Bellingham, WA – The City of Subdued Excitement
Bellingham or the ‘city of subdued excitement,’ as a local mayor once dubbed it, is Washington’s slightly less weird version of Portland, Oregon.
It’s laidback, green, liberal and loaded with outdoor activities! What makes this town so subdued with excitement? I don’t really know. But what I can tell you is three reasons you should check it out for yourself.
The Mount Bakery Café was one of our first stops and it may be the reason we fell in love with this subdued little town. They served up a serious crab benedict on top of a belgian waffle. There is no having a bad day after a breakfast like that!
Whatcom Falls Park probably takes the cake for city parks. The moment we steped on the trail, it was like being transported to a national forest…we quickly forgot we were surrounded by city and suburbs.
The historic district of Fairhaven is so cool, it has its own website. It’s lined with cute shops and eateries (we have an addiction to good food) and there is plenty of outdoor seating for people watching (and plenty of people for watching).
Of course there’s plenty more to do…and we did: Visit WWU for one of the largest collections of outdoor art (it’s free); Swing by the famous outdoor farmers market and pick up fresh local foods (don’t miss the shroom guy) or a new friend like ‘Bubbles’ (recycled sweater creature i’m holding in the top photo); Indulge in the cuteness that is Katie’s Cupcakes (she’s the champion of Cupcake Wars); Take a breathtaking sunset walk along the waters of Boulevard Park or on the patio of Woods Coffee with a locally roasted cup o’ Joe. Oh, and I almost forgot!!!!! There’s multiple micro breweries serving up great brews, and we just happened to be there for Bellingham Beer Week (maybe that’s why we forgot). Ahhh the sweet life!
Bellingham is a whopping 18 miles south of the Canadian border crossing at Blaine and 89 miles north of Seattle. So if you find yourself one direction or the other, stop by and see if you can find out why it’s the ‘City of Subdued Excitement’.
Went to college in Bellingham. I would love to live there but there just aren’t that many tech jobs.
Since you’re in B’ham you should checkout Bellingham State of Mind: youtube.com/watch?v=HMiBZ6s4SjY
We are actually in South Lake Tahoe, you can see our current location on the right sidebar of any post.
The entire PNW is awesome. Great Vineyards, National Forrest campgrounds and of course golf courses!
So glad you got to come up and hang with us.
Hi Wynn’s – I’m fairly new to your newsletter and I love what I’ve seen so far so please keep up the good work! I’m not an RV’er yet, just a dreamer who hopes to retire to full time RV’ing in the next few years, so I love your practical user friendly advice.
As for Bellingham and the NW corner of Washington, State Highway 20, aka the North Cascades highway, is an absolute must see/drive heading east from Burlington which is 25 miles south of Bellingham.
The Methow Valley is spectacular vacation country and Winthrop is a neat little town to relax and recharge the batteries in, though from what I’ve read so far of your travels I don’t imagine your batteries ever run low 🙂
Also by the way, the Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival is held annually in July so if you happen to be anywhere near this little corner of the universe in the summer, you should make sure to stop on by.
Hey Mark, welcome to the world of The Wynn’s! We are glad to have you around. We did make our way to Burlington but we didn’t stop by Winthrop and it sounds lovely! Thanks for all the great PNW tips!
Hi again Nikki. As long as I’m talking about great scenic drives, and Hwy 20 through the Methow valley really is one of the top 2-3 in WA so I can’t encourage you and Jason enough to make time for it the next time you’re in WA, anyway if you guys are looking for the best of the best drives I also highly recommend the drive from Seattle past Mount Rainier and over to Yakima in central WA via Hwys 410/123/12 (link http://www.visityakima.com/newsite/yakima-valley-blog/?tag=mt-rainier). And just in case you didn’t know about our wine country, central WA and clear over to my old SE WA home town of Walla Walla are famous for award winning vinyards so be sure to hit some tasting rooms when you’re in the area.
The other drive that I absolutely love is on the Olympic Peninsula where Hwy 101 (link http://www.northwestplaces.com/trips001/Olyp0001.htm) makes a loop around the Olympic Mountain range with scenery like nowhere else.
Well I hope you enjoy the info and file it away for future reference. I feel like we in the Pacific NW are some of the luckiest people on earth with the most beautiful varieties of landscapes anywhere. Enjoy the drive where ever the road takes you!
We are planning our move from CA to Bellingham this Summer. As a native of CA I am sure it will be different, but we will get to retire early, homeschool our 12 year old and travel the national parks in our trailer. Does not sound so bad to me. I can’t wait!!! Thanks for the information. We were there in November (over Thanksgiving) and IT DID NOT RAIN! Amazing. Since CA is dealing with drought AGAIN! I am not sure I will mind the rain so much! While we were there we too enjoyed Whatcom Park! We also loved the fish hatchery they had going there too.
What a great place to relocate to! You will love it, so much to see and do in the area!
I grew up 20 mins north of Bellingham and love this town! The PNW is studded with great spots. I now live on Vashon Island and recommend it as a place to stop off at if you like food culture, community and off-the-beaten-path beauty 🙂
Sounds like we need to visit Vashon Island…do they have an RV park 🙂
My prom date invited us to her wedding she held there, I had never heard of it, but was overwhelmed by the beauty. Also discovered Vancouver and the San Juan islands on the same trip, take two weeks or perhaps MUCH more when you go.
Our hotel overlooked the water and we could see the lines of cars for the HUGE ferry to Alaska. Oh you hippies and your VW Buses. That is now on my bucket list, saving my pennies. The train ran right under our balcony, absolutely adorable.
My wife and I were so impressed we asked my friend why she didn’t move there, as we were now tempted to do. “Oh, no. There is SO MUCH rain every year that people who move here often end up battling depression”
OK, well, vacation spot it is.
The PNW is such a wonderful place, maybe our favorite in the USA. Fortunately we spent nearly 2 months roaming around the PNW including parts of Canada. Just spectacular!
The rain is more so in winter, with short days. Much like northern calif or London when I lived there. Vitamin D prevents the S.A.D. (Depression) very nicely. The 16-18 hours of daylight and less rain though much of spring, fal, and all of summer more than make up for grey winters. It is the most beautiful and wonderful place I have lived. And I have lived in quite a few places. I’ll never move from here. It is awe inspiring daily.🥰
Dawn on Camano Island
We live an hour south of The Ham & our youngest son & his wife have a home in the Lettered Streets neighborhood. The Ham is one of our most favorite cities ever–there’s just so much to love here! Great co-op, Chuckanut Drive & The Oyster Bar on chuckanut (fantastic food!), vibrant farmer’s market, lots of great beer & Boulevard Park! So glad you liked The Ham!
We LOVED the Ham…and I’m not talkin’ the meat 🙂
Hannah @ TalesFromTheLastFrontier
Visited Bellingham in 2012. It is a take-off point for the Alaska Marine Highway system. Such a cool, little town and I loved the local restaurants. The ferry system is nice too 🙂