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Rich in history, the town offers all kinds of outdoor adventures.
Once its own town founded by Dirty Dan Harris, Bellingham’s Fairhaven district warrants a separate visit. With its historic brick buildings and cobbled streets, Fairhaven is a reminder of days long past.
The antique looks belie Fairhaven’s role as a major regional transportation hub. Fairhaven is the southern terminus of the Alaska ferry, a port for cruises to the San Juan islands, and an Amtrak stop on the Vancouver to Portland run, not to mention a Greyhound bus depot.
Fairhaven contains many renowned shops and restaurants. The hungry traveler has lots of ethnic food choices such as Mexican or Italian. Thanks to pedestrian friendly streets, walking from shop to shop in Fairhaven is a breeze.
After you deal with your appetite, visitors should experience the district’s unique shopping options, including the charming Fairhaven Toy Garden and nationally recognized Village Books, which is one of Washington’s largest independent bookstores and a major stop on the traveling writers’ circuit.
Wednesdays in the summer feature the Fairhaven Farmers Market spread out across the Fairhaven Village Green. Vendors from across the county show up to sell fresh produce and locally made arts and crafts. The market also features live music. On Saturday evenings, enjoy outdoor movies and live acts on the Green.
For a relaxing stroll, walk south down Harris Avenue and try to find all the historical concrete plaques that line the sidewalk. Engraved on each plaque is a tidbit of information from Fairhaven’s past, though the authenticity of some could be called into question.
Come evening, Fairhaven’s own music scene comes to life and offers a unique twist on the kinds of performances found in Bellingham. For example, Skylark’s Hidden Café features a jazz open mic night on Thursdays at 8 p.m. Although a half-dozen or so regulars typically show up, anyone with their own instrument is invited to join in.
Fairhaven is a kayaker’s haven. Put in at the public boat launch, and paddle north through the bay to get a waterside view of Bellingham. Head south to Chuckanut Bay and you’re treated to a phantasmagoric landscape created by the waves and wind that have sculpted sandstone into fascinating formations.
The harbor is also the place to find whale watching boats if you want to get a good look at the orcas that cruise the waters of the San Juan islands.
The Taylor dock is a quarter-mile boardwalk and restored railway trestle that takes pedestrians and cyclists over the bay from Boulevard Park to Fairhaven. Walk or ride your bike on South Bay Trail, or stop at Boulevard Park for a picnic, toss a Frisbee, or just enjoy the view. On select Saturdays in the summer, stay for an outdoor concert in the park. Pack a picnic dinner and enjoy the sunset from Boulevard or Marine Park.
For more info, visit fairhaven.com.
Things to do in Fairhaven:
Get Romantic: Pack a picnic dinner and catch a spectacular sunset from Marine Park.
Read On: Pore over the huge selection of books at Village Books or browse for used books at Eclipse Bookstore.
Indulge Yourself: Enjoy a massage or facial at the Chrysalis Inn.
Catch a Flick: Watch an outdoor movie at the Village Green on Saturday evenings from June through August.
Get Jazzed: Watch, listen or join in at a Skylark’s Hidden Café jazz night.
Hit the Water: Rent a kayak, sailboat or SUP from Community Boating Center and hit the bay.