In and Around Fairhaven, Washington

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Fairhaven is a federally designated historic district in the southern section of Bellingham.  It is known for its Victorian era architecture and features many restaurants, pubs and galleries.  It was definitely the hip place to be when I visited on a Thursday night.

The Black Cat

There was literally a 30-minute wait at 5:45 pm to get a table at The Black Cat which was hard to find hidden inside a three-story building!  I really wanted to try the crab Mac-n-Cheese.  Not to be deterred, I visited the following day for lunch at 11:30am, and I was the first patron in the now quiet restaurant.  At the suggestion of the waitress, I added bacon to the Mac-n-Cheese.  It was super rich, and I could not finish it!

mac n cheese at the black cat in fairhaven

Bellingham Boardwalk

While it was delicious, I think the Black Cat is better for a happy hour atmosphere while perhaps dining at Keenan’s at the Pier would be better for coffee or lunch.  I spotted this restaurant while walking with Annie along the Bellingham Boardwalk.  The trail travels a few miles from Fairhaven to the Central Business District and the Bellingham Farmers Market, operated on Saturdays.  Keenan’s at the Pier would be a perfect way to take in the views on the water.

bellingham boardwalk in fairhaven

Other Restaurants

I also tried out Tony’s Coffee House, Skylark’s Hidden Café, and Edaleen Dairy’s ice cream shop.  Apparently, I ate my way through town in a day.  The green tea from Tony’s was great.  Skylark was out of just about everything.  I don’t think they were expecting the rush of patrons now that some of the COVID restrictions were lifted.  And ice cream, well, it’s ice cream.  I don’t think it was as good as the cone I got in Hoodsport though!

Hike to Oyster Dome

When I wasn’t eating in Fairhaven, I was working up an appetite while hiking to Oyster Dome from the trailhead on Chuckanut Drive.  It was very close to the viewpoint where I camped the previous evening.  Fortunately, we only had a short drive and started early.

The 7.3 mile hike gains almost 1,900 feet and is ranked as hard on AllTrails.  The path climbs through the forest with thick ferns and limited views until reaching the top.  I was thankful for a clear day as we were blessed with expansive views of the bay and the San Juans.  I shared the rock outcropping with just five other people.

Taylor Shellfish Farm

Upon my descent, when droves of people were ascending, I was grateful to have started early, especially when I saw the limited street parking full.  I suppose I made someone happy when I steered VANgo just a mile up the road to Taylor Shellfish Farm and opened up a coveted spot.

Taylor Shellfish Farm has been around since 1890.  A single lane driveway leads visitors down the hill to a road along the railroad tracks and then into the parking area.  With commercial cages, buckets and all types of other gear strewn around, it was a little confusing to park, but I found a spot in the gravel lot.

At opening time, around 11 to 11:30 am, there was already a line to order and many tables claimed.  I didn’t really know what to get, so I chose the oyster sampler and a beer.  The staff member led me to a quiet corner at the covered bar where Annie and I took in the view of the bay. 

Soon the waitstaff delivered my tray of a dozen oysters, three types.  They were all salty and delicious and went down too fast! This would be a great place to enjoy with friends and linger.

oysters at taylor shellfish farm

Anyway, I had a nice day and evening on Chuckanuet Dr. and in Fairhaven before I left the following afternoon for Lummi Island.  ETB

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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned award winning travel blogger and photographer sharing the earth's beauty one word and image at a time.

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