On the road for fun with your kids

Families take advantage of the Lake Whatcom beach at Bloedel Donovan Park in August 2014.
Families take advantage of the Lake Whatcom beach at Bloedel Donovan Park in August 2014. The Bellingham Herald


Audiobooks for a car ride

Whether you’re taking a day trip or a weeklong vacation, time in the car seems to pass faster when your mind is engaged. An audiobook can make a boring ride memorable, and librarians say listening to a book is as good as reading one.

“I listened to ‘Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin’ by Liesl Shurtliff and loved it,” said Bernice Chang, children’s library specialist at Bellingham Public Library. “It’s a story about Rumpelstiltskin’s childhood living in a magical kingdom where your name is your destiny. A fun fantasy adventure and twist on a classic tale for children ages 8 and up.”

Kristy Carroco Smith of Sudden Valley recommends any of the audiobooks by Jim Weiss: “ He is amazing storyteller and he has several historical and classics.”

Likewise, Jessie Borrell of Sudden Valley calls the Harry Potter series a timeless classic. “(It) is fantastic on audio! It’s a series I could listen to over and over again.”

Adam Shaffer, a fourth-grade teacher at Irene Reither Elementary, in Meridian School District, said he tends to listen to books he hasn’t read yet.

“I loved the books in the ‘Willow Falls’ series, by Wendy Mass. The reader, Kathleen McInerney, is wonderful,” Shaffer said. “I also enjoy the audio of ‘The 39 Clues’ books. These multiple-series are written by different authors, but all read by David Pittu. The 39 Clues is kind of like ‘The DaVinci Code’ for kids. The characters travel all over the world and encounter all sorts of people. Pittu does every accent and just nails it.”

Shaffer also polled his students and his Twitter followers @MrShafferTMCE and found these favorites: the Origami Yoda series; “The Graveyard Book,” read by author Neil Gaiman; and “Better Nate than Ever” and its sequel, “Five, Six, Seven, Nate,” read by author Tim Federle, who is a Broadway dabbler himself.


Swimming holes

The Northwest’s glorious summers demand a dip in a lake, pond or stream. Whatcom County offers several places to get wet the old-fashioned way.

Bloedel-Donovan Park: The popular city park is near Electric and Alabama avenues. It has plenty of free parking, a broad lawn for playing and playground equipment, and restrooms.

Samish Lake Park: This small county park on North Lake Samish Drive features a beach, along with a fishing dock, restrooms and other amenities. Parking is limited and the lot tends to fill quickly on sunny summer days.

Lake Whatcom Trail: This trail at the end of North Shore Drive near Y Road parallels Lake Whatcom and offers several areas to stop and swim. Lots of free parking; pit toilets.


Sunshine, fresh air, all the tastes and smells of spring and summer. It stimulates our senses. When it’s warm out, it feels good to eat something cold.

Ben Scholtz

Owner, Mallard Ice Cream