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Kickin' it on the Kitsap

A short journey from Seattle aboard a Washington State ferry, the Kitsap Peninsula is surrounded by nearly 300 miles of shoreline with Port Orchard, Bremerton and Silverdale nestled in the center of it all.
Written by Brandie Ahlgren | Photography by Julie Clegg
On the Kitsap, you'll find sophisticated dining, award-winning wineries, shops filled with local art and bakeries to tempt your taste buds. And, for your furry companions, quick access to pristine trails, waterfront boardwalks, and well-maintained on- and off-leash parks, make this Dog's Eye View worth barking about.

We start the day with a 25-minute ferry ride from the Fauntleroy ferry dock in West Seattle to the Southworth ferry dock, located about 15 minutes from Port Orchard. We have a date with James, the one-eyed boxer. James earned this moniker after undergoing emergency surgery to remove an eye after a scratch at the dog park turned into something a lot more serious. James doesn't let it slow him down a bit though as we arrive at our first destination, Howe Farm.

Howe Farm is a historic park, with walking trails and an off-le ash area. It's a favorite among local dog lovers and for good reason. Originally a working farm, the land was purchased by Kitsap County from Judy Howe in 1996. This 83-acre piece of property sits at the intersection of Mile Hill Drive and Long Lake Road and is located within a wide, gently sloping valley. It's doggie utopia at the off-leash park, which features 11 acres of fenced area, including 5.5 acres of open space, with the rest a series of paths winding through the woodlands. After James enjoys a serious romp with his fellow four-legged friends, we depart this pretty, pastoral setting and head to nearby Port Orchard.

Our first stop is Morningside Bakery, located on Bay Street in the heart of downtown Port Orchard. The bakery is filled with a variety of delectable goodies including breads and pastries plus our choice of the day, cupcakes. Along with James, we enjoy our sugary goodness on a bench situated just outside the bakery and watch the passing scenery.

Around the corner from Morningside, is Marina Park, with a boardwalk and covered gazebo. It offers beach access and is the site of the summer, outdoor Farmer's Market, where dogs are welcome. We enjoy the view of Bremerton across Sinclair Inlet before heading to Moon Dogs, Too for a bite to eat. While it's not dog friendly despite the name, Moon Dogs is worth it, offering some of the best burgers we've ever tasted.

We leave James and his doting parents behind and head to Bremerton, the largest city on the Kitsap Peninsula, surrounded by shoreline and home to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and the Bremerton annex of the Naval Base Kitsap, together comprising the third largest Naval base in the United States.

Harborside Fountain Park is our first stop. Located on the waterfront, the 2.5-acre park features five large copper-ringed fountains, wading pools, and lush landscaping. The boardwalk along the water is a favorite for walking the dog and with views overlooking the marina and the Bremerton ferry dock, it's no wonder.

A new fountain park sits just above the Bremerton ferry tunnel and blends water and art, along with the bow of a ship and the conning tower of a submarine as a tribute to the workers at the Bremerton Naval Shipyard over the years.

After taking in the scenery along Bremerton's waterfront, it's time to head to Evergreen Park, one of the prettiest parks on the peninsula. Comprised of 10 acres, the park features 1,900 feet of shoreline, a boat launch, picnic tables, a playground and plenty of parking. There is wide open green space for play time and a paved path meanders along the waterfront. And, every Thursday during summer months, the Bremerton Farmers Market hosts a variety of vendors offering everything from ice cream to hand made arts and crafts. Located nearby is CJ's General Store if you want to pick up a snack and the newly opened Samudra's Yoga, Coffee & Treats has a dog-friendly outside seating area where you can enjoy coffee, tea and fresh bakery items with your pooch.

Next, it's off to Silverdale, located eight miles north of Bremerton. Silverdale is a shopper's paradise, with the Kitsap Mall and Naturally 4 Paws, Kitsap County's only pet store to provide all-natural pet foods and treats, unique accessories and supplies, complete line of supplements, canine training center, full service grooming, certified animal massage therapy, self-service bathing stations, customer loyalty program and Happy Birthday Club -- all under one roof! The training and events center offers only positive reinforcement methods and is adorned with a wall mural depicting past and present pets of the store owners and friends.

While in Silverdale, don't miss Old Town Silverdale, a friendly community perched on the waterfront. You'll discover plenty of quaint shops, galleries and casual cafes with panoramic waterfront views. The waterfront park has a gazebo, playground for kids, public boat ramp, moorage, picnic spots, restaurants and a beach walkway.

Another favorite is the scenic Clear Creek Trail, which winds through Silverdale's urban areas. Adjacent to the trail is the Silverdale Dog Park. Recently opened, the park is one of the best maintained dog parks we've ever been to, with a path leading into a large open area for some off leash fun.

If you're considering adding another four-legged member to your family, the Kitsap Humane Society, located in Silverdale at 9167 Dickey Road NW, serves the entire county. As of this printing, they've re-homed 1,771 animals and spayed/neutered 951 since the beginning of the year. If your household is full of furry creatures for the time being, but you still want to lend your support, then join the fun at Animal Krackers, a gala and live auction hosted every September by Kitsap Humane. For more details, visit kitsap-humane.org.

Alas, we have a ferry to catch back to West Seattle, so we pile pooches and people back in the car and depart the peninsula. However, on our journey we discovered some fabulous on- and off-leash parks, perused an amazing pet store, enjoyed the beautiful scenery, and ate the most delicious burger ever-we will be back!

Gear up for the Kitsap Peninsula at the CityDog Shop.

More Information
Howe Farm
Long Lake Road at Sedgwick Road
Port Orchard, Wash.

Morningside Bakery
707 Bay Street
Port Orchard, Wash.

Moon Dogs, Too
714 Bay Street
Port Orchard, Wash.

Evergreen Park | CJ's | Sumadra's
1400 Park Ave
Bremerton, Wash.

Naturally 4 Paws
9337 Silverdale Way NW
Silverdale, Wash.
360.337.2444
naturally4paws.com

Clear Creek Trail | Silverdale Dog Park
11601 Silverdale Way NW
Silverdale, Wash.
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