I can think of little else so magical as celebrating Christmastime in Bellingham’s Fairhaven Village. The trees are illuminated with tiny white lights and evergreen wreaths deck the street lamps. The windows are filled with cheerful holiday displays, and everyone offers a smile or a hello.
And there is Christmas magic afoot in Fairhaven sure to delight your children, grandkids or kids at heart.
Start on the Village Green, where a display of trees draws visitorsâ€™ attention. Upon closer inspection, youâ€™ll see the red post box for sending letters directly to Santa at the North Pole!
Or if youâ€™re in Fairhaven on a Saturday during the season, children can visit Father Christmas himself in the lobby of the Fairhaven Village Inn. The cozy, elegant lobby is a grand spot for children to have a chat with Father Christmas, while the adults can snap a photo to remember the visit.
As is tradition when Santa visits the Village Inn, he hands out a Victorian-era treat of an orange instead of a candy cane.
While at the Village Inn you wonâ€™t want to miss the horse-drawn carriage ride around the Fairhaven shopping district. Pile into the carriage pulled by the beautiful coal-black draft horses of Cramer Classics of Everson. There is no charge for the rides, but donations can be made to the horses’ “carrot fund.”
Our entire family enjoyed the ride along 10th Street to Larrabee Avenue to 11th Street and down Mill Avenue back to the Inn. The ride isnâ€™t too long, which is just fine considering the nippy temperatures. Be sure to bring a hat and a scarf!
Father Christmas and the carriage rides are available Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m., between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Christmas shopping on the sly
Fairhaven is always a great place to shop for a one-of-a-kind gift, and the merchants outdo themselves each year with a selection of wonderful options.
I think itâ€™s fun to bring the kiddos to Fairhaven to do a little covert Christmas shopping for them. We make a tour of their favorite places in Fairhaven â€“ from Village Books to Fairhaven Toy Garden to Fairhaven BicycleÂ â€“ to ooh and ahh over all the fantastic items for sale.
Then, I make mental notes of gift ideas that I can come back for later. Or, if dad or grandma are along with, one of us can sneakily double back to buy the gifts that day.
Our day wouldnâ€™t be complete without a treat. Cookies from Avenue Bread are a favorite with my kiddos, but there is certainly no shortage of places to get a cup of cocoa or a little snack.
With bellies full and anticipation high for Christmas morning, we head home from our Fairhaven adventure.