Chuckanut Drive and Larrabee State Park

On a beautiful day in April, Spring outings are a must. I was fortunate to take the day off and drive north to see the tulip fields and then on to Bellingham via Chuckanut Drive. The #pnw did not disappoint. As I meandered and stopped at a number of viewpoints, and due to timing missed a stop at Taylor Shellfish, I kept to my schedule and was able to visit Larrabee State Park. The experience showcased a trail in the woods, colorful artwork, walking through a tunnel as a train was traveling above, and experiencing the beauty of the coast, a rocky beach that exhibits sea creatures under the rocks and beautiful views of the Samish Bay. I purchased a Discover Pass this year and recommend it. It supports both the parks and in exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Larrabee State Park sits on Chuckanut Mountain near Bellingham and is known for its postcard views of Samish Bay and the San Juan Islands. It is also Washington’s first state park. So interesting, eh? This park has a small number of camping sites available for booking. https://www.parks.wa.gov/Facilities/Facility/Details/Larrabee-State-Park-124 or https://stateparks.com/larrabee_state_park_in_washington.html

So much beauty to share…

Bellingham Bells

Looking for a road trip or to try a local summertime activity?  Take in a ballgame in Bellingham, WA with the Bellingham Bells. At the time of this posting, they are done with their 2014 season, but mention had to be made as it is a summertime treat.

The Bellingham Bells are part of the wooden-bat WCL (West Coast League).   They use wood bats instead of those made with aluminum (or other). There are various leagues throughout the USA and the WCL is in this neck of the woods.  It consists of 12 teams, three divisions, the West, East and South (WA, OR, British Columbia), and the teams that make up these divisions, play each other to make it to the West Coast League Championship. With a win over the Corvallis Knights, it just so happens that the 2014 WCL Champion is the Bellingham Bells – way to go!

On the eve of my event at Joe Martin Stadium, they were playing the Cowlitz Black Bears.  The team is made up of a mix of players from colleges throughout the USA such as Gonzaga University, Arizona State, Oakland University, University of Maine, Stanford University, Bellevue College, Lower Columbia CC, and more. These colleges are part of the NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA.  While they’re in town to play, typically June through August, the players are housed by volunteer host families. And, on a cool note, is that some of baseball’s greats once played with the Bellingham Bells  – Ken Griffey Jr., Omar Vizquel, Raul Ibanez, Dave Stewart, Mike Scioscia, and Derek Lowe to name a few.

The WCL has giveaways, a mascot, food and drink, and fun for friends and family… and the Bellingham Bells have Two-Dollar Tuesdays.  If you can’t get enough baseball in Western Washington, check out the Seattle Mariners (MLB), Tacoma Rainiers (AAA), and Everett Aquasox (A).  But again, if you are looking for a fun summer experience, head to Bellingham!  http://www.bellinghambells.com/home/

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Bellingham, WA

View from Anthony's Bellingham

I hesitate on writing about this day trip as it was Memorial Day and many of the stores and restaurants were closed.  But seeing that it was the day after the Fairhaven Festival  http://fairhaven.com/  and is also the finish line for the famous Ski to Sea race  http://www.skitosea.com/, I thought it appropriate to give it a mention.  In fact, there was still “great race yesterday!” comments on the streets. 

Bellingham, WA can be found approximately 90 miles north of Seattle and 52 miles south of Vancouver, BC.  It undoubtably has one of the most diverse populations in the Northwest.  With a history of being a blue-collar town, it is also known as a great outdoor recreation spot with many runners, cyclists, and those who enjoy the active lifestyle.  The Western Washington University students make up another segment of the population here.  WWU is known for its excellence in education and has been rated as one of the best regional public universities.  Bellingham has also been rated as one of the best places to retire, particularly known for their highly rated health care services and hospital.  Bellingham boasts 24 distinct neighborhoods.   http://www.bellingham.org/; http://www.bellingham.net/ 

Lunch was had at Colophone Cafe as time was mainly spent in the Fairhaven neighborhood.  This eatery seems to bring in those looking for a soup (rotating monthly menu), salad, or sandwich…and a country cafe atmosphere.  I am not giving it a recommendation but can’t say that it is a total miss either.  My husband had the chicken pot pie and I chose a garden salad with blue cheese dressing (too runny) and cup of Corn Verde Chowder (too much corn and not enough oomph!), and side cheese tray (pass on this if you prefer specialty cheeses).  http://www.colophoncafe.com/  

Bellingham offers beautiful views of Bellingham Bay.  There is the Port of Bellingham and Cruise Terminal, the summer presents outdoor concerts and movies and a farmers market; and the area has various art and history recommendations…maybe a trip to the Whatcom Museum of History & Art, the Railway Museum or American Museum of Radio and Electricity – now that should give you a jolt!.  A variety of day trips abound – whale watching, fishing, Mt Baker Ski Area http://www.mtbaker.us/, Birch Bay, Chuckanut Drive http://chuckanutdrive.com/, British Columbia- Canada, the San Juan Islands, Semiahmoo Resort, and Skagit Valley Casino Resort.