As promised, here are the pix of my Sunday Amtrak-trek to the not so naughty border town of Bellingham.
The journey is beautiful. You should take it early and often. WiFi, a snack car, legroom, scenery galore, and all with no driving.
The trestle over Chuckanut Bay just might be one of the great rail experiences of this continent. It really looks like as if train is running straight across the water’s surface.
The Bellingham Amtrak/Greyhound station is just a brief stroll from Fairhaven, the famous town-within-a-town of stately old commercial buildings, and a few new buildings made to sort of look like the old ones.
My destination was in one of the pseudo-vintage buildings. It’s Village Books, a three-story repository of all things bookish.
Why I was there: to give a slide presentation about my book Walking Seattle.
Why people 80 miles away wanted to hear somebody talk about the street views down here? I did not ask. I simply gave ’em what they wanted.
Some two dozen Bellinghamsters braved the sunbreaks punctuated with snow showers to attend.
Afterwards, some kind audience members showed me some of B’ham’s best walking routes. Among these is the Taylor Dock, a historic pedestrian trestle along the waterfront.
Yes, there had been an Occupy Bellingham protest. Some of the protesters made and donated this statue on a rock near Taylor Dock.
Apparently there had been windy weather the previous day.
After that I took a shuttle bus downtown, where I was promptly greeted by a feed and seed store with this lovely signage.
The Horseshoe Cafe comes as close as any place I’ve been to my platonic ideal of a restaurant. Good honest grub at honest prices. Great signage. Great well-kept original interior decor.
(Of course, I had to take advantage of sitting in a cafe in Bellingham to trot out the ol’ iPod and play the Young Fresh Fellows’ “Searchin’ USA.”)
Used the remaining daylight to wander the downtown of the ex-mill town. (Its local economy is now heavily reliant on Western Washington U., another victim of year after year of state higher-ed cuts.)
But I stopped at one place that was so perfect, inside and out. It proudly shouted its all-American American-ness.
Alas, 20th Century Bowling/Cafe/Pub will not last long into the 21st century.