March 26, 2010

10 Great Rainy Day Activities in Bellingham

Thanks to happy reader Sonia for submitting the following question, which made it really easy to come up with today's post!

"We're looking at moving there in the next two years and are curious about  things to do during the REAL rainy season. We live in Florida and have visited the area around Bellingham in the Summer, Winter and Fall."

I'm glad you asked, Sonia. It is no secret that it rains in Washington. Sometimes it rains a lot...for days and days. That is just the way it is.  And while to some that may seem like a downside to living here, it is, in my opinion, a perfectly reasonable trade-off when you consider the lack of poisonous bugs, snakes, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes,  locust swarms and dragons, etc. so prevalent elsewhere in the country.  The reward is reaped in the Spring, Summer and Fall, when the mild temperatures and unparalleled beauty of the natural landscape make life in the Northwest feel like a well-earned privilege. Still, it is important to know how to cope with those dreary, cloudy days, and so I give you....

Top 10 Ways to Beat the Rain...

(and how they've become the roots of our economy)

#1 Drink Coffee: It should go without saying that Washington State is known as a place where people appreciate coffee. Given the potential for rain-induced lethargy, it is no wonder that large coffee companies like Starbucks, Tully's, Seattle's Best Coffee (now a Starbucks subsidiary) Woods Coffee and Tony's (my personal favorites) are based here.

#2 Drink Beer: When coffee just won't do it, bring on the cavalry. Washington is home to hundreds of breweries, ranging from small, regional brewpubs like Bellingham's Chuckanut and Boundary Bay breweries, medium-sized operations like Elysian and Lazy Boy, to full-scale production heavies like Pyramid and Redhook. Those are just the tip of the iceberg- there are at least 71 functioning micro-breweries in Washington State. In fact, the nation's very first micro was based in Washington... We love our beer here.

#3 Go Shopping: When the clouds and rain weigh heavy and dark....why not go hide inside a giant, well-lit building and spend some money! Along with numerous malls, Washington State is home-base to retail titans like Costco, Nordstrom and REI.

#4 Work on your computer: Washington is one of the most tech-centric places in the world. In addition to Microsoft's colossal home campus in Redmond ( it has its own MLS area code), the region features headquarters of tech giants like Zillow, Amazon, RealNetworks, and Expedia.

#5 Go shopping on your computer: For efficiency's sake, why not combine a #3 and #4...or all of the above, for that matter.

#6 Go to a game: With Seattle being the home of professional* sports teams like the Mariners, Seahawks and the Sounders, hardcore fans have learned to suck it up and cheer on their teams regardless of the weather. In the case of the Mariners, Safeco Field's retractable roof prevents the rain from harming the dainty threads and manicured coifs of visiting Yankees fans... while Seahawks and Sounders loyalists at Quest Field are tougher than Postal workers, having learned to drink their way through any kind of weather, be it rain, sleet, or snow.

* I use that term loosely

#7 Make a record: Garages and basements are great for hiding from the weather. Just ask Jimi Hendrix...and whoever is left alive from local bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, Soundgarden, Modest Mouse, Death Cab For Cutie...etc.  The list goes on and on...Though Seattle's music scene hasn't been on the front page as much since the mid 90's, there is still a strong and vibrant community of musicians throughout the region, boosted by local record companies like Sub-Pop and the World's Greatest Radio Station, Seattle's KEXP.

#8 Go diving: This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!"  If you're gonna get wet, you might as well get REALLY wet. The Puget Sound area is known among the clinically insane as one of the best places to scuba dive in the world. There are dive shops everywhere...which is pretty much the extent of my knowledge...because I'm not a crazy person.

#9 Go to the gym: I find the rainy days to be great for getting a good work-out.  I don't have a joke for this one...  It's just a good, solid idea.

#10 Go somewhere else: When all else fails, it's time to bail. The really rainy period (generally between February and January [sic]) is the time to consider an escape to some place warmer and drier. A little break is all it takes to clear your head and remember how much you love it here during the Spring and Summer. Is it any coincidence then that one of the World's largest airplane manufacturers is based here?  I can just imagine the founders of Boeing sitting around drinking beer and coffee one fateful day saying," You know what would be great? A vacation! But how are we gonna get there...?"

Special bonus answer: Write a blog! It happens to be raining today. So I am wrting this article at Woods Coffee in downtown Bellingham...So, obviously, I am doing numbers 1 and 4, and I have every intention of transitioning into  #2, possibly after #9. Let it never be said that I fail to practice what I preach!

Thanks for reading! Please leave comments or suggestions below, e-mail me at, or call me at 206.883.6668 …and yes, you CAN hire me as your real estate agent!

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Originally published at

Rob LeRoy is a Seattle real estate agent and social media marketing coach with eXp Realty.

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