Bellingham reads in style…
Someone wanted to visit a friend, said friend lives in a town moderately far away… so off we went on a grand adventure to Bellingham, WA. We took the scenic route on the Chuckanut Drive (route 11) because it made for a prettier getaway and mapquest said it wouldn’t take much more time than taking ol’ reliable but boring I5. It was an amazing drive. Two lane road winding around a very rocky cliff warning of slides and falling rocks. Water…the San Juans…rocky edges so close I could have reached out and touched them. It was a nice drive despite the rider’s sunburn I am now nursing. This scenic drive led us right into Fairhaven, a suburb of Bellingham. It is a quaint lovely nature loving, recycling-is-a-top-priority-here kind of place. There were so few major chains of anything there that we didn’t even discover the Starbucks till well into the evening. They had their local banks and their local grocery stores and more than one co-op food group! How absolutely greenalicious is that? The sidewalks were littered with quirky red benched bus stops, red and white fire hydrants and blue recycle containers filled to their brims with plastic and glass eco-responsibility.
I looked for its Barnes and Noble, a stop I search for in every place I travel. I didn’t find one but what I did find was even better… two independent books stores on the same road… one multi-level store peopled like one rarely sees in an independent book store anymore or any place dealing with enrichment of the mind. The one I am referring to is “Village Books” which is larger than life, bigger (and better) than Barnes and Noble or Amazon.com and Borders (by far!). It has so much muchliness it pours out onto the court-yard where people linger all day just to ingest a little (or a lot) before they go forward on their merry ways or they stop after a long day of work for respite that is all too elusive in our fast-paced gotta-go, gotta-produce society. Sprinkled out like crumbs for the hansel and gretels of Bellingham were quotes on the outside of the store enticing people inside to relish or discover or rediscover the beauty of books, the wonder of reading. Quotes like,
Some books leave us free, some books make us free.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
A room without books is like a body without a soul.
Outside the store, in the rear, there was a wonderful old phone box like thingy painted bright red which makes for excellent photographs, which I did not get because people were there the entire day and I did not want to take their photographs for personal reasons.
Village Books was amazing! I will have to visit it again SOON! And I will regale you with more enchanted stories when I do. But the reading fun was not over…no, no, no!
We went searching for the library and the Fairhaven library we found nestled in a neighborhood of friendly victorian houses, home gardens and chicken coops! It was beautiful with arches and a proud sign declaring ownership as if it were the place everyone should be.
The people of Bellingham smiled and waved and said hello all day long. They asked what bird made that beautiful sound when they saw me wielding a pair of birdnoculars…they welcomed us when we snuck onto their private property to glimpse a raven. They were friendly and their obvious reverence for books swept me off my feet. I think Iam in love…