The SpaceThe Peace Arch Garden Apartment, built around 1889, occupies one of Blaine's oldest historic houses. This tastefully refurbished historic property provides guests with a unique and comfortable lodging experience. The house features original stained glass windows, woodwork, and a unique charm. The welcoming front hall leads to a cozy living room, heated by a gas stove. The cheerful kitchen, totally remodeled and equipped with modern appliances and appealing décor, has a gas stove/oven, microwave oven, cooking utensils (pots, pans, bowls, openers and serving utensils, etc.), and a complete set of dishes and glasses. The vibrant periwinkle blue bathroom, which includes a tub and shower, is supplied with soap, shampoo, and conditioner, hair dryer, an abundant supply of towels, and a towel warmer. The bedroom is brightly lit by windows on three sides that look out onto gardens. A charming vintage wrap-around front porch with turned posts and the colorful private rear garden provide a restful setting for guests to become refreshed and renewed by salty Pacific Ocean breezes filled with an abundance of seasonal native and migrating birds. Guest AccessYour accommodation at the Peace Arch Garden Apartment, which includes use of the front porch and rear garden, is just two blocks from downtown Blaine, Drayton Harbor, and the international Peace Arch U.S.-Canadian border crossing. The apartment can be reached from Interstate 5, by taking the exit just south of the Peace Arch border crossing, continuing south four blocks on Peace Portal Drive, then turning left on to Clark Street and drive one and one-half blocks. Free parking is directly in front of the house.
Two international airports—one at Bellingham, 22 miles (35 km) south of Blaine, and the other at Vancouver, 28 miles (45 km) north—provide access for distant travelers. Rental cars and taxis are available at these both airports. Amtrak passenger trains and the Alaska State Ferry, which both dock in Fairhaven just south of downtown Bellingham, also provide another way to access Blaine and the Peace Arch Garden Apartment. Interaction with GuestsGail, your host, welcomes you upon arrival and is happy to help you find your way around and share her knowledge of local history as well as the culinary and cultural highlights of Blaine, Bellingham, and Vancouver. Gail is close at hand to answer questions, but will respect guests' private time. She can be reached in person, via email, or by phone. The NeighborhoodThe Peace Arch Garden Apartment is in one of Blaine's oldest residential neighborhoods, just south of the original townsite. A walk down streets and alleys to the south and east of the house will introduce you to numerous historic houses, sheds, and garages that date from the 1880s to the 1930s. To the north a walk along Peace Portal Drive brings you to the old downtown between H and D streets. Today, Blaine, one of the busiest U.S.-Canadian border crossings in North America, is regaining a new sense of itself and attracting residents and visitors alike, who have discovered its charm, diverse amenities, strategic location, and growing vibrancy.
A walk down Marine Drive will take you to an area where an elongated wooden wharf once provided places for ships to tie up and load and unload fish, lumber, and mail. Canneries that once crowded this area have been replaced with a modern marina and a lovey waterfront park with meandering trails, benches and picnic tables, playground equipment, and a narrow pebble beach.
A little further north you can walk to the Peace Arch Park at the international border, where formal gardens, sculpture, and interpretive signs tell the history of and commemorate the peaceful relationship between the United States and Great Britain, affirmed soon after the War of 1812. Here, Sam Hill, railroad executive and advocate of good roads in Washington and Oregon, built a 67-foot tall classical arch, dedicated in 1921, which commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Ghent after the War of 1812. Today, picnics, tours, group gatherings, and seasonal festivals, parades, and marches all take place around the Peace Arch.
Today, the main downtown street is lined with older historic commercial buildings, some undergoing rehabilitation. Eateries abound in this small town. There are coffee and sandwich shops, an oyster bar, a large ice cream store, and restaurants--steak, Mexican, Thai, Chinese, and more. Specialty shops include consignment and collectibles/antique shops, as well as art and gift shops. Getting AroundThere are myriad ways to get around after you arrive at the Peace Arch Garden Apartment. Walking or biking is the best way to see the neighborhood, the downtown, the Blaine Marina and park, and the Peace Arch parks at the border. Whatcom County Transport Authority (WTA) can take you and your bike to nearby Birch Bay, Ferndale, and Bellingham. Buses are abundant throughout Bellingham and the surrounding countryside. The Alaska State Ferry and Amtrak passenger train service are available at Fairhaven, just south of Bellingham's downtown. Ferries leave from Tsawwassen, British Columbia, about 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Blaine to Swartz Bay-Victoria and Nanaimo, further north on Vancouver Island. Other ferries heading for the San Juan Islands and Vancouver Island, British Columbia, depart from Anacortes, about 62 miles (100 km) south of Blaine.
Driving offers you the greatest flexibility in getting around. Within close range of the apartment is the Semiahmoo Resort and Marina with restaurants, spa, and nearby golf courses. Close by is the old beach town of Birch Bay, with a wide, shallow beach for wading, a water slide (seasonal) for children, a variety of restaurants. Birch Bay State Park offers camping, clamming, bird-watching, and beach strolling. Fifteen miles south and inland is Ferndale, where you can visit the hundred-year-old Hovander Homestead Park interpretive national historic site, with its grand architect-designed farmhouse, gardens, and picnicking. Ferndale also features well-stocked antique shops. Bellingham, home of Western Washington University, offers ongoing cultural and sport activities, an array of discerning eateries, the majestic Mount Baker Theatre, and a plethora of new and used bookstores. Bellingham is a popular departure point for 10,780-foot Mount Baker, which can be ascended by car to Artist Point for high-elevation hiking in summer and snowshoeing and cross country skiing in winter. Other Things to NoteREGIONAL EVENTS
This region of northwestern Washington State hosts myriad events in every season of the year. Below, are just a few.
January, early Polar Bear Plunge, Birch Bay
Februar(URL HIDDEN)Bite of Blaine (samples given from Blaine restaurants)
February, mid Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival
March, early Whatcom County Home & Garden Show, Lynden
March, mid Recreation Northwest Expo, Bellingham
March, mid Wings Over Water Northwest Birding Festival, Blaine
March, late Spring Craft & Antique Show, Lynden
April-mi(URL HIDDEN)Vancouver Sun Run (10 km road run)
Apri(URL HIDDEN)Skagit County Tulip Festival, Mount Vernon area
Ma(URL HIDDEN) Annual Semiahmoo Bay International Sailing Regatta,
Ma(URL HIDDEN) Sculpture exhibition opens at Peace Arch State Park,(URL HIDDEN) Blaine
Ma(URL HIDDEN) Oyster Festival at Resort Semiahmoo (tours of oyster beds)
May, lat(URL HIDDEN)Ski to Sea events, Mount Baker to Bellingham Bay
May, lat(URL HIDDEN)MV Plover ferry begins operating, Blaine Marina(URL HIDDEN) Semiahmoo Spit
Jun(URL HIDDEN)Hands across the Border (international peace celebrated at(URL HIDDEN) Peace Arch State, Blaine, Park with food and music)
Jun(URL HIDDEN)International Art Festival, Peach Arch State Park, Blaine
June, mid Lummi Stommish Water Festival, Lummi Reservation
June, mid Fairhaven Summer Solstice Art Walk, Bellingham
June, 3rd week Birch Bay Kite Festival (kite-making/flying for kids)
Jul(URL HIDDEN)Canada Day celebrations in Peace Arch State Park and(URL HIDDEN)throughout greater Vancouver with parades/fireworks
Jul(URL HIDDEN) Old Fashioned 4th of July celebration, Blaine
July, earl(URL HIDDEN)Drayton Harbor Music (Jazz) Festival, Blaine
Jul(URL HIDDEN) Bellingham Music Festival (2 weeks long)
Jul(URL HIDDEN) Northwest Raspberry Festival, Whatcom County
July, mi(URL HIDDEN)Tour de White Rock, British Columbia (BC) (cycling event)
July,mi(URL HIDDEN) Tour de Whatcom, Bellingham (cycling event)
July, mi(URL HIDDEN)Sand castle competition, Birch Bay
July, lat(URL HIDDEN)Celebration of Light fireworks, English Bay, Vancouver
July, lat(URL HIDDEN)Pride Run and Walk and Picnic (5 km event), Vancouver
July-Aug(URL HIDDEN)Mount Baker Blues Festival, Bellingham
July-Aug(URL HIDDEN)Summer Music Festival, Surrey parks, B C
August, early Sea Festival, White Rock, BC (market, entertainment)
Augus(URL HIDDEN) Peace Arch International Concert series (Sundays, Peac(URL HIDDEN)Arch State Park)
Augus(URL HIDDEN) MV Plover Days (waterfront festival and wooden boat(URL HIDDEN)exhibition), Blaine Marina
August, mid Northwest Washington Fair, Lynden
Septembe(URL HIDDEN)Peace Arch Anniversary Celebration/Re-enactment,(URL HIDDEN) Blaine
September, mid Bellingham Traverse Run (bike/paddle through parks)
September, mid Whatcom County Farm tour, Whatcom County
October, early Cloud Mountain Farm Fall and Fruit Festival, Everson
October, early Whatcom County Artist Studio Tour
November, mid Lummi Island Artists' Studio Tour (40 artists at 22 sites)
Nov.-Dec(URL HIDDEN) Holiday festivities in Blaine, Bellingham, Fairhaven(URL HIDDEN) Ferndale, Lynden and Vancouver and its surrounding(URL HIDDEN) communities (holiday lighting, bazaars, caroling(URL HIDDEN) downtown lighting, etc.)
December, late Annual Ring of Fire & Hope, Birch Bay
The Peace Arch Garden Apartment can also serve as a base for venturing north to Vancouver, British Columbia to visit a wide array of cultural, recreational, and social events, or and/or attend professional meetings and activities. In Vancouver outdoor lovers won't want to miss the VanDusen Botanical Garden, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, and immense Stanley Park, as well as whale watching, bicycling, walking, and boating. Culture abounds at venues like the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra at the Orpheum Theatre, and the Goh Ballet Company performances. The University of British Columbia has several special events and sites of interest: the Museum of Anthropology, the Botanical Garden, and the First Nations Longhouse. The False Creek water ferries are the way to take in numerous places of interest around False Creek, including the year-round Granville Island Public Market, the Science World, and the very chic Yaletown quarter with high-rise apartments and condominiums and an assortment of restaurants. Vancouver summers are filled with numerous outdoor events.
This cross-border region of beautiful marine vistas, lakes, forested hills, and mountains rising in the west to 10,780-foot Mount Baker has been home to Native peoples for millennium. Three tribal groups—the Semiahmoo, Lummi, and Nooksack (meaning “noisy water")—inhabited the area now contained in Whatcom County for nearly 12,000 years. Although greatly reduced in number by introduced diseases, these aboriginal peoples still live, work, and pursue historic activities in the region.
In the recent past, the Peace Arch Garden Apartment was built more than 125 years ago. George Perley and his wife Frances Hilton Perley, natives of southwestern Maine, migrated to California around 1887 accompanied by George's parents. The two couples moved to Blaine in 1889, then a bustling milling and fishing/canning community with a major port of entry for commercial vessels. George Perley soon founded the First National Bank of Blaine and became engaged in lumbering. George and Frances formed the Globe Investment Company, which specialized in real estate development. The apartment was built around 1889 and probably occupied by George and Frances, or George's parents, William and Louise Perley (then in their early seventies), or both couples. Washington became a state that same year. The Great Northern Railroad's main line arrived in Blaine one year later in 1891.
The Peace Arch Garden Apartment has witnessed great changes in Blaine's cyclical economy over the past 150 years. In 2012-2013, new owners rescued the house from years of neglect by undertaking major rehabilitation of the property. Your apartment is to be enjoyed and respected as a surviving testament to Blaine's earlier halcyon years of once-thriving lumber and shingle mills, fish canneries, commercial shipping, ship building, and federal customs activities. As a testament to this robust commercial past, Blaine was Washington State's third largest port of entry (after Seattle and Tacoma) one hundred years ago.