Road Trip to Bellingham, Mother's Day, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day brought a fun adventure this year. My son Jake came down to Seattle on Saturday with his girlfriend, Angie, to attend a play with his Grandma, while I went to a musical with my sister and my Mom. Both performances were quite enjoyable. Sunday morning, Angie needed to return to Bellingham for work and I agreed to drive Jake back to Bellingham on Sunday afternoon. 

Jake, my dog Frodo and I went to my sister's house for lunch and a Mother's Day visit with Mom and other family. After that we hit the freeway north to Bellingham from Seattle. We made a brief stop at Gissberg Twin Lakes (a Snohomish County park just outside of Marysville) so Jake could do a bit of fishing, and hit a Starbucks for some cold beverages. We decided to travel on Chuckanut Drive, scenic state Highway 11 along the bluff between Bellingham and Mount Vernon.  I'll definitely return to that drive with my camera! 

Once in Bellingham, it was almost dinnertime. We made a stop at Jake's apartment to drop Frodo off, as it was too warm to keep him in the car while we had dinner. We stopped at the Whatcom Creek Fish Hatchery, where Jake attends Bellingham Technical College's Fisheries and Aquaculture program. 

Baby salmon.

A storage pond at the fish hatchery. The pipe is depositing hatchery-hatched salmon smolt that have had a fin clipped off for identification. 

This trailer houses the facility that clips the fins of the fish. The fish are sluiced from the round pond here to the storage pond above. They will be released later this year. The Lummi Tribe owns the trailer and manages the finning operation, and the Fisheries program students assist them. 

Jake looks down Whatcom Creek from the hatchery property. 

Wild family along the banks of the creek. 

After our visit, we were hungry, so we went across town to the Boundary Bay Brewery on his recommendation, and the suggestion of many other folks. Jake just turned 21, so I think this is the first time I had dinner with my kid in a bar. Boundary Bay is a popular brewery and restaurant with the Bellingham crowd. 

The Brewery is housed in a historic warehouse building in downtown Bellingham, built in 1992. The brewery opened in 1995, the front edge of the craft brew-pub trend. It's a pretty building, with interesting architectural details. They have a large bar, dining area, outdoor patio looking out on the bay, and a big beer garden, where they have festivals and live music in the summer. 

Entryway decorations. 

The bricks.

The place is large, but unpretentious, it's clear they've been at this craft brewing and chow thing for a while.  At first we decided to wait for a dining room table and then decided to eat in the bar, where the warehouse garage doors were open. 

Trying to be a little healthy, I started with a Harvest Salad. Greens with fresh apples, gorgonzola and candied walnuts, and a vinaigrette on the side. Everything was very fresh, and the dressing was well balanced and flavorful. 

Jake enjoyed a special menu item, Bangers and Mash, with smashed peas and brown gravy. The sausages were sourced from Uli's Famous Sausage in Pike Place Market, Seattle, and were very good. 

I had the classic Mac & Cheese. It was delicious, made with four kinds of cheese: Fontina, Monterey Jack, Cheddar & Parmigiano-Reggiano. Creamy with a crusty top. Perfect; there was enough for lunch the next day. 

The beer is, of course, quite good. I had a Scotch Ale, a red ale that is smooth and rich, but not too hoppy or bitter. 

Dogs are everywhere in Bellingham. Our neighbors at the next table brought their dog to dinner. Marley, at age 14, was paying attention to every bite that went from our plates to our mouths. Unfortunately for him, nothing fell to the ground. 

After dinner, we visited the best ice cream in B'ham, Mallard Ice Cream. This place was hopping! Fresh made ice cream in interesting flavors. Jake and I both had chocolate, a delicious classic. 

I took Jake home after ice cream and my dog Frodo and I met up with my photography mentor and good friend, Paul Conrad. We stopped at the Boardwalk, a long park along the bay, chatted about life and pictures, work and fun. The sunset was a bit of a bust, not very colorful, but Frodo was enjoying the beach. 

Frodo, at age 12. 

I'm sure I'll visit more spots in Bellingham in the near future. It's a wonderful college town (home of Western Washington University), and also the home of my oldest child.