Perfectly restored historical brick buildings, waterfront parks offering glimpses of the San Juan Islands, family run shops selling artisan wares, chic boutiques and a burgeoning culinary scene are a mere taste of what Bellingham has on offer.
Bites, Sites & Shops: Bellingham’s must see spots
In downtown Bellingham an array of trendy home and décor stores await you. Must-shop spots include Ideal, for outstanding and unique design-centric gifts and goods, and the ultra-cool Digs, offering everything from cheeky cocktail napkins to chic chaise lounges.
Each Saturday from April through Christmas local producers gather to sell their artisan wares at Bellingham’s open-air Farmer’s Market. Freshly baked breads, organic cheeses, preserves and beautiful hand-made jewelry and ornaments are some of the tempting items on offer at the downtown Market Square.
Spend an afternoon in Bellingham’s historic Fairhaven district strolling through the quaint streets sprinkled with art galleries, cafes and quirky stores in charming turn-of-the-century brick buildings. Village Books and Paper Dreams, a mainstay of this seaside neighbourhood, offer a mélange of new and used paperbacks and hard-covers, stationery, gifts and sweet treats including handmade fudge. For designer duds, luxurious linens and Parisian perfumes beautifully displayed in a restored 19th century bank building visit the Three French Hens boutique.
Another tempting Fairhaven stop is the artisan cheese shop Quel Fromage, offering more than 100 cheese selections and delectable accoutrements and fine wines. The holiday season in Fairhaven promises twinkling lights and storefronts adorned with bows wrapped in ribbon, while summer months lend well to starlight flicks at the Village Green’s Outdoor Cinema with a picnic box from Quel Fromage.
Dining is sure to delight in Bellingham. A favourite fork-free eatery is Fiamma Burger for deluxe house-made all-natural patties stacked with tasty toppings. Salmon, bison and lamb are a few of the carnivorous options on the grill, as well as the infamous house-smoked pulled-pork sandwich topped with shoestring potatoes and creamy coleslaw.
The burger joint’s sister restaurant, La Fiamma Woodfire Pizza offers an equally creative menu including The Spuddy, a baked potato pizza with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, smoked bacon, cheese, scallions, house made BBQ sauce and a generous dollop of sour cream.
The Bellingham area is home to almost a dozen artisan wineries, including the family-owned Samson Estate Winery. In addition to red and white varietals, Samson produces true to the fruit, award-winning off-dry berry wines using local raspberries and blueberries. For a leisurely four-hour tasting at some of the Pacific Northwest’s best boutique wineries contact Whatcom Wine Tours.
After a day on your feet exploring Bellingham’s shopping and sites, pamper yourself at Zazen Spa. Signature treatments include the deep-tissue Jade Stone Massage and two-hour Aroma Body Envelopments treatment, featuring a full body exfoliation, 60-minute massage and body masque and wrap.
Deals on Digs: luxury digs that won’t break the bank
Recently voted the Best Luxury Hotel in the Northwest by Evening Magazine, Hotel Bellwether on Bellingham Bay offers guests an intimate waterfront sanctuary with spectacular views of the San Juan Islands and snow-capped peaks of Mount Baker.