Home Again



As much as I love to travel, I’m just as happy when I first arrive home. Even in the airport, I suddenly sense that I’m closer to home when I hear more English spoken and start to notice the Pacific Northwest attire on the people in the waiting area (REI vests & Patagonia instead of Armani). Our trips always end at the Seattle airport—not as stark and modern as Copenhagen or Amsterdam, but bright and friendly, with Starbucks and Seattle’s Best Coffee ready to provide a needed boost.


Berries at the Farmers” Market

Back in our northern burg of Bellingham, I’m always amazed at how clean and wide the city streets appear. In June, the gardens are in full bloom with the roses and hydrangeas looking their best. All of the farmers’ markets are open for business and it’s already time to go berry picking in the county. We got back just in time to pick a few buckets of strawberries and now the raspberries are ready. Later in July, we can return for blueberries. There’s no better place for fresh produce than Bellingham in the summertime.


Downtown Farmers’ Market

We have two large Farmers’ Markets in Bellingham. The Saturday market downtown and the smaller market on Wednesdays in the historic neighborhood called Fairhaven. If you miss a market, we also have Joe’s Garden, a wonderful place to get fresh produce, flowers, plants and even fantastic bread from the Breadfarm.

If that weren’t enough, we also have plenty of local produce in our small grocery stores, Youngstocks Country Farms and the local Co-Op grocery. Everyone makes an effort to buy from our local farmers who are growing wonderful produce in two valleys nearby—the Skagit Valley and nearby Lynden. We even also get more variety from producers located in the eastern part of our state.

Boulevard Park Trail

Boulevard Park Trail

After adjusting to life at home, I hope to be blogging about day hikes around Bellingham and the scenic hiking trails in the Pacific Northwest. This beautiful city on Bellingham Bay has over fifteen walking/biking trails throughout the area.

Sea Otters on the trail

Sea Otters on the trail

Some offer views of the protected bay and the nearby San Juan Islands, while others provide shady, well maintained trails past waterfalls and azure lakes.  On any day, you might spy a majestic bald eagle, owls or playful sea otters.

Not far from town, we have the Chuckanut Mountains, a small range along the coast, which offer great views of the bay and nearby islands. A bit further inland, we have the Cascade Mountain Range, with many splendid hikes. Some of the hikes take you up to the Pacific Crest Trail or you might find a glacier or two.

Sauk Mt. Hike

Sauk Mt. Hike

If we take a short drive south, we can hike on Whidbey Island or go to Anacortes for a ferry to one of the San Juan Islands. And if you head east,  there’s snowcapped Mount Baker and more wonderful trails to hike in late summer or early fall, after the snow level has dropped.

Mt. Baker view from Bellingham Bay

Mt. Baker & Downtown Bellingham

Exploring new places will always be one of my passions and Italy will probably remain my favorite country for practicing the art of dolce far niente.

But every time I return, I realize how lucky I am to have this beautiful country, America and the wonderful town of Bellingham as my home.

About msraaka

I am an artist, writer and desktop publishing consultant living in the Pacific Northwest. After our first visit to Italy, my husband Bob and I have found ways to spend more and more time there and other countries in Europe. We love to travel, but especially to stay in one area and get a better sense of place. I love learning languages, so I continue to study Italian, French and Spanish so I can communicate a bit more with the locals. Even learning the basic greetings can make a big difference.
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