Boulevard Park: Where the Lively Atmosphere Beats the Rain

Panorama taken on Taylor Dock looking out into the bay

On this day, everything is gray. It’s the fog making it gray. Its heaviness settles close to the earth, encasing the park. The bay turns into a bluish, gray sheet meeting the silver horizon where the distant mountains appear blue. Even though the sun is trying to break through the melancholy cloud, everything is still gray. And the misty rain just adds to the overall gray effect. While the imagery may sound gloomy and depressing. The reality of it is quite the opposite.

Boulevard Park is buzzing with life. An elderly gentleman running gives fellows runners encouraging thumbs up as he passes by with a smile from ear to ear. Dogs bound in and out of the water, tongues hanging, tails wagging. Couples stroll with Woods coffee cups in hands. Children throw rocks into the water and draw pictures in the wet sand. All this is happening on a gray day.

One access point to the beaches along the park.

The park’s calm, peaceful and overall feel-good atmosphere is a refreshing change of pace and makes the park a perfect spot to escape the chaos of life. The Park is located 470 Bayview Drive which is not far from downtown Bellingham. A short drive is all it takes to get to this beauty of a park. Also with its convenient location, it is also very enjoyable to bike, run or walk to, and provides a perfect setting for some stress relief. If that takes form in running, walking, biking, kayaking, or drinking coffee while the kids play, it can be done at Boulevard.

Running, biking or walking is always a great way to get to the park. However, it is important to note that because of the popularity of the park, parking is a hassle. The very small parking lot is almost always full of cars. Which is a good sign! However, can also be a pain. Not finding parking can cause some unneeded stress, but don’t fret, the quiet nature of the park will erase it in no time.

The positive energy created in the park fits the general descriptions of what parks should be like. However, when thinking of a park loud images and sounds may come to mind. Close quarters of children running around laughing, screaming, crying. Parents chasing. Dogs barking. More children crying. Stress! All these scenarios may come to mind when thinking of a park.

But not at Boulevard. The entire park is all man made, that means including the beaches, which are recently new (Elsworth). The new upgrades to the beach will prevent the shore from eroding (Carson). Which means its beauty will be here for the long run.

The park is spacious and well thought out. The playground offers a place for children to play, while also offering broad pathways for bikers, runners, and walkers. Because of the wide open space the park provides, there are areas for everyone and every interest. The kids can enjoy running around fighting their imaginary enemies with sticks while people can walk down the path a way and sit, enjoying just the peaceful sound of the water hitting the rocks looking out into the vast bay. If following the path, benches are made available frequently which again allows the park to become a harmonious place to just be.

Woods Coffee in Boulevard Park

Centered in the middle of the park right by the bay is Woods Coffee shop. Woods Coffee was established first in 2002 in Lynden by the Herman family, and since then has opened up many shops around the Bellingham area (The Woods Coffee).

The one in Boulevard adds the comforting aroma of coffee to the surroundings. At night the lights lining the coffee shop brightens it making for a very welcoming setting. The perfect opportunity for a refreshing, energizing cup of coffee is presented at Woods, especially because it’s handy placement, which is about halfway through the path that runs through the park.

Inside Woods Coffee is just as alive as the park. People order hot drinks to offset the cold weather. The interior of the shop definitely honors the name. All the chairs and tables are made out of wood. Silhouettes of pine trees hang above the front door. A fire place in the middle of the coffee shops draws attention of cold, bundled up customers. Big, leather chairs are circled around it and two college students are making good use of the space for studying. Outside seating is another option at Woods and is more used on sunny, bright days that summer often brings.

The two story shop offers a variety of drinks and treats. Ranging from tea, lattes, oatmeal, lunch wraps and of course, cookies (The Woods Coffee). Students can be found here staring at laptop screens or heads down in a textbook hard at work studying. But the coffee shop isn’t just for working! Friends’ converse in interesting conversation, and elderly man sits and enjoys his newspaper, and there are even people on what seems to be a first date. Woods offers relaxing, lively environment that each can make their own. People like it a latte. Coffee puns, always worth a shot.

Every day of the week Woods is open from 6am-8pm (The Woods Coffee).

Although the coffee shop is very well lit, parts of the rest of the pathways throughout the park are not. Making it a little troublesome to take a late night stroll. But don’t fret, even in the dark people are still enjoying what the park has to offer. Night biking and running groups illuminate the path in their bright, warm gear. Even at night people still enjoy in its beauty.

Picture taken heading to Boulevard Park on the South Bay Trail

Boulevard connects downtown Bellingham to downtown Fairhaven. The South Bay Trail, which starts in downtown Bellingham, feeds into the park. If one follows the Taylor dock bridge they will find themselves in downtown Fairhaven shortly after. The picture to the left shows the 1903 boundary between Fairhaven and Whatcom on the South Bay Trail. The unique placement of the park bring people together. It literally connects Bellingham and Fairhaven, as well as the people.

And soon that connection will span. A project for an over-water walkway connecting the north end of Boulevard Park to Bellingham Center Waterfront is underway and is projected to be completed in 2017 (Boulevard Park). Meaning more access to the water front and even bigger connection to the park. Making it place for everyone to come. Which is something that definitely happens when the weather permits it.

The summer brings the warm sun out along with plenty of people to enjoy it. Concerts take place at the park during the summer (Carson). However the 2016 summer schedule has not yet been finalized (Concerts in the Park).

And of course, visitors take weather into much consideration. Obviously more people come to the park when the sun is out and shining, birds are chirping and everyone is just having a grand time. Compared to when there is so much fog that every direction is just white, while rain is pouring. Even though pouring rain isn’t as great as the blazing sun. The cool, crisp, gray atmosphere the rain or gray brings can appeal to people as well. Weather plays a big factor on the enjoyment of the park for different people. While some may like the rain, others wait for a sunny day.

Because the park is so diverse in what is has to offer, it attracts many different types of people. Meaning everyone can find something they enjoy at the park. Making it a perfect place to escape to for a bit and forget about the duties of life. Or it may just even offer a peaceful, more relaxing atmosphere to study for school. Either way you can’t go wrong. A walk in the Park to take the stress away.

Because the park is so diverse in what it has to offer and connections it makes, it attracts many different people. Making it easy to find for people to find something they enjoy at the park. One of the aspects that makes the park great is the people. Healthy lifestyles can be observed just by the people there. Runners encourage others as they run by. Walkers smile and nod to passers. And the grand amount of dogs and their owners are always happy. The people in the park create the positive, cheerful feel of the park.

Runners splash by as they go through a surprisingly deep puddles. Dogs greet everyone with a tail wag. Children laugh and scream with delight as they enjoy the playground. And the parents smile as they enjoy a cup of warm Woods coffee. All this happening on a gray day.

Bibliography

“Boulevard Park to Cornwall Avenue Over-Water Walkway” City of Bellingham Washington. Parks and Recreation. n.d. Web. 24 Jan, 2016.

“Concerts in the Park” City of Bellingham Washington. Parks and Recreation. n.d. Web. 24 Jan, 2016

Carson, Beth. “Boulevard Getting Beach Upgrade, Rock Removal” The Western Front. April 30, 2013. Web. Jan 14, 2016

Elsworth, Todd. “Sitting on the Dock on the Bay- Taylor Dock and Boulevard Park in Bellingham” Be in Bellingham Whatcom County. n.p. March 7, 2014. Web. Jan 14, 2016

The Woods Coffee. n.p. n.d. Web. Jan 14, 2016

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