May 12, 2021 / Rob Smith / Seattle Magazine

Postcards From the Road(trip)

These scenic destinations offer something for everyone

The walls have been closing in for quite some time.

Now that all Washingtonians are eligible for the vaccine, hope is on the horizon. A survey by travel website finds that 49% of Americans say their willingness to receive a vaccine is influenced by their desire to travel. More than half of survey respondents say they haven’t taken any trips during the pandemic, though travel providers note there’s been an uptick in bookings for this year.

About a third of Americans reveal that they’re likely to take a road trip after they get vaccinated and “road trips, by and large, remain the preferred method of travel in the immediate future.” Everyone’s comfort level is different when it comes to travel, but here’s a look at four quick getaways that promise some much-needed respite from the monotony of the pandemic.

To the North: Bellingham

You can go big or small in Bellingham, a 90-minute drive north of Seattle. Big as in the quality of shops, art, restaurants and lodging, but with the hyperlocal flair and easy accessibility found in small towns. Bellingham offers an array of options for foodies, wine lovers, cider folks, beer drinkers, outdoors aficionados and those curious about history and local arts.

The city is a gateway to numerous outdoor adventures, including kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing, whale watching, mountain biking, hiking, bike tours, and bird watching. Its downtown is alive with arts districts, galleries, and a plethora of public murals and sculptures. Its working waterfront features four marinas. Check out the Bellingham Farmers Market Saturdays at the Depot. Several gorgeous waterfront hotel properties off er stunning views, and Hotel Bellwether even has Bella, a canine concierge for dog lovers. Other top lodging places include the remodeled, historic Hotel Leo and the Inn at Lynden, a highly personal, charming property near the Canadian border.

The Whatcom Museum’s interactive Native cultural exhibit and the 4.5 million-volt MegaZapper at the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention are particularly cool. Locals often call Bellingham “Brewingham” because of its growing craft beer scene, which boasts 17 breweries.

As for dining, start the morning with a single-source Ethiopian pour over from Camber Coffee or a sweet and spongy Poffertjes muffin from the Lynden Dutch Bakery. Taste Blaine’s Drayton Harbor oysters harvested just minutes before. Take a ferry ride to Lummi Island and sample incomparable cuisine at the Willows Inn. Cheese, chocolate and ice cream shops off er decadent delights.

Whatcom County is geographically big, yet feels small. Visit Blaine’s stunning waterfront to the north, or drive the Chuckanut Drive Scenic Byway to the south and hit Taylor Shellfi sh Farms, a working shellfish farm. To the east are berry picking, wine tasting and spectacular views of Mount Baker.

Mt Shuksan

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        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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