Reporting from the heart of Cascadia


Gift Picks

A book for every reader

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

A basic philosophy shared by librarians and booksellers alike is that there is a book for every reader. Books make great gifts for this reason, and the book experts at your local library or bookstore can help you match the people in your life with books they will enjoy.

On a recent “best holiday gift books” scouting trip, Village Books co-owner, Paul Hanson, suggested The Adventurous Eaters Club: Mastering the Art of Family Mealtime by local celebrities Misha and Vicki Collins.…

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On Stage

The Nutcracker

A Christmas countdown

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Renditions of the winter ballet The Nutcracker proliferate in Whatcom and Skagit counties, with numerous dance companies working overtime on an annual basis to bring to life the tale of a young girl’s journey to a magical land—typically beginning at the tail end of November, and continuing until late December.

This year is no different. While Fidalgo Danceworks, Harper&I Dance Center, and the Skagit Valley Academy of Dance have already brought their acclaimed visions of the classic…

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Tide Guide

Drayton Harbor Oyster Company

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

My date and I arrived at the Drayton Harbor Oyster Company in the early afternoon after taking a long and winding route from Bellingham to Blaine through a late-fall drizzle, and I was hungry—not only for the taste of briny bivalves, but also for a new experience. Over the course of the next hour or so at the warm and inviting space, both my appetite and my psyche were sated.

After ordering and paying, we claimed a couple of stools at a tall common table overlooking the Blaine Marina.…

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Valley Made

More than a market

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Years ago, Phoebe Carpenter Eells of elSage Designs sent me a framed block print with the phrase “work hard and be nice to people” artfully emblazoned in red text on a white background. To this day, the small piece of art sits on a bookshelf to the left of my work desk, and is a constant reminder of how to interact with fellow humans.

“If we have any mantra that we’re living, it’s that,” Phoebe says of the ethos of the company she operates with her husband Jonathan using a mix of…

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Escape to Blaine

Book sales and bivalves

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The roads were wet and rain was threatening as the Lady of the House and I rolled out of Bellingham on an important journey of rejuvenation and discovery. 

Ever since Drayton Harbor Oyster Company moved into their new location at H Street Plaza in Blaine, we’d been plotting a sojourn to savor the bounteous bivalves they cultivate in their sheltered waters.

“The short way or the long way?” I asked my lady as we approached a critical junction at the edge of city limits.


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Sounds of the Season

The sequel

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Like it or not, the holiday season is happening

Personally speaking, I like it. But then again, everyone already knew that. Per usual, no physical evidence of my seasonal spirit exists anywhere in my life—no stockings have been hung, no presents procured, my tiny artificial tree remains in storage along with the snowboard helmet I’ve never used and some of the Shakedown’s former barstools. I probably won’t even get around to baking the 40 or so dozen Christmas cookies that is my…

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Best of Bellingham 2019
Best Neighborhood


The center of the universe has coasted north over the years of our annual Best of Bellingham reader survey—Columbia and Sunnyland neighborhoods feature a vital mix of charming long-established Craftsman homesteads, innovative businesses and artist studios. They’ve taken their share of infill, proving urban densities can make a city come alive. The city’s bike and pedestrian plans have matured in these neighborhoods. They feel centered. And it is not at all a coincidence that so many winners in our Best of Bellingham survey are located here.

See all the winners »
The Gristle
War Waged on Two Fronts

WAR WAGED ON TWO FRONTS: A packed house in both their afternoon and evening sessions this week greeted the anticipated release of Bellingham City Council’s Climate Protection Action Plan. The plan was presented by members of the Climate Action Task Force (CATF), a nine-member advisory…

Saying Goodbye

Elected officials get melancholy at the end of their service and as we prepare for the transition to a Greg Hansen administration, I want to ponder where we’ve journeyed as a city.

When I took the reins from Mayor Gary Jensen, the city was in good shape. We were coming out of the…

Amy Goodman
Guiding through dark days

More than 1,000 people packed into the historic Cirkus Arena in downtown Stockholm last week. It wasn’t for the building’s original purpose, an actual circus, or for a rock concert, which is one of the contemporary uses of the building. What drew this remarkable cross section of Swedish…

Rumor Has It
It’s Baaaack:

Back in September, I got a text from Brent Cole, What’s Up! Magazine editor and founder and person who knows the greatest number of embarrassing things about me. No words, just a screen grab of a convo between him and the Wild Buffalo’s Craig Jewell that begins with Cole asking if Jan.…

Choice in health care

I think it is great that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and others are striving to provide a way for everyone to have access to health care. I also appreciate that they are opposed to…

Deflating the gas bag

As the impeachment hearings proceed, it seems the Republicans could use a new symbol for their party: the Trump baby balloon. Its thin skin and emptiness is an apt symbol of what they are…

Stains on our fabric

Let’s remember Trump lost the popular vote. He was ‘’unpopular’’ before he ever arrived at the White House. Now in addition to his long list of unpresidential traits we can add…

Today's Events
Holiday Festival of the Arts


More than 100 local artists and craftspeople will show and sell their creative wares as part of Allied Arts’ 40th annual “Holiday Festival of the Arts” from 10am-7pm daily through Christmas…

Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar


From 4pm-1am daily through New Year’s Eve, a Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar can be visited at Swim Club, 1147 11th St. At the international event that started and continues in New York…

Holiday Pet Food Drive


Whatcom Pet Care Network is hosting a Holiday Pet Food Drive through December with barrels for donations in multiple locations in Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, and Blaine. Donations will…

Deck the Old City Hall


Get in the holiday spirit when the annual “Deck the Old City Hall” continues this week from 12-5pm Wednesday through Sunday at Whatcom Museum’s Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St. Entry is by…

Coffee Brewing Class


Learn more about three manual coffee brewing methods—Kalita, Aeropress, and French Press—at a Brewing Class starting at 2pm at Camber Coffee, 221 W. Holly St. Fees are $45 and include a 12…

Group Run


All levels of experience are welcome at a weekly Group Run beginning at 6pm in Mount Vernon at the Skagit Running Company, 702 First St. The 3- to 6-mile run is great for beginners or for…

Splitboard 101


Weston Backcountry leads a “Splitboard 101” clinic at 6pm at REI, 400 36th St. Attendees at the free event can learn about the exciting and rewarding world of backcountry splitboarding as…

Sparkling Wines


Laurent Martel leads an exploration of the world’s sparkling wines at a primer dubbed “Sparkling Wines: An International Tour” from 6:30pm-8:30pm at the Cordata Community Food Co-op, 315…

Celtic Christmas Concert


Geoffrey Castle and his All Star Band will perform at an annual Celtic Christmas Concert from 6:30pm-8:30pm at the Port of Anacortes Transit Shed Events Center, 100 Commercial St. General…

Marina Albero Trio


Whatcom Jazz Music Arts Center presents a concert with the Marina Albero Trio at 7pm at the Sylvia Center for the Arts, 205 Prospect St. Tickets will be $5-$10 at the door—first come, first…

O Christmas Tea


Award-winning comedians James & Jamesy return to Bellingham with their outrageously funny and brilliantly inventive Christmas comedy, “O Christmas Tea,” at 7:30pm at the Mount Baker Theatre,…