Teresa Schmidt | 04/04/2016 | Insider Blogs |   

A Peek Inside the Bureau of Historical Investigation in Bellingham

The Bureau of Historical Investigation, Bellingham,, Gift Shop The Bureau of Historical Investigation, located on Holly Street in downtown Bellingham, serves as both retail shop and home base for one of Bellingham's more unusual businesses: The Good Time Girls. Here, you can browse through "local goods made by humans," as co-owner Sara Holodnick described it, or meet up for one of The Good Time Girls' various historical walking tours, including the Sin and Gin Tour, which focuses on the brothels and saloons that once proliferated in both downtown and Fairhaven. The Bureau of Historical Investigation, Bellingham,, Gift Shop On my latest visit, I was pleased to see a fun mix of handmade things that appealed to my eye, nose and heart, as well as my sense of whimsey. Let me explain: quirky antiquey things shared space with natural body products, which bumped up against delightful paintings on cedar called Love Notes to the Pacific Northwest, and then there were the delicately scented teacup candles, followed by ribbon bookmarks, and classic novels translated into one-word-per-page condensed versions and illustrated with felted characters. Delights for all the senses! The Bureau of Historical Investigation, Bellingham,, Gift Shop The Bureau of Historical Investigation, Bellingham,, Gift Shop The Bureau of Historical Investigation, Bellingham,, Gift Shop Everything is made by about 20 – 30 vendors, nearly all from Whatcom County, but occasionally from farther-flung, but still local-ish locations, like Seattle. Sara and her business partner, Marissa McGrath, love helping locals and tourists choose meaningful keepsakes, gifts and souvenirs infused with a real sense of place by the people who live and create here in Bellingham. They have personal relationships with each of their vendors, and are happy to share the stories behind each piece, who the artist is and why they do what they do. The Bureau of Historical Investigation, Bellingham, Sara Holodnick,The Bureau of Historical Investigation, Bellingham, Browsing along, I discovered books of poetry, mystery and history written by local authors, as well as gorgeous jewelry and actual living magnets, which I immediately coveted for myself. Practical housewares and sedum-filled terrariums would add a perfectly homey touch to any abode. [caption id="attachment_38965" align="aligncenter" width="550"]The Bureau of Historical Investigation, Bellingham,, Gift Shop Books[/caption] [caption id="attachment_38963" align="aligncenter" width="550"]The Bureau of Historical Investigation, Bellingham,, Gift Shop Jewelry[/caption] [caption id="attachment_38961" align="aligncenter" width="550"]The Bureau of Historical Investigation, Bellingham,, Gift Shop Sedum growing on a living magnet and in a terrarium. Practical and artsy housewares.[/caption] The Bureau also shares their vendors' knowledge, with fun workshops on practical skills that cater to your creative side. You can learn how to felt or weave, make a collage for your wall or a fascinator for your head. The Bureau of Historical Investigation, Bellingham, The Bureau of Historical Investigation, Bellingham,

Tour Info and a Fun Fact

The Good Time Girls are gearing up for their high tour season, so buy your tickets early. They often sell out, because everyone wants to learn about Bellingham's colorful history on a tour led by a knowledgeable and appropriately-dressed (think corsets and bustiers) guide. If you do miss out, Sara filled me in on an insider tip: you can always book a private tour for your own little group, year round! Look for more details on the Sin and Gin tour in an upcoming story on my cocktail blog. Here's a fun fact: The Good Time Girls were recently the subjects of a documentary, which was shot in Bellingham and recently had its debut at The Pickford Film Center. Print The Bureau of Historical Investigation 217 W. Holly St.,  Bellingham, WA 98225 (360) 305-3172 The Bureau on Facebook

For more fun ideas in Bellingham, see the full list of Teresa's local shopping articles or our Things to Do pages.

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