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 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…

Giving Tree


Take part in the annual “Giving Tree” at Village Books locales in Bellingham (1200 11th St.) and Lynden (430 Front St.) Choose an angel ornament from the tree in the store and purchase a book…

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…

The Naughty List Market and Cabaret


THE NAUGHTY LIST: Frisky Fandoms Burlesque will present “The Naughty List” Holiday Market and Cabaret Thursday and Friday at Broadway Hall, 1300 Broadway St. Support local artists and browse…

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…

Treasure Island


Drama students will present showings of Treasure Island at 7pm Thursday and Friday, and 2pm Saturday at the Sehome High School Theater, 2700 Bill McDonald Pkwy. Ticket prices vary to see the…

Shrek the Musical


The Burlington-Edison High School drama department presents its fall show, Shrek the Musical at 7pm Thursday and Friday, and 2pm and 7pm Saturday at the school’s Cafetorium. Guest-directed by…

Number the Stars


Drama, adventure and humor can be expected when showings of the stage adaptation of the World War II-era bestseller Number the Stars continue this week with performances at 7:30pm Thursday…

A Christmas Carol


iDiOM Theater revives one of its most popular shows ever with performances of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday in the Lucas Hicks Theater at the Sylvia…

Crazy for You


Judith Owens-Lancaster directs showings of the musical Crazy for You, which concludes this week with performances at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at the Bellingham Theatre…

Wild Things


Kids, adults and adventurers can join Holly Roger of Wild Whatcom for a “Wild Things” Community Program from 9:30am-11am every Friday through December at the Connelly Creek Nature Area (Joe’s…

Pacific Arts Market


Several dozen local artists and crafters will show and sell a variety of work―including jewelry, fine art, photography, textiles, clothing, bath and body, specialty foods, home decor, paper…

Toys for Tots


If you’re looking to brighten the holiday of a local child in need, distribution centers for Toys for Tots, Whatcom County’s toy drive, will be open from 10am-6pm Friday and Saturday at all…

Holiday Tea


Tea sandwiches, soup, sweet cream scones and home-baked sweets will accompany a pot of your favorite tea at “Holiday Tea” events taking place from 11am-5pm Friday and Saturday in…

Holiday Craft Bazaar


Buy homemade crafts and treats made by kids and teens at a Holiday Craft Bazaar taking place from 3:30pm-5:30pm at the Lynden Library, 216 4th St. Everything will be priced $5 or less.

Drayton Harbor Shellebration


Celebrate healthy waters and fresh harvests at the third annual “Drayton Harbor Shellebration” from 4pm-6pm at the G Street Plaza located in downtown Blaine. The free event will include…

Gingerbread House Making


Teens in grades 6-12 can bring your friends and your sweet tooth as you compete with fellow teens to make the tastiest, most extravagant gingerbread house in all the land at a Gingerbread…

Valley Made Holiday Market


elSage Designs hosts a Valley Made Holiday Market beginning with a ticketed “Sip and Shop” gathering from 5pm-8pm Friday in Mount Vernon at Maplehurst Farm, 18495 Dike Rd. No entry fee is…

Christmas on the Docks


Bring your own decorated power boat, dinghy, rowboat, sailboat or paddle board for a “Christmas on the Docks” decorated boat parade starting at 6pm Saturday in Anacortes at Cap Sante Marina.…

Photos and Stories with James K. Papp


Photographer and author James K. Papp will be joined by co-host Lisa Papp and Paul Oleniacz for a special event from 5pm-8pm at Gallery Pegasus, 301 W. Holly St. In addition to viewing the…

Wonderland Walk


Take a seasonal stroll in the woods and enjoy lights, decorations, music, hot chocolate and generous servings of holiday cheer at the annual “Wonderland Walk” taking place from 5pm-8pm Friday…

Kids Night Out @ Western


Students in grades K-5 can explore a variety of STEAM (Science Technology Engineering, Arts and Math) at Kids Night Out @ Western from 6pm-9pm on the Western Washington University campus.…

Honk! The Musical


Students ages 9-12 will present showings of Honk! The Musical at 7pm Friday, 2pm and 7pm Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at the Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth, 1059 N. State St. Tickets are $10…

Lost Feast


Lenore Newman reads and shares ideas from Lost Feast: Culinary Extinction and the Future of Food at 7pm at Village Books, 1200 11th St. With chapters covering everything from lab-made meat to…

Tarnation and Holiday Games


As part of a monthlong “Improv Show Favorites,” attend holiday-enhanced showings of the improvised Western “Tarnation” at 7:30pm performances Friday and Saturday at the Upfront Theatre, 1208…

Christmastime is Here with Skagit Symphony


“Christmastime is Here” will be the theme of a Skagit Symphony concert at 7:30pm in Mount Vernon at McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way. “Travel through time with us as we treat you to a…

Darkness and Light


Bellingham Community Chorus presents “Darkness and Light”—seasonal songs that provide the opportunity to reminisce and time to hope and dream—at 7:30pm Friday, and 2pm Saturday at St. James…

Narnia the Musical


Experience a musical presentation of the first and most famous story of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia when Narnia the Musical concludes this week with performances at 7:30pm Thursday…