Bellingham, WA recs: dining and hiking
August 13, 2018 12:08 AM   Subscribe

My husband is spending an extra bunch of days in Bellingham this week before a wedding on the weekend. Where should he eat and hike?

He's looking for

1) a few good places to eat, especially ones where it wouldn't be weird to be eating alone at the bar

2) good/pretty hikes in the area (probably 1-2 all day excursions and any number of short outings). He's a very experienced hiker and is especially interested in anything that might be damp and shady enough right now to support his hobby of mushroom/slime mold photography.*

3) anything else he shouldn't miss while in the area?

*not a joke
posted by charmedimsure to Travel & Transportation around Bellingham, WA (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Oyster Dome is a pretty spectacular hike.

He could always head up Mt. Baker, too.
Alton Brown recommends the Potato Burrito at Casa Que Pasa, and it is quite delicious. Fiamma Burger nearby is also a good spot. Neither place would be weird to eat alone at, but then, really, nowhere would in Bellingham except maybe the odd fancy sit down place (which there are few of).

For things not to miss in the area - drive down Chuckanut, have a wander around Bow-Edison, and have a lunch at Tweets Cafe or Slough Food.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:53 AM on August 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

The bioluminescence at Teddy Bear Cove should be really nice this time of year. (Might have to share the space with some tripping college kids...). Very short hike, but some steep switchbacks, plus nighttime is obviously the best time to go.

Any of the many many MANY brewpubs will have food and not be weird at all for a solo customer.
posted by lovecrafty at 7:11 AM on August 13, 2018

Fiamma Burger is really good, but it's a college town so there will be many places that are filled with singles.

If he hasn't before... take a ferry ride, really any, into the san juans and back.
posted by sammyo at 8:12 AM on August 13, 2018

Food & drink:

Cosmos Bistro is great, especially for brunch.
Boundary Bay Brewery is one of my favorite breweries in town, though the food is just ok. Also check out Structures and Aslan.

Hiking: He's in luck because the hikes up at Mt. Baker are melted out for the season (mostly). For all day hikes (including longer drives; all of the below are 1.5-2.5 hrs away) I'd check out:

Chain Lakes
Skyline Divide (long gravel road drive)
Cascade Pass & Sahale Arm (also long gravel road drive)

All three are alpine, though, so won't totally scratch the slime itch (first time I've ever had to write that sentence...). There's a fairly spectacularly en-mossed walking bridge in Whatcom Falls Park, but that's a quick visit.

Otherwise, the WTA Hike Finder Map is his best friend here.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 8:20 AM on August 13, 2018

If he heads up to Mt. Baker, here a few things to recommend, along the Mt. Baker Hwy:

Food :
Rifugio's Country Italian Cuisine - Great small unpretentious restaurant with friendly owner. The alfredo sauce is the best I've had. Open Thursday - Sunday. About mile marker 15, just east of Deming.
The North Fork Brewery - Good pizza and beer. About mile marker 21.
Milano's - Another really good Italian restaurant. In the town of Glacier (just past mile marker 33).

Most hikes require a Northwest Forest Pass for parking at the trailhead ($5 per day). You can pick one up at the ranger station just past Glacier or the ranger station just past the Mt. Baker ski area at Heather Meadows. You can also ask about hikes at the ranger stations.

It's been very dry the past couple of months, so not much out there that is damp at the moment.
The Washington Trail Association is good site for finding hikes.
Here's a few:
- Heliotrope Ridge - Mostly in the shade and leads to the base of a glacier on Mt. Baker.
- Skyline Divide
- Church Mountain
- On the north side of the highway, right before mile marker 44 there's a pullout for about three cars that is the trailhead for a very short shady trail (~1/4 mile) that leads to a number of huge old growth trees. This may be a good place for his photography.
posted by ShooBoo at 8:37 AM on August 13, 2018

Yellow Aster Butte

The trailhead is on the way to the Mt Baker ski area. it's not too long, medium steep, and offers spectacular views of Mt shuksan and mt baker.

I don't do many hikes twice, but i've done this hike half a dozen times and it never disappoints
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:54 AM on August 13, 2018

This is all super-helpful; thank you! I'll try and get him to tell me what worked out when he gets back, and update then.
posted by charmedimsure at 10:25 PM on August 13, 2018

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