Fairhaven

A small town with a big reputation

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Among our waterside gems is Fairhaven, a historic part of Bellingham. It was founded as its own town in the 1880s by Daniel Jefferson Harris, an entrepreneur and convicted felon nicknamed “Dirty Dan.” Fairhaven immortalizes Dirty Dan with a bronze statue that sits in the middle of the Fairhaven Green, where on summer Saturdays, locals and visitors alike gather to watch movies together after sundown.

The town’s name comes from a translation of its indigenous name, “see-see-lich-em,” meaning safe port. Fairhaven was originally a predominantly fishing-based economy before being amalgamated with Bellingham in the early 1900s. While Fairhaven no longer is the thriving commercial fishing hub of yesteryear, it still has a vibrant marine industrial and transportation base. The Bellingham Cruise Terminal is the gateway terminal for the Alaska Marine Highway and also serves as a jumping off point for whale watching companies and water taxis to the San Juan Islands. Fairhaven is either the first or the last U.S. stop on the Amtrak Cascades route that runs from Vancouver, B.C. to Eugene, Oregon, depending on if travelers are venturing north or south.

This Waterside town was made for strolling, and visitors can’t help but notice the plaques embedded in the sidewalks, each bearing a historical factoid. Looking up, the old timey architecture helps to transport sightseers back to a simpler time. Ocean views, charming shops and lively events and festivals keep Fairhaven bustling all year round.

The shops and boutiques in Fairhaven appeal to shoppers of all ages and tastes. Whether visitors are searching for books, shoes, housewares, toys, local greeting cards, clothing or even artisan olive oil and vinegar, Fairhaven is the place to shop. Restaurants range from casual, walk-up burger joints to upscale Italian bistros. Visitors will have no trouble finding bars to fit their taste, from dives to upscale to prohibition-themed cocktail parlors, yup, there’s something for all tastes and budgets in Fairhaven.

Pups are always welcome in Fairhaven. Dogs can pop into many local shops right alongside their owners, and there is even a dog-friendly tavern along the walk to Marine Park and the Bellingham Cruise Terminal.   

Come visit Fairhaven, where tourists and locals come together to decompress, meander and enjoy the slow tick of time, rain or shine.

For more information, visit enjoyfairhaven.com.

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