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Average Ratings:
Artisticness: 4.0    Calmness: 4.5    Helpfulness: 3.5   
Intellectualness: 3.5    Neatness: 4.5    Outgoingness: 3.0   
Average Resident Personality Test Scores:
Artisticness: 3.05    Calmness: 3.07    Helpfulness: 2.96   
Intellectualness: 3.23    Neatness: 3.36    Outgoingness: 3.24   

Reviews

Name: | Age: 39 | Gender: Female | ZIP: 98225 | Resident for: 5-10 years | Added on: 2006-03-27
Artisticness: 4   Calmness: 4   Helpfulness: 3   Intelligence: 3   Neatness: 4   Outgoingness: 2   
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What do you like about Bellingham? When I moved to Bellingham from San Francisco in late 1994, I liked it because it was far more laid-back than the big city, and easier to get around. I lived in the older part of town on the west side of I-5, and liked that I was never really more than about 10 minutes from anything.

The presence of Western Washington University makes a big difference--Bellingham is much more liberal than surrounding towns like Lynden, and WWU brings many cultural and intellectual events to town. WWU has sports, but it doesn't have the Greek System, which I see as an advantage. Things can get rowdy around campus at the beginning and end of each academic quarter, but the lack of frat-boy culture helps keep the worst chaos away.

B'ham is also roughly halfway between Vancouver, BC and Seattle, so weekend trips to either place (or even to Portland, OR or Victoria, BC) are easy enough.

In the winter, skiing and snowboarding at Mt Baker is only a 45-minute drive, and Whistler/Blackcomb is a popular weekend destination. For outdoorsy people, there is something to do all year 'round--hiking, sailing, kayaking, diving, mountain- and road-biking--you name it.

What do you dislike about Bellingham? In the last 10 years, Bellingham has grown a lot, especially to the north and east. Traffic is far heavier than it once was. Housing costs have skyrocketed, yet I wonder who the hell can afford those prices? The local economy is heavily service sector/retail, so unless you have a well-paying job lined up, are a student at WWU, or are independently wealthy, it's not an easy place to move to and get established. The job market is limited, and for outsiders it can be hard to crack.

While Bellingham isn't a bad place to live as an artist--the locals are pretty tolerant of quirkiness--it's a terrible place to try to sell your work. Almost every artist I knew who lived there actually made their livings from shows or galleries in Seattle or Bellevue. Bellingham likes to think it has a thriving art community, and given the number of artists living there, it does. But the locals are loath to actually spend money on supporting the arts or buying local artists' work.

It's also not a very diverse population--it's more diverse now than it was when I first moved there, but as a friend of mine from Berkeley characterized it, "Bellingham is white people with dogs."

What are your favorite parts of the city to live and/or hang out in? I used to love Fairhaven, back when it was a funky, slightly shabby historical district. Now it's a trendy, overpriced shopping district, filled with boutiques catering to tourists and the relatively small number of local middle-aged women with money. Downtown isn't bad, but it's seen a surge of gentrification in the last 3 years and is going the same way as Fairhaven.

How expensive is it? Too damn expensive, given the jobs available. And gas prices there are always higher than anywhere else in Western Washington because Whatcom County is at the fringe-end of the distribution network.

Is it safe? Overall, I'd say so.

How is the weather? Beautiful summers (mid-June through late September), but gray, wet, and sometimes oppressively gloomy the rest of the year. The high winds and incessant rain in the winter can make you a little crazy.

Additional thoughts? Though I'm not a parent, I'd say Bellingham is a pretty family-friendly town (if you can afford to live there, anyway). It's not a great place to be a single person over 30, especially if you're not a churchgoer. There is no singles' scene.

Between WWU, Whatcom Community College, and Bellingham Technical College, there are ample opportunities to further your education. I went to WCC, then transferred in to WWU, and finally got my BA at age 36, and I think B'ham's realtively small size and laid-back atmosphere made it a lot easier for me to do that than if I'd tried doing it in a large city.

I left Bellingham two years ago because of the lack of decent jobs, the increasing traffic, and a desire to live in a place that was more supportive of its artists. I'm now in Seattle, and strangely enough I now find it easier to live here in the big city again than I did in little ol' Bellingham.


Name: | Age: 20 | Gender: Male | ZIP: 98225 | Resident for: 1 year | Added on: 2007-11-29
Artisticness: 4   Calmness: 5   Helpfulness: 4   Intelligence: 4   Neatness: 5   Outgoingness: 4   
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What do you like about Bellingham:

I love the size of Bellingham. No matter where you live you're close to something awesome. The parks are fantastic, the people are laid-back and friendly and the weather in the summer is amazing.

Bellingham is historic and they've made it a point to restore older areas and keep them really nice. Trees everywhere, which is typical of the area. It's not over developed and has a strong buy local scene.


What do you dislike about Bellingham?

The winters are mild, but generally wet. It doesn't rain much when you compare it to other cities like Atlanta or Miami, but it's always wet. Mist and fog roll in from the mountains or the ocean and very light drizzle is to be expected. The rainy season lasts 7 or 8 months out of the year.


What are your favorite parts of the city to live and/or hang out in?

Downtown is fantastic. It's safe and full of different kinds of places. Larger retail outlets have been pushed outside the historic areas and mom and pop shops have filled the void. Downtown is beautiful and is mostly restored buildings.

The parks here are amazing no matter which part of the city you're in there's a beautiful park close by. There are parks along the bay, in the hills and even one with a waterfall.

How expensive is it?

Very. The median house here is somewhere around 300k. It's expensive to own, but cheap to rent. I have a nice 1 bedroom around 800 sqft in the most expensive part of town, the bay area between fairhaven and downtown. Gas here is always more expensive. We usually hover around $3.20-$3.30 all year round. The good thing about Bellingham though is that you don't need to drive much to get to where you need to go. As a student I walked to and from campus and only used my car to get groceries and run occasional errands. I made a tank of gas last 4 months. Now that I hold a fulltime job I fill up once every month to two months.



Is it safe?

I walk downtown late at night all the time. I regularly walk alone down town at 1am. I've never felt threatened. There are homeless sometimes, but I've never felt threatened by them or afraid or anything.

How is the weather?

Weather is fantastic 4 months out of the year and terrible the rest of the time. It's not really rainy, but we have a wet season from Sep-April. Summers are unbelievable though. During the summer this is the nicest place in the US.

Additional thoughts?

The college here keeps the feel of the place liberal and laid-back. Protests are a regular scene on street corners. The place looks as green as the color.