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Old Town

The small city of Bellingham (pop 70,000) is definitely rough around the edges ... even a bit seedy. It has a big Georgia Pacific pulp and paper plant located on its waterfront and at night there are drug busts in the downtown area.  In spite of this, we found just enough inner city renewal, Victorian architecture, waterfront views, natural beauty, fascinating museums and college town vitality to make our visit interesting and enjoyable.

Downtown (a.k.a. Old Town) is filled with a little mystery. There is a curious mix of restored and derelict nineteenth century buildings, upscale cafes, dirty alleys, and pedestrians ranging from college students and families to unsavory looking men hanging out on the street. We felt just uncomfortable enough that we secured the truck with "the Club" when we parked.

When walking around downtown its hard not to miss the historic Mount Baker Theatre since its 100-foot tall tower is visible from all over the city. As we were looking at the rather subdued exterior décor, an elderly black man opened the theater door and invited us inside to enjoy the Wurlitzer theater pipe organ concert and sing-a-long that was in progress. The concert was sponsored by the dedicated members (some in period costumes) of the Mt. Baker Theater Pipe Organ Society.

After Danny belted out a few choruses of California Here I Come in his best Al Jolson impersonation, we left to wander around the plush, opulent and extravagant lobby and mezzanine. The theatre is styled after the architecture of Moorish Spain ... intricately painted designs cover the walls, ceilings and arches; towering carved chairs line the walls like small thrones and the carpets are emblazoned with royal red lions.

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