Choosing to relocate my whole life from Chandler AZ to Bellingham WA was not an easy decision, or one I made lightly. I lived in Arizona for 30 years. I had roots. I had friends. I had history. I had a business, and clients, and stability, but I wanted more.
Bellingham didn’t come up in the dozens of Google searches I did for small, liberal cities along the west coast. It wasn’t on my radar, at all. I was considering Portland, maybe Vancouver WA. I had some years to consider where to move because I was waiting for my children to finish high school before I moved, so I spent a lot of time dreaming of my new life in a cooler, more liberal place than where I currently lived.
Bellingham came into my radar, and soon my laser focus, when a real estate client of mine recommended Western Washington University as a college my daughter might want to look into attending. How had I missed this adorable little place I don’t know, but after a school tour in 2015 I was sold ( and so was my daughter).
The bay was the first thing that stole my heart in Bellingham. I walked Taylor Dock one evening with my children. I grew up in Hawaii, and the 30 years I spent in the desert really left me wanting and needing to be close to water. The sunset on the bay is one of the most stunning things I have seen, and it is a free show almost every evening.
Since living here I have been lucky enough to make a friend with a boat. Now, I want a boat. Seeing orcas from the boat feeding and playing in the bay is life changing. Visiting the different islands in the San Juans, and the different harbors is magical. Also, dropping crab pots and getting to fish for my own crab dinner is exciting, fun, and delicious. I may not have a boat yet, but there are always new friends with boats, rentals, group trips, and the ferries until then.
Walking for me has always been my most theraputic way for me to center myself. Bellingham has a trail system so complex and large I still haven’t walked every trail even though it has been my goal since I moved here. The trails are well maintained and I have never felt unsafe walking alone. I have logged hundreds of miles on my step counter since moving here, and many of those miles have been along Bellingham’s trails. One of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday is to walk from Whatcom Falls park down into downtown Bellingham for dinner or lunch, and then catch an Uber back to Whatcom Falls and my car. Railroad trail is large and wide and lots of friendly walkers and bikers along the way.
There are mountains all around Bellingham. If you are a day hiker, a mountain biker, or a backpacker you will find the mountain for you. If you are a skier or snowboarder we have both Mount Baker and Whistler in Canada just a short drive away. There are phenomenal hikes and views and trails all around Whatcom county…..more than I can count. I live close to Lookout Mountain and can walk there for a 3 mile hike with my dog almost every day. It is so healing to be in the forest every day.
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I don’t have a lot of experience with lakes. The ones in Arizona are man made and he water isn’t the cleanest. Hawaii doesn’t have any big lakes (that I can think of) so Lake Whatcom seems monstrous to me. It is a gorgeous lake and perfect for sail, motor boat riding, and especially kayaking. When I am out on the lake on a kayak the beauty, no matter the season, is breathtaking. In the summer the lake is a wonderful place for a dip or a swim. The water is clean and there aren’t any lake monsters I have heard of yet.
I don’t know a better way to describe Bellingham than to say it’s downright CHARMING. The old brick buildings built often before 1900 tug at your imagination to think of all of the things they have seen. From wooden planked streets, to brick, to modern day asphalt. Bellingham has done a wonderful job of maintaining these buildings and keeping the charm. There aren’t a lot of fast foods or chain restaurants and stores in downtown, or Fairhaven. Fairhaven has concrete plaques along the sidewalk with descriptions of things that happened on that spot oh so many years ago. The lighted trees and open businesses in the evening make it a wonderful place to walk at night. Don’t even get me started on the charming neighborhoods, that is a whole blog by itself.
If you are wondering if Bellingham is the place for you please read 13 Things you Should know if you’re Moving to Bellingham. Also read Moving to Bellingham? Beware, it’s Weird, 12 Surprises I had when I moved to Bellingham, and 12 MORE Surprises I had when I moved to Bellingham. If you still aren’t sure after reading all of those, you can read even more in Bellingham, There’s no Place Like It, and The Top 10 Reasons Bellingham is the Best.
If you decide that Bellingham is the place for you, please consider giving me a call to help you find your next home here! 360-325-9076 Texting, Messaging on Facebook or Instagram also work, I know how you millenials hate to talk on the phone. 🙂