DFI’s Guide to Smart Holiday Shopping

November 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, DFI has released a guide to smart holiday shopping.

The holidays can get quite chaotic and during this time of year it’s extremely important to stay on top of your finances to avoid debt and fraud. Check out our guide for tips on how to

protect your purchases
avoid fraud
avoid debt
and more

View the guide online at http://www.dfi.wa.gov/consumers/

Financial Education Materials for Libraries

November 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently launched an initiative to put free financial education materials into community libraries.
The initiative started over a year ago by gathering feedback from a group of librarians. The number of libraries that wanted to participate quickly swelled to over 100 library systems. These 100 systems have more than 450 branches and receive more

Thanksgiving Dinner on Mount Rainier

November 18, 2014 by · Comments Off on Thanksgiving Dinner on Mount Rainier 

On a cold, gray autumn morning there isn”t anything better than a tasty roast dinner and a roaring fire, especially when you have your family together on Thanksgiving Day. This year my parents came to join our family of four for the holiday, but we decided it was a good year to try something new, give the cooking and dishes a miss, and go out for a meal.


We started out towards Mount Rainier, to turn our family dinner into a great day trip. What better way to brighten up a gray, drizzly November day? Well, as we left I-5, the mountain – who had been hiding behind the low clouds – started to come into view. The skies began to clear, and we enjoyed a spectacular drive through winding valleys and rich forests, catching fleeting peeks at the mountain as we crested hills of passed through clearings. Mount Rainier never ceases to surprise me with the way she looks different from every view.

We approached the National Park gateway, and were advised that the recent snow had made the roads quite icy, and while it was possible to get all the way to Paradise we should drive with caution. We had the right car for the job, so we were sure if we went carefully we would be able to get all the way to Paradise.

But right now we were hungry. We arrived at the Longmire Inn, made our way slowly and cautiously across an icy car park looking more like a family of penguins then people. Once inside, we warmed up by the fireplace, dried out our mittens and scarves, and enjoyed the wonderful smells wafting over from the kitchen. Once at our table, we relaxed for a moment and enjoyed the view from the window of the pine trees bowing low with the weight of the recent snow, and wondered why we had never thought about going out for Thanksgiving dinner before!

Dinner was excellent – the waitress brought steaming bowls of soup, warm bread rolls, and herbed butter. The main course was a buffet, but the secret of Longmire Inn was well kept, and as there were only a few other families there we didn”t have to line up. We filled our plates with roast turkey and beef, sweet potato mash, an array of steamed vegetables, creamy gravy, and homemade cranberry sauce. One of the best things about buffets is that you can keep going back for more; I wasn”t sure if we”d ever get my dad out of his chair after three trips to the buffet! When we were all stuffed, and beginning to nod off in our chairs, the waitress brought us a selection of desserts. Pumpkin pie of course, for the real soldiers among us, and a lighter fruit parfait for those of us not quite ready for another course. A round of home brewed coffees, and we were ready for our journey up the mountain. As we walked back to the car, I thought what a wonderful idea it was to eat out; no pots and pans to scrub, no dishes to wash, no tables to clear. And the boys were so excited about going up the mountain they never missed the football!

We started the drive up, moving slowly because of the snow, but the park had done an excellent job with the roads and we made good progress. We stopped several times on the way up to marvel at the amazing displays from Mother Nature. Most astonishing were the views of the Nisqually River bed, still showing the signs of a terrible flood the year before. Huge boulders, whole tree trunks, and other debris marked out where the water had raced down the mountain side. It was a powerful reminder of the forces that lurk in what was a peaceful and serene landscape today.

Around another bend and we saw a place to stop and take in the view. We pulled in, got out of the car and as we stepped to the edge we were treated to the beautiful sounds and sights of a partially frozen waterfall. We watched the water tumble down, in a shade of blue-gray unique to water that is on the brink of
freezing, and only through its speed managing to avoid becoming ice. It tumbled down through tunnels of ice and snow, reappearing below where you would least expect it, only to disappear again into another icy passage. The sound of a waterfall is always beautiful, but when its sounds are smoothed by the cushion of snow on the valley walls, and then amplified and echoed through the ice tunnels, it becomes truly musical.

We arrived soon after in Paradise. The old hotel there was being renovated, but we could see the skeleton of a grand building and promised each other that we would return to visit as soon as it was open again. The children sprinted up the snow-covered paths, starting snowmen only to become distracted by snowball fights and leave the half-built characters behind them for another child to come along and finish. We climbed a short path through some trees and came to a clearing, and gasped as we looked out through the clear winter air over the mountain tops around. What an experience to be so high, to look down on the eagles and hawks soaring below and the spiky treetops of the very highest pines, and yet turn around to see there”s still another 10000 feet of mountain above you.

We finished up with a quick tour of the visitor center at Paradise, drying out and warming up again, and stocking up on coffees and cocoas for the trip back down. The children watched videos of the Mount St. Helens eruption, and we purchased some maps to plan some summer day hikes from Paradise when the snow clears. We piled back into the car, and made our way back down and homewards, with the sun setting around us, and talking all the way about our next visit to Mount Rainier.

Antique Shopping in Pioneer Square

November 18, 2014 by · Comments Off on Antique Shopping in Pioneer Square 

pioneer-squareMy mother came to stay recently, and knowing that she really loved ‘antiquing’ I wondered where best to take her.  Surely Seattle’s oldest neighborhood would have antique shops?  So off we went to explore Pioneer Square, and we sure got more than we bargained for!

We left behind the hustle and bustle of city life, and decided we’d really try to see Pioneer Square as it should be, as close to its 19th century origins as possible.  We started off with a ride in a horse drawn buggy, and the sound of the horse’s hooves on the street took us back to what the square must have been like with the sounds and smells of Victorian life rattling around, trapped between the imposing architecture. We were shown the Tlingit totem pole, told about the great fire of 1889, and were dropped off under the old pergola which has provided shelter to streetcar passengers since 1905.  As we walked under the intricate iron work and glass panels, I remarked that this is what it must be like to be in a birdcage.
We’d forgotten all about the antique shops, since we were walking right through Seattle’s history. There’s no evidence of the great fire here, except for a possibly coincidental but very fitting memorial to fallen firefighters, made of life size bronze statues of firefighters in action.  We sat on the square, sipping very modern lattés.  We marveled at the totem poles, which now seemed out of place in the city, but which somehow brought a sense of peace and tranquility.

Suitably refreshed, we set off to find some antiques.  Right on the square, down a few steps, looked like a promising shop.  What a surprise met us when we ventured inside!  It wasn’t a shop at all, but a great underground network of niches and cubbyholes, each one full of Victorian and art deco wonders, and some with treasures from the forties, fifties, and sixties.  They should have maps at the entrance; the caverns went on forever, going up and down levels and through crumbling brick doorways.  The deeper we got, the more the air began to smell of the unique combination of damp and old things that I remember from my great-grandmother’s.

As we travelled through the maze, we picked up treasure after treasure, some things really just junk, but striking either our nostalgia or curiosity enough to make us want to take them home.  Mixed among our trinkets, we also bought Native American crafts, pioneer woodwork, and Victorian silver.  I was beginning to wish we’d brought provisions, because I was sure we’d never find our way out.  I thought we should maybe start to lay a trail to find our way back when one of the antique dealers sensed our concern – and hunger – and directed us to Doc Maynard’s Public House, named for one of the area’s original mid-nineteenth century settlers.

We emerged from the deep into a restored Victorian-era pub, and the barman (a character from the past himself) informed us we had actually travelled through Seattle’s famous ‘Underground’. There are guided tours available, but we felt we had already experienced that adventure.  We did get a pass to visit the Rogue’s Gallery though, something of a pioneer museum, where the whole adventure began to make sense. Here we learned more of how Pioneer Square came to be, and interestingly, that here was the origin of the term ‘skid row’, although I thought Pioneer Square deserved a more respectful title.  Here horses and oxen dragged or ‘skidded’ logs down to the original sawmill that was the Square’s first industry.

As we stepped back out into the street, laden with a mix of plastic and paper bags full of all of our new found heirlooms, we decided to reserve the elegant galleries and antique dealers of the above-ground Grand Central Arcade and Occidental Walk for just window-shopping.  For us, antiquing is about getting close to history, and nowhere in Seattle can you do that better than in the Underground!

Spokane, Washington

November 17, 2014 by · Comments Off on Spokane, Washington 

Spokane, Washington was the site of the 1974 World’s Fair. It retains the atmosphere and activity of a city honored with the presence of such a display. Riverfront Park, the remaining legacy of that year, was built on property that once housed a very busy rail yard. Spokane continues to grow and is the second largest city in Washington State and the biggest city between Seattle and Minneapolis. It has a population of almost 201,000 people.





Spokane is the largest city in eastern Washington State and the second largest in the entire state. A river with a spectacular series of falls drew the early natives, who were followed by the white settlers. This river is a tributary of the Columbia River and provided generous amounts of salmon as nourishment for the earliest natives. These early natives called themselves Spokanes. The nearest agreed meaning of this name is “Children of the Sun.” In 1881, the Spokane Reservation was established to the northwest of the present City of Spokane.




European Settlers

The first white settlers were of European descent, the largest groups being fur traders and missionaries. They traveled inland to an area we know as the “Inland Northwest.” Each settler had intentions that were not revealed until the plans reached fruition. These are just a few of those settlers:


> David Thompson, a fur trader and cartographer, came in 1807. He crossed the Continental Divide to explore the upper watershed of the Columbia River, eventually arriving at the Spokane River region. The falls had potential economic impact, which was not lost on white visitors to this region.


> The falls became the site of a sawmill which was built on the south bank of the river in 1871 by settlers James Downing and Seth Scranton. James Glover and his partner Jasper Matheney came from Oregon in 1873 seeking land with the specific intent of establishing a town. They were impressed with the potential of the falls as a site.


> Glover and Matheney successfully purchased Downing’s mill along with 160 acres that Downing held as a squatter. Glover eventually became known as the “Father of Spokane.” Glover managed to acquire Scranton’s claim and he bought out his partner, Metheney, in 1877.


> Frederick Post was a miller of German descent who was pursued and persuaded by Glover to build a gristmill at the falls – which Post did build. Glover quickly expanded that sawmill and he built a general store as well.




Spokane Becomes a Town


More families settled on the south side of that river when they saw that the area had benefits such as a store, sawmill and flour. Soon churches, schools, banks, hotels, newspapers and saloons began to appear. Frederick Post decided to relocate to a spot farther up the river and establish his own mill there. His area became the town of Post Falls, Idaho.


> Reverend S. G. Havermale replaced Post as the town miller in 1875.


> Anthony Cannon and John Browne bought a 50% interest in Glover’s properties and his store. Cannon became the town banker of Spokane Falls and Browne opened a law practice.


> Other enterprising settlers who arrived during the 10 years from 1870-1880 include Francis Cook – a newspaperman who established Spokan Times in 1879 and Willis Ritchie – an architect who created the county courthouse in 1895.


There was a definite need for hotels as more settlers arrived in this town. The Western House was built in 1877 and California House followed in 1878. Spokane County was established in 1879 and Spokane became the county seat.




Spokane Incorporates and Prospers


The incorporation of Spokane occurred in 1881 when its population numbered 1,000. Benefits of this area drew the attention of the railroads. The city’s future became brighter when the Northern Pacific railroad was completed in 1883.


Northern Idaho and the northeast corner of Washington State proved to be rich in minerals and this discovery started a domino-effect boom. First it was gold, then silver, followed by lead and zinc. The mines brought money and wealth to Spokane for many decades, making it the undisputed economic center of the Inland Empire. This town had wheat-producing areas to the south, irrigated farms in the nearby valley and railroads and timber nearby.


From 1880 and forward, Spokane became and remained the agricultural and industrial center, outshining both San Francisco (CA) and Portland (OR). Spokane hosts annual agricultural and industrial fairs, conventions and organizational meetings and has done so since the early 1880s.



Burn and Rebuild


On August 4, 1889, a fire destroyed 32 blocks of downtown Spokane. Because many of the buildings were insured, they were quickly replaced with durable structures built of brick or stone.


The Panic of 1893 caused unemployment and loss of wealth to the early enterprising settlers. Northwestern and Pacific Hypotheekbank, a Dutch financial institution, foreclosed on most of the buildings that it had financed during the rebuilding process after the fire. Valuable Spokane real estate suddenly came under Dutch control.

However, the post Panic recovery introduced a new generation of wealthy leaders, emerging from the mining or railroad activities.




Moving Forward


In 1900, the City of Spokane numbered 40,000 residents. By the end of that decade, it is said that there were 26 new millionaires. This introduced upscale neighborhoods west of the center of Spokane.


An enormous number of immigrants found their way inland between 1900 and 1910. The population of Spokane swelled from 40,000 to more than 100,000. These blue-collar workers settled on the north side of the river.


These settlers formed neighborhood clusters for each ethnic population: Italians, Germans, Chinese and Finnish settlers. Each group established a gathering center in order to maintain ethnic and cultural identities.








The City of Spokane has a strong Mayor form of government, similar to that of state and federal government. The Mayor heads the executive level and has a role as the leader of the community working with city partners to make improvements to the City of Spokane. Spokane has a Chief Operating Officer in the form of a Deputy Mayor who supervises all of the operations departments.


Seven elected members of the City Council make up the legislative branch. They are responsible for forming and setting policies, declaring ordinances and generally guiding the growth and development of the city. The Council President is the only councilor elected by the entire city. The six remaining council members are elected by district.







The economic growth of Spokane is critical to the region, county and state. Spokane has what it takes to lure people: Riverfront Park, Spokane River and its Falls, the burgeoning University District, mountains, lakes and golf courses. Spokane recently started a new era of economic development.


Businesses that cater to tourists abound. New eateries, lodging, entertainment and family-style activities are contributing to the revitalization of this city. Other diverse businesses are starting to look seriously at relocating to the second largest city in Washington State. The Downtown Spokane Renaissance has attracted more than $3 billion investment dollars into the city.


Downtown Spokane is the regional center of education, healthcare, retail, business and finance. As a vital regional center for these sectors, its trade area stretches beyond the boundaries of the city of Spokane. It includes almost 2 million people in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Montana plus two provinces in Canada!





Some well-known residents of Spokane include Bing Crosby (singer, actor), Craig T. Nelson (actor), Julia Sweeney (comedian) and Tom Foley (former Speaker of the House) are only three among the hundreds of famous people to claim Spokane birth or residency. They come from all walks of life: Arts, Music, Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Education and more.


An estimate of the current population places the number at more than 201,000 people within the Spokane city limits, which covers an area of 57.76 square miles. Median household income is approaching $39,100 as compared to the National average of $42,000.


27.9% of the population is under 18 years old and 14% are over 65 years of age. The remaining group of 58.1% makes up the Spokane workforce aged between 18 and 64 years. 48.2% of the population is male and 51.8% is female.


Median age of the population of Spokane is 34.7, which is younger than the average national age. This total population, as reported by ethnicity, falls into the following six groupings:


> White population 87.9%

German (22.9%)

Irish (13.8%)

English (12.1%)

Norwegian (6.1%)

French (4.3%)

U.S. Native (5.3%)

> Latino population 3.0%

> Other smaller groups 2.9%






Pacific Islanders


> Asian population 2.3%

> Black / African American 2.1%

> Native Americans 1.8%


Families make up 58% of the total population of Spokane. There are 81,512 occupied housing units and another 6,429 (7.3%) are unoccupied.






Spokane has an educated population (25 years and older) with 34.6% of its people earning a bachelor’s, post-graduate or professional degree. Another 88.1% earned a high school diploma or higher. Unemployment is reported at 9%.


The Spokane Public Schools is the largest employer in the city of Spokane. Spokane was cited by The Gates Foundation as a high achieving school district and the district was awarded a grant of $16.4 million. The funds have been targeted for individual schools to encourage professional development for teachers as well as personalized learning environments.


“Excellent for Everyone” is certainly a fit motto for this district that serves 30,000 pupils. There are 34 elementary schools, 6 middle schools and 6 high schools. No segment of school-age population is overlooked. Programming includes:


> Gifted education opportunities

> Special education

> Homeschooling assistance

> Alternative education

> Montessori

> Spokane Skills Center


There are several college, university and vocational education facilities in Spokane. This group includes:


> Spokane Falls Community College with 6,284 full-time students

> Spokane Community College with 5,564 full-time students

> Gonzaga University with 3,860 full-time students

> Whitworth College with 1,849 full-time students

> ITT Technical Institute with 390 full-time students

> Interface Computer School with 192 full-time students

There also are programs offered for vocational educational such as HVAC training, cosmetology, radiologic technicians and real estate.




Business and Industry


The Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce has about 1,400 business members who collectively represent 100,000 residents. 85% of the businesses have fewer than 25 employees and 70% have less than 10 people in their employ. The mission of the Chamber is to provide leadership in an environment where members, businesses and the community can be successful.






The financial services industry has a strong presence in Spokane. A quick look at the banks with the most branches reveals:


> U.S. Bank National Association has 14 branches

> Washington Mutual Bank has 12 branches

> Washington Trust Bank has 12 branches

> F&M Bank has 10 branches

> Bank of America, National Association has 9 branches

> Wells Fargo Bank, National Association has 8 branches

> Sterling Savings Bank has 7 branches


Besides those listed, there are eight other banks with a combined 20 branches.






Two newspapers serve the residents of Spokane by covering local news include:

The Spokane SiDEKiCK reports on local arts and entertainment and the Spokesman-Review, which covers and prints local, national news, sports and more.


Radio stations within Spokane city limits are scarce. However, stations with strong signals serving this area are numerous. There are 13 AM stations and these are the smaller ones that can be found within the city limits: KSBN (1230 AM) is 1 kW, KJRB (790 AM) is a 5 kW, as is KTRW (970 AM), KAQQ (1280 AM), KMBI (1330 AM) and KQNT (590 AM).


There are 19 FM stations available to Spokane residents. Several are broadcasting from college campus locations. The unexpected report concerns television access. Cable TV gives the residents a choice of viewing opportunities that include the three major broadcasting networks: ABC, CBS and NBC and a number of their affiliate stations.



Lodging and Food




Visitors to Spokane have a fine selection of accommodations that includes familiar chain names, inns and bed & breakfast establishments. There are at least 37 hotels and motels within Spokane city limits. Room rates range from a low of $60 up to a pricey $200 per night room.


> Spokane Valley Super 8 Motel (no phone # available), although super inexpensive, still offers amenities that rival those of pricier lodging. Some of the amenities include the following: Pet-friendly, handicap accessible, restaurant on-site, indoor pool, guest Laundromat, high-speed or wireless internet access, AM/FM alarm clock, exercise gym, air conditioning, room coffeemakers and hairdryers, refrigerator, satellite TV and a casino. Prices start at $61 nightly.


> The Ridpath Hotel (no phone # available) is an example of the pricier lodging. Located in the heart of downtown Spokane, this pet-friendly and handicap accessible hotel is the ultimate in lodging. Some of the amenities include room service, temperature control, air conditioning, AM/FM alarm clock, wake-up service, laundry/valet services, telephone safe deposit box, radio, over-sized rooms, internet access, guest laundromat, in-room iron, free newspaper, in-room computer, health club and exercise gym, coffee shop, continental breakfast or buffet are on the “short” list. This is the reason for the room rates that start at $179!


Bed & breakfast or inns are also available in Spokane. However, visitors are limited to Angelica’s Bed & Breakfast, Odell House Lodging, Hannah’s Garden Inn, 1908 Marianna Stoltz House B & B, EJ Roberts’ Mansion Bed & Breakfast, Geraldine’s on Grand, House Of Travel, On The Park Bed & Breakfast or the Waverly Place Bed & Breakfast.


Camping enthusiasts will be happy to note that there is a KOA campground IN Spokane with amenities worthy of a resort. Spokane KOA (509-924-4722) is close to almost everything offered within Metropolitan Spokane area.




Ethnic eateries are popular with menus featuring American, Asian, Chinese, Thai International, Italian, Japanese, Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines. Of course, the casual dining, pubs, bistros and sports bars are plentiful in Spokane. Fine dining is available at:


> The Scratch Restaurant & Lounge (509-456-5656) is located inside the historic Montvale Hotel in downtown Spokane. Local, organic ingredients accompany everything from Lobster, Crispy Duck Sushi Roll, steaks, pasta, seafood and some good homemade bread. This is one of four Regional food restaurant.


> Churchill’s Steakhouse (509-747-7463) is an elegant dining experience where only the very best Mid-Western corn fed USDA prime beef comes to your table.



Leisure Activities




Shopping malls are a popular indoor experience and Spokane has two popular malls within its city limits. The Northtown Mall is one and River Park Square is the other. Other shopping areas include:


> Indian Trails Shopping Center

> Ash and Rowan Shopping Center

> Lincoln Heights Shopping Center

> Manito Shopping Center

> K-Mart Shopping Center

> Shadle Shopping Center

> East Town Shopping Center

> River Ridge Shopping Center



Museums and Galleries


The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture is the home of Native American artifacts and traveling art exhibits. It is located in a secluded setting near the center of downtown amid the 19th century mansions of Spokane.


Armed Forces & Aerospace Museum is another popular museum housing collection of stories traced back through the generations of Inland Northwest American settlers. More than 7,000 items from every branch of the military are stored at this location.


Jundt Art Center and Museum is inside Gonzaga University. Visitors can peruse the growing number of art pieces at Gonzaga University.


Mobius Kids is a creative learning museum for children and families featuring hands-on experiences in the arts, culture and science.


The Chase Gallery has exhibits by local and regional artists and is open to the public during normal business hours.


Lorinda Knight Gallery and the Tinman Gallery also feature exhibits of regional artists and artisans. The focus is on paintings. Tinman Gallery also has a bookstore with a sizable selection of art books.



Breweries, Vineyards and Wineries


Attending a wine tasting or brewery tour is a sensual indoor activity. There are a number of vineyards in Spokane and they process their own products. These are the ones within the Spokane city limits:


> Arbor Crest Wine Cellars (509-927-9463) has a gift shop where you can purchase from their collection of award-winning wines.


> Barrister Winery makes small amounts of some Bordeaux wines. Visitors can participate in tastings on Friday and Saturday afternoons.


> Caterina Winery (509-328-5069) produces the Bohemian Series of “Artistic Affordable Blends” sold in a winery boutique. Live music provides a background for tastings as well as on the garden patio. Tastings take place afternoons on a daily basis.


> Grande Ronde Cellars (509-928-2788) is a recent enterprise having started operations in 1997.


> Knipprath Cellars (509-534-5121) is responsible for the first locally produced Port.


> Lone Canary Winery (509-534-9062) is owned by the former winemaker for Caterina Winery and two vineyardists who are fans of his wines.


> Mountain Dome Winery (509-928-2788) does tastings during the afternoons on Tuesday through Saturday.


> Robert Karl Cellars (509-363-1353) is a boutique winery that produces handcrafted premium wines.


Laser Quest (509-624-7700) is interactive and fun for ages 7-77. This is live action laser tag unequaled by any other. It is a mixture of fog, music and special effects that combines tag with hide and seek.


Wonderland Family Fun Center (509-468-4386) is open seven days each week. This Fun Center includes the entire family and offers arcade, laser tag, indoor mini golf. Spend the day and experience the pizza and microbrews that appear on the food menu.






A carousel, hand-carved in 1909 by Charles Looff is a National Historic Landmark. Looff created for his daughter as a wedding present. It is still operating and features the old-time brass ring and ring toss. The rider who grabs the brass ring gets a free ride.


There are a variety of parks and playgrounds in Spokane. The list includes Byrne Park, Glass Playfield, Codur D’Alene Park, Gloven Field, Mission Park, Rochester Heights Park, Audubon Park, Audubon Playground and Webster Park.


The Spokane City Tours (509-456-2284) take visitors around the city in small buses with big windows. They stop at scenic and historic points of interest. This guided bus tour lasts 2.5 hours. The memory lasts a lifetime.


The Riverfront Park (509-625-6601) is a legacy left to Spokane by the 1974 World’s Fair. Rides, Spokane Falls Skyride, miniature golf, a tour tram, IMAX theater, the Ice Palace, Looff’s carousel, the rotary fountain and the biggest red wagon can all be found here in Riverfront Park.





Visitor Information Center
201 W Main Avenue
Spokane, WA 99201


Office of the Mayor
City Hall
808 W Spokane Falls Blvd


Chamber of Commerce
801 W Riverside Ave
Spokane, WA 99210


Bellingham, Washington

November 17, 2014 by · Comments Off on Bellingham, Washington 

Sir William Bellingham of England is the man behind the naming of Bellingham Bay.  He provided supplies and equipment for Captain George Vancouver to make the voyage to Puget Sound in 1792.
The first settlement along Bellingham Bay popped up sixty years later thanks to the efforts of Russell Peabody and Captain Henry Roeder.  They wanted to build a sawmill using water to power the saws.  Energy from water requires a strong waterfall.  By 1853, the sawmill was in operation at the base of the Whatcom Falls.

William Prattle, another fortune hunter, had an interest in coal.  With the help of information from the Lummi Indian Tribe, he found it and opened the Sehome Mine.  For 25 years, this remained the main source of employment for the workers in this area.

Canadian Gold Rush

Washington State and Canada share a common border.  The Canadian Gold Rush of 1858 spilled over to Bellingham Bay in the form of miners with tents.  The 10,000 miners used this site as a staging ground to prepare for their trip up the Fraser River in Canada.  75,000 – 100,000 people stayed on Canadian land making the same preparations.

Most of the gold miners left Bellingham Bay when the Canadian government stepped in and required them to go to Victoria, across Puget Sound, where they would be able to get permits to cross the border.

Another famous American soon came to the Bellingham Bay area with orders to build Fort Bellingham.  Captain George Pickett brought soldiers into the area to protect the members of the Lummi Indian Tribe.  The Tribe had to move onto a reservation in order to avoid the taunting coming from unfriendly Canadian tribes.

Founding of Bellingham

The oldest home in Bellingham is the Pickett House on Bancroft Street.  Captain Pickett built it for his family in 1856.

By 1900, four settlements lined the shores of Bellingham Bay: Whatcom, New Whatcom, Fairhaven and Sehome.  Their independence would be short-lived.  The City of Bellingham formed when the four settlements came together as one in 1903.\nAs a result, the newly formed city was bustling with activity from eight major sawmills and shingle mills as well as four salmon canneries.  Bellingham boasted the largest sawmill and the largest cannery in the early years of the 1900s.

The Bellingham Growth Spurt

Nelson Bennett was the developer that put Tacoma on the map and he intended to do the same thing with Bellingham.  Two other developers joined with him.  Soon C. X. Larrabee, James Wardner and Bennett had plans for business and industry in this new city.  They also planned the links to railroad and steamship lines for exporting their products and importing supplies.

The real estate market boomed.  Buildings in the business district went up in the blink of an eye.  Alleyways between buildings never appeared.  The hub city of Puget Sound was taking shape.  They cleared the land graded most of the roads.

From Boom to Bust to Slow Growth

Then it happened.  The depression of 1893 brought a stop to the frenzied growth of Bellingham.  Businesses closed and banks failed.  The trend spread and affected other bay cities, too.  When a pattern of slow growth emerged in 1900, the deep waters of Bellingham Bay lured industry to the area of Bellingham still called



The document of consolidation, issued in July of 1904, stated thus:

“…Let there be from this hour, one city with one destiny, unity of\npurpose, of action and of aims.”

Formation of the first administrative council proceeded.  It consisted of 15 members governing a population of 22,000.  Within ten years, that population grew to slightly more than 30,000.  This growth repeated itself again during the 1980s and 1990s.

The Bellingham City Charter calls for a mayor-council format where the people elect the mayor to lead the city”s management team.  This period of leadership is a four-year term.  Six elected council members also serve four-year terms.  A seventh at-large council member serves a two-year term.  The people also elect the Municipal Court Judge who also serves a four-year term.

Those who serve at the Mayor”s discretion include the Chief Administrative Officer and all administrative department heads.  The City Council approves hiring or removal of the City Attorney and the Finance Director.  The Bellingham Public Library Board of Trustees appoints the Library Director.


Bellingham is located only 30 miles from the Canadian border.  The two major cities closest to Bellingham are Vancouver, BC (Canada) and Seattle, WA (USA).  Vancouver is closest at 51 miles and Seattle is 90 miles away.  Considering its location at the farthest northwestern corner of the United States, its climate is unusually mild.

Poultry and dairy farms dot the countryside surrounding Bellingham.  The dairy herds graze on lush green pastures for a full ten months of the year.  Two dairy farms produce and ship butter, cheese and powdered milk – some used locally.  Hundreds of poultry farms help Bellingham to maintain a #1 statewide ranking in egg production.

Bellingham has a very mild climate conducive to the agricultural industries, especially the growth of berries and fruits.  The rich soil is a boon to cultivation of the blueberry, raspberry and strawberry crops.  Potatoes and green beans also thrive in this area.  The fruit crop includes apples, cherries, filbert nuts, pears and plums.

Bellingham has a deep-water port welcoming vessels from Alaska and Asia.  Seafood processing plants and shipbuilding enterprises are close to the bay waters.  The economy owes some of its steady growth to a blossoming tourist industry supported solely by the area”s natural beauty.


Bellingham has a 2004 population of 71,000 people and is the seventh largest city in Washington State.  The largest group of this population is from European countries.  Other ethnic groups include the Native Americans, Hispanics, African Americans and the Asian and Pacific Island natives.

In 2003, Bellingham reported a total available labor force of 90,100 with 85,700 actually employed.  The unemployment rate hovers around 5.4%.  There are approximately 29,475 households in Bellingham and the census of 2000 reports an average household income of $32,530 with the average home value at $156,100.

Business and Industry

The top three local manufacturers are Britax Heath Techna, Inc. with an International distribution and annual sales ranging from $50-$100 million; Alpha Technologies, Inc. with an International distribution and annual sales ranging from $50-$100 million; and Yamato Engine Specialists, LTD. With a National distribution and $25-$50 million in annual sales.  These three manufacturers together employ a total workforce of 870.

Yamato is the newest of the top three manufacturers with an opening reported in 1990.  Britax, established in 1946, is one of the oldest manufacturers in Bellingham.  Alpha came on the scene in 1978.

None of these manufacturers has anything to do with lumbering and mining, the two industries that built Bellingham and the surrounding region.  Britax specializes in the production of Aircraft Interior Systems. Alpha produces Industrial
Power Systems and Yamato imports Rebuilt Automotive Engines.


Bellingham boasts 12 banks and 5 credit unions.  The 12 banks that serve this city are as follows:

Bank Northwest\nBank of America\nBanner Bank\nFrontier Bank    Key Bank\nPacific Northwest Bank\nPeople”s Bank\nSkagit State Bank    US Bank\nWashington Mutual\nWells Fargo\nWhidbey Island Bank

Additionally, there are five credit unions in Bellingham.  They are the GAPAC Employees Federal Credit Union, the Industrial Credit Union, the North Coast Credit Union, the Pacific Northwest Credit Union and the Whatcom Educational Credit Union.


The primary newspaper is the Bellingham Herald.  There are several smaller publications and, of course, a few underground news magazines in the mix.  In alphabetical order, this group includes:

Business Pulse Magazine\nBellingham Business Journal\nEcho, The\nEvery Other Weekly\nMount Baker News\nWestern Front, The\nWhatcom Watch

Radio stations broadcasting with AM signals from Metro Bellingham include:

KPUG (1170 AM)\nKGMI (790 AM)\nKBAI (930 AM)

Radio stations broadcasting with FM signals from Metro Bellingham include:

KUGS (89.3 FM)  –  Western Washington University\nKZAZ (91.7 FM)  –  Washington State University\nKISM (92.9 FM)  –  SAGA Broadcasting, LLC\nKAFE (104.3 FM)  –  SAGA Broadcasting, LLC

Some lesser stations operate privately and are not part of this list.  In addition, two television stations are located in Bellingham: KVOS (Channel 12) and KBCB (Channel 24).  Comcast provides cable TV services to this viewing area.

A strong telecommunications system is in place for customers with wireless internet, landline phones, cell phones and any number of conceivable pods.  This system includes AT&T, Advanced TelCom, PAC West, Comcast, Grizzly Telephone Service, Stargate Telecom Inc., Northstar Communications, Qwest and Spring.


Bellingham Public School district serves 10,500 pupils in 13 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, 3 high schools and 1 upper level alternative school.  Twelve private schools at various levels of learning serve another 1,000+ students, averaging 82-85 students per location.

Four institutions of higher learning have campuses in Bellingham.

  • Bellingham Technical College has a student enrollment of 4,500
  • Western Washington University with a student enrollment of 13,500
  • Whatcom Community College has a roster of 6,000
  • Northwest Indian College reports a total of 942 pupils

Of the age 25+ population, 88.5% are high school graduates.  33% have a Bachelor”s Degree or higher.

Where to Stay – What to Do

Bellingham has an International airport for the convenience of business and industry as well as tourists and visitors.  Both passengers and freight come and go from there.  At this time, carriers using the airport on a consistent basis are Allegiant, Horizon and the San Juan Airlines.  The freight carrier is Horizon.  Local charter service is also available.


Bellingham has an assortment of accommodations to fill the need of each weary traveler.  The city has three distinct areas: North Bellingham, Downtown and Fairhaven.

The International Airport is in North Bellingham.  This area abounds with shopping opportunities.  Fortunately, visitors (who literally shopped until they dropped) have a choice of eight lodging accommodations: Travel House Inn, Rodeway Inn, Quality Inn Baron Suites, La Quinta Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Comfort Inn and Hampton Inn Bellingham Airport. Best Western Heritage Inn is a highly recommended lodging establishment.  The atmosphere exemplifies that of a country inn.  Free continental breakfast is available each morning and the list of hotel amenities seems endless.  Even better, the list of room amenities could cause a sane person to drool!

Downtown Bellingham is a tourist paradise with museums, art galleries, retail stores and restaurants.  Lodging in this area is plentiful and includes Motel 6, the Bay City Motor Inn, Travelodge, Days Inn, Coachman Inn Motel, the Hotel Bellwether and the Guesthouse Inn.  While all accommodations in Downtown Bellingham are very good, one stands far above the others: the Best Western Lakeway Inn.

The Best Western Lakeway Inn is a newly remodeled hotel offering excellent guest attention, good food and a full bar as well as indoor pool, sauna, spa and fitness center.  Rooms now have work desks for the business traveler, overstuffed sofas and chairs, coffee makers, hair dryers, state of the art flat screen plasma televisions – and more.

Although Fairhaven does not exist as village or township, the South Bellingham area will always be Fairhaven.  Although the outside architecture is carefully preserved, many of the interiors are remodeled and refurbished. Fairhaven retains its historical charm inviting visitors into its coffee houses, taverns and eateries, antique shops, bookstores, art galleries and luxury spas.

Lodging in this area gives visitors a sense of quaintness.  Two inns are located in Fairhaven: Fairhaven Village Inn and the Chrysalis Inn and Spa.  The Chrysalis Inn and Spa calls itself “a Respite for the Body, Mind and Soul.”  Both are highly recommended.

Fairhaven Village Inn exudes the quaint charm of yesteryear while offering the technology of today. The 22-room inn is in the heart of Historic Fairhaven District.  Your royal treatment includes all of the amenities of the finest hotels including dedicated service for each guest, down comforters, robes, internet – topped off with a sumptuous, free, continental breakfast.

Indoor Activities

Restaurants – Dining

Bellingham has three coffeehouses and one tearoom:

  • Woods Coffee (360-738-4771)
  • Tony”s Coffees (360-738-4710)
  • Rustic Coffee Bar (360-306-8794)

The cozy Abbey Garden Tea Room (360-752-1752) definitely deserves a visit.  “High Tea” is a specialty that is sure to delight your taste buds.  The choice of teas is enviable and your selection comes in an individual pot.  The tearoom also offers sandwiches, quiche, soups and dessert.  This is a very relaxing environment – almost meditative – and a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

Two fast food establishments are located in Bellingham:

  • Fairhaven Fish & Chips
    1020 Harris Avenue
  • Win”s Drive-In (Highly recommended)
    1315 12th Avenue
    All-American hamburgers make this visit worthwhile
    Limited menu: Fish & Chips, Burgers, Soups, soft drinks and shakes

Ethnic foods are readily available in these five establishments:

  • A. W. Asian Bistro
  • Dos Padres (Mexican)
  • Flats Tapas Bar (Spanish)
  • Mambo Italiano Cafe
  • On Rice Thai

A couple of taverns, pizza parlors, ice cream counters, deli”s and bakeries round out the selection for a quick lunch stop.  Turn your attention now to the evening dining experience.  Whether you prefer casual or fine dining, Bellingham can accommodate you!

Fine dining in a relaxed environment overlooking the bay and serving a creative cuisine with an extensive wine list describes the perfect setting for any restaurant.  This is what the Chrysalis Inn and Spa (360-676-9463) is inviting you to experience.

A casual dining experience is yours at any one of these establishments: two Steak & Seafood restaurants or four theme eateries.  The Colophon Cafe (360-647-0092) is the epitome of a casual dining experience.  This very trendy soup and sandwich cafe tempts visitors to stay awhile longer to taste their homemade desserts.


Bellingham is home to the oldest continuously running and most famous theatre on the West Coast.  The Bellingham Theatre Guild (360-733-1811) organized in 1929 to stimulate interest in cultural productions.  The Guild came graciously into the age of technology.  Every two weeks they place the theatre playbill and other scheduled events on their website.


You can catch street musicians setting up an impromptu site for your listening pleasure as you shop, tour or eat.  However, for a wonderful musical experience, you should plan to spend an evening listening to the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra.  Concerts take place at the Mount Baker Theatre.

  • Whatcom Symphony Orchestra
    104 North Commercial
    Call the ticket office for concert schedules and tickets.


The compulsive shopper must stop into the Bellis Fair Mall.  This is a new complex located in north Bellingham near the International Airport.  Factory outlets, boutiques and specialty stores are conveniently – and strategically – located around the city.

Museums and Galleries

Bellingham has its fair share of art galleries and museums.  Certain ones stand out as being superior.  The art galleries in this group include:

Allied Arts Gallery
1418 Cornwall Avenue

1000 Harris Avenue

Chuckanut Bay Gallery & Sculpture Garden
700 Chuckanut Drive

Lucia Douglas Gallery
1415 13th Street

Mark Bergsma Photographer
11 Bellwether Way, Suite 104

Mindport Exhibits
210 West Holly

Rebecca Meloy
PO Box 723

Pacific Marine Gallery
700 West Holly Street

WWU Outdoor Sculpture Collection
Western Washington University

WWU Western Gallery
Western Washington University

Four other galleries are close to some of these listed locations.  They feature a variety of artistic endeavors from framing, pottery and jewelry to sculpture works.

There are several important, yet unusual, museums in Bellingham.  Some are interactive and others are static exhibits.  All of them present some aspect of the historical development of Bellingham:

American Museum of Radio and Electricity
1312 Bay Street
This museum is the only one of its kind in North America.  Artifacts and interactive exhibits trace the history of radio from the discovery of electricity to the evolution of radio broadcasting, as we know it today.

The Bellingham Railway Museum
1320 Commercial Street
The museum traces the history, heritage and operation in and around Bellingham.

Maritime Heritage Center
1600 C Street

Whatcom Children”s Museum
227 Prospect Street

Whatcom Museum of History and Art
121 Prospect Street
This is four buildings that each have a different theme encouraging discovery and exploration.  One of the buildings houses The Children”s Museum (above).

Outdoor Activities

Recreation and Tours

There are many opportunities in Bellingham Bay area for outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting and camping.  Bellingham is the place for the RV camping crowd.   The Bellingham RV Park is a camping dream!  It has 56 full service pull-through sites with an address that makes a great sightseeing starting point.  Where can you go from where we are located?  Check out this partial list:

B. B. Stables (360-398-2729) is the place for horse lovers and owners.  The Stables can accommodate the beginning rider, recreational rider, show participant or a spectator fascinated with horses.  This facility dedicates its services toward both the horse and the rider.  They give owners an opportunity to truly bond with the horses.

Golf Courses are abundant in Bellingham, which ranked #7 on the Golf Digest 2002 list of the “Best Golf Cities”.  Bellingham is in Whatcom County, which has the largest
number of public golf courses in the entire Pacific Northwest.  Some private courses allow guests to play through with a member.  Bring your clubs to a golf course in or around Bellingham.

Bellingham Parks and Recreation provides and maintains hiking and biking trails as well as swimming pools and beaches.  There are public picnic grounds, softball and soccer fields and gorgeous gardens. The City of Bellingham provides many public facilities promoting opportunities for healthy exercise and fitness.

This “city by the bay” is a natural location for water sports of all kinds.  Sailing, kayaking, whale watching and rafting are most popular.  It is also the point of departure for charters to the San Juan Islands and up to Vancouver.


Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism
904 Potter St. Bellingham, WA 98229

City of Bellingham-City Hall
210 Lottie Street Bellingham, WA 98225

Bellingham-Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry
119 N. Commercial Street Bellingham, WA  98225

Aberdeen, Washington

November 17, 2014 by · Comments Off on Aberdeen, Washington 


Early European explorers viewed the Washington State Pacific coastline as a formidable foe. Steep rocky cliffs appeared insurmountable and served no useful purpose against this unpredictable ocean. The beaches seemed to emerge from thick forests that scouts could not penetrate. American explorer Robert Gray made his second voyage to this area in 1792. He discovered a protected bay that he named Bullfinch”s Harbor. Eventually, it became Grays Harbor.

Grays Harbor would not be secret for very long. Like good fishing holes, the word spreads. Those calm, sheltered waters began to attract plenty of attention. In 1859, nearby Hoquiam became a town. During the next two decades, many villages emerged along the shores of Grays Harbor. However, Aberdeen remained the shining star that dominated all other settlements.

Cans and Logs

Samuel Benn arrived in 1859 and five years later, he acquired a large parcel of land extending along both sides of the harbor. His family then came up from San Francisco and settled in Aberdeen. Six years passed and George Hume came to Aberdeen in search of a site where he could build a cannery. Samuel Benn provided that parcel of land. Many Scottish investors, who supported the establishment of this cannery, lived in Aberdeen, Scotland. Therefore, the town took on the name of Aberdeen in 1884.

Benn was instrumental in the establishment of the cannery. In his mind, he was the owner of HIS blossoming community. He proceeded to actively advertise a site that would be perfect for a sawmill. The word traveled quickly to a Michigan community, where a certain lumberman named AJ West resided. West set sights on Aberdeen and arrived there in 1884. Construction began immediately and it took less than a month to have his sawmill up and running.

This prompted a man named Captain John Weatherwax to build a sawmill nearby. At the time, lumber was quite plentiful. The sawmills could support a shipbuilding industry with ease. However, the shipbuilding aspect did not survive the test of time.

Schooners provided transport for the lumber to places up and down the Pacific coast, but businessmen of Aberdeen craved a rail line to ship inland. They made overt offers designed to lure Northern Pacific Railroad to build a terminal here. Although their efforts failed, the town fathers pushed ahead with Plan B. They bought rail from an auction and constructed a spur line connecting to the Northern Pacific terminal. Access inland was now available.


Aberdeen formed a mayor-council form of government. A representative from each of six wards sits on the council. The city council is responsible for setting and/or changing policy. Council decisions go to the mayor”s office and the mayor makes the final decision. The mayor”s authority includes the ultimate power of veto.

Aberdeen Washington prospered under the leadership of previous creative town fathers who had a personal stake in maintaining prosperity. Even after the Fire of 1902 and another the following year, Aberdeen would rebuild, survive and prosper.

The city council enacted codes to make sure the Aberdeen Washington of the future would be safe for its 17,000 residents. Success breeds success and during the next 30 years the population swelled to 26,000. European immigrants came to Aberdeen from all over the globe. The majority of the immigrants claim roots in Scandinavia.


Economic conditions in Aberdeen have peaked and sunk over the years. Depletion of natural resources without replacement spells doom for industries
that depend on these resources for economic support. Necessity allowed Aberdeen the flexibility to change its economic identity over the years. The early settlers were creative and pliable, doing whatever they could to build a new community.

Depression years created devastation in Aberdeen. Some mills closed and remaining mills began hiring Filipino immigrants as well as the Jewish people. Aberdeen did experience a short-lived boom during and following World War II, but the economy finally tanked in the late 1950s.

From 1900 to 1960, Aberdeen Washington cultivated a healthy reputation as the supreme “rough and tumble” town of the West Coast. The alternative to mining and canning fish was apparently the establishment of whorehouses, gambling centers and saloons. The town had effectively positioned itself to welcome sailors coming into the harbor after long stretches at sea. Tourism could be the natural successor to these “businesses”.

During the next 20 years, mills closed and fishing enterprises slowed down causing a dilemma for the city leaders. The current unemployment rate is reaching 10%. Slightly more than 60% of all workers live and work in Aberdeen.


The population of Aberdeen Washington is steady at approximately 16,500 (8,000 males and 8,500 females). There are presently 7500 households in this town. In 2007, the average household income was about $38,000 with the average home value at $125,900.

Aberdeen is a young town with a large, white, immigrant population from Europe (German, Irish, English, Norwegian and Swedish) mixed with those of Native American and Hispanic background.

Business and Industry

Although Aberdeen is not the headquarters for any major business right now, there is a wide choice of occupations for workers in this town. Male workers tend to gravitate toward agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, construction, hospitality, wood and woodworking, education, public service and dining.

The female workforce tends toward fields such as healthcare, social services, public administration, education, hospitality, dining establishments and general merchandise retail.


Aberdeen Washington is the financial hub of the region surrounding Gray”s Harbor. It is home to institutions such as the Pacific Financial Corporation, which oversees the state commercial banks.

Branches of the Timberland Bank, Anchor Mutual Savings Bank, Washington Mutual Bank, Bank of America, Bank of the Pacific, Sterling Savings Bank and Keybank National Association are part of the Aberdeen landscape. Aberdeen sits on a 10.5 square mile area and there may be more than one location for each bank. On the surface, it appears that there is at least one bank for each square mile!


Two AM radio stations are located in Aberdeen: KXRO (1320 AM) and KBKW (1450 AM). On the other hand, seven FM stations have Aberdeen addresses: KDUX (104.7 FM), K205EN (88.9 FM), K207BD (89.3 FM), K221BG (92.1 FM), K296CV (107.1 FM), KJET (105.7 FM1) and K265DP (100.9 FM).

There are also two television stations in Aberdeen Washington: K23AS (CHANNEL 23) and K25CG (CHANNEL 25).


Educational experiences are plentiful through the 12th grade level. There are seven elementary and one middle school serving close to 2500 children. Two schools begin with Pre-Kindergarten youngsters and one of those is exclusive to the Pre-K level. The other PK school advances to grade six.

One private (catholic) elementary school is located in Aberdeen and educates 138 students from Pre-K through grade 8. Assuming one classroom for each grade, this small private school has a teacher-pupil ratio of 1::15.

Three high schools serve almost 400 pupils. The two traditional high schools have distinctly different structures. HOMELINK is an alternative school.

One institution of higher learning is located within Aberdeen Washington: Gray”s
Harbor College. This public college serves almost 1300 full-time students. Other colleges are 50-95 miles outside Aberdeen.


Aberdeen has several different types of accommodations to satisfy the taste of weary travelers. The Harbor View Inn is a bed and breakfast located ON Gray”s Harbor. Five comfortable guestrooms each have an awesome view of the harbor. They range in price from a winter low of $139 to a summer high of $225.

Guesthouse International Aberdeen is less expensive, but no less engaging. It is in downtown Aberdeen on the bank of the Chehalis River. Rates range from $80 to $99 per night. There is a selection of suites available with access to the indoor pool, hot tub, gym, fitness center and the internet. Rooms include a daily deluxe continental breakfast each morning.

Other hotels and motels are available in Aberdeen as well. These include the Red Lion Hotel, Olympic Inn Motel, Nordic Inn and the Thunderbird Motel.


Indoor Leisure Activities

Restaurants – Dining

There are few fast food establishments in Aberdeen! You will find a wide range of dining experiences including casual dining, family dining, bistro dining, gourmet dining and fine dining. Aberdeen has 24 known eateries with the following recommended restaurants on its “short” list:

Billy’s Bar and Grill
322 E. Heron Street
Local favorite with bar in rear. Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Bridges Restaurant
112 N. G Street
Wonderful Steak and Seafood. Banquet rooms / lounge

Coffee Bean Cafe and Popcorn
101 E. Wishkah Street
Coffee, espresso, lunch or popcorn. Downtown location / Outdoor seating

Duffy”s Restaurant
1605 Simpson Avenue
Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Family dining tradition since 1945. Fried chicken with wild blackberry pie.

1017 S. Boone Street
Authentic Mexican food. Multiple decorated dining rooms.

Thai Carrot Restaurant
412 S. Boone Street
Best Thai food. Closed Mondays / Hours vary each day

There are at least 16 more eateries of various types, sizes and dining experiences. This makes up the remainder of the list of 24 establishments. It is always a good idea make dining reservations in advance.


Aberdeen Washington has a bowling alley, but rumors still circulate as to its longevity. User BillSimpson2009 alerts us that Hoquiam is located very close and there is an exceptional bowling center just two blocks into Hoquiam. Visitors should not miss the experience of SpareTime Bowl. This 52 year old center hosts amateur and professional tournaments, and is reported to have good customer service. Very friendly and accommodating. By far the best and oldest center on the Harbor!


Aberdeen Washington has a couple of small theatres, but it is not a “theatre” town. Hoquiam is located very close and there is an exceptional theatre in the downtown area. Visitors should not miss the experience of the 7th Street Theatre. This beautiful, historic and atmospheric theater seats more than 1,100 people for the enjoyment of both amateur and professional productions including concerts and plays.

For the rainy day, there is a 10-screen movie theater in south Aberdeen at the Southshore Mall.


Boutiques? Yes. Malls? One. You must leave Aberdeen Washington to find your mall shopping experiences, but who’d want to? If you are looking for a satisfying shopping experience, antique shops and specialty stores are abundant in downtown Aberdeen. There is also one unique shopping experience in Aberdeen: Gray”s Harbor Street Market.

The Gray’s Harbor Street Market is open Saturday and Sunday in spring and summer only. This market is famous throughout the Pacific Northwest as THE street market. Visitors will find items here that cannot be located anywhere else. A variety of up to 150 vendors offer fresh
fruits, vegetables, arts, crafts, gifts, treasures, wood works, flowers, home made food, snacks and walkway entertainment. This is a safe place to bring friends and family for a unique and fun experience.

Museums and Galleries

No visit to Aberdeen is complete without a stop at the Aberdeen Museum of History. Both static and interactive exhibits trace the development of Aberdeen from the early days of the logging industry leading to the establishment of Aberdeen. Additional exhibits of artifacts and slide shows enhance the main museum exhibits. The museum is open from November until March 1.

Aberdeen is not an “art gallery” sort of place, which is ironic when one considers the fact that this town is the birthplace of painter, Robert Motherwell. His works are those of an abstract expressionist painter. Motherwell was a contemporary artist who lived to be 75 years old. He died in 1991.

Outdoor Leisure Activities

Recreation and Tours

Aberdeen”s Skate Park is a safe place for skateboarding or inline skating enthusiasts to enjoy themselves while continuing to develop their skills. It is a challenging, facility that is used by skaters, skateboarders and scooter riders.

Westport Winery is a vineyard and commercial winery that owes its existence to urgings of an agricultural extension agent. This vineyard is not entirely about grapes. Westport wines are about good food, great guests, wonderful activities and fabulous scenery.

Another popular tour originates at the historical seaport where the Lady Washington resides when in town. The present ship is a full-scale model of the original vessel built in Massachusetts in the mid 1700s. This is the first American vessel to complete a trading voyage via Cape Horn and sail on to arrive at the West Coast of North America. Lady Washington is also the first American ship to sail into Hong Kong, Honolulu and Japan on goodwill and trading missions.

Today”s Lady Washington is an exact replica of the original, which historians researched and skilled shipwrights constructed. Every detail is a careful match to the original vessel. In addition, the new, improved Lady Washington meets every safety requirement set by the United States Coast Guard for a new millennium ship. Lady Washington has a maximum crew of 12 overseeing a passenger capacity of 48 people. Updated information about educational sessions, sailings and harbor tours is available from the Gray”s Harbor Historical Seaport Authority (800-200-5239) or by emailing ghhsa_admin@historicalseaport.org.

For the landlubbers who love to golf, there is the Gray”s Harbor Country Club course in Aberdeen Washington. This is a par-70, traditional, narrow 9-hole course designed in 1921. Two other local golf courses include the Highland Golf Course in Cosmopolis and the Oaksridge Golf Course in nearby Elma.

Organized Hiking comes in the form of an excellent walking tour of historic Broadway Hill. The homes and gardens on the hill belonged to the businessmen and the lumber barons of old Aberdeen.

Beachcombers, boaters and fishermen would be in heaven as they ply the waters and beaches of this Olympic Peninsula.





Grays Harbor
Board of Tourism

Post Office Box 1229
Elma, WA 98541
Aberdeen City Hall
200 E. Market Street
Aberdeen, WA 98520360-537-3227
Grays Harbor
Chamber of Commerce
506 Duffy Street
Aberdeen, WA 98520360-532-1924

DFI Releases Annual Top Threats Facing Investors List

November 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) released their annual list of scams likely to trap investors.
Regulators are seeing classic threats to investors morph into new or altered dangers, many fueled by the Internet. Overarching all of these threats are unlicensed agents selling unregistered products to

Good Read: Ideas to Improve Financial Lives, From the Treasurer’s Office

November 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The New York Times recently ran an article on Treasurers around the country improving the financial lives of citizens through innovative programs.

In San Francisco, for example, treasurer Jose Cisneros set up a program to offer low income residents free or low-cost bank accounts. The program has been replicated in more than 100 cities.

It’s a great read and can be found at http://

Spanish Version of Money Smart for Older Adults Now Available

November 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently released a Spanish-language version of the Money Smart for Older Adults curriculum.
The Spanish-language version is the companion to the English-language program jointly developed last year by the two agencies. The instructor-led module includes practical information that can be put to use