The quickest way from Seattle to Bellingham is north on I-5. But if you don’t visit our corner of the world much, I would suggest taking a left turn at Burlington and coming to Bellingham through the back door. The back door is Chuckanut Drive, through the farmland, past the tulip fields and into the Chuckanut Mountains, and soon into Fairhaven and south Bellingham. This winding route chiseled into the Chuckanut Mountains and overlooking the tranquil waters of Samish Bay, is home to a small number of lucky people. Though not an official neighborhood and not in the City of Bellingham, this area is the home to a lucky few who enjoy northwest forests and a view that extends seemingly to the edge of the continent. There are examples of beautiful modern homes built at the water’s edge, with sailboats moored out the back door. There are also many incredible homes high on the mountainside with views of the San Juan Islands that go on forever. This is a beautiful corner of the Northwest with many large, high end homes with amazing views, and all just a few minutes from Bellingham.
The Chuckanut Neighborhood is connected to Bellingham via Chuckanut Drive and the Interurban Trail. The Interurban starts in Fairhaven and extends down to Larrabee State Park on the southern edge of Whatcom County. This trail is perfect for biking, running and walking and is very popular. Larrabee State Park is a 2,683 acre park that includes coves, beaches, jagged cliffs, mountain trails and lakes, and a popular campground. It’s where you bring out-of-town guests to see the great Northwest and watch the sunset. Up on Chuckanut Mountain, in the State Park and beyond, is a vast network of bike tails and walking paths that wind into the far corners of the forest, past high cliffs, and placid lakes tucked into the folds of the hills. Homes on the mountain have quick access to these tails and high vantage points to see the clouds floating over the countless islands.
Chuckanut Drive has a few unique restaurants that draw patrons from all over the region. The Oyster Bar, found all by itself along Chuckanut Drive, hanging over the bluff, is small but a destination spot with an emphasis on steak and shellfish. Chuckanut Manor serves a wide variety of dishes and the Rhododendron Café serves seafood, vegetarian, stew and pasta. Many homes are just a few minutes from Fairhaven, Bellingham’s south side and therefore just a few minutes from all the restaurants and shopping that Fairhaven is famous for.
The Chuckanut Neighborhood includes the edge of Samish Bay, a shallow bay that shelters broad mudflats when the tide goes out. These shallow waters are home to countless bivalves that are perfectly at home, attached to the stones in the shallows. At the foot of Oyster Creek, is the Taylor Shellfish Farm that cultivates millions of Oysters and hosts the Bivalve Bash each summer. The event is held at the farm on the shore of Samish Bay and includes food, music, and tons of oysters, clams, mussels, goeduck and the famous Mud Run, a fun little run through the mudflats at low tide. Participants go home with the smell of Samish Bay clinging to them in muddy globs from head to foot and a new appreciation for the bivalve.
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