Welcome, parents, to Bellingham, the city of subdued excitement. Photo by Joe Rudko/The AS Review

Welcome, parents, to Bellingham, the city of subdued excitement. Photo by Joe Rudko/The AS Review

Alex Bacon/The AS Review

There comes a time in nearly every college student’s life when something both wonderful and stressful occurs: a visit from the parents.  This event can illicit varying reactions. Some students greet a visit from their parents with joy, others with anguish and others with annoyance.  I happen to fall into the first category. I love when my parents come to visit, particularly because they come to visit only once or twice a year. One of those infrequent visits occurred when my mom came up for a visit last week.

The problem many students, myself included, encounter when parents come to visit is the question, “So… what are we going to do while we’re up there?”

My mom was visiting for about 24 hours, so I only had a few chances to show her some good Bellingham food.  For dinner on this particular visit we had Thai at On Rice.  At the suggestion of one of my coworkers, I took my mom to the Little Cheerful for lunch, a quintessential Bellingham spot. Situated on the corner of one of the busiest intersections in town, it offers a view of the city as well as a taste of it.

Laura Sandall, a senior, suggested taking parents to On Rice, as well as Boundary Bay Brewery and the Old Town Café.  She also said not to miss Mallard Ice Cream because it’s a fun place that offers unique flavors.

Sophomore Grace Hatt has taken her parents to Jalapeños, a Mexican restaurant downtown, and the Colophon Café in Fairhaven.  According to Hatt, who is a vegetarian, the Colophon Café has many delicious vegetarian options, as well as options for non-vegetarians.  She also recommended Woods Coffee in Boulevard Park as a good place to sit and talk.

But there’s only so much eating one family can do, which leaves other time to fill.  For outdoorsy families like Sandall’s, Bellingham has several options.

“There’s so much to do outside here in Bellingham,” Sandall said.

Some of the places Sandall said her family enjoys the most include Boulevard Park, Lummi Island and the San Juan Islands.  She said her family also likes to hike around Lake Padden and on trails off of Chuckanut Drive.

When my mom visited in the spring of last year, we drove down Chuckanut Drive to LaConner and wandered through the tulip fields.  The last time my whole family visited, we made a trip down to Larrabee State Park, where there’s a beach and fantastic views of the San Juan Islands. If the weather had been nicer during my mom’s recent visit, I would have taken her to Fairhaven Park.

Parents that like to look at, buy or make pieces of artwork have many options in Bellingham as well.  My mom and I spent most of Wednesday morning during her visit wandering through the many art shops in Fairhaven, browsing through everything from pottery to woodwork.

Sandall recommends CreativiTea in Fairhaven as a great activity for artsy parents.  At CreativiTea people can choose from a variety of different pre-made pottery to paint as they like, or can make fused glass pieces while they drink freshly-brewed pots of tea.

Bellingham offers a variety of small, locally owned shops all over town.  Many are located in Fairhaven and downtown.
My mom and I visited Merchbot and Greenhouse while we were downtown.  While we were in Fairhaven, we hit A Lot of Flowers and The Garden Store.

If you’re in Fairhaven, Sandall and Hatt suggested visiting Village Books, which often has speakers and readings.