Blaine

A city by the sea

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Blaine is a city with a rich history, and there’s no better representation of that than the city’s iconic Peace Arch. Built in 1921 to commemorate the peace established between U.S. and Great Britain at the end of the War of 1812, the arch acts as a gateway between the U.S. and Canada, celebrating the shared history that makes Blaine one-of-a-kind.

For decades in the 1800s to mid-1900s, Blaine was one of the busiest seaports in the northwest. Salmon and crab were shipped between Blaine and Alaska while workers labored in the many canneries.

Today, Blaine is less reliant on sea trade, but the legacy of the fishing industry can still be seen at H Street Plaza, in the form of a statue called “Vigil.” The commemorative statue depicts a mother and wife and child looking out to sea, waiting for the fishing husbands and fathers to safely return to harbor.

More recently, Blaine has become known for its bustling “restaurant row,” where visitors will find all manner of cuisines including steak & ribs, farm to table oysters, Italian, German, Thai, Mexican, American including a wine bar. Most of these restaurants offer dining with a view of the harbor.

Blaine boasts truly stunning waterfront scenery and the view from Marine Park is in a class of its own. Facing north on Semiahmoo Bay, with Drayton Harbor just behind, the park offers views of White Rock, B.C. and the Peace Arch. Visitors can walk a dog and stroll along the beach and path to the fishing and crabbing pier at the end of the drive. Return along the southside board walk and view the commercial and recreational boats moored in Blaine marina.

Peace Arch State Park offers more than just the titular monument. The grounds are meticulously groomed to make the best possible impression on border crossers from both the U.S. and Canada. From May to October, the International Sculpture Exhibition displays sculptural works of both local and international artists. Unfortunately, the Canadian side is still observing pandemic restrictions and remains closed.

Across from the pier is the Semiahmoo Resort, offering seaside restaurants, a spa, golf course, pool and beaches. Also located on Semiahmoo Spit is the APA Museum which tells the story of the Alaska Packers Association salmon cannery.

Blaine has long been a birdwatching destination. The city is located on the Pacific Flyway, a major north-to-south migratory path for seabirds. Birdwatchers frequently spot great blue herons, bald eagles, loons, mergansers and brant, sometimes even catching a rare glimpse of wayward pelicans.

Each summer, Blaine hosts the largest 4th of July celebration in Whatcom County, with street vendors, fireworks and live music attracting friendly crowds from all over.

Every Saturday, the G Street Plaza swells with visitors and vendors selling goods at the farmers market (p. 40).

Visit Blaine for a much-needed dose of salty sea air, amazing food, and views like nowhere else. Stop on your way across the border or spend a weekend; either way Blaine greets every visitor with a friendly sea wave.

For more info, visit blainebythesea.com.

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