Thousands of people will descend on Fairhaven Sunday for the annual Fairhaven Festival. They come to hear music, enjoy a beer and wine garden and check out food booths, arts and craft vendors, exhibits and children’s activities.
Many, of course, also come to cheer Ski to Sea racers as they cross the finish line and ring the bell at Marine Park. Whether they come Memorial Day weekend or some other time of the year, visitors to Fairhaven can always find plenty to do if they have a few hours to spare.
Fairhaven’s location next to Bellingham Bay and Padden Creek means it’s easy to stretch your legs on several trails and take in the view. Options include:
▪ Walk to Boulevard Park by following the marked trail near Fairhaven Village Green, at 10th Street and Mill Avenue, north to Taylor Avenue Dock. The dock connects to an over-the-water boardwalk to Boulevard Park, which beckons with a coffeeshop, beach access, playground and an outdoor stage with a mural worthy of a close look.
As you stroll the boardwalk, notice the large, rusty-looking rock near shore. The rock is actually a mound of scrap tin and solder dumped decades ago from a can factory.
▪ If you have extra time and stamina, cross the railroad tracks at the north end of Boulevard Park and follow South Bay Trail to downtown Bellingham.
▪ Connect to Padden Creek Trail by walking south from the Village Green on 10th Street to the trail at 10th and Donovan Avenue. You can follow the trail west toward Bellingham Bay and Marine Park or walk east along recently restored parts of the creek and to historic Fairhaven Park.
▪ Enjoy the Village Green by relaxing on a bench under the perimeter pergola. While there, check out the bronze statue of “Dirty Dan” Harris, the pioneer founder of Fairhaven, and the outdoor mural of historic and contemporary movers and shakers of Fairhaven.
Shop, and shop some more
Fairhaven is home to scores of tempting places to browse and buy, whether you’re a local resident, a vacationer or someone waiting for the ferry to Alaska. Shops include:
▪ Artwood is a gallery run by a cooperative of woodworkers since 1987. The high-end works showcase exquisite craftsmanship by the cooperative’s members and about 90 other artists on consignment.
▪ Drizzle Olive Oil &Vinegar Tasting Room encourages people to learn about, and sample, the best in olive oils, balsamic vinegars, special spice blends, organic honey, pasta and other delectables.
▪ Eclipse Bookstore has two levels packed with used books. With stacks of extra books on the floor, tread carefully as you browse.
▪ Fairhaven Toy Garden has stuffed animals, box games, arts and crafts, kites, puzzles, wooden toys, dolls, children’s costumes and more for young ones and for the young at heart. Ask about their drop-in workshops.
▪ Village Books has been a popular destination since it opened in 1980. The store is the literary heart of the city, with author readings and other community events a staple.
Food and drinks
Fairhaven packs a lot of eating and drinking establishments into its few square blocks. Here’s a quick sampling of options, with many more to choose from:
▪ The Black Cat (Le Chat Noir) occupies a corner space with a view in Sycamore Square, serving distinctive bistro fare and classic and specialty cocktails, along with beer and wine. The french dip sandwich is especially popular, as is the Cat Scratch Lemonade from the bar.
▪ Fairhaven Fish & Chips is easy to find; it’s the double-decker bus stationed in the heart of Fairhaven. Go there for fish and chips, clam chowder, ice cream cones and, in good weather, a chance to people-watch while enjoying your meal at a picnic table outdoors.
▪ Sirena Gelato serves handmade gelato with such tempting ingredients as premium chocolate and Thai coconut milk. Other treats include gelato cookie sandwiches, milkshakes and gourmet popsicles.
▪ Tony’s Coffee has long been a popular place for denizens of Fairhaven to linger over a cup of good coffee, maybe a pastry, and friendly conversation.
If you go
Fairhaven business guide: fairhaven.com
Fairhaven history: fairhavenhistory.com
Fairhaven trails: Go to the city of Bellingham website, cob.org, and search for “trail guide.”
Artwood: 1002 Harris Ave. 360-647-1628. Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. artwoodgallery.com
Drizzle Olive Oil &Vinegar Tasting Room: 1208 11th St. 360-392-8838. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. drizzletastingroom.com.
Eclipse Bookstore: 1104 11th St. 360-647-8165. Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Fairhaven Toy Garden: 909 Harris Ave. 360-714-8552. Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. fairhaventoygarden.com.
Village Books: 1200 11th St. 360-671-2626. Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. villagebooks.com.
The Black Cat (Le Chat Noir): 1200 Harris Ave., Suite 310. 360-733-6136. Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday. Lunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; dinner 3 p.m. to close. Brunch 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. blackcatbellingham.com.
Fairhaven Fish & Chips: 1020 Harris Ave. 360-733-5021. Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Sirena Gelato: 960 Harris Ave., Suite 102. 360-733-6700. Hours: noon to 9 p.m. daily. sirenagelato.com.
Tony’s Coffee: 1101 Harris Ave. 360-738-4710. Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.