Five years ago our next door neighbors grew tired of the fast-paced life and high cost of living in Southern California and moved to a place called Bainbridge Island. Ever since then they've been adding notes to Christmas cards asking us to come and visit. Thursday was the day. As it turns out, Bainbridge Island isn't really an island, but a peninsula that juts into the waters surrounding Seattle. Even so, you can't drive there from the city, so we hopped on a ferry and stepped on the island twenty minutes later. We drove with our neighbor up the peninsula, stopped for a bit at the Point No Point Lighthouse, and finally arrived at their house in the woods, eight miles past the last stoplight. Henry's fever came roaring back, so I stayed behind while he napped, but everyone else walked three minutes to the beach for a barbecue. Alison and Kate spent the afternoon playing at the water's edge and gathering dozens of sand dollars and countless seashells. Henry eventually rallied, but by the time we got to the beach the tide had come in and the sand had almost completely disappeared. What remained was some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable. The Olympia Mountains were visible out across the water, and evergreens towered behind us. A lone bird of prey, perhaps a bald eagle but more likely an osprey, stood sentinel perched high above us in a tree, and dozens of swallows flashed and darted through the meadow, circling inches above the grass in search of insects. As we sat amongst it all, I realized that even though I couldn't imagine living in a place like that, I felt lucky to have visited.