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Old 10-02-2013, 10:46 AM
 
26 posts, read 43,523 times
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We are moving to Bellingham in January. We stumbled upon it completely by accident about 4 years ago and have been back to visit 1-2x a year during different times to get a better idea of the area at different times of the year. We have also watched the weather closely and on cams for years. 2 years a go we bought land up the street from North Shore Blvd. on Lake Whatcom and now we will be building in the next year.

So, my question is...what do you like/love about Bellingham? What makes it a great place to live and/or raise kids? What are some of your favorite things to do in the area?

We have done a lot of research, but I want to hear from real people. Thanks!
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:29 AM
 
Location: The Help Desk
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The hippie culture and swimming in Diamond lake.
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Seattle
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My favorite thing about Bellingham is how close it is to Canada!
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:30 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
33,080 posts, read 60,089,538 times
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Originally Posted by beautifulseattlehomes View Post
My favorite thing about Bellingham is how close it is to Canada!
Yes, great place to stop for breakfast at the half-way point on the way up when we leave here early.
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:52 AM
 
Location: Humble, TX
400 posts, read 563,480 times
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I've not lived in Bellingham, but did live about fifty minutes down the road in Marysville. I have spent quite a bit of time up in the Chuckanuts/Blanchard mountain area. The abundant outdoor opportunities in that area. Hundreds of miles of trails, easy access to Mt. Baker for either hiking or skiing/snowboarding (not that far to head up to Whistler either), the North Cascades are fabulous, and the geology of the area makes for great field trips with the kids. You're a bit up there so if going to Seattle for, say, sports viewing, ballet, etc., then it's a bit of a drive. Winter is definitely winter up there as you are subject to the Frasier River windflow, which will bring very cold wind chills out of Canada, and with the right mix of Pacific maritime air, you can get some healthy snow accumulations. This is part of the reason Mt. Baker has held many snow depth records over the years. There's a pretty decent mall (Bellis Fair, unless the name has changed) up there, and a lot of little shops and good places to eat. The Bellingham Bay Swim Team (USA Swimming) is a good youth swim team that practices and holds meets at the Arne Hanna Aquatic Center, which is also a good place to just take the kids swimming. Western WA University is there, so there is a college town portion to the city. I would love to live there; my wife would probably consider it a bit too far up there for her liking, but maybe not since we are now in Houston, TX, for a while. Good luck! Also, if you're into weather, keep tabs on Cliff Mass' weather blog, cliffmass.blogspot.com. He is a professor at the Univ. of Washington and really does a good job of keeping track of approaching systems and general weather issues for the area.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:28 AM
 
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analogkid84, thanks for the insight! The mall is still Bellis Fair, by the way.

So, what I am hearing about the winter is...get a good coat!? That is one thing I was wondering...I will need to prepare for the winter, so I assume I will need to beef up our winter wardrobe. As of now we just add in some long-sleeved shirt, jeans and a coat for winter and we are a-ok. Infrequently, it can get to 32 degrees at night here in the winter, but never snows. That weather blog should help a lot!

One of my biggest concerns that I am unsure of is the winter driving conditions. The idea of black ice and icy roads in general freaks me out. Especially combined with the steep roads in some neighborhoods in B'ham by the water. Can anyone tell me what to expect? And maybe how to prepare?
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Humble, TX
400 posts, read 563,480 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adora_coquette View Post
analogkid84, thanks for the insight! The mall is still Bellis Fair, by the way.

So, what I am hearing about the winter is...get a good coat!? That is one thing I was wondering...I will need to prepare for the winter, so I assume I will need to beef up our winter wardrobe. As of now we just add in some long-sleeved shirt, jeans and a coat for winter and we are a-ok. Infrequently, it can get to 32 degrees at night here in the winter, but never snows. That weather blog should help a lot!

One of my biggest concerns that I am unsure of is the winter driving conditions. The idea of black ice and icy roads in general freaks me out. Especially combined with the steep roads in some neighborhoods in B'ham by the water. Can anyone tell me what to expect? And maybe how to prepare?
Yes, learn to layer appropriately. A good fleece jacket and gloves will do for much of the winter, but you should have obvious stuff like a stocking cap and some lightweight boots for trudging in the snow and when the snow begins to melt off and everything is slush. Many folks like Goretex; I've not found it that necessary and it is expensive, but it works fine for many. I tend to be a warm person so I get too hot in Goretex. Carry a rain slicker or umbrella for the drippy days. Smartwool or similar materials work real nicely for socks and stocking caps. Frequently, you can get a few inches of snow, and 24-48 hours later it warms up enough to melt it off; or it can stick around for several days as well. Keep a blanket and some water/snacks in the car - just in case. Very probably nothing will happen, but it doesn't hurt to have a little kit just in case something weird takes place.

You'll want chains for each vehicle you own to carry during the winter and practice putting them on this time of year. I never used them in the lowlands at all, but for mountain travel they are necessary/required at times. If you're in a particularly hilly neighborhood they may come in handy, especially if the plows/de-icing trucks don't make it through. Also carry some granulated de-icer or even kitty litter to put under and around the tires should you get stuck or lose traction on ice. A lot of times what will happen is you'll get a layer of compacted snow and/or ice that then gets snowed on top of. Often, it's not the snow depth that gets people but just the lack of traction. Learn to downshift and drive slower than you think you need. Braking is almost useless. In general you'll get plenty of notice before a storm of magnitude comes so you can prepare and if you don't need to leave the home - don't. Black ice, especially because of the many tree-shaded roads is pretty prevalent during the winter. You just need to drive a bit more cautiously in the early mornings and at night, especially on bridges and overpasses, where the road surface cools more quickly. Plenty of people do just fine with common sense and being cautious with speeds and following distances. On the other hand, you can have winters where you seldom see a snowflake or any ice at all. It's rare up there, but it can happen. It'll be beautiful when it does snow - unfortunately it never seems to do so at Christmas.
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:54 AM
 
26 posts, read 43,523 times
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Thanks for all the winter driving advice. I think that is the only drawback for the area. I love the small bits of snow on the ground. Enough to play in and look magical, but not enough to have to shovel But, I hate the idea of driving in it

Now, time to look for coats for the kids!

So, I hear that it is a fax pas to use umbrellas in Bellingham. A read from someone that it is a sure sign you are a tourist, which I found funny. I have always just used hoods, but is using an umbrella really that rare or bad?
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Old 10-03-2013, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Humble, TX
400 posts, read 563,480 times
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I only used an umbrella for the heaviest of rains and only if I was going to be walking or standing in it for some reason. I don't like rain coats so I was usually fine with a light jacket with a hood or a ball cap. The umbrella just got tossed in the car and lived there the majority of the year. Yeah, for the drizzly stuff that most frequently occurs, you just get used to it. I miss running in it.
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:25 PM
 
1,941 posts, read 3,046,195 times
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A 4WD vehicle with ALB is essential for snowy hills and slick rain. My Subaru Outback can handle anything!
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