Fairhaven Historic District : Michelin's recommendations
Along Bellingham Bay south of downtown, Fairhaven was established by smuggler "Dirty" Dan Harris in the 1870s. By the 1890s, with the area in a wild economic boom overspeculation that the Great Northern Railroad would locate its terminus here, construction sprang up and more than 35 hotels and boardinghouses were built within the decade. Now little remains from its 19C past, though granite plaques throughout its streets recall historic spots, such as the site where a freight wagon sank in quicksand. Most of the historic buildings now standing date to the town's 1890s economic boom, though the liberal, neighborly atmosphere is decidedly 1990s. Charmingly-preserved red-brick storefronts house small cafes, restaurants, galleries and bookstores that provide low-key, friendly meeting places for locals. Several classic Victorian homes are scattered through the streets, notably the 1892 Roland G. Gamwell House (1001 16th St.) and the 1890 Wardner's Castle (1103 15th St.).