For whatever reason—vacation or business—do you arrive at a new town or area of the country and play the “What would it be like to live here” game? I still do even though I’m finally settled in my hometown.

What elements draw us to a certain place?

  • Friendly people? For me once it was the owner of a bed and breakfast where I was staying in Vermont. I imagined running a quaint inn. I did live in Vermont for a time and loved it, just not a few of the seasons—mud and black fly.
  • All four seasons or a less dramatic turning of the calendar? Note: some states have 5 seasons—the regular four and five—paving/road work.
  • The landscape? I love driving across Wyoming and Montana—it really is “big sky” country. But I couldn’t see myself living there.
  • What about the contour of the land? A body of water? Mountains? Quaint villages that dot the landscape? Wide-open vistas?
  • A certain population, a community character, or residents that are more like you?
  • Positive cultural attributes and/or a built-in bias in favor of one region over another?

In 2016 when I moved to Bellingham, Washington I knew almost nothing about it. It didn’t matter because I felt immediately at home after more than fifty moves around the country.

Because Bellingham is really three towns smushed together, it took awhile to drive around without GPS or a city map. One discovery made my first year even better—Annie Dillard’s novel The Living. It’s about the pioneer settlement of Bellingham, the two prominent Native American tribes who were here first of course—the Lummi
and the Nooksack, and the boom-bust rinse-repeat nature of this part of the Pacific Northwest.

I can walk down many streets and see markers that describe the very events in the novel. I mention this book to newcomers like me and even old-timers.

Here are 5 things I love about where I live to share with you.

  1. Living on Bellingham Bay, waiting for the Juncos and the Golden Eyes to arrive in winter, and the Alaska ferry backing into the dock (like a car into a garage—amazing) every Friday morning.
  2. Access to many of the Inter-urban forested trails that make leaving the car at home possible. This is especially helpful since somewhere in the 19?? towns stopped putting in sidewalks.
  3. The daylighting of Padden Creek near our place. We can hear it when it’s full. A model project to bring the salmon back.
  4. Village Books and Paper Dreams – three floors of wonderful!
  5. The year-round farmers’ market (just once/month from Jan-March) of local farmers and vendors. April is not the cruelest month.

Does your town have a book dedicated to its founding, a famous writer, a history that you can promote to your own citizenry? What is it about your town that makes you say, “This is home?” What are 5 things you love about where you live? I’d love for your to share here.