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The City of Subdued Excitement


Bellingham, Washington can be defined by many mantras: an outdoor enthusiast playground, a hippie Mecca, a college student delight, or a retiree dream. Surrounded by rolling hills of green, snow capped mountain ranges, and ocean side cliffs one would be hard pressed to match the beauty found within this tiny corner of the Pacific Northwest. With Canada being the closest neighbor to the North, Bellingham is often the turn-around-point for I-5 road trippers – that is if they were lucky enough to continue past Seattle and wander into the wild woods up North.


From the outskirts, Bellingham has a sleepy charm. Early 1900's houses line the quaint streets surrounding the University where college students live side by side with their professors. Deeper in the city fresh graduates make a living in the business district while residing in the growing number of low-rise condominiums. Just past that, retirees and newly weds alike gather in cul-de-sac communities. The population is booming, tourism is rising, and the city is doing its best to keep up.


What is it about Bellingham that attracts so many? Approaching the city the answer is clear. Miles of green surround you in all directions and despite the grungy college scene; the city is squeaky clean and environmentally friendly. Downtown Bellingham contains an artsy mix of second hand shops, galleries, and organic restaurants. And just outside the city center one could get lost on the miles upon miles of hiking trails, parks, and ocean side boulevards. Bellingham plays hosts to a plethora of outdoor activities and every year residents partake in the day long festival known as the Ski-to-Sea, literally taking participants from the heights of Mt. Baker to the waves of Puget Sound.


Bellingham is my college hometown, the first place where I stepped outside of my kid shoes and became an adult. In many ways, Bellingham defined the person I am now. Surrounding myself with the liberal, environmentally conscious, tree-hugger, animal-rights activists that some may say primarily comprise Bellingham’s population; I slowly evolved from someone who was afraid to stand up for I believed in – into someone who could. I may not have quite adapted all the eccentricities of the stereotypical Bellingham hippie (No dreads for me, thank-you!), but I can safely say they effectively rubbed off on me in many ways.


It is no secret that Bellingham is the place to visit in the Pacific Northwest, and its proximity to Seattle and Vancouver, BC make it the perfect weekend getaway. If the natural beauty of the area doesn't sweep you away - the dreaded, bare footed hippies are sure to make an impression.

Posted by Jennylynn 15:51 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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