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PLAYWhatcom Summer 2012


Celebrate nature, recreation, art and our wonderful heritage throughout Whatcom County's cities, towns and parks. A supplement of the Lynden Tribune and Ferndale Record



Play Whatcom 2012

Table of Contents 2. Jansen Art Center 3. Sculptures 4. Biking 5. Plover Ferry 6. Downtown 8. Destinations 10. Point Whitehorn 11. Markets 12. Map 14. Lakes 15. Museums 16. Water 19. Birds 20. Hiking 21. Parks 24. Golf photo: Jansen Art Center by Tim Newcomb


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Jansen Art Center

he doors to the brand-new Jansen Art Center swung wide open to the public this spring and they sure do look a whole lot different than the last time the public ventured through. Long gone are the cobwebs of two buildings built in the early 1900s, now joined together as an anchor for historic Front Street in downtown Lynden and an anchor for the entire Whatcom County art community.    The Eleanor & Henry Jansen Foundation took over the former City Hall building, built in 1928, and purchased the adjoining Steinhauer Building, built in 1912, and has spent roughly $2 million to turn the three-story structures comprising roughly 20,000 square feet into a unified state-of-the-art center focused on art of all kinds. Studios within the buildings include pottery, weaving, dance, music and children’s themes. Lounges and banquet space aims to attract people from all walks of life. The upstairs 130-person Chamber Hall space features a new 8-foot, 4-inch Schimmel piano.    While the renovation, upgrade and beautification alone of the structures certainly give life to the downtown Front Street site, plenty of art now livens up that part of town as well.

   The Jansen Art Center is ultimately a one-stop place for art classes and rental of art studio space. Programs in music, painting, weaving, pottery, glass arts, children’s crafts, jewelry making, dance and much more (yoga, for example) will happen from the early morning to during the day for homeschool students and seniors, and after school and in the evening. “There will be opportunities for everybody,” Riskin said.    Along with classes that may run weeks at a time or simply a few hours in a workshop setting, the “J,” as its owners have now dubbed it, has also started hosting an array of live musical events.    As the center continues to build its offerings of classes, it has opened its doors (garage-style doors that spill the art onto the street) to the public, giving all a chance to walk through gallery space in the newly overhauled building. The J plans a grand opening for August, but visitors don’t have to wait until then to see what has been done with the space. Heidi Doornenbal, the foundation’s president, a daughter of Eleanor and Henry and the visionary behind the center, said she hopes a large arts festival the first weekend in August (dates are tentative) will allow anyone who hasn’t already seen the J to get a real view of the

Photo: Tim Newcomb


Take in the art now highlighting downtown Lynden.

Play Whatcom 2012 possibilities for arts located within the center.    The main floor features two dance studios, a painting studio, a coffee shop, a gallery and gallery gift shop. A large outdoor deck is being constructed on the south side of this floor. The upper floor contains a large performing arts venue, Chamber Hall (complete with a kitchen to support rental events), music practice rooms, a weaving studio and a library/workshop. The basement floor will feature a pottery studio, jewelry and glass studios, a children’s workshop area and other workshops. Lower floor workshops open to an outdoor patio and garden area.    Based on a design by Andrew Krzysiek of Bellingham’s Zervas Group and the work of Exxel Pacific Inc. construction, the renovations have included touches of modern art and riffs on the historic nature of the buildings. Exciting features include the return of the original openings onto Front Street of the fire hall doors, which lead to a piano bar and coffee shop on the main floor; the refinishing of both original textured concrete floors and original Douglas fir floors throughout much of the structure; a new outdoor deck with views toward Mount Baker; the upstairs Chamber Hall that will serve as a concert and reception venue complete with theater lighting and triple-pane glass; large open areas for dance; and a basement full of unique (pottery, jewelry, a glass kiln, etc.) art-creating tools.    Doornenbal said that she has been amazed by the number of artists and teachers clamoring to assist in the project. From a massive “gallery table” largely donated by Lynden furniture maker Greg Klassen to a tile mural largely donated by local artist Debbie Dickinson to the Mt. Baker Rotary Club donation of $30,000 for a glass kiln, the local arts community has wowed her. Doornenbal said that people have thus far been amazed at the center when they have toured it and she hopes that more community members will catch the Jansen Art Center vision of providing a regional art center in the heart of Lynden. — Tim Newcomb


PLAY Sculptures   The WWU Outdoor Sculpture Collection contains representative works by Richard Serra, Donald Judd and Bruce Nauman, as well as numerous other artists, both locally and internationally renowned as some of the most influential and important figures in contemporary sculpture and art. As far as Whatcom County’s offerings for the art connoisseur, the walking tour of the WWU collection is among the most impressive experiences. The goal, according to the published transcript of the sculpture collection’s walking tour, is to “unite exterior art in the form of sculpture with Western’s wellknown architecture and natural environment.” This union is apparent from the start. Not only are the individual works themselves stunning, but their incorporation into the beautiful campus and its scenery creates an overall effect unlike much else.    Donald Judd’s sculpture, “Untitled,” from 1982, located near Old Main, Western Washington University’s first building, is not only spectacularly beautiful and intriguing, but it is set into the landscape specifically to utilize the spectacle provided by the Canadian Coastal Range in its background.    Mark di Suvero’s “For Handel,” was installed in front of the Performing Arts Center in 1975, on a panoramic overlook of Bellingham Bay. This enormous, red sculpture of contorted metal set against the natural beauty imparts an effect in the viewer the artist himself describes as “the sensation of rapture, a spatial concept that gives a sense of being able to make it blaze.”    The southern half of the walking tour deals less with the intersection of art and the Western campus’s natural beauty, and more directly flirts with the interplay of sculpture and the campus’s distinct architecture. A prime example of this is Richard Serra’s sculpture titled “Wright’s Triangle,” from 1978.


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ith summer right around the corner and the sunshine peeking its way through the clouds, it’s time to dust the spider webs off your bicycles. There are plenty of areas around Whatcom County for both mountain and road bikers to fulfill their recreational needs.    Starting with more rugged trails, the Chuckanut Mountain Park and Trail provide lovely views of Bellingham Bay and Mount Baker. The trail is made up of 8,000 acres of publicly owned land, providing riders with a nice distance to take in the great views it has to offer.    Chuckanut is located just south of Bellingham off Interstate 5 exit 250. Follow the road into Old Fairhaven and take a left on 12th Street. You will then follow Chuckanut Drive/SR11 for 1.5 miles and you will find the trailhead parking on the left side of the road.    On top of Chuckanut, riders can also enjoy the Squires Lake Trail, which is described as an easy to moderate 2.2-mile ride. The trail offers a very easy loop trail, but also has a more adventurous trail into the Beaver Pond Ecosystem. Squires is located off I-5 exit 242. After taking the exit, you will then drive nearly a mile east, where you will see signs for a parking area.    Last, but certainly not least, are the Galbraith Mountain trails. Galbraith prides itself on offering a variety of options to bikers of all skill levels. For cross-country riders, there are great options including the “Wonderland” and “Ridge Trail” loops. On top of trails, local trail builders have also built jumps and stunts that are well built and focus on flow. Galbraith is located off I-5 at the North Lake Samish exit (246). You then continue on Samish way for around 100 feet, and parking is available on the other side of Samish Way in the Upper Lake Padden Park parking lot.    For riders looking for a more tranquil, free ride experience, there are several locations to visit. Starting off with the Interurban Trail, riders can enjoy 5.9 miles (each way) of trails that connect Fairhaven and Larrabee State Park. The Interurban provides visitors with phenomenal views of the mountains and the San Juan Islands. The trails are located inside the Chuckanut Trail System.    Another option for bikers is Hertz Trail. The trail begins with a gradual slope through forest area to the kiosk at the lakeshore. On the trail, you can also find information about the history of Lake Whatcom. The trail follows the former railroad grade of Bellingham and the Eastern Railway along the north shores of Lake Whatcom. Views are plentiful at Hertz Trail, with Lake Whatcom and waterfalls being the main attractions.    Pets are also welcome on the trails as long as they are on a leash at all times.    The trailhead is located near the end of Northshore Drive in Bellingham. Go east to the end of the road and look for signs for parking.   — Braulio Perez

Whether at Whatcom Falls or the other locales, explore on bike.

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Plover Ferry

he state’s oldest passenger foot (and pedal) ferry gives Whatcom County residents a distinctly Northwest experience between Blaine and Semiahmoo. And many don’t even know about it. The MV Plover, a historic 1944 ferry, has been recommissioned and is certified by the U.S. Coast Guard.    Built in 1944 in Seattle, the Plover was used to shuttle cannery workers and townsfolk across the mouth of Drayton Harbor to the Alaska Packers Salmon Cannery on Semiahmoo Spit. The original incarnation of the ferry operated until 1964. Now, between Memorial and Labor days, the ferry shuttles up to 17 passengers

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— and bicycles and strollers — across Drayton Harbor on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Round-trip fares by donation are $2 for adults, $1 for children and free for children under 12.    Running time from Blaine Harbor to Semiahmoo Resort takes approximately 11 minutes with views of Blaine’s working harbor, Semiahmoo Bay and the Canadian Coastal Mountain range. Hop on the Plover on the hour at Blaine Harbor’s Visitors Dock (Gate II). The return run is approximately 23 minutes. Here the Plover takes an extended route to view Drayton Harbor with Mount Baker looming in the background.

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ellingham has long held a reputation as eclectic and the best way to discover that, shall we say, unique sense of character is by a trip to the heart of downtown Bellingham. It is downtown where the city comes to life in its own special way, whether through more than a smattering of fun restaurants, open-air markets or the rich art scene.    For food, start on Railroad Avenue and don’t venture too far beyond (although there’s plenty to be seen along Holly Street and its branches). Whether one-of-a-kind burrito shops (Casa Que Pasa), fully organic hamburgers (Fiama Burger), the largest small brewery in the nation (Boundary Bay Brewery) or even a mix of bakeries and cafes, Railroad provides the strongest mix in Bellingham. Venture one block up to State Street or off Holly Street for some fine dining and hole-in-the-wall options that can keep your foodie list unchecked for months.    While on Railroad, visit on a Saturday in the spring, summer or early fall for a trip to Depot Market Square between East Chestnut and East Maple streets. This open-air market combines with a stylish building to house the region’s best, a mix of organic foods and fresh goods. Each Saturday the market opens—rain or shine—and adds a colorful mix to the already eclectic Railroad area.    Fro m d ow n town, right near Depot Market, a city trail links visitors to Boulevard Park, the city’s most popular park along the bay, and eventually ties all the way to Fairhaven via a boardwalk over the bay’s water, a great downtown-toFairhaven walk or bike.    If you came for the food (restaurant style or via the market), stay for the art. Bellingham has one of the highest rates of artists per capita in the entire nation and its art district, located near Bay Street, has only been growing. The addition of the new Pickford Film Center anchors the area. Next door is the American Museum of Radio &

Electricity and nearby is the famed Lightcatcher museum building, featuring both art and a children’s museum. Add to that dozens of destinations and galleries enriching the artistic feel of the area and the scene is only growing for burgeoning artists.    The Pickford Film Center opened in 1998, but moved to its fully renovated facility on Bay Street in 2011. Complete with two screens showing everything from independent artistic movies to classics to documentaries, the site also serves as a community gathering place for artists, with practice rooms and a lounge. Plus, you’re so close to Rocket Donuts, you have no good excuse not to stop.    The city also has plenty of architecture to enjoy, all while being filled with a sophistication of shops. Old Town has plenty of antique and second-hand stores that spill into the museum district. In the Eldridge District, take a stroll past turn-of-thecentury houses with views onto Bellingham Bay. — Tim Newcomb

Photo: Tim Newcomb


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Destinations county’s annual Ski to Sea event uses Everson’s Riverside Park as the launching point for the canoe leg of the race. The towns are also nestled into the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Fairhaven    Noted for its colorful, 19th century history, which includes an 1880s developer and ex-rum-runner named "Dirty Dan," this enclave in south Bellingham is a fun mix of life. With hopes of being the next Chicago, Fairhaven bustled with hotels, taverns, an opera house, concert garden, restaurants and brothels early on. Today, several red brick relics of Fairhaven's glory days survive in the district's six square blocks and are home to a variety of unique

Photo: Tim Newcomb

Bellingham waterfront    Offering spectacular views of Bellingham Bay, Mount Baker, the San Juan Islands and the Olympic Mountains, this recently renovated area features Squalicum Harbor (commercial and private marina), Zuanich Point Park, community boardwalk and promenade, shopping plaza, restaurants, Chrysalis Inn and Spa, Hotel Bellwether and the new Bellwether complex featuring a high-end gallery, jewelry shop, spa and other businesses. Everson and Nooksack    The neighboring towns of Everson and Nooksack are located along the Nooksack River, which comes alive every May when the

The eclectic nature of Fairhaven offers shopping, eating and plenty of walking and relaxing.

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Ramas every summer and as a summer stop on the Junior Rodeo Circuit. Downtown Bellingham    Whether it is Depot Market on Railroad Avenue between East Chestnut Street and East Maple Street or the vendors inside, downtown Bellingham has a little bit of everything for the visitor searching for the eclectic. The city also has plenty of architecture to enjoy, all while being filled with a sophistication of shops. Bellingham is also known for its book stores, galleries and fine art frame shops.    Old Town has plenty of antique and second-hand stores that spill into the museum district. In the Eldridge District, take a stroll past turn-of-the-century houses with views of Bellingham Bay.   Western Washington University, overlooking Bellingham Bay, enriches the cultural, educational and athletic mix of downtown. Lynden    Located north of Bellingham on Highway 539, Lynden clings passionately to its Dutch roots. Lynden is Washington’s largest Dutch settlement, as well as the heart of Whatcom County's farmland. Visitors to the historic downtown business district on Front Street are greeted by a 72-foot-tall windmill. Inside it and along Front Street visitors can find gift shops, antique shops, restaurants, bakeries and many other unique shopping experiences. A canal meanders through the Dutch Village Mall. Menu selections are typically Dutch and Dutch bakeries abound. Reserve at least an hour to tour the Lynden Pioneer Museum with its premier collection of 40 antique buggies and its two-story replica of Lynden at the century's turn. — Tim Newcomb

Photo: Mark Reimers

restaurants, pubs, art galleries, antique shops, bookstores and a boutique hotel. Sidewalk tombstone markers and brass plaques on buildings tell wild tales of Fairhaven's past. Birch Bay    Birch Bay is a summer-fun destination full of biking, golfing, go-karts, clam digging, sinking feet into sandy beach or even watersliding. Birch Bay State Park also makes a great overnight or day destination with views of Bellingham Bay from the bluff. Blaine    The centerpiece of the city is the 67-foot Peace Arch monument near the main U.S./Canadian border crossing. It is the only peace monument shared by two countries. A beautiful park makes this a welcome picnic or photo destination. Historic ferry Plover, a registered historic monument, makes regularly scheduled trips across the harbor to Semiahmoo — free of charge on summer weekends. Semiahmoo    Semiahmoo is the “spit” surrounded by water on three sides near Blaine. The spit is about a mile long and contains the luxurious Semiahmoo Resort. The resort contains restaurants, two golf courses (one designed by Arnold Palmer), expanded spa, hiking, sailing, and rides on the historic Plover ferry to Blaine. Chuckanut    This is a mountain and a drive. It is a native American word, as are many other locally named places, for “beach on a bay with a small entrance.” In 1896, a logging access road was completed between Bellingham on the north and Bow on the south (the hills were also logged off at this time). Paving on the road started in 1905, but funds ran out. Another portion of paving was done by local convicts (5 and 1-2 miles). It was completed in 1921. This is one of the most scenic areas in the entire state. Ferndale    One of the most historic locales in all of Whatcom County, Ferndale is home to both Pioneer Park and Hovander Homestead Park. Downtown Ferndale mixes the old with the new on the town’s main drag. Glacier    This is last town before visitors arrive at Mount Baker. Located at the 2,000-foot level and named for the area glaciers, Nooksack Falls is a major point of attraction just a few miles away. The area is also known for its Anthracite coal and the filming of the “Call of the Wild” movie here in 1934. Maple Falls    Maple Falls is on the Mt. Baker Highway 26 miles from Bellingham. Its main attractions are Silver Lake Park and the Gerdrum House, built from one large cedar tree. Silver Lake was privately owned from 1902 until 1967, then it went into public ownership. Sumas    Sumas is a border town with 24-hour port of entry to Canada at the 49th parallel. Sumas is known for its International Bull-a-


A drive in the country should include Everson and Nooksack.

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Point Whitehorn

f your ideal park is beauty in its natural state, teeming with birds and marine life, than the opening of Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve is good news—just don’t squish the marine life between your toes.    One of the newest public areas, north of Bellingham, affords visitors unique perspectives into the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve, known for its kelp forests, herring spawning grounds and a wonderful sandy beach.    To make this area dynamic, the 54-acre park with 1,900 feet of salt-water beach has a 3/4-mile trail through wooded wetlands with interpretive signs leading to a switchback trail that cuts down from viewpoints of the Strait of Georgia to a windswept cobble beach. When the tide is out, visitors dive right into the uncovered marine life on the exposed tide pools.    “The walk is very nice, but the beach is a huge attraction,” says Michael McFarlane, Whatcom County parks director. The park opened on Memorial Day 2009 and boasted 13,000 visitors in the first two-plus months. After all, the uninterrupted sandy shoreline is unparalleled in Western Washington.    In property that the county was able to get in a complicated land swap, the excitement doesn’t seem evident from the gravel parking lot. But don’t be fooled. The wheelchair accessible path immediately leaves the neighboring fields and enters the maritime forest of a maturing forest of western hemlock, Sitka spruce, western red cedar and big-leaf maple broken up by the wetlands. Downed trees and a lush blanket of moss and ferns provide cover for habitat.

   Amidst the crush of the rock below your feet, the sounds of the wildlife fill the air. Numerous boardwalks constructed on the trail are designed to protect the area and allow dry passage all year long. The trail weaves through the forest, skirting wetlands and eagle nesting sites. Signs along the way tell the story of the wetlands, the woodpeckers, hawks, bald eagles, Douglas squirrels and plenty more of the animals and vegetation surrounding the trail, giving visitors a learning opportunity throughout the stroll.    The path opens up along a ridge with a trio of viewpoints of the saltwater. When the tide is in, the crashing waves against rock can be heard well before it is seen. A tight switchback trail (this is where the wheelchair accessibility ends) drops visitors to the pristine beach below.    “Probably the number-one reason people go is the incredible shoreline there,” McFarlane says. “It is an amazing place even at higher tides with the waves crashing into the rocks.”    Visitors of all ages abound in the reserve. On warmer days, the sights and sounds of children playing with purple starfish and other marine life—not to mention the building of sandcastles—joins the songs of the birds. Cooler days still offer views and McFarlane notes that some people love to come and watch the tankers unload at the oil refineries in the distance.    No matter the draw, Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve provides a bounty of nature for all ages.    For more information, visit parks/ pointwhitehornmarinereserve.jsp. — Tim Newcomb

Photo: Tim Newcomb


The beach at Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve south of Birch Bay.

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ocal food bounty gets going early in the year and carries right on through the Christmas season. From berries in June to apples in December, Whatcom County is offering fresh produce and plenty of fun ways to get your taste buds to it.    One of the most visible spots to land on local produce is also one of the best locations for other locally crafted foods and merchandise. The weekly Farmers Market, located at Bellingham’s Downtown Market Square at the corner of Railroad and Chestnut streets, is already in full swing this year. The market’s season began in April and will continue into October, open every Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.


   Here are some top stops around the county:     • Appel Farms, 6604 Northwest Rd., Ferndale, open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. This is a must-stop if you want tasty farmstead cheese with recipes growing for over 30 years. Featuring everything from quark to paneer, Appel Farms is also well-known for their Gouda and cheddar.     • Stoney Ridge Farms, 2092 Van Dyk Rd., Everson. Open Thursday through Sunday in September and October and plenty more dates beyond that, this pumpkin farm and apple orchard becomes a must-stop for the entire family, featuring hay rides, a gift shop, food offerings and more.     • Bellewood Acres, 231 Ten Mile Rd., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. September through December. Every kind of apple variety you could want is grown locally on the farm. And then offered up fresh for tastings and sale. The farm has gift options, pumpkins, field tours and other handcrafted foods (check out the housemade peanut butter!).     • Boxx Berry Farms, 6211 Northwest Rd. For all things berries, and fun for the family (think ice cream), check out Boxx.


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Welcome to Whatcom County, a northwest paradise of small towns steeped in cultural heritage and history, and nestled perfectly between the big-city life inVancouver, British Columbia to the north and Seattle to the south. Outdoor enthusiasts will find nothing lacking as the Whatcom playground goes from saltwater shores to the towering Cascades, framed by the ever-present Mount Baker, to the east. Whether you come for a day, a week or a lifetime, one thing you will know for certain: You are in the right place!


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hose visiting or living in Whatcom County this summer have an opportunity to experience not only beautiful weather, but also some of the most scenic lakes in all of Washington.    The county’s biggest attraction comes in the form of Lake Whatcom. This freshwater destination stretches 14 miles long and provides drinking water for over 85,000 county residents. The lake, however, also serves as a recreational hotspot for community members during beautiful Northwest Washington summers.    Waterskiing, wakeboarding, swimming, and fishing along with other water activities are common on a lake that stretches from Bellingham’s Electric Street all the way to the northern part of Sedro-Woolley. Those looking to experience the lake at its best should wake up early in the morning or take to the water later at night to avoid windy conditions or boating traffic.    Bloedel-Donovan Park rests on the Eastern tip of Lake Whatcom well within the Bellingham City Limits. This public recreation site offers activities for the entire family. Along with a designated swimming area complete with a sand beach, the park also provides a public boat launch, outdoor basketball and volleyball courts as well as grassy areas fit for everything from soccer to Frisbee.    For those looking to stay dry, North Lake Whatcom Park provides the ultimate opportunity to enjoy a day in the sun. The park located at the far end of Northshore Road and runs along Lake Whatcom’s gorgeous waterfront features Hertz Trail. A path that runs 3.1 miles and follows Blue Canyon mine railroad grade, Hertz trail gives you the chance to walk or bike while taking in the surrounding waterfalls and stoic Douglas Fir trees.

   Those searching for a more intimate setting to partake in water sports or a day resting by the lake need not look further than Lake Samish. Samish features water that is often calmer than Lake Whatcom and a slalom course for competitive water skiers. Additionally, the lake located just west of I-5 when traveling from Bellingham to Alger includes Lake Samish Park. This 39-acre site that was founded in 1968 provides both a public boat launch and a large grassy area to unwind after a stressful week at the office.   Lake Padden is another viable destination for Washingtonians in need of a hiking or fishing adventure. The freshwater reservoir that stretches two miles in length is stocked with rainbow, kokanee and cutthroat trout annually. A 2.6 mile trail surrounds Padden along with a 900-acre park complete with playgrounds, picnic tables and outdoor basketball courts. Padden is located on Samish Way in central Bellingham, and its surrounding park provides the opportunity for a peaceful day of relaxation as a 1,000-foot ridge protects the area from noisy I-5 traffic.    While Lake Samish and Lake Whatcom provide the best destinations for avid wakeboarders and waterskiers, Silver Lake is the place to go for Whatcom County fishermen. Situated just 40 minutes east of Mount Baker Highway in charming Maple Falls, Silver Lake has something for every type of fishermen. In addition to open water for trolling, the lake features land drop-offs for bank fishing and shallow bays for the best fly-fishing in the county. Make sure to check out the 411-acre park or stay in one of the 92 campsites on your next weekend retreat. Rowboat and paddleboat rentals are available for the entire family to get out on the water. — Adam Lewis

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he newest addition to the art and museum scene in Whatcom County is the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher building. The nationally acclaimed structure on Flora Street in downtown Bellingham now houses the Family Interactive Gallery and the regular rotation of the Whatcom Museum’s exhibits. It opened in fall 2009.    Open from 12 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, the museum offers two large display rooms in addition to the children’s area that boasts a variety of activities for preschool through young school-age students to explore their imaginations.    From June 16 through Sept. 9, Lightcatcher will feature the portraits of Ray Turner in his “Population” exhibit. The artist builds upon the 19th century democratization of this portrait tradition by capturing the essence of place through a group of its inhabitants. As he travels from region to region Population will grow as more portraits are added and museums across the country join us in hosting this exhibition.    From the Melting Pot into the Fire: Contemporary Ceramics in Israel is on display at the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher through July 15. The exhibit presents an outstanding selection of Israeli ceramics. The 42 contributing artists use an ancient craft to provide insights into contemporary life and art in Israel not found in the daily dose of news from the Middle East. 

   The museum building itself is worth the visit, as a translucent glass wall curves through the structure, allowing light into the building and also playing as an extension of the museum into the adjoining courtyard and out to the community.    For more details, visit

Other county museums American Museum of Radio & Electricity is a journey back

into time. Explore the world of radio and electricity at this nonprofit museum. Located at 1312 Bay St. in Bellingham, this educational and electrifying museum features a world-class collection of more than 1,000 artifacts dating from 1650 through 1950. 360-738-3886. Lynden Pioneer Museum is a collection of the history of the people and time of the early pioneering days in Northwest Washington. Complete with a massive horse-drawn buggy collection, the museum is a great stop for families and a historical look at the pioneering lifestyle. 217 Front St., Lynden. 360-354-3675. Bellingham Railway Museum offers historical displays, artifacts, model railroad layouts and a railroad play area for kids at the downtown location. 1320 Commercial St., Bellingham. — Tim Newcomb

Photo: Tim Newcomb



The courtyard at the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher building

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best naturalists in the business. With 34 speakers on board, the naturalists talk about everything from the birds and trees to marine life and the area’s history.    The weekly Bellingham Bay history cruise has become a favorite of locals showing off our area to visiting family and friends. Cruise guide Brian Griffin shares his knowledge of local history Whale watching    Spending time in the sun feeling the salty sea droplets bead- throughout the two and a half hour cruise. ing on your skin and playing in the refreshing splashes of water is a    Visitors are asked to prepare for the cruise by wearing non-slip pleasant treat after the winter months. Even the sea gulls overhead shoes and bringing a coat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Tickets for add to the ambiance of the bay experience. Whale watching is a big the History Cruise can be purchased by calling the Whatcom Museattraction in the Pacific Northwest. Imagine a short trip through um at 360-778-8963. For information on all Island Mariner cruises, Puget Sound, nearing the San Juan Islands... The captain cuts the go to or call 877-734-8866. engine to an idle and then there is a moment of silence before excited passengers point in excitement, “I see one there,” “Another two Sailing over there.” Whales have been spotted. Whether it’s rainy or sunny,    Gato Verde — Captain Todd Shuster offers the first plug-in dieeveryone rushes to the railing with their cameras pointing at the sel electric hybrid charter boat on the West Coast. With more than 20 years of experience, Shuster skippers the Gato Verde out of Bellwater awaiting the next appearance.    San Juan Cruises — Cruising the water is all about comfort, ingham. style and class for Captain Drew M. Schmidt, owner of San Juan    Day trips can comfortably fit up to 12 people and overnight Cruises. As evidence, look no further than the company’s flagship trips have a capacity for nine people. Along with teaching the baadventure full-day cruise. Guests on Schmidt’s 100-foot indoor/ sics of sailing skills, Shuster also focuses on the local environment outdoor luxury boat can enjoy a full day of exciting events in addi- and history. tion to watching whales. First, there is the barbecue chicken lunch    The Gato Verde Adventure Sailing is a charter that offers flexa few hours into the trip. Then there is the stop in Friday Harbor ible service levels that may include provided food and a minimum passenger limit. An opportunity to charter by the hour is also ofbefore heading back to port in Bellingham.    “Bellingham is just such a great spot to get out and tour the fered and the Sunset Cruises will be available from June 1 through islands,” Schmidt said. “Some come from a ways out to see the pris- Sept. 15 whenever the Gato Verde is available. A spectacular event is tine beauty. We have comfortable boats with a chance to enjoy it the Fourth of July Fireworks Cruise along with hosting your events and educational cruises throughout the summer. They also offer from a cozy spot.”    San Juan Cruises is located at 355 Harris Ave., Suite 104. For in- three- to four-day cruises focusing on the Orca pods. Shuster said formation on other summer cruise opportunities call 360-738-8099 that open sunset cruises can be booked up to three weeks ahead of time and private trips can be booked any time. or 800-443-4552. Visit the website at    Island Mariner Cruises — At 110 feet, the Island Caper is the    This is a fun, relaxing and educational experience and can be largest whale watching boat in the Pacific Northwest. It seats more exciting if the wind is strong, Shuster said. Because the boat is a than 100 passengers and offers a covered upper deck that is per- catamaran there is no heeling, also known as tilting, so it is an exfect for viewing sunsets, scenery and taking pictures. It is owned by cellent platform for everyone including people with mobility limitations such as wheelchairs. Captain Terry Buzzard of the Island Mariner Cruises.    The Island Caper leaves at 10 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday    Showing off our area, Shuster said he enjoys introducing peoand returns around 4:30 p.m. after a full day of whale watching. Of- ple to sailing, sustainable technologies, natural history and the ten the seaplane will spot the whales and land by the boat to let the beauty of the region. Passengers are welcome to bring food and captain and passengers know where they are. Buzzard said there beverages. An extra layer of clothing and non-marking soft-soled are two things that passengers really get excited about. The first is shoes are recommended. For information and reservations, call when the seaplane lands next to the boat. He said the passengers 360-220-3215 or e-mail Shuster at whoop-and-holler and really get a kick out of it.    Second, is that the Island Mariner Cruises have some of the laying in the water is as easy as it gets around here, since Whatcom County offers visitors many water sports and leisure opportunities. From scuba diving and whale watching to voyages and nearby islands, Whatcom County hat it all.

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   The underwater marine environment in the Pacific Northwest is quite colorful and diverse in marine residents, offering visiting divers something different to see in each area, they said.    Learning to dive in cold water is made easy with training in dry suits, which keeps the water away from the body. This is a standard feature when learning to dive at the local store. The main dive instructor is a marine biologist, so students get a first-hand education on local marine life.    More and more divers are enjoying underwater photography

Photo: Courtesy

Scuba Diving    Adventures Down Under — Ron Akeson and Barb Roy offer the community a unique sustainable tourism activity through scuba diving and snorkeling. Since 1991, when the store was first opened in Whatcom County, Adventures Down Under has maintained active involvement in the local dive industry through non-profit organizations like the Washington Scuba Alliance, the Maritime Documentation Society and the Dive Industry Association of British Columbia.


The views from the water off the shores of Whatcom County offer variety.

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18 Play Whatcom 2012 and a dive travel that includes tours on marine life watching. Store owners said they still get divers who like shipwrecks and wall diving, but mostly they want to see critters like wold-eels, giant Pacific octopus and huge lingcod. They most enjoy being able to introduce new divers to our local underwater world and introducing visiting divers to some of the most colorful dive sites in the world. The dive store specializes in underwater photography and marine life identification.    Adventures Down Under is an eco-friendly business that offers the community a unique sustainable tourism activity through scuba diving and snorkeling. For more information, email Ron Akeson at or call 360-676-4177. Charter fishing, kayaking, lighthouse tours and more    Outer Island Expeditions — Beau Brandow of Outer Island Expeditions said his company provides a marine safari experience. The small, fast vessels can take groups quickly to some of the most remote and pristine marine areas in our region. Brandow said they can get much closer to the whales and wildlife than the larger vessels. They provide intimate and personal experiences of the marine eco-system and most passengers find the experience to be aweinspiring and educational, he said.    According to Brandow, many people travel very long distances to encounter Orca whales in the wild. People love to see them and most people can relate to them due to the whale’s intelligence, family structure, language and behaviors. Brandow said his job is a dream come true because when he gets to show people Orcas for the first time it is a fun experience.    Along with whale watching, Outer Island Expeditions offer charter fishing and kayak tours. Departure points are located at Smuggler’s Villa Resort on Orcas Island and Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine. Whale watching and charter fishing also depart from Fisherman Bay on Lopez Island. Brandow said he can pick up passengers from most of the San Juan Islands. Outer Island Expeditions

is able to incorporate various activities into the same charter trip. Passengers can whale watch and do some wildlife viewing as well as fishing, crabbing, kayaking and plan a lighthouse tour.    When planning for an expedition it is best to include a light coat, camera and sunscreen. The company is based out of Orcas Island and can be reached by calling the office at 360-376-3711 or visit Sea Kayaking    Elakah Expeditions — It’s all in a name for Elakah Expeditions. The name Elakah is the Chinook name for sea otter, and this familyowned business touts the fact it shares the otter’s playfulness, as well as confidence and freedom with its paddlers. Trips are geared to both beginner and those experienced in kayaking. If you are a beginner they will teach you how to pack your kayak as well as all of the basic skills needed to maneuver your craft. Oftentimes they are asked about the safety of kayaking and the owners said that they have never had a boat flip over by accident in their 17 years of business.    Elakah Expeditions offers half-day trips, full-day trips, the San Juans in three- and five-day trips, a wild harvesting three-day trip and skills workshops. Launch points for day trips are at Wildcat Cove at Larrabee State Park and Lummi Island. For Lopez multi-day trips you will be met at the ferry and shuttled to your launch point.    Heed these tips when preparing for a kayak trip: Make an effort to avoid cotton because it takes too long to dry if it gets wet. Your lower legs and feet will get wet, so plan to wear sandals, aqua socks or similar types of footwear. Long-sleeved shirts are the best to help protect you from the wind and sun. Among other items that will be specifically detailed prior to your trip, it is suggested you carry an adequate supply of sunscreen and have a strap on your sunglasses. For more information, call 360-734-7270, toll free at 800-434-7272 or email   — Mark Reimers

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PLAY Birds W


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h atcom County’s forests, marshes, lakes and sea shores are home to a vast array of bird species, particularly waterbirds and birds of prey. A listing of parks that offer unique viewing: • Larrabee State Park has harlequin ducks, double-crested and pelagic cormorants, glaucous-winged gulls, great blue herons, common loons, mew gulls and an array of owls. • Lake Terrell, near Ferndale, boasts ducks, blackbirds, swallows and several marsh birds. • Sehome Hill Arboretum, Bellingham, offers a variety of birds, including black-headed grosbeaks, pileated woodpeckers and western tanagers. • Tennant Lake, Ferndale, has pied-billed grebe, hooded merganser, eagles, red-tailed hawk, northern harrier, marsh wren, American bittern, Savannah sparrows, green herons, wood ducks, common yellowthroats, tree swalls, Virginia rails and soras. • Whatcom Falls Park boasts American dippers, Steller’s jays, chestnut-backed chickadees, barred and great horned owls, woodpeckers, yellow-rumped warblers, wood ducks, hooded mergansers, herons, Virginia rails and soras. • Birch Bay State Park has common loon, western grebe, scoters, harlequin duck, northern pintail, American wigeon, brant, gulls, wood ducks, Virignia rails and other waterfowl. • Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve gives birders another chance to go rural and capture the sights and sounds of birds found in Birch Bay and Blaine.

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20 Play Whatcom 2012



hatcom County is special for a variety of reasons, and from an outdoor standpoint, hiking is certainly a prominent one.    Local hikers have the luxury of a great many places to traverse throughout the county. Many have very easily accessible trailheads with varying difficulties depending on the hiker’s skill level.

Ruth Mountain    The Ruth Mountain hike is a unique one due to several factors. It isn’t a terribly difficult hike to undertake, but it provides the vistas and landscapes typical of far tougher trips.    With an elevation gain of about 4,300 feet from start to finish, Ruth Mountain takes between five and six hours to hike. The total distance equals out to about 10 miles.    As the trip progresses, it turns into more of a climb than an actual hike. Climbing outlets recommend bringing along ice axes, crampons and ropes, as the snow-covered summit can prove hazardous otherwise.    The summit provides breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, the closest of which is Mount Shuksan. Many consider bringing a tent for an overnight stay, as the long hike time and breathtaking views might make it difficult to get back to the trailhead in a timely manner.    It’s best to take on the Ruth Mountain hike between April and July. Heliotrope Ridge    For hikers searching for a less advanced trek than the one provided by the Ruth Mountain Hike, look no further than He-

liotrope Ridge.    This trip totals about 4.5 miles round trip with a 2,000-foot elevation gain, and starts out in an old-growth forest. The hike is definitely a strenuous one, but the trip to the top proves well worth it in the end.    Near the top, trees give way to beautiful mountain meadows and large amounts of seemingly untouched wildflowers and greenery. Hikers must cross several streams to reach their destination.    At the trail’s peak, however, is an entirely different sight.    On a clear day, the magnificent Coleman Glacier is visible, along with one side of Mount Baker. Marmots scurry around near the top, and mountain streams trickle across the trail.    Some of the creeks could conceivably become impassable due to high flow rates caused by snow melt, a fact that should be considered when climbing to Heliotrope Ridge, especially later in the day. The fall and summer are the best times to visit this trail. A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park at the trailhead.    Ruth Mountain and Heliotrope Ridge are obviously just a couple of the hiking options throughout the county’s vast landscape. Other hikes include Excelsior Ridge, Goat Mountain, Lost Lake and many more. Visit parks/trails/trails.jsp for more options.    For more information and for Ruth Mountain trailhead driving directions, visit    For more information on Heliotrope Ridge and for trailhead driving directions, visit heliotrope_ridge_0860.asp. — Brent Lindquist

Photo: Mark Reimers


A stroll in the mountains of Whatcom County offers a bounty of views.

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Photo: Mark Reimers

trees, green space and a creek with hiking trails. Larrabee State Park 245 Chuckanut Dr., Bellingham Birch Bay and Birch Bay State Park    Larrabee is located on historic Chuckanut Drive with beach 5105 Helwig Rd., Birch Bay access, green space and trail access. It is a great destination park,    Take the kids and grandparents alike to Birch Bay in the complete with a historic drive and district nearby. summer to play in the sand, eat ice cream at the C Shop or picnic at Birch Bay State Park to the south. Quaint seaside shops and Berthusen Park merchants sell sunglasses and T-shirts. For a special treat and 8837 Berthusen Rd., Lynden    Just outside Lynden’s city limits, this park on Berthusen Road a little excitement, be sure to get your feet wet in August and offers a look at antique and historic farm equipment, old-growth participate in the community-wide sandcastle contest held each

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year. Waterslides, bicycling around the bay, and eating a picnic lunch fill up the day. Boulevard Park South State Street & Bayview Drive, Bellingham    Boulevard Park along the waterfront between the downtown and Fairhaven is a perfect place to play, picnic or simply relax while basking in the beauty of the Bellingham Bay. A playground keeps the kids busy while a paved walkway (picture below) provides the perfect place to walk, jog, or roller blade. Memorial benches provide places to sit for a snack and a chat when the walk is finished. While there, you are likely to see a freight or Amtrak train pass by, sailboats glide across the bay, or at dusk, be able to witness a spectacular Northwest sunset over the water silhouetting the downtown. Park hours are dawn to dusk.

   The 39-acre site of Samish Park became the first Whatcom County park in 1968.  It sits on the southeast slope of the Chuckanut Mountains and at one time the timber industry used the lake as a log-rafting pond. With about 1,500 feet of shoreline, the property was formerly a fishing resort known as Paradise Point. Currently, this day-use facility has an enclosed swimming area, a fishing dock, non-power boat rentals, picnic facilities, hiking trails, a children’s playground and much more. Terraced on a landscaped hillside, the skillful use of native plant material combined with many Northwest favorites creates a botanical wonderland snuggled along the lakeshore. The rustic Day Lodge has a great atmosphere.

Semiahmoo 9565 Semiahmoo Parkway, Blaine    The 1.5-mile-long sandspit at Semiahmoo, aside from being a striking natural landform, has long been associated Hovander Homestead Park & with the fishing industry both on Puget Sound and in Alaska as Tennant Lake Interpretive Center the last port of call for the legendary Alaska Packers Association 5299 Nielsen Rd., Ferndale    Experience a day on the farm at Hovander Homestead Park, sailing fleet, which now has a museum on site.  Within the park once the home of the Hovander family. Walk through barns full of over 300 acres of tidelands offer an abundance of recreational antique farm machinery, see pigs and pet rabbits, and giggle at the opportunities.  Beachcombing, clamdigging, birdwatching, and chickens, then feed the ducks and geese. Take a long climb up a picnicking may be enjoyed year-round by park visitors. tower for a beautiful view of the grounds and tour the 100-year-old Whatcom Falls Park homestead’s large home. On a short drive or walk from Hovander, 1401 Electric Ave., Bellingham stop over at the Tennant Lake Interpretive Center where you can enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of a fragrance garden designed    Whatcom Falls Park is a 241-acre Bellingham park, filled with for the blind and sighted to appreciate. Another tower overlooks a collection of waterfalls and easily accessible trails. The Chuckanut sandstone bridge, built in 1939, is a tremendous vantage point Tennant Lake, the wetlands, and the gardens. to view the falls that pour into Whatcom Creek. Pathways are well maintained with frequent interludes with the creek. Lynden City Park    Established in 1908, updated facilities include two picnic 8460 Depot Rd., Lynden    Enjoy a beautiful day in pristine Lynden City Park. Romp shelters, playgrounds, multi-purpose fields, a basketball court, around on the new Million Smiles Playground (now considered tennis courts, barbecues, picnic tables, restrooms, trails, interthe best playground in all of Whatcom County), wade in Fishtrap pretive displays, a fish hatchery and parking. Whatcom Creek Creek, once the center of a Native tribal village, or wander down Gorge provides dramatic waterfall views and sounds. Educational the Jim Kaemingk Sr. Trail from the park into residential neighbor- signage about local fish is located at the fish hatchery. Trailheads hoods. For family get-togethers or other group events, covered into the park are located on Woburn St. at Yew St./Iowa St., Wodining and kitchen areas are available by reservation. Park hours burn St. at Fraser St., Electric Ave. and Kansas Ave., Electric Ave. and Flynn St. and Iowa Dr. and Erie St. are 7:30 a.m. to dusk, unless you have a kitchen reservation. — Tim Newcomb Pioneer Park 2002 Cherry St., Ferndale    Step back in time with a tour of Pioneer Park. Over a dozen log buildings, some more than 100 years old, are filled with relics and antiques. Visit the post office, the church, the granary and the old country store and hear stories of what it was like growing up as a pioneer in Ferndale. Tours are available by calling the park at 360-384-6461.

Samish Park 673 N. Lake Samish Dr., Bellingham

Photo: Mark Reimers

Silver Lake Park 9006 Silver Lake Rd., Sumas    Take a scenic drive up to Silver Lake Park, nestled deep in the Northwest woods and meadows. The park offers fishing, pedal boats, row boats and canoe rentals, picnicking, camping, hiking and a playground for the kids. You are likely to be joined by Canada geese and goslings around the water. Group facilities are available for rental.

Larrabee State Park is one of many county parks to offer sea life.

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24 Play Whatcom 2012



   Northwest Washington’s unique terrain provides the layout for a number of diverse golf courses throughout Whatcom County:     • Dakota Creek: Soak in the views, as you zig and zag across fields and ravines just minutes from Canada in Custer. Originally built in 1998 as a nine-hole course, the first nine includes a 250-foot climb in elevation along a ridge, offering spectacular views of Whatcom County. The non-residential course built onto a former dairy farm and into a ravine across Dakota Creek, means you share your 5,560 yards and 18 holes with bald eagles, deer and salmon spawning grounds.     • Homestead Golf And Country Club: This 6,900-yard links designed course features water on 13 holes and some of the deepest bunkers this side of the state. A par-72, Homestead is well maintained throughout the summer and greens fees are reasonable. For the average golfer, rates range between $40 and $50. While every hole is challenging, Homestead is nationally recognized for the 525-yard finishing par 5. Shown in a 1996 “Golf Digest” issue, the 18th hole plays to an impressive three-tiered island green.     • Raspberry Ridge Golf Course and Grill: This 5,170-yard par 34 opened just off Hannegan in 1984 after former owner Billy Robins Sr. decided to turn his raspberry field into a charming nine hole golf course with track designer Bill W. Overdorf. Now owned and maintained by John Olson, Raspberry Ridge features some of the best course conditions in Whatcom County. Big greens and excellent drainage are a staple of this track that features a slope rating of 67.3. Additionally, green fees are affordable, and the course provides outstanding views of Mt. Baker.     • Semiahmoo Golf and Country Club: Golfers seeking a stiff test need not look further than this course designed by Arnold Palmer.

Ranked as the #6 public course in the state by “Golfweek” in 2011, Semiahmoo is open to the public on odd days of the month. Its features include tight fairways and beautifully manicured greens. Also, water comes into play on five of the 18 holes. At 7,005- yards, Semiahmoo is arguably the toughest challenge among Whatcom County courses for amateurs and pros alike.     • Loomis Trail Golf and Country Club: Situated just off Loomis Trail Road, this scenic course isn’t for the average sandbagger. At 7,100 yards, Loomis Trail has one of the highest slope ratings in the state of Washington. Making matters treacherous is the water that comes into play on all 18 of the holes designed by Graham Cooke. Ranked as the #4 public course in the state by “Golfweek” in 2011, Loomis Trail is among the top 100 public courses in the country.     • Shuksan Golf Club: Located just off Axton Road, this undulating track is tucked between Northwest Washington’s patented evergreens. At 6,800 yards, Shuksan provides local golfers with the best opportunity to boom their drives to fairways hundreds of feet below them.     • North Bellingham Golf Course: Golfers seeking a course with links-style terrain needn’t look further than North Bellingham. This track just off the Guide Meridian gives golfers the opportunity to slice through gusting winds and navigate undulating fairways.     • Sudden Valley Golf and Country Club: With the front 9 resting on the northern side of Lake Whatcom, this Ted Robinson-designed course features two contrasting styles. While the front 9 is flat and wide open with stunning views of the lake, the back nine creeps and winds into the area’s surrounding foothills. The undulating back 9 is complemented by smooth, flat greens that are fairly easy to read.     • Lake Padden Golf Course: Don’t let the yardage fool you, with the forest-like feel, this 6,575-yard championship golf course plays up to 10 percent longer than the actual yardage. With a traditional layout, holes get tucked away in the forst, giving you a private feel. As a Bellingham city property near Lake Padden, the course is carved out of a second-generation old-growth forest with trees over 100 feet tall.

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Farmers Day Parade ............................................... June 2 Fishing Derby......................................................... June 9 Lynden Relay for Life .......................................June 22-23 An Evening with the 56th Army Band ................... June 28 Northwest Raspberry Festival.............................July 20-21 Antique Tractor Show & Threshing Bee.............August 1-4 Northwest Washington Fair .......................... August 13-18 Lynden PRCA Rodeo ................................... August 24-25 Toy Tractor Show ........................................ September 29 Lynden Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off..................... October 6 Model Railroad Show..................................... October 6-7 Lynden Music Festival .................................October 10-14 Fall Craft & Antique Show...........................October 18-20 Lynden Lighted Christmas Parade...................December 1

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2012 Play Whatcom  

A look at outdoor activiities in and around Whatcom County

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