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Tourist town

July 9th, 2004 · 2 Comments

Summertime reminds me that we live in a tourist town. Of course, some of the people who live here would call us tourists, as we Leungs – and thousands of others – are recent immigrants to the island, lacking a pedigree dating back to the years of summer cabins and intense seasonal migration.

In the current era, the difference between the seasons isn’t as dramatic as it once was. Thousands of people live here year round, through sun and snow.

Yet all it takes is the solstice to turn and the sun to shine, and suddenly this place isn’t what it was. A parking slot on Winslow Way becomes a rare find on a weekday morning. The sidewalks see more feet as pedestrians walk from the dock and tour the town. As I experienced in my travels yesterday, traffic to and from the island on the ferry increases, resulting in longer lines, and slower lines from drivers unfamiliar with the protocols.

As most tourist towns, we have a love-hate relationship with our visitors. I’m sure that the economy enjoys the company. There must be a market out there for all the customized T-shirts and key chains bearing our fair island’s name, all the trinkets on store shelves, such as the cardboard ferry boat filled with chocolate cars. But we residents – and even some store owners – like our island life a bit quieter.

So far this summer tourist season has brought us two news stories about visitors to the island. It seems that a bear – or bears – are making the rounds on the island, swimming to the beaches, crossing the freeway, eating berries and visiting parks. The other night our neighbor across the street saw a black bear behind his house…which means this ursine guest was only a few hundred yards from our home, if that far.

Other exciting visitors this summer include Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt, who are rumored to have bought a house here (one version says they bought a small island off the north end of this island). They wouldn’t be the only celebrities to live here, but the gossip is growing just as the traffic downtown is.

I heard the rumor from a friend and then that same night saw Chip’s post. A Bremerton Sun article Chip linked referred to this blog post where a Sun reporter had left a comment asking for more information (looks like newspaper reporters use Google and blogs too!)…

Guess, as my friend put it, this rumored celebrity purchase might be good for property values, good for island traffic and it’s good for my blog traffic…”jennifer aniston bainbridge island” and “brad pitt bainbridge island” have been appearing in my search engine phrases for this blog, due to this piece I wrote about the MTV-show twins who wanted to look like Brad Pitt….hmmm…maybe they’ll come visit Bainbridge now too …and join the crowds…

It’s summer on Bainbridge. The tourists are arriving, and the two big visitors this summer seem to be bears and Mr. & Mrs. Brad Pitt: what I’m wondering now is when the two will meet each other…

Tags: island

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 emily // Jul 12, 2004 at 5:34 pm

    We were in Seattle last week for family vacation w/ M’s family. We considered a ferry to Bainbridge and even going to Pacific Science Center too. Both ideas were outvoted. But I thought of you and fellow islanders enduring tourist traffic like us while we explored other parts of the city…

  • 2 Julie // Jul 13, 2004 at 12:07 am

    Hi emily,

    sorry you missed Bainbridge and the butterflies…maybe next time 🙂

    Hope you enjoyed your stay. Hey, I shouldn’t have anything against tourists. When I go to Seattle now I feel like one myself…and I’m going to be a tourist in a few places this summer too 🙂