All illustrations by Jessica Randklev

All illustrations by Jessica Randklev

Dear The Bremelogger: I must admit that since we began our unfortunate correspondence, I’ve taken great pleasure in rediscovering The Bremerton Sun. Why, just yesterday I learned that a “thrill seeker” from Bothell took a plunge from the Manette Bridge. I think the Sun has the facts a little shaky, however. I don’t think he was seeking a thrill. He was seeking escape. But what the poor soul doesn’t understand is that you can jump off the Manette Bridge until you’re blue in the face, and it isn’t going to get you out of Bremerton. It’s just going to put you in a Bremerton jail. Which, you must admit, is something of a redundancy.

I also learned recently that Bremerton’s Kitsap Wine Festival was a “Sold-Out Success,” Saturday at that copper park you have down on the water. Couple things:

1. It was smart of the powers that be to call it the “Kitsap” Wine Festival. Bremerton concerns long ago realized that — and I’m breaking this down so you can understand — Bremerton is the Night Train of civic brands.

2. This is pretty impressive feat, especially for Bremerton. You were able to convince 500 people to get in their yachts, float up to the marina (plenty of parking, I’m sure), visit their friends at the retirement home/condos downtown, and enjoy $45 worth of wine. It kind of makes me wonder what kind of retailers you’re going to “attract” to those empty buildings. I’m guessing Coldwater Creek, a funeral parlor, and an IZOD outlet.

BTW, I see that you had Eddie Money in town last night. It really brings new meaning to Money line “I’ve got two tickets to paradise,” doesn’t it? I mean, singing that from Bremerton, the man could be talking about anywhere.

Sincerely,

Old Man Winslow

Advertisements
Capitol Hill's Oddfellows Hall. Flickr photo by <a href=

Capitol Hill's Oddfellows Hall. Flickr photo by LookatLao.

There’s a story in Saturday’s New York Times about a Beacon, NY, a blue-collar city whose downtown was wiped out when industry (Nabisco, etc.) pulled out. But, they bounced back. And downtown’s low-rent, historic brick buildings became magnets for art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. Sounds great, no? It sounds a lot like the downtown Bremerton of not so few dreams, eh? But, the parties over. Almost.

Beacon’s taken a beating in the recession. Fewer tourists are coming into town. Fewer locals are going out to eat. And town’s rebound is on the verge of deflating. Perhaps they hit at just the wrong time. And perhaps Bremerton will come of age right as the economy’s picking up. With Ron Sher on the line for a the Penny’s building, and empty condos on the waterfront, it’s not such a crazy idea. But, here’s what catches my eye about Jodi Rudoren’s NYT piece:

A couple of brave entrepreneurs, including Poppy’s, a grass-fed burger shack, and Isamu, which serves sushi and Chinese food, have even opened in recent weeks.

There are a couple of bright spots: At Homespun Foods, where everything on the menu is under $10, sales rose 12 percent in January (“People are still going out for that chocolate chip cookie,” said Jessica Reisman, the chef-owner.) and Artisan Wine Shop has sold 10 percent more bottles in 2009 than at this point last year (though the average bottle price is down 8 percent).

Enter The Patio (and, sort of, the rest of Manette).

(more…)