Daytrips lakewold1807 hhitwm

Lakewold Gardens

Bask in Greenery

Lakewold Gardens

This estate south of Tacoma passed through many wealthy hands before it was owned by a high-society matron named Eulalie Wagner. The rare rhododendrons and Japanese maples date to her collaboration with landscape architect Thomas Church, legendary for shaping much of California’s tony exteriors. Wagner’s Georgian-style mansion is open to visitors, but to see vintage photographs tracing the area’s transformation from cow-spotted prairie to city, visit the nearby Lakewood History Museum (253-682-3480; 253-584-4106;

Getting There 45 minutes: south on I-5

Turn Back Time

Fort Nisqually

Based on the Hudson Bay Company’s trading outpost from 1855, Fort Nisqually offers historically accurate buildings, period-appropriate clothing for museum “residents,” and activities—including an October candlelight tour and ghost stories around a bonfire—allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the first European settlement on Puget Sound. 253-591-5339;

Getting There 50 minutes: south on I-5 and WA 163

Dote on Design

Bloedel Reserve

More than 150 acres of greenery dwarf the English manor on the Bainbridge Island estate, even if the timber magnate who built it did decorate with fancy Louis XVI furniture and crystal chandeliers. Outside a ’60s-era guesthouse the landscape is inspired more by Japanese gardens than fussy flower beds. Austere Emily Brontë gets a poem engraved on a slate marker on the grounds, but don’t expect anything about UW poet Theodore Roethke, who drowned in a swimming pool on the property; the site is now a rock garden. 206-842-7631;

Getting There 50 minutes: west on Seattle–Bainbridge ferry and north on WA 305

Bloedel reserve wxwmve

Bloedel Reserve

Image: Flickr/Mifl68 

Fight Old Battles

Fort Ward State Park

Like most of the state’s old coastal military installations, this decommissioned fort on Bainbridge Island’s southernmost toe is home to old cannons, mossy battery structures, and (probably) a handful of ghosts. Clam diggers mine the rocky shore and scuba divers venture beyond into the waters of Rich Passage. The site was a top-secret World War II naval radio post, eavesdropping on Japanese communications.

Getting There 55 minutes: west on Seattle–Bainbridge ferry and south on Blakely Ave and Fort Ward Hill Rd

Set Sail

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard

The U.S. Navy tosses all its mothballed old aircraft carriers in the waters of Bremerton (someone call Hoarders), but the naval base is no junkyard. A massive old crane hangs over a still-active ship maintenance area, and nearby the Puget Sound Navy Museum recreates life on a nuclear aircraft carrier. On the way home, swing by the Naval Undersea Museum ( 12 miles north in Keyport to see torpedo tubes and the control room of a fast attack submarine. 360-476-3711;

Getting There 70 minutes: west on Seattle-Bremerton ferry and WA 302

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