Seeking the Summit of Stewart Mountain – Lake Whatcom Park

January 26th, 2015 by Todd Elsworth

I’d seen plenty of pictures on people’s pages* of sweeping views looking over Lake Whatcom from atop Stewart Mountain. I wanted my own. After Hoofin’ it on the Hertz Trail, I thought I’d take a quick stab at the summit. I wanted to see what others had seen – and shared. Looking west onto the horizon, I’d admire the setting sun as the silhouette of the land outlined the lake and the edge of the Salish Sea.

This is an example from a “friend of a friend” of what I’m talking about:


Photo credit: Jessica Carter

From the Hertz Trail parking lot at Lake Whatcom Park you have two choices for your path to the summit: The wide open service road (aka Wickersham Truck Trail) or the footpath.

Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken led me with his timeless words, “…Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” The footpath heads up through the land of moss and ferns.


As you ascend the trail the sounds of Smith Creek echo below. The angle of the hill is steep and you can look straight down into the creek. The path takes a turn and parallels the open swath of the powerlines that buzz in the distance. The silence and solitude is intermittently interrupted by the chirping of birds and the trickle of small creek crossings.


The trail empties onto the road but it is easy to find your way to the next trail head. I chose to stay on the trail- crossing paths with couples descending. I wanted to get up there and see what others had seen. Finally, I came to my first overlook where I was afforded (I felt I’d earned it) views looking over Sudden Valley and South Lake Whatcom. I believe that the bump in the distance is Alger Alp.


I wasn’t to the summit though- so I had to keep on keepin’ on! As I climbed the steep trail I noticed an evident change in the types of trees and the understory as it showed more Oregon Grape with its “pinnate leaves consisting of spiny leaflets” that are prickly to the touch.


Success is a matter of measure. I came to the park to write about the Hertz Trail but found myself being called to the summit of Stewart. Unfortunately, I didn’t plan in advance for this endeavor. While I had water, I had brought zero fuel and my tummy was starting to growl. That, coupled with the fact that the sun was setting (and I didn’t have a headlamp) didn’t set me up for a successful summit-ting of the mountain. So I simply turned around and headed down the road. From the road and the clearcut of the powerlines I could see across the lake and the fog setting in on the horizon.


I believe that I had a successful day and enjoyed my adventure. Next time, I’ll plan a bit more and take my time. If you’re up for a challenge and want to share in the camaraderie of conquering the mountain take a look at this:

Upcoming Event: Stewart Mountain Half Marathon.
Saturday, March 14th. Part of the Bellingham Trail Running Series.

Course Description: First ever race to the top of Stewart Mountain! The Stewart Mountain Half Marathon starts at North Lake Whatcom Trailhead (Hertz Trail).  The half marathon runs along the beautiful & blue lake Whatcom before heading up Stewart Mountain for a partial out and back, and MY OH MY the views are sweeet! The race descends by taking a single track trail after some logging roads with stunning views of Lake Whatcom and Bellingham.  Runners will enjoy forest and lake views throughout the race.

Elevation Gain: Approximately 3,369 feet!

Good Luck!

*yes, Facebook! If you’d like to friend and follow me, you may. See you OUT THERE!

Quilting, Crafting and Knitting Supplies from Whatcom County Craft Stores

January 26th, 2015 by Teresa Schmidt

Whatcom County is a destination for crafters of all types: from soapmakers to scrapbookers; knitters to quilters. They love the variety of craft stores Whatcom County features, as well as the wide selection of yarns, fabrics and crafting supplies. I recently had a chance to visit a few craft shops in Bellingham, and discovered a whole new world, along with some highly talented shopkeepers who clearly love their craft and their customers!

For Knitters and Crocheters

Whatcom County, Bellingham, Craft Store, Knitting, Yarn, Apple Yarns

Top: Apple Yarns entrance, interior with owner Andrea Evans
Bottom: Store displays, class in session in the Gathering Room

Apple Yarns in Bellingham is a friendly, lively and colorful place for yarn fans. The shop has been in business for over seven years, and is well established in the knitting-crocheting community. And, it’s easy to get there from I-5 (just look for the signs on the freeway!).

Whatcom County, Bellingham, Craft Store, Knitting, Yarn, Apple Yarns

What’s new? Noro yarns from Japan, now made with Merino wool! Apple Yarns is one of very few retailers who have it in the U.S.

Owner Andrea Evans pays close attention to trends, and provides her customers with everything they need to keep up. This knitting novice learned that circular needles are they only way to go (mine are all straight), and that Noro, a prized Japanese yarn maker, has just released spring yarns made with Merino wool, which is less scratchy and more yummy.

Whatcom County, Bellingham, Craft Store, Knitting, Yarn, Apple Yarns

Top: Sweater and hat, Yarn Spoolies.
Bottom: Yarn-customized tandem bike, Seahawks knitwear.

From basic Learn to Knit and Crochet to more advanced lessons, all Apple Yarn classes are taught by experienced teachers, including the recent “Make a Seahawks Hat” class. Altogether, 60 loyal fans learned how to knit a blue and green “12” hat just in time for Super Bowl parties. Apple Yarns even teaches an arm knitting class, which requires no needles–just your arms. (Super Bowl hat classes are over, but you can stop by and pick up the pattern. If you know how to knit and purl, you can make the hat.) Beginners can learn to make the arm-knitted scarf above if you make it to the class on Tuesday, January 27. Call the shop for details.

Whatcom County, Bellingham, Craft Store, Knitting, Yarn, Apple Yarns

Skeins of yarn, circular and straight needles, and luxurious hand-dyed yarn from SweetGeorgia

Apple Yarns is a place where needle workers gather to knit, crochet and socialize–often for a good cause. Ongoing group sessions bring together knitters to make mastectomy prosthetics called Knitted Knockers, which are free to breast cancer patients and survivors. Knitted Knockers is an organization started by Barbara Demorest, a Bellingham woman who made it her mission to connect volunteer knitters with breast cancer survivors, and provide comfortable prosthetics (most are not) to anyone who needs them. She ships about 100 per week all over the U.S. Apple Yarns offers a 10% store discount to anyone who brings in a pair, and you can pick up the pattern at the store. It’s just one example of how giving the crafting community can be!

Stop into Apple Yarns and you might even be inspired (like I am!) to learn how to knit.
Apple Yarns, 1780 Iowa St., Bellingham, WA 98229       360-756-9992
Apple Yarns on Facebook

More Whatcom County Yarn Shops

Wool Station-Yarns Northwest
1103 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225

NW Handspun Yarns
1401 Commercial St,
Bellingham, WA 98225
Knit Night Tuesdays 5:30-8:00
Knit Day Wednesday 1:00-3:00

Beach Basket Yarns & Gifts
7620 Birch Bay Dr Ste BBlaine, WA 98230

J & J’s Needle Art
436 W Bakerview Rd Ste 109
Bellingham,WA 98226


For Quilters

Winter is the perfect time of year to stay inside and work on crafts. If you’re a quilter, or want to be, Bellingham’s Two Thimbles Quilt Shop is the perfect place to spend some time planning or learning how to get started on your next project. The shop has been in business for eight years, and is located just outside downtown Bellingham, in a small shopping center that’s close to I-5. It’s easy to get in and out, and there’s free parking!

Whatcom County, Bellingham, Craft Store, Quilting, Two Thimbles, Quilt Shop

The shop features a huge variety of fabrics and quilting supplies, including Jo Morton fabrics, books and bundles. From kits and patterns, to bobbin clips and magnetic bookmarks, you’ll find everything you need to make quilting easier and more fun, whether you’re a novice or an expert. The shop also caters to apron and pincushion enthusiasts, with all kinds of fabrics and patterns, and a new pincushion pattern each month, so you can add to your collection.

Whatcom County, Bellingham, Craft Store, Quilting, Two Thimbles, Quilt Shop

Two Thimbles owner Lee Glendening specializes in Civil War reproduction prints, and the shop is filled with patterns and fabrics that honor this colorful and historic era.

Whatcom County, Bellingham, Craft Store, Quilting, Two Thimbles, Quilt Shop


Events at Two Thimbles Quilt Shop include a variety of classes throughout 2015. Sewing Soirees are on the first Friday of every month from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and give quilters use of the classroom, design walls, cutting tables and and ironing stations. Lunch is included, too! See the Two Thimbles website for details.

Quilters, mark your calendars for the 2015 Tri-County Quilt Tour! It’s March 26th through the 28th, 2015 and this year’s theme is “Farm to Market.” Contact Lee for more information.
Two Thimbles Quilt Shop, 1805 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham, WA 98225 360-715-1629
Two Thimbles Quilt Shop on Facebook

More Whatcom County Quilt Shops

Tangeled Thread Quilt Shop
202 6th St.
Lynden, WA 98264

1885 Kok Rd.
Lynden, WA 98264

For Scrapbookers and Crafters

Stampadoodle and The Paper Cafe is another destination shop for anyone who loves papercrafting. The store is chock-full of beautiful, hand-made and specialty papers, and art supplies. In fact, they have one of the best selections of papers on the West Coast.

Whatcom County, Bellingham, Craft Store, Crafting, Stampadoodle, Stamps, Paper

Stampadoodle and The Paper Cafe carries gorgeous handmade papers, as well as a huge selection of specialty papers.

And befitting the original store name, Stampadoodle, here you’ll find more stamps than you’ve ever seen in your life (at least that was the case for me). They’re also manufacturers of custom stamps.

Whatcom County, Bellingham, Craft Store, Crafting, Stampadoodle, Stamps, Paper

So. Many. Stamps!

At Stampadoodle and The Paper Cafe, you can find everything you need to create your own cards, photo frames and scrapbooks, practice the art of bookbinding or scrapbooking, or have fun with just about whichever handmade craft you love.

Whatcom County, Bellingham, Craft Store, Crafting, Stampadoodle, Stamps, Paper

Papers, ribbons and stencils. Oh my!

Skilled crafters teach all kinds of classes, even for rookies like me. Learn how to make journals, fancy 3D cards and much more. Lunchtime demos are every Wednesday from noon to 1:00 p.m., and they’re free! Check out the 2015 schedule here.

Stampadoodle and The Paper Cafe also offers crafting space for anyone who wants to come in and use their Community Crafting Area. It’s available whenever they’re open, and their knowledgable staff can help you with your questions. Use their die-cutting machine for free when you purchase your paper there.
Stampadoodle & The Paper Cafe, 1825 Grant St., Bellingham, WA 98225 360-647-9663
Stampadoodle on Facebook


Whatcom County, Bellingham, Craft Store, Crafting, Otion, Soap Bar, Soap Making Supplies

Otion is a soap bar in downtown Bellingham that offers a huge variety of supplies, like essential oils, molds and kits. Here, anyone can make handmade soap, lotions, bath bombs, lip balm, nail polish and candles like a pro, even if  you’re a crafting newbie.

Whatcom County, Bellingham, Craft Store, Crafting, Otion, Soap Bar, Soap Making Supplies

Top: Finished soaps, the Handmade Beauty Box
Bottom: Spring Meadow essential oil, Crafter’s Corner

Essential oils, fragrance oils, colorants and much more line the shelves, and make the store smell amazing. How about spring meadow, vanilla rosewood, cypress, eucalyptus radiata, frankincense, myrrh, or scotch pine? I also spotted sweet almond, apricot kernel, sesame and hazelnut oils, along with rosewater and natural exfoliants like crushed grape seeds and walnut shells. Bottles, jars tubes and everything else you might need to finish off your hand crafted beauty products are close at hand.

The Crafter’s Corner features four fully-stocked workstations, and is available to anyone who wants to make their own lip balm, bath bombs, nail polish or melt-and-pour soap. Teachers are available to help, and projects are appropriate for all ages. Call 360-676-1030 to reserve your spot!

Whatcom County, Bellingham, Craft Store, Crafting, Otion, Soap Bar, Soap Making Supplies

Otion offers loads of classes, and birthday parties, as well. There’s even a beer soap-making class coming up that looks pretty interesting to this hophead. If you’re an experienced soapmaker, or just entering the world of handmade beauty products, Otion is the place for you.

Otion 301 W Holly St., Bellingham, WA 98225 360-676-1030
Otion on Facebook

More Whatcom County Craft Stores

Beauty in the Bead Shop
436 W Bakerview Rd. #111
Bellingham, WA 98226

Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores
1125 E Sunset Dr. Ste. 125 (Sunset Square)
Bellingham, WA 98226

4383 Meridian St
Bellingham, WA 98226

Where in Whatcom County to Watch the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX

January 19th, 2015 by Teresa Schmidt

WHAT JUST HAPPENED??!! The Seahawks are going back to the Super Bowl, that’s what! And most of us just had mild heart attacks watching it happen.

Of course, this time of year, everybody is a Seahawks fan. The defending Super Bowl champs will do that to a person. That means all the 12th men and women (and dogs, too) in Whatcom County will gather on February 1 to watch the game, enjoy tasty beverages, hoot and holler, and cheer the Seahawks on to victory. But the question is, where is the best place to gather?

Football’s always more fun in a crowd, especially when there’s plenty of beer, cocktails and snacks to fuel the excitement. And no matter which area of Whatcom County you’re in, I’ve got the lowdown on a close-by bar or brewpub to take it all in.

And if you’re heading to a house party, check the list to see where to fill your growlers, so you’ll be welcomed with open arms and empty mugs.

Where to Watch the Super Bowl!

Downtown Bellingham

New York Pizza & Bar has four big-screen TVs in the restaurant and six in the bar, so adults and kids can all have a great view of the game. They’re doing Happy Hour all day, on beverages and food items. 902 N. State St., Bellingham WA. 360-733-3171.

The crew at Aslan Brewing Co. gets super excited about the Seahawks and this will be the newish brewery’s first Super Bowl, so you can expect an over-the-top celebration. They are offering two food specials: blue deviled eggs (yes, blue!) with a yam baked potato for $7.00 and chili cheese fries for $9.00. Plus, pitchers of always-organic Pilsner and OPA will be only $10. 1330 N Forest St Bellingham, WA. 360-778-2088

Aslan Brewing Co, Bellingham, Craft Beer, Brewery, Restaurant, Brewpub

The Waterfront will have plenty of food and beverage specials, like burger baskets for $3.00 and cheeseburger baskets for $3.50. Domestic beers (Bud, Bud Light, Coors, MGD and the like) are $2.50 and pitchers are $7.50. And you can find some amazing good local brews on tap, as well–like Kulshan IPA and Chuckanut’s Bean Stop Porter. 521 W Holly St. Bellingham, WA. 360-676-1755

Waterfront Seafood & Bar

Boundary Bay Brewery will be plenty lively, with two TV screens and a giant projector screen in the taproom. The brews will be flowing by the pint and by the growler, so step up early to get yours filled with delicious IPA, Scotch Ale, Bellingham Blonde, Oatmeal Stout, Amber Ale, ESB, or Dry Irish Stout. And if you really want to be the hero at your Super Bowl party, show up with a growler of Boundary Bay anything AND a pan of their outrageously delicious mac and cheese. They’re selling it to go for game day, but you have to pre-order by emailing 1107 Railroad Avenue, Bellingham, WA. 360-647-5593. 

Bellingham Beer Week, Craft Beer, Bellingham WA, Oktoberfest, 2013, Boundary Bay Brewery


Poppes 36o in the Lakeway Best Western is having a fun Super Sunday party with Happy Hour pricing and food specials throughout the game. Doors open early, and you can catch every play on their eight big-screen TVs. 714 Lakeway Drive, Bellingham, WA 360-746-6476

At Bob’s Burgers and Brew, it will be happy hour all day and all the action on the big screens in the bar. Expect a crowd. 202 E. Holly St., Bellingham WA. 360-734-1350.

Not Quite Downtown Bellingham

Elizabeth Station is having an “Interactive Super Bowl Party,” which sounds like a hoot. Each time Marshawn Lynch scores a touchdown, everyone shakes hands. And if Michael Bennett sacks Tom Brady, everyone will ride an imaginary bike around. Plus, chili dogs. And beer. Lots of delicious craft beer from the 16 taps.  1400 W. Holly St. Bellingham, WA. 360-733-8982.

Cocoanut Grove is a sports bar, so you know they will have an enthusiastic crowd cheering on their Hawks. They will be open early, with happy hour all day and special giveaways during the game. 710 Marine Dr. Bellingham, WA. 360-671-6756

McKay’s Taphouse will have microbrew pints for $3.50 and pitchers for $12.00. 1118 E Maple St, Bellingham, WA. 360-647-3600

Bellingham Beer Week, Craft Beer, Bellingham WA, McKay's Taphouse, Machine Works Brewery

On and Off the Guide

The folks at Extremes Sports Grill & Pizzeria know how to throw a Super Bowl party. They’re opening early and expect to be full by 11:30, so plan on arriving in time to fuel up with a BBQ buffet of pulled pork, shredded smoked chicken, rib tips, potato salad, slaw, baked beans, and mac and cheese. They’ll also have drink specials to go with their 25 beers on tap. The game will be featured on three giant screens.  4156 Meridian St., Bellingham, WA. 360-647-7066.

Located just a few blocks off of Meridian, Jeckyl & Hyde Deli and Alehouse will be offering their entire menu at half price and brews at happy hour prices on game day. 709 W Orchard Dr, Bellingham, WA. 360-715-9100

Slo Pitch Sports Grill will have food and drink specials and giveaways; expect the bar to start filling up around 12:30. 3720 Guide Meridian, Bellingham, WA. 360-733-2255

Out on Mount Baker Highway

Chair 9 in Glacier will be raucous on game day, starting with a pre-game Punt, Pass & Kick contest in the parking lot. Games for kids and grown-ups, with prizes for the winners will get everyone in the mood even before Idina Menzel starts belting out “Oh say can you see.”

Inside, you can enjoy pizza and appetizers, lots of good beer and cocktails, too. Doors open at 11:00, so grab your seat early—they are expecting a BIG crowd. Luckily, the giant-screen TV will provide each fan with an excellent view of every play. 10459 Mt. Baker Highway, Glacier, WA. 360-599-2511.


Maggie’s Pub is a fun place to gather anytime, and on Super Bowl Sunday, it will be even better. Maggie herself is cooking up some spicy chili and homemade cornbread, and she’s offering $1 off pints if you’re wearing Seahawks or Maggie’s pub gear!
2030 Main St., Ferndale, Washington 360-656-6848.

Birch Bay

The Will’O Pub and CafĂ© is an English pub that does American football game day right. They will have a raucous crowd filling up on $1 tacos and appetizer specials, along with some special blue Seahawks-themed drinks: the Shermie, the Beast Mode and the 12th Cocktail. The Will’O will be open early on Super Bowl day. 7714 Birch Bay Dr. Birch Bay, WA. 360-778-2852.
Seattle Seahawks, Will'O Pub, Birch Bay, Super Bowl, Bellingham, Whatcom County, Craft Beer



Packers Oyster Bar at Semiahmoo Resort will be featuring fun food and beverage specials on Super bowl Sunday. Local and regional brews will flow and craft cocktails will be stirred and shaken to perfection. 9565 Semiahmoo Pkwy., Blaine, WA. 360-318-2090

The Wheelhouse Bar and Grill has plenty of big-screen TVs so everyone gets a good view of the game. They will be open early, with all-day happy hour. 746 Peace Portal Dr. Blaine, WA 98230 Phone: 360-332-3512


Where to Grab or Fill a Growler in Bellingham

Kulshan Brewing Company Pick up one of Kulshan’s delicious brews in RTG growlers and pills (counter-pressure-filled, even!). Plus, they’ll be selling four-packs of the Bellingham Beer Week 2014 Collaboration brew, Whatcom Wheat, for only $9 per four-pack. A delicious bargain! 2238 James St. Bellingham, WA. 360-389-5348.

Wander Brewing will open early for game watching or growler filling. Ooh, and they have a new session IPA on tap. Can’t wait to try it. 1807 Dean Ave. Bellingham, WA. 360-647-6152

Bellingham, Craft Beer, Pumpkin Beer, Wander Brewing

Chuckanut Brewery will be offering happy hour through the entire game, and it’s a great place to bring the kids. Or fill up your growler with one of their award-winning brews. 601 W Holly St. Bellingham, WA 360-752-3377

The Copper Hog always has a great lineup of microbrews to choose from. Or if you need a LOT of beer, order a keg ahead of time and you’ll have the best party in town. 1327 N State St. Bellingham, WA. 360-927-7888 (Talk to Logan or Aaron.)

Elizabeth Station Check out what’s on their 16 taps at, and if you’re in need of a keg of something special, call ES at 360-733-8982  for pre-game pickup. 1400 W. Holly St. Bellingham, WA.

Bellingham Beer Week, Craft Beer, Bellingham WA, Elizabeth Station

BevMo! will open at 9:00 a.m. so you can beer up and be home in plenty of time before kickoff. On tap and ready to fill your growlers are nine beers from around the region, plus a cider. Kegs ready to go, too! 114 W. Stuart Rd. Bellingham, WA. 360-746-3110.

Cheers to all the 12s! GO HAWKS!

Discover the San Juan Islands on a Small Ship Cruise out of Bellingham

January 15th, 2015 by Annette

Although the weather outside is frightful, it will soon be so delightful, and now is the time to dream of a summer sailing adventure in the Northwest. Bellingham, WA is the perfect place to board a small-ship cruise through the San Juan Islands.

Within view of downtown Bellingham, the San Juan Archipelago encompasses 172 islands and rocks in the Salish Sea, including 75 sites officially designated San Juan Islands National Monument. Truly the best way to view the islands is by boat, and particularly on a small ship. Four local cruise companies out of Bellingham offer a variety of one-day and overnight options for sailing, whale watching and exploring from May through October:  San Juan Cruises, Island Mariner, the Schooner Zodiac and Northwest Navigation .

Sailing from Bellingham through the San Juans

Sailing from Bellingham through the San Juans

Day Trips and Evening Sails

If your schedule only allows for a day or an evening in the San Juans, it is easy to get out on the water from Bellingham (with no waiting in ferry lines) and there are many options to explore.

San Juan Cruises

  • San Juan Cruises offers full-day Whale Watching Trips to Friday Harbor. Trips depart from the Bellingham Cruise Terminal on Saturdays and Sundays through May 9 -24, and seven days a week May 30 – Sept. 20, 2015.  The voyage is well known locally for its complimentary salmon and chicken BBQ lunch on board, and a 2-hour shore excursion in Friday Harbor before returning to Bellingham. The route passes Eliza, Sinclair, Lopez, Orcas and San Juan Islands.
  • San Juan Cruises also offers full-day Bird Watching Excursions Sundays June 7, 21 and July 5, 2015. Naturalists help guests locate bald eagles, great blue herons, cormorants, caspian terns, rhinoceros auklets, pigeon guillemots, and more with a great view point on the water.
  • Or, spend a full day on the Sucia Island Picnic Cruise. Sucia Island is a Washington State Park that is only accessible by private yacht or charter vessels. The gorgeous 564-acre island includes a trail system and 77,700 feet of shoreline. This cruise departs each Sunday, July 12 – Aug. 30, 2015 and includes a picnic lunch on the island.
  • Dinner cruises on Bellingham Bay have become a specialty for San Juan Cruises. The Chuckanut Cracked Crab Dinner Cruise, runs Fridays and Saturdays, June 12 – Sept. 12, 2015. The Bellingham Bay BREWS Cruise, sets sail each Wednesday, June 10 – Sept. 16, 2015, featuring Bellingham’s Boundary Bay, Chuckanut, and Kulshan Breweries. And, unWINEd on the Bay Cruises take place on Thursdays, July 9 – Sept. 17, 2015. The secluded Chuckanut Bay is a popular destination on these cruises and also part of the new National Monument.

Island Mariner Cruises

  • Island Mariner operates out of Bellingham’s Squalicum Harbor and also offers full-day San Juan Islands Whale Watching. Cruises depart at 10 a.m. and return about 4:30 p.m., May – October, for a 70-90 mile whale search cruise around the San Juan Islands and often the Canadian Gulf Islands.
  • Thursday evenings in July and August, the Whatcom Museum History Sunset Cruise takes place aboard Island Mariner. Narrated by Bellingham native Brian Griffin, this cruise is an annual favorite, as it views Bellingham’s downtown and Fairhaven districts the way the pioneers did – from the water.

Schooner Zodiac

  • June 19 – Sept. 4, 2015, the Schooner Zodiac offers Friday Night Bellingham Bay Salmon Dinner Sails, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. This is a great opportunity to enjoy our beautiful sunset out on the water, and get a “taste” of the Zodiac experience (see below).

Multi-day Overnight Adventures

Schooner Zodiac

The largest of the Bellingham fleet is the majestic Schooner Zodiac, with the tallest working mainsail on the West Coast of America. On my first step aboard, the feel of nautical history surrounded me. I instantly admired the enormous wood masts, the spacious wood deck and the vintage helm. The view below deck is even more impressive. Originally built for the Johnson & Johnson family in 1924, the Zodiac has been meticulously restored with polished trim, fixtures, bookcases and tables. Sleeping berths and cabins can accommodate up to 20 passengers for overnight sails.

Schooner Zodiac

Schooner Zodiac

Trips on the Zodiac focus on a variety of themes throughout the summer, including Father’s Day, Lighthouses, Breweries, Seafood and Wine, Nauti-gals Women Only, Oktoberfest and Autumn Getaway. The Schooner Zodiac’s 2015 schedule is now available for booking. Passengers learn to raise and lower the massive sails, take the helm and man the charts. Of course everyone looks forward to the dinner bell, as hearty meals pour forth from the galley.

For me, the ultimate moment of relaxation was sitting quietly with a steaming mug on deck at daybreak, watching the sun rise over Lopez Island with glassy water in the foreground and the glow of a lantern overhead, while the rest of the world was a million miles away.

Northwest Navigation

Another meticulously restored wooden boat is the Motor Vessel David B, operated by Jeffrey and Christine Smith of Northwest Navigation. What the  Zodiac offers in spaciousness, the David B provides in adorable coziness.

The David B ready at Squalicum Harbor

The David B at Squalicum Harbor

It is a 65-foot workboat, built in 1929, that has been converted to carry up to 6 overnight passengers for relaxed luxury cruises in 4 inviting cabins. Two key features endear passengers to the David B: her antique engine (Jeffrey’s baby) and her antique wood burning stove (Christine’s baby). The couple bought the boat in 1998 and lovingly restored it to begin offering trips in 2006. Each cruise emphasizes nature, local history and gourmet cooking.

David B's galley

“No pre-made bread is ever served on the David B,” says Christine. Each morning she wakes up at 5 a.m., to light the fire have coffee ready by 6:00 (for the early risers), homemade muffins at 8:00, and bread rising while Jeffrey takes passengers ashore at mid-morning. By lunchtime the cabin smells delectable, and the table is set with china for a feast.  Christine also takes special care to serve local Northwest ingredients, which are plentiful in the summer months. For us, she prepared Coho salmon from Vis Seafoods, Romano beans from Joe’s Gardens, potato salad with fresh Quark cheese from Appel Farms, and Apple Bubbly from BelleWood Acres – as well as Christine’s famous sourdough rolls! All the while we drifted past the 1600-foot, deep-green, forested cliffs of Lummi Island. Ahhhh.

My family and I have taken cruises on the giant ships to Alaska, and they have their merits, but small-ship cruising is a completely different experience. It is so personal, friendly and authentic. I’m looking forward to our next adventure out on the water!

Related Stories

A Bellingham Bay Wine Cruise , by Teresa Schmidt

The Perfect Summer Evening for Beer Lovers: A Brewers Cruise on Bellingham Bay, by Teresa Schmidt

An Evening Sail Aboard the Schooner Zodiac , by Aaron Saunders

Multi-day Voyage on Schooner  Zodiac , Aaron Saunders

For more ideas about fun things to do in Bellingham and Whatcom County visit our home page.

Museum Gift Shops in Whatcom County: Something for Everyone

January 12th, 2015 by Teresa Schmidt

You don’t have to be an art lover to love the many museum gift shops in Whatcom County—but it helps! Even if art isn’t your thing, everyone loves the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention—and they have a cool gift shop, too.

Spark Museum, Bellingham, WA, museum, art, gift shop, shopping, Whatcom County

From t-shirts and mugs to cool posters and plasma spheres, you’ll find it at the SPARK.

After you’ve experienced the hair-raising MEGA Zapper (a huge Tesla coil “lightning machine”) and viewed the exhibits of artifacts spanning the history of electricity, the dawn of radio and more, stop by the gift shop for a memento.

Spark Museum, Bellingham, WA, museum, art, gift shop, shopping, Whatcom County

Top: Radio plays on CD by the MIdnight Mystery Players recreate the golden age of radio. Bottom: These beautiful antiques are for sale in the gift shop.

The Spark also carries a nice selection of electricity-themed toys to spur the imagination and inner scientist in your favorite little person:

Spark Museum, Bellingham, WA, museum, art, gift shop, shopping, Whatcom County


Spark Museum of Electrical Invention, 1312 Bay Street Bellingham, WA 98225 360-738-3886
Hours: Wed-Sun 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Spark Museum on Facebook

Lynden’s Jansen Art Center

Our museum gift shop tour continues in Lynden at the ahhh-mazing Jansen Art Center. I was there to check out the gift gallery, but received a bonus insider’s tour, courtesy of my pal Lindsey McGuirk, the Center’s marketing chick (not sure that’s her actual title). I’ve heard nothing but accolades for this beautiful place, but seeing it exceeded my expectations. The building is beautiful, but what happens inside these walls is what really impresses.

Jansen Art Center, Lynden, WA, museum, art, gift shop, shopping, Whatcom County

Top: Jansen Art Center exterior, Firehall Cafe. Bottom: Piano Lounge, where lunchtime music is heard every Wednesday at noon, Chamber Hall (and Lindsey).

All of the arts—performing, media and visual—are represented and celebrated. Classes and workshops full of eager students fill paint, ceramics, music, dance, jewelry, recording and textile studios. Fine, fiber, ceramic, photographic and metal art fills walls and hangs from ceilings. And there’s a great little museum cafĂ© called the Firehall CafĂ©, a tribute to the building’s former purpose (it also served as city hall, the library, and the jail).

Lest I get too distracted, Lindsey ushered me to the lovely, light-filled gift shop, where I feasted my eyes on a huge variety of work by local and regional artists. Some are full-time artists, others are people—like a local mail carrier—who create art in their spare time.

ansen Art Center, Lynden, WA, museum, art, gift shop, shopping, Whatcom County

Top: Pottery display, view of gift shop. Bottom: Turned wood bowls with bead detailing by Dale Yoder and Courtney Lipson, wood trays.


The best gallery gift shops have something for just about everyone, and the Jansen Gift Gallery is no exception. Wearable items like painted silk scarves and felted hats, practical things like bowls, utensils and serving trays, and pieces to bring beauty to your home, like paintings, sculptures and simple decorative items made from glass, metal, wood, pottery and more. Oh, and the metal and gemstone jewelry is exquisite!

Jansen Art Center, Judith Gauthier, jewelryLynden, WA, museum, art, gift shop, shopping, Whatcom County

Jewelry by Judith Gauthier (also a JAC instructor).


ansen Art Center, Lynden, WA, museum, art, gift shop, shopping, Whatcom County

Top let: Pottery by Brian O’Neill, Sylvia Holstrom and Eliza Weber. Top right: Rob Beishline’s pottery. Bottom: Polymer bead jewelry by Carolyn Oltman, turquoise and silver jewelry.


ansen Art Center, Lynden, WA, museum, art, gift shop, shopping, Whatcom County

Top: Hand-woven baskets by Jane Coombs . Pottery by Shelly Stark. Bottom: Sailboat sculptures, made with Lummi Island driftwood, metal rooster sculpture (by the aforementioned mail carrier).


ansen Art Center, Lynden, WA, museum, art, gift shop, shopping, Whatcom County

Top: Usable wood art by John “Tiplin” Taylor, beautiful fine wood boxes by Jerry Couchman. Bottom: Beautiful glass + stone sculptures, blown glass by Brian Kerkvliet.

Jansen Art Center is so worth a visit, whether you’re in Lynden antiquing or shopping, or just on its own. Have lunch or an espresso, or if it’s cocktail hour, indulge in a glass of wine or a pint of Bellingham’s Kulshan Brewery craft beer. Grab a friend, head to Lynden and enjoy the arts!

Jansen Art Center, 321 Front Street, Lynden, WA 98264 360-354-3600
Art Center Hours: Sunday and Monday: Closed Tuesday – Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Gallery Hours: Sunday and Monday: Closed Tuesday – Saturday: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Jansen Art Center on Facebook


Whatcom Museum: The Museum Store

Next up, the Whatcom Museum, a landmark in the heart of downtown Bellingham, is located in the Jim Olson-designed Lightcatcher Building. And how this amazing building catches the light!

Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA, museum, art, gift shop, shopping, Whatcom County

Top: Lightcatcher Building Exterior, Entrance to Museum Store
Bottom: Seth Rolland Bookends, Makiko Ichiura White Dog

On the day of my visit, the Museum Store was filled with afternoon light, which played off the fine art and artifacts that occupied every corner. The store’s collection emphasizes Northwest artists, with a variety of  offerings  from around the world, including telephone wire baskets from Africa.

Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA, museum, art, gift shop, shopping, Whatcom County

Top: Zulu Telephone Wire Baskets; baskets by Judy Zugish
Bottom: Porcelain by Inge Roberts; Cary Lane’s pottery

A treasury of wood, pottery and glass items share space with jewelry, paintings, woven art and hand-painted scarves.

Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA, museum, art, gift shop, shopping, Whatcom County

Top right: Hand-blown glass ornaments by Robert Adamson
Bottom: Wood rocks by Smith Vallee; fiber, wood and bead wreaths by Denise Snyder

Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA, museum, art, gift shop, shopping, Whatcom County

Top: pottery by Ann Marie Cooper; hand-blown glass ornaments by Robert Adamson
Bottom: Crystalline glaze vase by Ginny Conrow; a selection of turquoise, stone and metal jewelry


Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA, museum, art, gift shop, shopping, Whatcom County

Top: blown glass by Robert Adamson
Bottom: greeting cards; carved Arts & Crafts tiles

The Whatcom Museum is home to the FIG, or Family Interactive Gallery, where kids from toddlers on up have a blast with art activities like Art Club, Full STEAM Ahead (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) sessions, and special family museum gallery tours. Through February 5, the museum is presenting a migrating birds exhibit at the Syre Center down the street. Kids and adults can learn about winter birds like the snowy owl, trumpeter swan and snow goose, then bring home a book or treasure to commemorate their visit.

Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA, museum, art, gift shop, shopping, Whatcom County

Top: Sketch pads, children’s books featuring owls
Bottom: art-centered toys, hand-painted owl scarf

The Museum Store also carries kits to make your own sock monkey or volcano, plus supplies for your little artists, like colored pencils and sketch pads. The children’s book section is filled with lovely, colorful and artistic selections for kids of all ages.

The Whatcom Museum is another of Bellingham’s many community treasures, celebrating art and artists from around the world. Rotating exhibits may feature pieces from the museum’s own collection or a traveling exhibit from a far-flung museum. Expertly curated and beautifully displayed, Whatcom Museum exhibits can change the way we look at art, our surroundings and humanity itself.

In addition, the museum presents dozens of programs every month on topics as diverse as comic arts, writer Ella Higginson and Norway’s western fjords. Pique your imagination and travel to a place you’ve never been–just by visiting the Whatcom Museum!  And don’t forget to stop by the Museum Store to pick out a little treasure for your home, a friend or a child in your life.


LIGHTCATCHER, 250 Flora St, Bellingham, WA 98225
Hours: Wednesday – Sunday, noon-5:00 p.m.
open Thursday until 8:00 p.m.; open Saturday at 10:00 a.m.

The Museum Store
Hours: Wednesday – Sunday, noon-5:00 p.m.

Family Interactive Gallery (FIG)
Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 10:00 -5:00 p.m.; Sunday noon-5:00 p.m.

Whatcom Museum on Facebook

Walking through historic Old Town Bellingham

January 5th, 2015 by Todd Elsworth

I enjoy reading about the history of Bellingham to have an understanding of what I’m looking at as I tromp through town. My reading is complimented by an even more hands on (or should I say feet?) approach to learning- actually getting out and exploring the historical trails that are easily accessible for walkers, runners and bikers alike. Click on Trail Map for PDF.

The City of Bellingham offers multiple historical routes for you to make your way through old neighborhoods, along the waterfront or through the Fairhaven District. We chose The Old Village Trail as a brief introduction to the foundation of Bellingham’s history. The historic trail connects downtown’s Maritime Heritage Park with Elizabeth Park.

We started at the “trailhead” next to the Perry Center for Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences at Maritime Heritage park to begin our journey. The trail leads up the hill as you are guided by the signature brown posts with yellow stripes.


The path leads you to where George Pickett (of later Confederate Civil War fame) had lived before his famous failed charge at Gettysburg seven years later. The house sits atop what was then called Peabody Hill. As you walk up the path, look to the south for peekaboo views of the waterfront and Sehome Hill in the distance.


“The Pickett House is the oldest house in the city of Bellingham, Washington, located on 910 Bancroft Street. Built in 1856 by United States Army Captain George Pickett, who later became a prominent general in the Confederate States Army during the Civil War, the house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.” – Wikipedia, The Pickett House.


From the Pickett House, you can continue your journey to Elizabeth Park- the gateway to the popular Columbia Neighborhood and the adjacent architecturally rich homes on Eldridge Drive. With our appetite whetted for historical buildings, we made the loop and set our eyes on the next historical landmark. The Washington Territorial Court House was built just two years after Pickett’s House up the hill.

Located amidst an active industrial area, the sign at 1308 E Street reads, “Washington State’s oldest brick building, built in 1858 with bricks made in Philadelphia and shipped around Cape Horn. Erected as a combination store, Commission House and Bank during the Frasier River Gold Rush…Served as Whatcom County Court House until 1891.” It sits tucked in between the hustle and bustle of a local recycling companies busy operations.


These landmarks are great conduits for further exploration of the history of Bellingham and the Old Village Trail is a theme that ties them together.

Content from City of Bellingham:
OLD VILLAGE TRAIL TRAIL DESCRIPTION: “This urban trail through the Lettered Streets neighborhood is sometimes shared with traffic entering driveways and private property. The trail connects Old Town with Elizabeth Park and surrounding neighborhoods. Please keep your dogs on leash along this busy, urban trail.

TRAILHEADS: North access at Broadway St. South access and parking lot at
Maritime Heritage Park.

MILEAGE: 0.5 mile from Broadway St. to Maritime Heritage Park

For the bigger picture print the Trail Map- PDF and use the legend below to guide yourself and your learning as you get out there and explore Bellingham’s history.

Several historical landmarks located in Downtown Bellingham are shown on this

Map Legend
1. Territorial Courthouse (a.k.a. Richards Building) (1858, NRHP)
2. Pickett House (1856, NRHP)
3. First Congregational Church (c. 1902)
4. Immanuel School of Industries (1906, NRHP)
5. Lottie Roth Block (1890, NRHP)
6. Great Northern Freight Depot (1905)
7. Great Northern Passenger Depot (1927, NRHP)
8. Andall Building (1913)
9. Waterfront Tavern (c. 1910)
10. New Whatcom City Hall (1892-93, NRHP)
11. Salmon Woman Totem Pole (2000)
12. Bellingham City Hall (1939)
13. Whatcom County Railway & Light Power Station (1908-1912)
14. Elizabeth Park (1906)
15. Aftermath Club (1904, NRHP)

New Year’s Day – Resolution Walk/Run & Padden Polar Dip

December 22nd, 2014 by Todd Elsworth

I was updating my calendar and reviewing the options of activities that we have planned for the month ahead. There are plenty of holiday parties, concerts, art fairs, Santa (and Grinch) photo ops, and of course the growing handful of fun runs and rides to draw us outside. See Event Calendar.These social opportunities also allow us to burn off all of the pie we’re going to eat this season that makes our full calendars seem a bit more balanced.

Many people set goals for how much they are (or not) going to eat and drink over the holidays, especially on New Years Eve (aka “Rookie Night”). But it all leads to what many have set their subliminal sights on- “Resolution Day”-  their own personal Day of Atonement if you will.

It’s nothing new, it’s been happening throughout recorded time. [From Wikipedia: The ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. In the Medieval era, the knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.]

Padden Polar Dip

I have no such resolution registry, rather I’m simply setting my sights on New Years Day and scheduling my first event on next year’s calendar. I thought to myself, “What better way to welcome in the New Year than a lap around the lake and a quick dip to cool down?” I figured that it’s at least a good way to measure my mettle at the start of the year. That was that.  There it is on the calendar: January 1st Resolution Walk/Run & Padden Polar Dip. 11 am. This will be “Totally Doable” I think to myself as I fill in in the details for New Years Day.

How Padden Polar Dip all started: After watching his mother do the 2002 Birch Bay Polar Bear Plunge, local swim coach Jim Williams wondered what it would take to make the plunge in Bellingham. In place to get it done was Lance Romo, Program Coordinator for Parks and Recreation. Romo was handed the baton to make it all happen. This year will be the Tenth Anniversary of the event. Last year, the event was dedicated to Jim’s mom.

I figure it’s about time I take the plunge at Padden. (Nestea Plunge nostalgia)

Hope to see you OUT THERE.

Resolution Run Course

Resolution Run Course

Resolution Walk/Run – Start 11:00 a.m.
Lake Padden Polar Dip
– Start 12:00 p.m.
Resolution Walk/Run & Lake Padden Polar Dip Map (PDF)

“Show up at the Lake Padden bathhouse about 10:45 a.m. and we’ll get everyone started together. This event is 100% FREE. Take a brisk walk or run around beautiful Lake Padden. At the finish we’ll have snacks, patio heaters and lots of camaraderie before the dip. At high noon we’ll line up and jump in chilly Lake Padden.We’ll have heated showers and goodies for everyone exiting the water. We recommend parents with children under 10 consult a physician before entering the water.”   – Lance Romo, Race Director

Lance Romo, Race Director

The Man that makes it all happen.

For pictures of this year’s and past events please go to Padden Polar Dip Archive.

I had the chance to sit down with Race Director Lance Romo to get some more details on the Dip.

Q: What’s the record cold temperature?
A: Well it depends on how accurate you believe those little ducky hot tub duck thermometer are. If we had to put a number to it I’d say it’s been as cold as 36 and as “warm” as 40. It’s cold, real cold. Some years there’s ice at the water’s edge. One year I dropped the thermometer and it just plain broke.

It really the wind that get you. The water is cold, but you can get right out and put on dry clothes. If it’s windy the cold is brutal.

Q: Any new additions this year?
A: Why yes there are thanks for asking. Mr. Sean Hall is our plumber. Every year he works hard to keep the pipes from freezing so we can take showers and use the restrooms after our event. This year he’s gone the extra step and replaced the mixing valve making the water actually warm. If you’ve ever showered at Padden, you’ll know it’s traditionally been about a hair above the lake temp.

Klicks will also be there this year providing hot cocoa and witty Sam Alexander banter.

Q: Any mistakes over the years?
A: Boy howdy YES! The first year Jim and I thought it would be cool to have a contest to see who could swim to the pilings and back first. The winner got a big stuffed polar bear. Well there were a lot of swim team kids there and being young they were game to try, but it’s just not safe to be swimming in that kind of cold. There’s a reason its dip and not a swim.

For our first Padden Polar Dip we hauled a couple truck loads of shavings out of the Sportsplex Zamboni. It was one of those not so cold years, so by morning our truck loads had been reduced to an disappointing white patch.

Q: Have you had any other “Uh Oh” moments?
A: Well, one year I had this gorilla suit, after the countdown I ran down and dunked in to 3-4 feet of water. All that fake gorilla hair absorbed Lake Padden and for what seemed like a long time, I thought that might be how I was gonna die. The headline could have read something along the lines “Gorilla clad Lifeguard Drowns”.

Q: Are there lifeguards?
A: Yes. Arne Hanna Aquatic Center provides 2 lifeguards and on a few occasions they’ve had to pull back some joker who thought he (always a he) could defy some thermodynamic principle and swim across the lake who had to be dragged back to safety. They invariably think this is hilarious, until I explain in my own special way, how bad an idea it is to endanger our staff with their 17-24 year old stupidity.

Q: How many people dip?
A:  There’s not way to really tell. Can we say a lot? We give away 300-400 “Certificates of Dipage” and the beach is just wall to wall lined with people running into the water. I think “a lot” is the most accurate number, maybe triple that for spectators.

Q: What about the Resolution Run?
A: Well it started as a timed event and evolved into this mass of friends and family stomping around one of Bellingham’s favorite parks. Some people go for it, I know a guy who did three laps, but most people walk or run one. It’s one of the few events we organize that I can actually participate in. For the past few years Mr. Varga and I run a lap then after counting down to noon run in the water.

Q: Do people dress up?
A: Absolutely, one of my favorites are the tattooed gents who traditionally show up in cowboy hats and gold Elvis Glasses. There’s a group, I think from Garden Spot, who bring a group of 8 or 9 in the same costume. People wear tutus, duck masks, capes, facepaint, etc. It’s been fun to watch people from year to year. I have pictures of from the early years of kids who are now adults, some “almost” adults now bring kids of their own, some people have gotten really fit and yours truly has added a little bellyage.

Q: Is there a costume contest?
A: Heck no. People are having so much fun with family and friends, I just try to stay out of there way.

Q: Do you wear a costume?
A: After the drowning scare in the gorilla costume, I usually strip down to my kilt and call it good.

Q: Do you wear your kilt traditional?
A: Yes, traditionally Mexican’s wear something under, especially when it’s January 1.

Q: Any advice for first time dippers?
A: Wear shoes. That cold water, rocks and soft Washington feet are a no bueno combination. The other thing I would suggest is to come at it with an open mind. The water is undeniably crazy cold, but for some reason people leave the water with a smile.

Four Fabulous Solutions to ‘Getting the Wiggles Out’ in Whatcom County

December 15th, 2014 by Hilary Parker

Jump Around Fun Zone

Cold, rainy winter days can be a challenge for parents. Kids invariably begin to bounce off the walls about day two. Parents begin to climb the walls shortly thereafter.

It’s time to get the wiggles out.

Around Bellingham and Whatcom County, we have a number of solutions for disbursing all that pent-up energy without being out in the elements. Here are four fabulous ideas for getting those wiggles out.

1) Jump Around Fun Zone

Often voted to local “Best of” lists, the Jump Around Fun Zone is a warehouse filled with several giant inflatable “bouncy houses.” Kids, ages 2-10, can run, jump and play to their hearts’ content while mom and dad can sit at a cafĂ© table or on comfy couches.

The Fun Zone’s owners pride themselves on operating a clean, safe facility: No shoes or bare feet on the inflatables; only clean socks, please. A check-in, check-out system for the children helps keep track of the kiddos, and the equipment is even inspected by the state Labor & Industries department.

If your jumpers get hungry, the Fun Zone has a snack bar, or leave to grab a bite and come back – admission is good all day. (And a special tip for parents: Jump Around Fun Zone is located next door to Chocolate Necessities, an artisan chocolate shop. Pop in and grab a truffle, you won’t regret it.)

The details:

$8 per child, ages 2-10; children under 2 are free

Open Wednesday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.


2) Lynden Skateway

When I was in grade school, roller skating was the thing to do. By the time I reached high school, the local roller rinks had fallen out of favor and closed. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I moved to Bellingham to learn that nearby Lynden still had a roller rink. Roller skating is a fun social activity that certainly doesn’t seem like the excellent exercise that is really is.

Never roller skated? The Skateway offers lessons on Saturday mornings. “Helper carts” can also be rented for kiddos who don’t feel steady on their feet.

Of course, the Skateway also has a snack bar to keep skaters fueled up.

The details:

Check the Skateway website for details on times and admission. Special prices are offered throughout Christmas Break.

lyndenskateway.comIce skating at Bellingham Sportsplex


3) Ice skating at the Bellingham Sportsplex

Ok, so ice skating isn’t a warm, or entirely dry, activity, but it will definitely get the wiggles out. With Public Skate, Community Skate and Homeschool Skate times – all open to the public – there are several opportunities throughout the week to get on the ice.

Since not everyone is a natural on skates, the Sportsplex offers Learn to Skate programs on a regular basis. “Helper” rentals are also available, which made a big difference to my little guys the first time they got out on the ice. (Helmet rentals are also available.)

Kids who want more time on the ice can sign up for group or private lessons or join the Bellingham Mites kids’ hockey team.

The details:

Check the Sportsplex website for open skate times. Admission ranges from $2.50 to $6 depending on day/time; skate rental is an additional $2.50.


4) Bowling

With three bowling alleys around the county, there are plenty of options to get the family out to the lanes without driving too far from home. 20th Century bowling_littlesBowl is located in downtown Bellingham; Park Bowl is located in north Bellingham; and Mt. Baker Lanes is located in Ferndale.

While some people may equate bowling alleys with adult leagues a la the Big Lebowski, our local alleys are family friendly and even offer birthday parties.

Thanks to the “bumpers” that cover the gutters, bowling becomes accessible to even the littlest bowlers, which can be the start to a life-long enjoyment of the sport. To get kids interested, Mt. Baker Lanes offers free bowling for kids during the summer months.

The details:

Check the bowling alley’s websites for their hours of operation and pricing.

Bellingham’s Bars Serve Nicely Priced Cocktails

December 8th, 2014 by Teresa Schmidt

“Jingle, jingle, jingle, you can hear my sleigh bells ring.
I am old Kris Kringle, now go buy all the things!”

Fountain Bistro,Bellingham, cocktails, happy hour

I know, I know, that’s not how the song goes, but I’m pretty sure that’s what Kris really means. This time of year, your wallet is probably getting tapped out quicker than a keg of Melvin 2×4. So take heed: I have prepared for you a wrap-up of Bellingham’s “bargain” cocktails, which might just help you keep both your sanity and your budget in check through this season of giving (a/k/a “spending”).

My goal was to find quality cocktails at friendly prices. And I think I way succeeded! So whether you’re out shopping (locally, of course), meeting long-lost friends, or simply need to have a lovely bartender or server set a delicious concoction in front of you, I’ve got just the place(s).

Downtown Bellingham Cocktails

The Temple Bar

Everyone I know loves the Temple Bar. I have been known to pen love letters to it—it’s that kind of place. Not only does it serve amazing food and inspired cocktails, but Temple Bar is kind enough to give us a real deal, just when we need it. Their happy hour is unbeatable, with a bottle of wine and a little cheese plate for $18, or a growler of Kulshan brew and a little cheese plate for $15—but how about $5 for a lovely Paloma, Whiskey Ginger, or Gin or Vodka Tonic? Unbelievable!

Temple Bar,Bellingham, cocktails, happy hour

$5 Paloma and a delicious snack.

My Paloma hit the spot nicely, combining tequila and grapefruit soda. Simply delicious. My mates shared in the fun with $1 off their house cocktails:

  • Apple Ginger Toddy: Cloud Mountain cider, bourbon, allspice dram, ginger ($7 during happy hour and only available while the Cloud Mountain cider holds out).
  • Borealis: Sun Liquor rum, ginger, lime, cilantro, coconut syrup, ginger beer. So exotic! This one definitely takes you out of Bellingham for a bit and it’s only $8 during happy hour.

Temple Bar,Bellingham, cocktails, happy hour
Temple Bar, 306 W. Champion St., Bellingham, WA 98225   360-676-8660
Happy Hour: 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., 7 days a week

The Real McCoy

Everyone I know also loves The Real McCoy. Last evening, we came in from the chilly pouring rain and instantly felt warmer. Brandon was behind the bar, as always, making it all look easy.

The Real McCoy,Bellingham, cocktails, happy hour

Old Fashioned with a real maraschino cherry

We three imbibed with a few happy hour specials:

  • House Old Fashioned – always on tap and served on a big rock ($7 happy hour).
  • King Hops – Big Gin, lemon, Domaine de Canton, rosemary syrup, cardamom bitters, IPA.
  • Giant Awakening: Coffee-infused Mezcal, Averna, Pur Blood Orange Spice Liqueur, Maple.

Each of Brandon’s superbly conceived and created drinks are $8 during happy hour, $9 the rest of the day. (Side note: in Seattle, they would probably be $11 or $12.) And a little bird tells me there will probably be a $7 eggnog special coming right up to warm your holidays. I’m swooning already, just imagining how delicious The Real McCoy’s eggnog will be.

King Hops, Giant Awakening

King Hops, Giant Awakening

The Real McCoy, 114 Prospect Street, Bellingham, WA 98225 360-392-8051
Happy Hour: 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., Wednesday – Sunday

Rock and Rye Oyster House

Rock and Rye Oyster House,Bellingham, cocktails, happy hour

The Spiced and Stormy

Read all about my super-fun visit to Rock and Rye Oyster House here. And to whet your appetite a bit more, here’s a reminder of their delicious happy hour specials that are definitely priced to please:

  • $6 Lemon Pepper Rickey – Peppercorn infused vodka, lemon, soda.
  • $6 Spiced and Stormy – Spiced infused rum, lime, ginger beer.
  • $5 House Manhattan – Bourbon, sweet vermouth, aromatic bitters.
  • $5 House Martini – Gin, dry vermouth, twist.

Rock and Rye Oyster House, 1145 N. State Street, Bellingham, WA 98225 360-746-6130
Happy Hour: 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m. – close, Tuesday – Sunday

Cocktails in Fairhaven

The Archer Ale House

There’s more than just beer here! Archer’s is known for its huge selection of whiskies—over 130 to choose from, for all you bourbon, scotch and whiskey lovers.


Here’s what’s happening in the below-street-level pub:

  • Whiskey Wednesday: 20% off whiskeys, $3 benchmark Kentucky Bourbon, $5 scratch whiskey ginger, lots of seasonal cocktail specials.
  • Well drinks made with premium liquors range from $4.50 to $6.00 during happy hour.

The Archer Ale House, 1212 10th St, Bellingham, WA 98225 360-647-7002
Happy Hour: 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., Tuesday – Friday

Skylark’s Cafe

Skylark's, Fairhaven,Bellingham, cocktails, happy hour
Skylark’s bar will fix you up with a $3 well drink during happy hour. Or, get $1 off house cocktails. Popular selections include the Hershey’s Kiss martini ($7 during happy hour) and the Bloody Mary ($5 at happy hour), which you can have with house-made garlic-infused vodka for a mere dollar more. And all you mimosa lovers will love this one: Katie’s Killer Mimosa is made with champagne, orange vodka and a splash of Grand Marnier, muddled with fresh orange slices, orange juice and a dash of pineapple juice. Instead of a fancy flute, this masterpiece is served in a pint glass, and for only $7!

Skylark’s, 1308 11th St, Bellingham WA 98225 360-715-3642
Happy Hour: 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. to midnight, Sunday – Thursday

While I can’t say I hit every single one of these fine establishments this week (a girl’s gotta eat, too!), I have been to each of them more than once over the years. Trust me when I say you—and your wallet—are in good hands, no matter where you choose to take a break this crazy season!

Tourism Industry Ringing in a New Era for State-wide Marketing

December 8th, 2014 by Loni Rahm

The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) is the non-governmental industry-led association formed after the Legislators defunded the Washington State Tourism office in 2011. With meager, bare-bones funding support — primarily to keep the ExperienceWA website online and distribute Travel Guides – WTA has focused on developing a plan to secure stable funding.

In October, WTA board members and staff began an extensive regional outreach program, designed to provide information to the membership and tourism industry partners about the long-term funding plan and proposed 2015 legislation.

After many months of research, WTA is prepared to submit a report to the state legislature on December 1, 2014. Under legislation passed earlier in 2014, the WTA is directed to report back to the legislature on the plan to fund the statewide tourism marketing program. In a feature entitled “A Program Taking Shape”, Becky Bogard WTA’s legislative advocate indicated “the proposed program follows many of the principles initially identified by WTA’s long term funding committee: it will be industry funded and governed. The funds collected will be protected to the maximum extent possible and there will be accountability for expenditure of the funds”.

The funding model is based upon an assessment on the 5 key tourism industry business sectors: lodging, restaurants, retail, attractions and transportation. Each sector will be assessed incrementally to collectively provide a percentage of the overall State-wide destination marketing campaign – projected at a minimum of $7.5 million annually. This is still substantially below the money invested by British Columbia, Oregon, California, Alaska and other states/provinces vying for Washington’s tourism market share. Our nearest budgetary travel competitor is the State of Montana who has doubled their destination marketing investment to $18 million while Washington’s marketing has lay dormant.

Washington State Tourism Funding graph

The proposed funding level will allow WTA and tourism partners to finally begin preparing the framework of a consistent ongoing marketing plan for tourism promotion which has been absent for the past three plus years.

Regional meetings are being held throughout the state to encourage involvement in the conversation, learn about proposed legislation which will be presented during the 2015 session, and help guide decisions and activities. Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism is hosting an informational presentation for its membership on Wednesday, December 17, 5:00 p.m. at the Best Western PLUS Lakeway Inn. If you have questions or would like to RSVP, please contact .

The final step in re-development of a state-wide tourism marketing plan will be the anticipated passage of legislation for collection and disbursement of the assessments. Four of the five key business sectors would pay an annual one-time assessment ranging from $100 to $3,500. This would be collected by the Secretary of State’s corporate reporting system. Lodging is proposed at 15-cents per room night to be collected by the Department of Revenue’s existing system of collecting and distributing lodging taxes.

Tourism industry partners will be holding their 5th Annual WTA Summit and Day in Olympia on February 12, 2015. In years past, several hundred people from across the state have gathered to discuss tourism topics and issues of potential impact. This year, the goal will be to garner the support necessary to approve the funding program developed by WTA to implement the tourism marketing plan.

Given the lack of fiscal impact on the state itself, we anticipate overwhelming approval.

For additional information, please visit

Holiday Events in Whatcom County

November 30th, 2014 by Annette

When the sun dips below the horizon, and the year comes to a close, Whatcom County lights up with festivities for all, in true northern style. Here is a 2014 list of must-see holiday events in Bellingham, Blaine, Ferndale and Lynden. Bring your camera to capture photos of Santa, and enjoy the fun!

Free Horse Drawn Carriage Rides and Santa in Fairhaven, Dec. 6, 13, 20. The Fairhaven Village Inn continues its holiday tradition as host of Santa Claus and free horse-drawn carriage rides through historic Fairhaven in Bellingham, WA the first three Saturdays in December from noon to 3 p.m. Cramer Classics, based out of Lynden, will begin and end the rides outside the front doors of the Inn at 1200 10th Street Bellingham, WA 98225. Warm up in the lobby and give holiday wish-lists to Santa and Mrs. Claus.

An Irish Christmas, Mount Baker Theatre, Dec. 2. This wildly popular show brings just about everything to the table, blending music, storytelling, song, and dance into an event that sparkles with life and a bit of magic. Singers spin tunes out of the mists and into the familiar “Silent Night,” “Little Drummer Boy,” and “Carol of the Bells.” Riverdance foot-tappers dance through generations of Christmas traditions and celebrations of life, into the world of mythology and out again. Superb music-makers pour their hearts into their pipes, flutes, fiddles, accordions, and bodhráns to ensure a rip-roaring evening of Irish merrymaking. This joyful night invites you to refresh your spirit, dust off your cares, and dance home with a smile in your heart. Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets at Mount Baker Theatre.

A Christmas Story: The Musical in Lynden, Dec. 4 – 14. Who can resist Ralphie and his 1940s quest for a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas? The Lynden Perfoming Arts Guild presents this classic at the Claire Vg Thomas Theatre (inside the Dutch Village Mall at 655 Front Street) Thursday and Friday evenings at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, and $8 for children aged 4 years and older.

Miracle on 34th Street, Bellingham Theatre Guild, Dec. 4 – 14. Settle in for a time-honored story, as a white-bearded gentleman claiming to be the real Santa Claus brings about a genuine miracle, spreading a wave of love throughout New York City, fostering camaraderie between Macy’s and Gimbels department stores, and proving that Santa is no myth. Performances at the Bellingham Theatre Guild are at 7:30 p.m. on Thurs., Fri., Sat., and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $14 adults, $12 seniors and students, and $8 children.

This gingerbread boat and Bellingham Terminal was created by the crew of the Alaska Ferry for the Holiday Port contest!

This gingerbread ship and Bellingham Terminal was created by the crew of the Alaska Ferry Malaspina for the Bellingham Holiday Port Celebration contest!

Holiday Port Celebration, Dec. 5 – 7. Two special highlights of this year’s holiday event at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal will be free tours of the Alaska Ferry on Friday, Dec. 5 from noon to 5 p.m., and tours of the Schooner Zodiac on Saturday, Dec. 6 from noon to 3 p.m. Be sure to bring your I.D. to take part in these great opportunities. The Holiday Port Celebration features an incredible Gingerbread House (and gingerbread everything) Competition, sponsored by the Port of Bellingham. Come see holiday creativity at its finest. The fun also includes performances from local bands, choirs and dance troupes, along with fire truck rides, horse-drawn wagon rides, art activities for children and photos with Santa Claus.

  • Hours for the overall event are Friday, noon to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Downtown Bellingham Tree-lighting and Art Walk, Dec. 5. Bellingham’s Depot Market Square will be host to a special ceremony on Friday, Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m., to include the lighting of a majestic tree, a special Bellingham Farmers Market pop up gift market featuring handcrafted treasures and delicious treats, a visit from Santa, holiday music, refreshments provided by The Woods Coffee and more. The December Downtown Art Walk follows for a full evening of seasonal fun in downtown Bellingham, 6 – 10 p.m.

Whatcom Museum’s Deck the [Old City] Hall – Holiday Cheer Kick-off Party, Dec. 5. Support the Whatcom Museum Foundation at this special fundraiser from 5 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $50/person and can be purchased at the Whatcom Museum Store. The Museum’s historic 1892 Old City Hall building will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in December with special holiday music, shopping and decorated trees.


Old Fashioned Christmas in Ferndale, Dec. 5 – 7. This is an event for kids, parents and grandparents to share in the joys of Christmas past, as well as Christmas present. Each year, volunteers of the Ferndale Heritage Society meticulously decorate the 12 historic, log cabins in Pioneer Park. Kids can write a letter to Santa in the one-room school house, mail them in the one-room post office, dance a jig, create a craft and visit Santa.

  • Hours are Friday, Dec. 5 from 5 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 6 from 1 to 9 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 7 from 1 to 4 pm Tickets are $4 for adults and $3 for children. Pioneer Park is located at 2004 Cherry Street in Ferndale.

Holiday Harbor Lights in Blaine, Dec. 5 – 7. A variety of activities occur in Blaine on this first weekend of December.  On Saturday, Dec. 6, a community tree-lighting takes place at 4:30 p.m., followed by the arrival of Santa by firetruck at 5 p.m. A lighted boat parade in Drayton Harbor can be viewed from 6 to 7 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, Dec. 5 – 6, a Homemade Arts and Crafts Christmas Bazaar takes place at the Blaine Community Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 6 – 7 a Holiday Art and Gift Market takes place at the Blaine Harbor Gallery. For more details see Blaine Holiday Harbor Lights.


Lynden Lighted Christmas Parade, Dec. 6. Bring your parka, your warm boots, your lawn chairs and a thermos of hot cocoa to warm your spirit with a dazzling display of lighted fire trucks, tractors, dump trucks, cars, floats, wagons and farm equipment down Lynden’s Front Street, snow or shine! The procession starts at Fairway Center and travels east along Front Street through downtown, beginning at 6 p.m.


Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt in Lynden, Dec. 6, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Find all eight elves in downtown Lynden businesses, and your name may be drawn to win a pile of Christmas gifts. (smart phones are encouraged but not required to participate) Information at Edward Jones office, 517 Front St, or Lynden DBA Facebook page. Other activities that day happening on Front Street include: Decorating Christmas Cookies at Hats Off, A Silent Auction featuring experiences & events to enjoy (great gift ideas), photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, Nativity display, a collection of nativity sets for the public to view and Skate with Santa at Lynden Skateway.

Allied Arts Holiday Festival of the Arts, continues through Dec. 24. This 35th annual festival features the work of over 100 local artisans and craftspeople. The affordable, locally handmade products range from jewelry, paintings, wearable art, specialty foods, and art from found materials. Fill your weekends with live local music, artist demos and workshops, and bring the kids in for fun art projects. The 2014 festival is located at 4145 Meridian St., Bellingham (near Park Bowl and next to the new Burlington Coat Factory).

  • Hours are Wed. through Sun., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays, and Nov. 27. Also closing at 3 pm on Dec. 24. The Holiday Festival is open two bonus days: Mon. and Tues Dec 22 and 23 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Have a Merry Grinchmas and Grow Your Heart Three Sizes at Village Books, Dec. 1 – 24.  Take part in Village Books’ Grinch Community Cares project, aimed at spreading good deeds throughout the community, while building a sense of togetherness and holiday spirit. Stop by the store and pick up an official “Good Deed Tracker Booklet” which gives suggestions for 25 days of good deeds (like supporting local independent businesses). Fill out at least three good deeds and return to Village Books for a special gift. The Grinchmas celebration also benefits the store’s annual Giving Tree program. Purchase two Dr. Seuss books at Village Books and they will donate a Dr. Seuss book to a child through their Giving Tree program.

  • Expanded holiday hours at Village Books and Paper Dreams are Monday–Saturday: 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. and Sundays: 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Christmas Eve 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., New Year’s Eve 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and New Year’s Day 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Antique and Vintage Shopping in Bellingham

November 24th, 2014 by Teresa Schmidt

Interesting antique and vintage stores with goodies from India to France (and everywhere in between) are sprinkled throughout Bellingham and Whatcom County, Washington. In fact, there are so many that I couldn’t cover them all in a single post! So today, I’ll introduce you to two very new and unusual shops that I think you’ll like as much as I do.

StoneHouse Artifacts

Our first stop is StoneHouse Artifacts, which specializes in “Treasures from Colonial India,” and is located just a few miles east of Bellingham, off of Route 542. The brand-new shop is adjacent to the home of its proprietors, Lydia McCauley and Kurt Scherer, and filled with French, Dutch and British Colonial pieces, rustic art, and hard-to find artifacts from all over India. Now, I haven’t yet traveled to the Indian subcontinent, but like many, have always found its history and culture fascinating. And if you enjoy the furnishings and folk art from that part of the world, then StoneHouse Artifacts is going to be your new favorite!


Clockwise from upper left: StoneHouse Artifacts building, Lydia McCauley, Horse, figurine in display case.

Each piece has been hand-selected by Kurt and Lydia, who have traveled many times to India (and beyond) and created their shop around their passion for the furniture, collectibles and textiles from that part of the world. Lydia McCauley is also a well-known musician, composer and performer, while Kurt is a builder who incorporated Indian materials and architectural elements into their home and shop.

Stone House Artifacts, antiques, India, Bellingham, furniture, collectibles, folk art

Clockwise from upper left: Door detail, indigenous canoe on cabinets, filing cabinet, kitchen cupboard with cooking pot.

Rosewood, teak, jackwood and ebony pieces anchor the shop, and include apothecary and dowry chests, tables, doors and cabinets of all kinds. Folk art items, such as a (very rare) Himalayan juicer, assorted marapachi dolls and fabric stamps with various patterns are also prominent. Bronze tribal pieces are displayed against warm white walls, while rustic bindi boxes sit atop a table.

Stone House Artifacts, antiques, India, Bellingham, furniture, collectibles, folk art

Clockwise from upper left: rosewood door, Tikka or Bindi boxes, cooking pot, Pooja (prayer) cabinet detail.

Huge, hand-carved doors are propped up here and there, some featuring a deity to protect the home’s inhabitants. Seeing them made me wish I had a home worthy of such a grand entrance! The shop also features plenty of practical items that any home can handle, like low-slung beds that have been repurposed into coffee tables, and beautifully carved beds and benches.

Stone House Artifacts, antiques, India, Bellingham, furniture, collectibles, folk art

Clockwise from upper left: prints, shawls and scarves, granite grinding stones, campaign chest, primitive juicer (yes, juicer!).

Kurt and Lydia gave me quite an education, describing such interesting details and stories about the folk art and furniture, the shawls and textiles. They are both very knowledgable, warm and welcoming. I can’t wait to return, see what’s new and share a cup of chai with them.

StoneHouse Artifacts has something for just about everyone. Whether you’re a fan of the British-Dutch-French-Indian cultural mashup or not, the history is fascinating, and every piece in the shop has a significance and beauty all its own.

StoneHouse Artifacts
4471 Squalicum Lake Road, Bellingham, WA 98226
(360) 647-0152
Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
StoneHouse Artifacts on Facebook


Ormolulu, antiques, France, Bellingham, furniture, collectibles, folk art, vintage

Now let’s hop over to Ormolulu, a fabulous shop in downtown Bellingham that looks to Europe and America for its eclectic mix of “rough luxe” (I love that term!), industrial chic, and farmhouse decor, along with French antiques and artifacts, and tons of fun vintage finds that would look right at home in most any home.


Clockwise from upper left: Ormolulu interior sign, lovely vignette, the mannequin who greets visitors, globe and painted screen.

Ormolulu is owned by Debi Burton and Jim Blondeau, who have many years of experience in antiques and vintage décor. After traveling to antique shows throughout the region for two decades, they recently decided to get off the road and establish a brick-and-mortar shop.

Ormolulu, antiques, France, Bellingham, furniture, collectibles, folk art, vintage

Clockwise from upper left: Italian fireplace screen, windmill blades, driftwood and skulls, wonderful chair and pillow.

And what a shop! Jim and Debi remodeled, opened up and brightened the 3,000-square-foot space, which for many years was home to the Blue Horse Gallery. Debi’s interior design background is evident throughout. Ormolulu is visually stunning, with every item displayed to perfection. But don’t worry—it’s not a “look-but-don’t-touch” sort of place at all. It’s approachable, fun and funky, with surprises around every corner.

Ormolulu, antiques, France, Bellingham, furniture, collectibles, folk art, vintage

Clockwise from upper left: Spools in baby buggy, stack of suitcases, cool old cart and horns, horns, horns!

Ormolulu has an eclectic collection of both serious and fanciful items that are fun to look at. They’d be even more fun to enjoy every day in your bedroom, kitchen, living room or wherever they might land. I spied everything from authentic twin bell alarm clocks to the most fabulous Mid-century Modern light fixtures ever, along with ram skulls, Art Deco lamps, metal cabinets, embroidered pillows, painted screens and vintage suitcases. Oh, and windmill blades! And antique lockers! I could go on, but really, you should just get yourself to downtown Bellingham and check it out for yourself.

Ormolulu, antiques, France, Bellingham, furniture, collectibles, folk art, vintage

Fun Holiday decor, featuring Sno-Kone string lights that I’m obsessed with!

When you go to Ormolulu, be sure to take advantage of free parking in the lot behind the building (on the Bay Avenue side). They are open four days a week, from Friday to Monday, noon to 6:00 p.m. Where are Debi and Jim the other three days? Lucky for us, they’re traveling around, curating more amazing items for the shop so we can bring them home.

With Debi’s warm and friendly advice, and Ormolulu’s thoughtfully chosen and high-quality goods, it’s easy to make your home industrial, chic and luxe, even if you’re not an interior designer. (And if you are, my advice is to get yourself down there right now!)

301 West Holly Street, Bellingham, WA 98225
(360) 201-9535
Ormolulu on Facebook

Looking for “traditional” antiques? Check back for my next post, which will cover many more options!

See Teresa’s Insider Shopping Topics, or our Shopping page for more fun ideas.

Backcountry Preparedness at the Mt. Baker Beacon (+BACON) Rally

November 24th, 2014 by Todd Elsworth

Head up to the Mt. Baker Ski Area on Saturday, December 13, 2014 to prepare and practice for a safe season of snowbound fun ahead. The Baker Beacon (+ BACON) Rally is fully loaded and ready to release a ton of fun and education for FREE. This event is for people with the prerequisite knowledge and standard equipment. Practice makes perfect and will help keep you and your ski buddies alive and well through the season. Photo below is a naturally released avalanche in the Mt. Baker Ski Area backcountry wilderness area.

100 year avlanche

Grant Gunderson Photography

Mt Baker Education Center, REI and a sluff-load of avalanche educators invite you to a free Backcountry Education Day at Mt Baker. Learn and practice basic search technique with your beacon, shovel and probe. Beginners and Seasoned Veterans are welcome. Beacon practice stations, companion rescue demonstrations and a two lane beacon search race course with over $6,000 in SWAG means you should be there if spending time out of bounds. Attendees should have their own Beacon, Probe and Shovel.” – REI Bellingham


Pat Kennedy Photography

“The event is designed for someone to arrive any time between 11am-2pm and participate. We have a 2 lane race course with multiple beacons to search for in each lane. 2 multiple burial scenarios for people to practice in team scenarios.  8 stations to practice with an avalanche educator on beacon, probe & shovel use. And three speakers giving talks on avalanche rescue topics in 15 minute sessions.  No set schedule will allow maximum flexibility towards education. Arrive, and participate in what you prefer.  More participation means more raffle tickets towards the $6,000 in prizes,” explains Pat Kennedy, Event Organizer, Great Guy and Photographer! The rest of the event team includes Jeff Hambelton, Eliah Drake-Raue, Sierra Sahlfeld and Kerry Herman.


Pat Kennedy Photography

Shown above is Steve Christie, Director of Sales at Backcountry Access (BCA), talking about terrain evaluation at the Mt. Baker Beacon Rally 2013 – story by Mt. Baker Experience Magazine.

Below is one of the happy past winners of a 3 day Level 1 AIARE course from the American Alpine Institute (AAI), based in Bellingham, WA, which offers many courses (and global trips) to choose from. These courses are essential for all types of snow-bound explorers. “On average 37 people are killed each year by avalanches in the United States alone. Almost all of these avalanches are started by the people caught in them. Some basic level or training and knowledge can dramatically increase your margin of safety while traveling in the backcountry.” – AAI.


Pat Kennedy Photography

Oh yea, and BACON – 50 pounds of yummy goodness from Carne Bellingham will be served at the event. I heard they even hide it in the snow to rescue! Quite the find.


Pat Kennedy Photography

Get your ski partners together and head up to the mountain to hone your skills, play in the snow, win some prizes and EAT BACON!

Mount Baker Beacon Rally
Mt. Baker Ski Area
Saturday, December 13th
Start: 11:00 am
Awards:  2:30-3:00 pm

FREE Event

Bring your Avalanche Beacon, Shovel and Probe!

Photography Credits: Grant Gunderson & Pat Kennedy. Thanks Guys!!

For Reference:

Mt Baker Safety – Mountain Education Programs

Northwest Avalanche Center

See Todd’s Insider Topics for more outdoor recreation tips near Bellingham

Black Friday shopping in Bellingham

November 24th, 2014 by Annette

Black Friday seems to have turned into Thursday and Friday this year, below is a list of special opening times for stores at Bellis Fair Mall, on the Guide Meridian and throughout Bellingham for holiday shopping mania Nov. 27 – 28, 2014. Since Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 27 is a national holiday, most stores will close for a least some part of that day. Many will then reopen on either Thursday evening or early Friday morning and then stay open for extended hours.

Bellis Fair Mall

The mall will close at its regular time, 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 26. It will stay closed on Thursday morning and mid-day to observe Thanksgiving, then re-open the main doors at 4 p.m. on Nov. 27.

Stores within the mall opening at special times on Nov. 27 include the following. Many stay open through the night.

  • Old Navy, 4 p.m.
  • JC Penney, 5 p.m.
  • Kohl’s, 6 p.m.
  • Target, 6 p.m.
  • Abercrombie, 6 p.m.
  • Aeropostale, 6 p.m.
  • American Eagle, 6 p.m.
  • Champs Sports, 6 p.m.
  • Charlotte Russe, 6 p.m.
  • Claire’s, 6 p.m.
  • Finish Line, midnight
  • Footlocker, 6 p.m.
  • Forever 21, 6 p.m.
  • Game Stop, midnight
  • Gap, 6 p.m.
  • H&M, midnight
  • Hollister, 6 p.m.
  • Justice, 8 p.m.
  • Lady Footlocker, 6 p.m.
  • Macy’s, midnight
  • Maurices, 6 p.m.
  • Payless Shoes, 6 p.m.
  • Sports Authority, 6 p.m.
  • Victoria’s Secret, 6 p.m.
  • Wet Seal, 6 p.m.
  • See a full list of open and close times for stores within Bellis Fair Mall.

Guide Meridian Box Stores

Opening on Thursday evening, Nov. 27

  • Michaels, 4 p.m.
  • Best Buy, 5 p.m.
  • Office Depot, 6 p.m.
  • Walmart, 6 p.m.
  • Sears Hometown store, 6 p.m.

Opening early on Friday, Nov. 28

  • DeWaard & Bode, 5 a.m.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond, 6 a.m.
  • Guitar Center, 6 a.m.
  • Burlington Coat Factory, 7 a.m.
  • Costco, 7 a.m.
  • PetSmart, 7 a.m.
  • Pier 1 Imports, 8 a.m.

Sunset Drive Stores

Opening on Thurs., Nov. 27

  • Kmart, 6 a.m.
  • Office Max, 6 p.m.

Opening early on Friday, Nov. 28

  • Lowe’s, 5 a.m.
  • Jo-Ann Fabrics, 6 a.m.
  • Harbor Freight Tools, 7 a.m.

James Street Stores

Opening on Friday, Nov. 28

  • Judd & Black, 9 a.m.
  • Trader Joe’s, 8 a.m.


Many businesses in the Historic Fairhaven District stay open late on Friday, Nov. 28 to kick off the Fairhaven Holiday Festival with a special art walk event from 5 to 8 p.m.

Businesses participating in the art walk and closing late on Friday, Nov. 28 include:

  • A Lot of Flowers
  • Brenthaven
  • Silvery Moon
  • Colophon CafĂ©
  • Whatcom Art Market
  • 12th Street Shoes
  • Three French Hens
  • The Garden Room
  • Artwood
  • Good Earth Pottery
  • Renaissance Celebration
  • Fairy Godmother’s Unlimited
  • Bay to Baker Trading Company
  • Drizzle
  • Paper Dreams
  • Village Books
  • Fairhaven Toy Garden
  • Skylarks Hidden Cafe
  • Whimsey
  • Morgan Block Studios

Happy Shopping!

SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention is one part science, one part entertainment

November 17th, 2014 by Hilary Parker


Kids explore the SPARK Museum, Bellingham, WA

I’ve been hearing for months now, “Mom, when are you going to take us to SPARK?”

My children visited the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention last spring with their dad and have been looking forward to a return visit since then.

So we finally ventured out on a blustery November afternoon to Bay Street in downtown Bellingham, which is becoming a hub for arts and dining. Boy watches sound waves at SPARK Museum, Belingham, WA(In fact, we started our day’s adventure around the corner at Rocket Donuts, a 1950’s sci-fi-themed doughnut shop.)

Exhibits at SPARK feature some of the earliest experiments to discover and understand electricity along with all sorts of collections of antique communications equipment, including military radios, phonographs, some of the earliest television sets and telephone switchboards. I was fascinated by an early, circa 1880, stock market ticker, one of Thomas Edison’s many inventions.

The museum features several hands-on opportunities: Take a peek through a stereoscope, experiment with electricity, see sound waves or make music with a Theramin.

Upstairs, kids can get even more hands-on discovery time with a room devoted to them. My kids loved the old-fashioned typewriter, a collection of magnets and simply creating mosaics with little plastic tiles. All of the activities are fairly low-tech, and I marveled at how, with a museum full of gadgets, they were easily amused for an hour with these simple toys. I reluctantly had to pull them away before our parking meter ran out. Girls try out a Theramin at the SPARK Museum, Bellingham, WA

On weekends, visitors to the museum can catch the MegaZapper, one of the largest Tesla coil “lightning machines” in the country. (Museum staff recommends children younger than 5 skip this show – it’s safe, but quite loud.)

The museum staff is full of passionate employees and volunteers who are excited to show off the collections and encourage visitors to interact with the exhibits. They made our visit that much more enjoyable.

While we were there, visitors came in every age range, from grandparents with toddlers, to a college-age couple on a date, to grade-schoolers; and everyone appeared to be having fun.

Now I know why my kids were so insistent that I come see SPARK for myself.

If you go

The SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention is open Wednesday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children under 11. For more information, visit

More rainy-day fun in downtown Bellingham

When the weather finally turns too cold and wet to brave the outdoors, there are plenty of indoor options in the downtown area to amuse (and educate!) the family.


Just around the corner from SPARK on Holly Street, is Mindport. Part art galley, part interactive exhibits, Mindport uniquely merges art and science with exhibits that range from music to mechanics.

Whatcom Museum FIG

The FIG, short for Family Interactive Gallery, has activity areas for the tiniest of tots (0-3) to adults who love to play. Kids can play dress up, build things, dance and more at 15 different interactive stations. The FIG studio is the place for creating your own museum-worthy art.

For additional venues and ideas visit our Museums and Galleries page.


Happy Hour at Bellingham’s Rock and Rye Oyster House

November 17th, 2014 by Teresa Schmidt

Wondering what happened to the Oyster Bar at Bayou on Bay? Or are you just in the mood for an authentic oyster house, where you can load up on food and cocktails in a comfortable space? Either way, head straight to Rock and Rye Oyster House on State Street in Downtown Bellingham.

Rock and Rye, Bellingham, Cocktails, Bar, Happy Hour, Downtown, Oysters

Baltimore, schmaltimore. Pacific oysters, please!

Everyone who loved the old Oyster Bar but had a hard time squeezing in during busy times will be happy to know they can spread out in this new, bigger space, and still get the same great cocktails. And as one would expect, Rock and Rye’s menu is chock full of oysters—from Kumamoto to Hama Hama (and mostly from Washington).

But as you may have noticed, this is a booze blog, so we’re going to (mostly) skip that side of the menu and proceed directly to the reason we were there—Happy Hour.

Everyone deserves a little reward for working hard every day, and at Rock and Rye, rewards come in the form of nicely mixed cocktails at easy-on-the-wallet prices. Between the eight of us, we managed to cover the table with several of the rotating happy hour specials (these are Happy Hour prices):

  • Spiced and Stormy – Spice-infused rum, ginger beer, lime. $6.00
  • Lemon Pepper Rickey – Peppercorn-infused vodka, lemon (lots) and soda. A new twist on the Lime Rickeys of yesteryear. $6.00
  • House Manhattan – Bourbon, sweet vermouth, bitters, twist. $5.00
  • House Martini – Gin, dry vermouth, twist. $5.00
  • Beer – Wander Petite Monk Table Beer. $4
  • Cider – Woodchuck Granny Smith. $4
Rock and Rye, Bellingham, Cocktails, Bar, Happy Hour, Downtown, Oysters

From top left: house Manhattan and Martini, Lemon Pepper Rickey, beer, Spiced and Stormy.

That’s one great thing about the new Rock and Rye—we had room for eight of us (eventually 10)! I always recommend gathering with a large group of friends, so you can taste everyone’s drink. It’s very helpful when planning your next round. Some of the comments I heard around the table included a wish for a local cider option (Woodchuck is from Vermont, and “a rather pedestrian offering”), as well as an appreciation for the lovely ice cubes in my Lemon Pepper Rickey. Overall, we were very happy with our choices.

The standard cocktail menu shows a nice splash of creativity, and drinks range from $7.00 – $10.00—still quite reasonable. Call liquors are extra, naturally. One might choose from the Nettle Gimlet, the Two Twelve, the Doctor Cocktail, the Hoptonic, the Heart of Oaxaca or many more (with specials and surprises always).


Rock and Rye, Bellingham, Cocktails, Bar, Happy Hour, Downtown, Oysters

Rock and Rye’s atmosphere is lovely. It’s in the Bellingham Herald building, in a space that once housed the newspaper’s printing press. Inside, it’s all gleaming wood, metal and exposed brick, with natural light streaming in from each end. Old-fashioned light fixtures look right at home, and a beautiful metal staircase takes you up to the mezzanine. And when the weather warms up, you can grab a table outside on the deck.

The bar is 25 feet long, and backed with an impressive selection of liquors, liqueurs, bitters, infusions and magical potions—enough to make any pick-me-up one might imagine. Plus, there are 12 rotating beers on tap and a handful of red, white, rose and sparkling wines to choose from.

Rock and Rye, Bellingham, Cocktails, Bar, Happy Hour, Downtown, Oysters

I mentioned a wide selection of oysters, did I not? You can order ‘em up raw, fried or fixed up all fancy. A half-dozen set my friend back just ten bucks during Happy Hour. Our group also tried a couple orders of thick, hand-cut fries (I’m a fat fry fan), the steamer clams, a brisket slider and the Tom Tom Taco (pork shoulder, in case you’re wondering). The food received mostly thumbs up. Mostly. It was all reasonably priced, which always helps when you’re just out for a mid-week drink-and-snack. I mean, a big bowl of fries for $3.00? Such a deal!

Rock and Rye, Bellingham, Cocktails, Bar, Happy Hour, Downtown, Oysters

Rock and Rye serves brunch on Saturday and Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (the menu looks pretty decadent), and Sunday is Ladies Night, with specials on bubbly, house cocktails, cheese plates and chocolate torte. Because we love bubbles, cheese and chocolate, right, ladies?

All in all, Rock and Rye has all the ingredients to make you happy any time of the day, but especially during Happy Hour. I will see you there soon!

Rock and Rye Oyster House, 1145 N. State Street, Bellingham, Washington 98225

Happy Hour: 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m. – close
Hours: Tuesday – Thursday: 3:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Friday: 3:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Rock and Rye on Facebook 

Tourism Bureau Launches Basecamp Bellingham Campaign

November 10th, 2014 by Loni Rahm

Ask a Whatcom County resident what they like the most about living here, and they’ll most likely answer with a verb. Kayaking, Hiking, Skiing, Biking etc. We are an active place. Regardless of the weather, regardless of the season, Whatcom County residents like doing things.

So do our visitors.

Recreational activities and events are a big draw for our region. Much of the Tourism Bureau’s year-around destination marketing efforts target an active audience who come to Whatcom County specifically to participate in recreational pursuits. There’s a lot we know about them, but there’s a lot more we’d like to know.

Which is one of the reasons Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism is partnering with Recreation Northwest, The Port of Bellingham, City of Bellingham and Whatcom County on a Whatcom Recreation Economy Study.   Earth Economics was recently contracted by the State of Washington to conduct a statewide study on the business end of recreation. Working together, we were able to attach a local component into the Earth Economics data gathering and research that will cull out the impacts of recreation business within Whatcom County. The report, which will be released next spring, will be used to gain a better understanding of the size and scope of existing as well as potential job creation in the recreation sector.

In addition to the research component, a marketing partnership has been formed between the Tourism Bureau and race/active event producers to collectively promote the region. Named Basecamp Bellingham, the campaign will feature the “human powered” outdoor activities and special events held in and around Bellingham. When you consider all the running, mountain biking, road biking, paddling, snowboarding, skiing, adventure racing and multi-sport events throughout the year, it’s no wonder our area has a reputation for world class recreation. Ads that tout our recreational prowess are being placed in annual race calendars, on event oriented websites and in special interest publications.

A basic website,, was activated last month to coincide with the Washington State Trails Convention held in Bellingham. We will continue to add content, blogs, maps, photos and event details to the website. The Tourism Bureau will also be soliciting participant pictures and videos through an ongoing photo contest that highlights the recreational amenities of our region and the people who enjoy them.

You don’t have to be a visitor to participate in our photo contests. We love sharing the joyous faces and scenic beauty of Whatcom County that are captured with your cameras and phones. We may be able to incorporate your fabulous images onto our website, in our visitors guides and other publications, and in our promotional campaigns. Just go to for photo contest details.

Get out and get up to Damfino Lakes and Excelsior Ridge

November 10th, 2014 by Todd Elsworth

For fantastic views of Mount Baker and the North Cascades head up to Damfino Lakes and beyond into the high country of Excelsior Ridge. Take the Mount Baker Highway, aka EAST 542, through the charming towns of Maple Falls and Glacier. “About 2 miles east of the Glacier Public Service Center, just beyond the Douglas Fir Campground, turn left onto Canyon Creek Forest Road 31. Drive to the marked and developed trailhead near the end of the road in about 15 miles,” -excerpt from Best Short Hikes in Washington’s North Cascades & San Juan Islands – The Mountaineers. By E.M. Sterling, Bob Spring, Ira Spring.


“From the trailhead begin at an old clear-cut, then quickly enter mature forest. Encounter a junction in 0.7 miles. The left fork is Canyon Ridge Trail #689, which connects to Boundary Way Trail #688. Take the right fork to reach Damfino Lakes in 0.1 mile. Tiny lakes are skirted by a puncheon bridge walkway and surrounded by blueberry bushes that turn a blazing scarlet in autumn. Stop and look for young salamanders in the shallows.”- Damfino Lakes Trail #625. We were fortunate to have gorgeous weather with blue skies and no wind. This made for the perfect conditions for the symmetrical reflection of the landscape on the tarnlike lakes. These lakes were named when a ranger who was asked the name of the lakes replied “Damn if I know.” –


Our timing enabled us to catch the explosion of fall colors as we made our way up the 3 miles to our destination: Excelsior Ridge. I knew that the hike would be a “stretch goal” with my 6 year old daughter and that near the end, she may need a “sherpa” to get her to the saddle of the ridge. We sang songs and played word games to keep her mind off the distance, for a while. We didn’t share the details of the hike ahead of time, but Violet could see the elevation gain ahead. After some “discussion”, she found the lift needed to get her UP to a reasonable elevation.

Once up on Excelsior Ridge, we enjoyed a brief picnic and roaming the small network of trails that cross-cross the saddle. I had the urge to frolic through the open meadows as though we were in The Sound of Music singing The Hills are Alive. While inviting, we didn’t trounce the fragile landscape to help ensure that it is there for “our kids” in the future.


From vantage points on the ridge you can look in all directions- to the North, East, South and West (Violet reminds me to Never Eat Soggy Waffles) and capture the images of surrounding ridges, peaks and the grandeur of Mt. Baker rising above it all.


Ready to head back down with renewed energy, Violet said, “Dad, let’s GO!” and we started bounding down the trail. It was one of those proud parent moments when you are watching your kid excel in an activity. She was trail running with ease. The purposefulness of the placement of her little feet was exciting to watch. The confidence of her ability to navigate the roots and rocks and other obstacles provided swift passage down the trail that seemed so steep on the way up (even though I was carrying her).

As the trail mellowed out, so did we- resuming our longstanding trail game of hide and seek- in place of zooming through the forest. It helps slow us down to look more intently at our surroundings as we pass through. Before we knew it we were back to the trailhead and on our way down the “driveway” back to the highway.

We spent the better part of the day in the wilderness and were ready for some good grub. Fortunately, just down the road is Chair 9- where they always have cold beer and outstanding cuisine waiting for you on your way down the mountain. Perfect for family dining, they offer a huge selection of gourmet pizzas as well as buffalo burgers, steaks, and tasty appetizers. Their friendly staff and chill atmosphere makes Chair 9 a local favorite – a destination restaurant that should not be missed.

For more fun ideas near Mount Baker see Hiking and Things to Do.

A Creative Hub in Bellingham: The Alley District

November 10th, 2014 by Teresa Schmidt

Bellingham, Downtown, Alley District, Murals, Art

Downtown Bellingham is filled with alleys, some more attractive than others. But only one is home to the Alley District. Here you’ll find artists, makers and dreamers who had a vision to work together and create a wonderful community. Whether metal sculptor or wooden bike fender maker, jewelry designer or bicycle mechanic, they seek opportunities to collaborate and support one another’s work.


The Alley District is located in the heart of Downtown Bellingham, between State Street and Railroad Avenue. It starts around the Depot Market Square and continues along the alley that leads to the South Bay Trail, a popular walking, running and biking path to Boulevard Park and Fairhaven. Park your vehicle and head out on foot or bike and get ready to explore.


Sprinkled throughout the alley are diverse artisans, businesses and shops, a community bike shop, a community darkroom and photography studio, and restaurants and bars. Let’s start our tour at the far end, with one of the Alley District’s very first establishments: The Hub.


The Hub, started 13 years ago, is considered a Bellingham institution by bicycle enthusiasts. As a community bike shop, the Hub provides space for folks to fix their own bikes, along with tons of new and used parts for sale. They also sell reconditioned bikes, and service and repair all types of bikes (if, like me, you don’t know how to do it yourself). They also offer free advice and bad jokes, although I heard none of the latter during my visit.

Bellingham, Downtown, Alley District, Murals, Art

All of their bikes and parts are donated by the community. The space is jammed with tires, rims, chains, grips and gears. Extras that can’t be used are recycled, or end up in the bike-part sculptures that dot the property. The historic Hub building is covered in colorful murals, as is the rest of the Alley District.

Bellingham, Downtown, Alley District, Murals, Art

Murals by Yale Wolf (upper and bunny) and Lara Buelow (lower mountain scene)

Continuing north from the Hub, we find Anderson Intrinsic Wood Work & Design, the woodworking shop of Tom Anderson, the original Alley District resident artist. The shop is home to Creative Openings, his screen door company, as well as Anderson Wood Fenders. These are unlike any fenders you’ve seen, a beautiful and functional combination of woods that are shaped and curved, so they’re actual fenders—not just splash guards.

Bellingham, Downtown, Alley District, Murals, Art

Anderson Wood Fenders are thin and light, and a gorgeous addition to any townie, road, mountain or commuter bike. Tom’s selling his fenders right here in the ‘Ham, and sending them overseas as well—this week to France and Japan. And Tom’s screen doors grace homes from Bellingham to Costa Rica. After 35 years, Tom estimates he’s made about 5,000 doors.

Bellingham, Downtown, Alley District, Murals, Art
Ready for an espresso? You’re in luck! The Alley District has its own stand, The Wailing Goat. Owner Megan Wilford serves up the usual choices, including organic (yay!) cappuccinos, Americanos and lattes—as well a most unusual goat milk latte. There’s also hot chocolate and tea, perfect for warming up as you walk the trail to Boulevard Park on these crisp autumn afternoons.

Bellingham, Downtown, Alley District, Murals, Art

The next stop on the tour is Altility Art Studio, where Aaron Loveitt works with metal, glass and wood to create commissioned mixed media art pieces and architectural products for homes, businesses and public spaces (including the newest piece in the permanent collection at Big Rock Garden Park ).

Bellingham, Downtown, Alley District, Murals, Art

Inside is some seriously heavy-duty equipment, from an old-fashioned anvil to a huge, 50-ton hydraulic press and jib crane that swings in an arc and spans much of the shop area. It’s amazing how, with such burley tools, Aaron can form metal into sculptural shapes that mimic less-rigid materials. From his central location in the Alley District, Aaron has played a big part in the spirit of collaboration here, as well as with other artists throughout the area.

Bellingham, Downtown, Alley District, Murals, Art

Altility Art Studio is housed in a historic building with plenty of cool details.

Across the lot from Altility is Positive Negative, a non-profit led by Jason Bayl that rents dark room and studio space to local photographers. It’s open Thursday 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., plus Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or by appointment. Look for events during first-Friday Art Walks, as well. Jason tells me an enthusiastic group of photographers is returning to film and taking Positive Negative workshops to learn how to process and print their photos.

Positive Negative

From Positive Negative, turn around and off to the right, you’ll see Plantas Nativas, a nursery owned since 1994 by Bay Renaud, assisted by his dog Benzo (who was too busy chasing sticks to pose for a photo). The nursery is stocked with both common and hard-to-find native plants, trees and shrubs, carefully chosen for hardiness and suitability for our area. In the fall, Bay stays busy collecting and harvesting native seeds for his growers to cultivate, then buys back their plants for nursery stock. It’s a full circle of native life. Bay also repurposes used barrels and food-grade tanks into rain barrels, so his customers can collect and use rainwater in their gardens. Be sure to poke around and check out the way they use scrap metal and found materials to create rain gardens and micro-climate planters.

Bellingham, Downtown, Alley District, Murals, Art

Leaving this block, you can keep exploring the Alley District by crossing Laurel Street to continue north on the alley. You’ll pass the Green Frog’s deck (perfect for a cold one) as well as Honey Moon meadery and Pepper Sisters restaurant. Grab a pint or a glass of mead and a snack, or a meal of southwest cuisine. If  you keep walking a few more yards, you’ll find yourself at Tide Lines, a delightful shop filled with artsy things for you or your home.


Tidelines is owned by Chelsea Jepson, a watercolor and jewelry artist, who had her eye on her space for years. When it became available, she jumped on it and fulfilled her dream of curating a shop featuring artists from within a 100-mile radius of Bellingham.


The final stop on our Alley District Tour is Oyster Creek Canvas Company, where they work with marine-grade canvas, making everything from boat cushions to tote bags. I have no nautical needs myself, but my chicken coop run has been protected for years by a custom-made tarp from Oyster Creek.

Bellingham, Downtown, Alley District, Murals, Art

Cross State Street and head to Oyster Creek Canvas for your boat and outdoor canvas needs. Tell Greg I sent you!

I hope I’ve piqued your interest about the Alley District, an amazing little pocket of Bellingham awesomeness! It’s easy to find, so next time you find yourself at the Bellingham Farmers Market, on a Bellingham Brewery Tour, or just wandering downtown, take a little stroll over to the Alley District and check out the artisans who make it their home. You’re sure to find inspiration and a spirit of friendship that will stay with you long after you leave!

Bellingham, Downtown, Alley District, Murals, Art

Upcoming events in the Alley District

Shop Small Saturday: November 29, 2014

Art on Tap: December 6, 2014 AoT Final

For more fun ideas in Bellingham, also visit our Things to Do pages.