participate. You never know what you'll see walking down the main drag, whether it's animals in superhero costumes or grandfathers in animal costumes. Visitors can easily hop the ferry and take a short stroll up to the hot seat of activity. I keep waiting for my daughter to declare she's too old for such things when toddlers in their bunny costumes hold out their plastic pumpkins right next to her, but apparently, fourth grade is a prime candy-gathering age, regardless of how you get it. So, I'm sure we'll be doing it again this year...and we'll like it! Downtown Winslow.

    Downtown Winslow Winslow Way Bainbridge Island WA
  5. Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot

    Credit: Olympic Photo Group

    Sure, their first year of the Bainbridge Turkey Trot had ice and snow on the route around Battle Point Park and I chickened out, but the second year, oooo-weee! We had a beayoooo-tiful day, a silly, costumed crowd and a great time running the 5K and the 1-mile family fun run. Round up your troops and head out for a morning of exercise and good, clean fun, to be immediately followed by a turkey dinner, potatoes and pie and pie. Battle Point Park.

    Bainbridge Island Turkey Trot 11299 Arrow Point Dr NE Bainbridge Island WA

So, you see, just when you thought things were slowing down from your crazy summer, we islanders actually rev up for awhile to celebrate the fall season. Now you know how to come over and enjoy the festivities like a local!

Wendy Wallace of LetTheDogIn.com Wendy Wallace writes and lives on Bainbridge Island, WA. Her writing has appeared in Bainbridge Island Magazine, LetTheDogIn.com and BlogHer.com, among others. Her play, "I See France," won Best Play in Island Theatre's 2012 Ten Minute Play Festival, and her play, "Meat," was produced by Dinah Manoff in a 2011 New Works showcase. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter.

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