Dash and Dine!
I am so excited to introduce to you Dash and Dine, a new feature series. I’ll be sharing about local adventures (and, sometimes, not so local ones!) and then match them up with a great eatery to review too! For the eateries, I’ll be filling you in on the kid-friendliness, atmosphere, menu, allergy friendly options, and cost. For the adventures I’ll be reporting on the terrain, kid-friendliness, distance, and what kind of gear you’ll want/ need. I’m so excited! I’m so pumped to share this first one with you!
Dash: Teddy Bear Cove!
We knew we wanted to start with a spot that our whole family loves, in all kinds of weather. Bellingham has been real slow to get on the Springtime Train, and as such we were antsy to strike out on this (one of our first!) sunny days. And? about an hour before this it was DUMPING rain! Teddy Bear Cove is a sweet spot because it’s not too far down Chuckanut Drive (only about 10 minutes from downtown Fairhaven), it has its own parking pull off, and it’s a short hike down to two gorgeous, semi-private beaches and an overlook.
The only downside to this hike is that you need to cross the train tracks. Thankfully, it’s a short trail down, so staying with your kids and crossing safely is pretty doable.
This is a nice spot because there is a pull off for parking that is protected. I would suggest getting there earlier in the day; it’s pretty empty usually, till you hit the afternoon. The trail down is short, and a bit steep (with tiny kiddos or new walkers you may want to use a backpack or carrier. It is not a stroller friendly trail . . . though we have done it with a BOB ;)). It is less than a mile each way, and has pretty great tree cover, but after a heavy rain it gets pretty muddy and slick. Our kiddos have been safely hiking it on their own feet since they were about 2.5 and 5 with help as needed.
You do have to cross the train tracks, so as you come down to the bottom (the tracks will be visible from the trail for a bit before you get to them) be sure to help your kids remember to wait for you and all cross together. Never stop for photos on train tracks, or walk along them. Cross directly and swiftly. Trains can come quick and quieter than you expect, and it is never worth a photo-op.
Once you get to the bottom there are two beaches to choose from. I describe them, and how to find each one, in detail in the video linked here. Our favorite is the rocky beach – which is the sunnier side. It’s great for swimming when the tide is high if you are a confident swimmer. Otherwise it’s perfect for picnics, wading, beach combing, sun bathing, climbing and exploring. There are lots of big drift wood logs and shells and a fun rock bluff we all love to climb. The other beach is more swimmer friendly and sandy so it’s great for building sand castles and squishing your feet into the surf. There’s also a fun little copse of boulders to explore too.
Here is a sweet video that will show you more about the hike, how to find what beach you want, and more about the lookouts!
Dine: The Culture Cafe!
After adventuring for a few hours, heading downtown to a spot for a great meal extends the fun and adds to an already wonderful experience! We have loved the Culture Cafe since its opening. It’s especially a favorite of mine since I don’t drink much anymore, and I love being able to order from the huge kombucha selection and not feel left out of all the bar fun. This is a fully functioning bar, and they also have a huge list of great kombucha spiked cocktails too. They are kid friendly till 10pm, and their space is absolutely beautiful.
Charlie and I had never been here with children before, typically coming for a date night or a meet-up with friends. I was shocked at what my girls noticed here that I had never even seen! There is a sweet fish tank in the back of the restaurant and my girls were obsessed. They spent some serious time there watching the fish while we waited for our food. They also have a huge selection of games for all ages. The girls picked out Candy Land, and we all had fun waiting for our food while we played.
We ordered a couple of sandwiches, salad, soup of the day (potato leek, and OMG), and a couple of chicken tacos off the happy hour menu. And, obviously. Kombucha. Charlie snagged the Gold Ginger and I went with White Blueberry, then the sweet bartender suggested we give a flight a try. . . and, YES, please! We shockingly loved the Hop and Lavender flavors best! Completely shocking, since I usually don’t like lavender in foods and Charlie and I both hate beer (I know! We’re weird!). The girls agreed that Blueberry and Hops were their favorites too.
I ordered a veggie bahn mi and Charlie had the lemon garlic chicken. Both were SO amazing. But the soup, and my kale caesar salad, stole the show for me. The chicken tacos came with some pickled beets that were out of this world, and the big slices of bread farm bread were a great, and very worth it, gluten indulgence.
The gluten free selections were slim on the kid friendly front, but we made it work with the chicken taco’s and they also pilfered most of the grilled chicken from Charlie’s sandwich and got themselves whole sale full up on kombucha too! But overall this spot works better for us as a drinks and app stop, or a date night. But the girlies LOVED it there because of the open setting, fun games, and favorite booch.
Cost wise this space is pretty amazing! Especially at Happy Hour ($2 tacos!). Our whole family could eat, and eat well, for around $30-40 including tip. For a local-centric, farm to table restaurant, this is pretty amazing! We also really like the location. It’s on a corner of an alley, just on the edge of downtown. It’s surrounded by great parking, and gets beautiful afternoon and evening sunshine. It was even bright and sunny enough on this (MAYBE SPRING WILL COME) day, that they had the big garage front doors open to let some air in. It felt amazing, and like a true kick off to a new season.
The atmosphere was super inviting. It’s an order-at-the-bar restaurant so not at all formal, and lots of working or studying people on laptops, but the noise level was at a solid medium. We were the only people with kiddos in the restaurant, but didn’t feel obnoxious or out of place at all. It was very welcoming, and a nice, completely open layout and open front. We also always bring a stack of books with us to restaurants to keep our girls occupied just in case the wait gets long, but we wouldn’t need to next time with all the games they have available.
The Culture Cafe is a branch of Kombucha Town (one of our favorite booch brands!) and are open every day from 11am till late, and I am kicking myself that this space wasn’t around when I was in college. Can you imagine if your post dancing, exhausted, MUST EAT NOW wasn’t cheesy chili fries and was instead a veggie bahn mi??? SIGN ME UP.
They also sell Kombucha Town by the can, and six packs that you can customize.
We had a blast with this hike and fun dinner out. Thanks so much to the Culture Cafe and Kombucha for a stellar meal! To follow along with their specials, awesome concoctions, and generally gorgeous images sharing spots in Bham and fun happenings around downtown, you can find them; On Instagram and Facebook.
I’m so excited to keep sharing fun Dine and Dash spots with you and have our next one lined up to share in a couple weeks! But, in the meantime, I would LOVE your suggestions! What local restaurants, coffee shops, eateries are you loving or wanting a review of? What hikes in the area are you curious about? Or want to recommend? I can’t wait to explore more!