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Blaine, Washington is a quaint seaside city within walking distance of the Canadian border. Don’t let the quiet fool you, however. As home of Peace Arch Park, there’s plenty to do and see. Check out this list of local gems.

Marine Park

Look out over Blaine Harbor’s blue waters at Marine Park. Overlooking Boundary and Semiahmoo Bay, Marine Park is a fantastic spot for casual strolls, picnics, beachcombing and more. There’s even a nautically-themed playground for kids. Signs along the trails will tell you about local wildlife, from herons to harlequin ducks. Stop by Alaskan Wild Fish & Chips by Gate 3 for delicious seafood baskets.

Take a stroll through Marine Park. Photo courtesy: Amy Page.

Plover Ferry

While you’re at the harbor, check out the oldest foot passenger ferry in the state. Named after plover birds, it was originally built to ferry workers from Blaine Harbor to the old Semiahmoo salmon cannery in 1944. Today the Plover takes you on a 20-minute ride around the bay on a similar route. On the way, you may spot basking seals and the captain might even give kids a chance to drive the boat.

Horseshoe Coins & Antiques

On the corner of Peace Portal Drive and Martin Street, stands Horseshoe Coins & Antiques. This unique corner of Blaine offers an enormous assortment of antiques. Find unique old coins, medals, badges, historical photos, stamps and a lot more. The owner, Bill Becht, is a fan of history and collecting, and is always willing to share some knowledge.

Railway Café

Don’t miss Railway Cafe. Photo courtesy: Amy Page.

Railway Café is an adorable red caboose turned into a cozy spot for coffee, sandwiches and crepes. Originally brought to Blaine in the eighties, it has been home to a stained-glass studio, a cigar shop and more. Children and children-at-heart can still pull the train horn inside. You can find the old wheel at the rear of the café and the conductor’s portrait still hangs outside the adjacent building. Owner Katy Bennett hopes that anyone visiting the café will come away satiated and maybe just a little more whimsical. I personally recommend the caramel apple pie crepes.

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park is a local treasure. Photo courtesy: Amy Page.

Lincoln Park is a lush patch of forest on the other side of H Street, close to the main shopping outlet. Tall trees make for a fantastic walk with branching trails full of Western red cedar, Douglas fir and Big-leaf Maple. Even the water tower matches the rustic greenery. The park is a great off-leash spot for dogs and it’s not unusual to see people and pets on a stroll. The city recently added disc-golf courses which are dotted throughout the trail.

Tony’s Just-A-Bite

Stop by Tony’s. Photo courtesy: Amy Page.

Tony’s Just-A-Bite is a small, intimate diner on Peace Portal’s main road. Great for both tasty burgers and comforting breakfasts (I’d highly recommend the waffles), Tony’s features cozy seating and eclectic tastes. The walls are covered with a collection of tongue-in-cheek signs, art and a view of the bay.

Run by Tony and Tina Andrews, Tony’s aims to be an old-fashioned diner harking back to older days. Tony and his family have a long history with eateries and his grandfather’s old restaurant was the largest user of Heinz ketchup. Self-described as “a place of character run by two characters,” Tony and Tina are always welcome for a casual, friendly chat.

The Vault Wine Bar

It will be difficult to choose a wine from The Vault’s many choices, but you can’t go wrong. On a sunny day, their patio is the perfect place to enjoy a glass. Photo courtesy: The Vault Wine Bar.

The Vault is a beer and wine restaurant in downtown Blaine. It also triples as an events space and a dance school, Day-to-Day Dance. The Vault is an excellent place for new fusion cuisine, with over 200 wines to try and a natural space to sit and enjoy. Originally a bank, the vault door still exists at the back of the restaurant, which is now a storage space for wine.

The venue got its start when owners Joni and Alan Finston, who also own Whatcom Physical Therapy across the street, planned to use it as extra space for group fitness. When they realized it was too large for just exercise, they decided to provide a service that didn’t exist around town at the time. The idea soon morphed into a classy spot for wine and dining.

El Noa Noa

In between the Welcome Center and the Hill’s Chevron gas station is El Noa Noa, a food truck with fantastic Mexican food. After a brief start in Bellingham, owner Abimael Garcia was inspired to move his truck to Blaine after visiting for lunch with his family. In the next few months, a small stand-in will be built between the new Welcome Center and Starbucks, where Garcia can have more space and provide a bigger menu for his customers.

Skye Hill Station Starbucks

Don’t miss Blaine’s lighthouse Starbucks. Photo courtesy: Amy Page.

Washington is no stranger to Starbucks, but the recently opened location at the new Skye Hill Station may outdo them all. The lighthouse-shaped building echoes the old Blaine lighthouse, making it both welcoming and nostalgic.

Skye Hill Station itself has been a decade-long dream and project for couple Mike and Skye Hill, owners of the Hill’s Chevron.  Now a reality, the station is also a mainstay for El Noa Noa and Blaine’s new Welcome Center, where visitors can get information and suggestions on where to go and what to see. The lighthouse can even be seen from the border and is conveniently located next to the U.S. exit after crossing the border.

Edaleen Dairy

bubblegum ice cream
Bubblegum and vanilla remain the two top favorites out of Edaleen’s 26 flavors of ice cream. Photo courtesy: Edaleen Dairy.

Edaleen Dairy is a local creamery and Whatcom County staple. The Blaine location is its fourth store and is guaranteed to bring a crowd on hot days. Located across the street from Starbucks, Edaleen’s is a great place to get a scoop (or two) of their fantastic collection of flavors, from chocolate and vanilla mainstays to birthday cake. While you’re there, you can also pickup Edaleen’s milk, ice cream cakes, cheesecake and more.

Peace Arch Park

It’s impossible to talk about Blaine without mentioning Peace Arch Park, right next to the Canadian border. A huge garden features a gorgeous assortment of flowers and outdoor sculptures dot the park from playground to gazebo. You can cross the lanes to get an up-close look at the Peace Arch itself, a 67-foot monument dedicated to peace between two countries. On hot days with long lines on both sides of the border, you may spot the ice cream stand driving up and down the lanes.

Peace Arch Café

Not to be confused with the park, Peace Arch Café is Blaine mainstay. Come inside for the relaxed atmosphere and stay for the sandwiches, burgers, fish & chips, paninis and soups. The café, formerly on H. Street, now offers a fuller menu in their new location. Their red brick walls are decorated with photographs and paintings. The staff is, as always, friendly, accommodating and great to talk to. On a personal note, I could not recommend the tiramisu enough.

Rawganique

Rawganique is making its mark. Photo courtesy: Rawganique Facebook.

In the next few weeks, Rawqanique will open its first brick-and-mortar store near the entrance to Marine Park. Rawganique is a lifestyle store that doubles as a café and a provider of organic, hemp clothing. Owners Qeanu Waller and Thamm Jamikorn originally started their business as an online store after realizing a demand for chemical-free organic clothing and food. Their online store ran for 20 years between Denman Island and Point Roberts.

Rawganique aims to be ethical, real and authentic through traditional methods. They make their products “seed to sewn,” where they grow, weave and sew their own products including shoes, shirts, curtains, blankets and more.

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