Allison Dolle shares the joys of Little City Living with The Single Diaries
Every month we profile a single girl and the city she calls home. New York City kicked off our series, followed by Philadelphia and Chicago. While we love our big cities, we thought it was time to give credit to the simpler life. From the closeness of a tight-knit community to the get-back-to-nature vibe, there are advantages to living outside of big urban cores. If you’ve ever thought about moving to a smaller city or are looking for a unique destination for your next girls trip, read on for an insider perspective on life in a little city in Washington state.
J: It seems like your life’s journey has led you to small-town living. We both grew up in Cincinnati, a relatively small city. You then moved to Dayton for college, an even smaller city, and now Bellingham with a population of 82K people. How did you stumble upon this place and decide to call it home?
A: I was studying engineering at the University of Dayton and as part of my program had to take part in their co-op program. Two of my co-op semesters were spent with BP in Bellingham. Pretty much instantly, I fell in LOVE with the people and the area. When senior year rolled around, I applied for a full-time job and miraculously was offered a position after graduation!
J: I’m sure when BP first approached you about moving to a city you’d never heard of, you weren’t sure what to expect. What has surprised you most about living there?
A: I’ve been really surprised by how many Midwestern transplants there are for a place that’s near the border of the west coast and Canada. I never would have imagined that so many of my good friends here would be from Ohio and Michigan! Also, because of our location, people expect it to be freezing all the time but the weather isn’t as bad as they say. Winters are pretty grey but with mild temperatures. Once summer hits, we get PERFECT weather and time to forget about the winter rain : )
J: Besides the PERFECT weather, what are your favorite things about living in a little city?
A: There is a lot to love! Less traffic is an obvious one. Mostly though, I love the strong sense of community. Everything is in close proximity so you can easily walk from place to place or take a cheap cab ride if it’s the end of the night. If you do want to get to a bigger city, Vancouver is 45 miles away and Seattle is only 90 so I don’t feel like we’re that far removed.
J: What are your favorite spots in Bellingham?
A: Boulevard Park and Lake Padden are my favorite places to spend a day outdoors. Oyster Dome off Chuckanut Drive has amazing views. As far as restaurants go Jalapeños is the place for margaritas, WasaBee if you’re looking for sushi, Fiamma Burger for any and all types of burgers you can image (beef, chicken, elk, bison, salmon…), and The Black Cat for a nicer meal.
J: What makes living in Bellingham appealing for a Single Girl*? (*definition = young, ambitious, go-getter girl)
A: Bellingham is a great for Single Girls because there are so many new things to try and experience… AND you get the added perk of getting to refer to yourself as a “Bellinghamster”—I don’t know of any cities that can top that. In general, I think that by living in a smaller city you get the benefit of having a very supportive community. If you ever dreamed of starting your own business, whether it’s a cupcake shop or a fancy technology start-up, a city like Bellingham is a great place to give it a try because you know everyone will be cheering you on.
J: What advice would you offer to other girls looking to move to a smaller city?
A: The best piece of advice I can offer is to say get involved! Whether you choose to join a soccer team, volunteer with a local group, or take up yoga at the studio around the corner it doesn’t matter. It’s all about experiencing what the town has to offer and meeting other residents in the process. You’ll find that everyone is really welcoming if you just get out there and get involved in the community.
J: You miraculously have an entire Saturday free. What does your perfect day in Bellingham look like?
A: First I’d stop by the Bagelry for a bagel and cream cheese. Then a quick trip to pick up a coffee at one of the many drive-thru coffee shops before beginning the drive up Mt. Baker Highway. Depending on the season/weather, I’d spend the day either downhill skiing, cross-country skiing or hiking and taking in the views. Bellingham is an awesome place if you’re into outdoor adventures. After spending the day in the mountains, I’d stop at the North Fork Beer Shrine for pizza, cheesy bread, and a delicious locally brewed beer. Yum!
J: If you have girlfriends coming to visit. Where do you take them?
A: THIS IS SUCH A HARD QUESTION! For a being a little city there are a ton of really cool things to do all year round. Depending on the friend and the weather, here are some things you might look forward to:
- If its spring we’d go to the Tulip Festival where there are fields and fields of all colored tulips and daffodils.
- San Juan Islands to either kayak along the coast or bike/hike the islands. On a clear day, you can’t beat the view from Mt. Constitution.
- Wine tasting along Mt. Baker Highway or at the microbreweries scattered throughout town.
- Simply take a walk around town and visit the many boutiques and locally owned shops. Stop at Boulevard Park for coffee and to take in the sights of the water and islands
- If it’s an active type of friend and the weather was nice we might go for a hike of Mt. Baker Highway or Chuckanut Drive.
- If she’s a foodie, I’d take her to Ciao Thyme for lunch where they prepare local, seasonal menus that are constantly changing and are to DIE for!
3 words I’d use to describe Bellingham: Active, Picturesque, Coffee
When you visit, you absolutely must: do something active outside! It’s so pretty you can’t possibly say no.
I absolutely can’t resist eating: Fiamma Burger and Sirena Gelato
I love Bellingham but I really wish it had: Better shopping!! That is one downside to living in a little city.
I knew I loved living here when: One weekend I went hiking in the mountains on Friday and kayaking on Saturday. I just remember thinking wow there is SO much to do and see out here! I fell in love : )
Little City Love,
Ali is a long time BFF, one of the smartest people I know (she’s a chemical engineer), and bears an uncanny resemblance to the Quokka making her lovable personality even more irresistible!
Love your city? Want to share all that’s great about it with our readers? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for the chance to be featured in our next series’ post!