Takea walk on the sunny side of the street

Published on Thu, Dec 2, 2004 by eg Olson

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Take a walk on the sunny side of the street

By Meg Olson

Take a walk downtown for some of the comfort and joy that makes a small town Christmas memorable. There’s plenty of public parking around city hall and the library and a trail of unique stores and eateries will lead you from there to the municipal pier, enjoying striking views along the way.

You can start with some sustenance – coffee and a pumpkin spice cookie at Blackberry House Cafe – and head across the street to the Antiques and Curios store to look for some unique stocking stuffers. A little further down H Street stop in at Interior Arts for something festive to put on your mantle piece over the holidays, or on someone else’s.

Swing around the corner onto Peace Portal Drive and sample a few block of stores offering distinctive gifts ranging from whimsical to practical: handmade birdhouses, wooly sweaters, antique reproductions, snowmen candles, tapestries and wreaths.

The corner of Peace Portal and Marine drives is a perfect stop for a quick lunch, with four local eateries steps from each other offering everything from a simple sandwich to fine dining.

Things start to turn nautical as you head for the marina, starting with West Marine Express on Peace Portal Drive, moving on to Blaine Marine Services on Marine Drive and past yacht brokerages along the basin. You might run into some local oysters or crab for sale if you time your trip right. At the end of the road you’ll find Blaine Marina – a store with a nautical name but a homey inventory – where you can end your stroll by checking out a recliner.

Antiques and Curios
(W-Sa 12- 5p.m.)
A great place to dig for treasures, the store has a good selection of Asian novelties and toys, fine linens and vintage clothing.

Olason’s Corkscrew Willow
(M-F 10:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Sa 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.)
The place to go for local creations, Corkscrew Willow has handmade stoneware pie plates, fine beadwork and jewelry, and work by local photographers. The store has also brought in seasonal specialties, such as candles that bring the smells of winter into a room – from spruce trees to sugarplums. Gretchen Budnick’s signature Patooties cards and gift cards are a special way to give the gift of time – from a night on the town to a trip to the zoo.

Goffs Department Store
(M-Sa 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.)
A piece of Blaine history, Goff’s department store remains the best place to round up fuzzy things for winter. The store features classic styles of sweaters, jackets and shirts from Pendleton Woolen Mills, a piece of Northwest history. These can be complemented with fluffy scarves, warm socks and flannel pyjamas to insure everyone on your list is toasty over the holidays. If you’re making those fuzzy presents yourself, Goff’s also has en extensive selection of sewing and knitting supplies. And put a little team spirit under the tree with a Blaine Borderite sweatshirt or jacket.

Blaine Bouquets
(M-F 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.)
Blaine Bouquet has some special new product lines in their giftware department this year, and their collection of Mosser glassware in all the colors of the rainbow is a standout. The store also has Christmas and nautically themed home wares, including cookie jars, decorations, serving platters, mugs and candles. For the kids on your list you can pick up a soft plush animal or two and a bag of yummy caramel-corn.

Worldly Treasures
(M-Sat 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sun. noon – 6 p.m.)
From awesome to dainty, the art and fine furniture reproductions at Worldly Treasures on Peace Portal Drive are all distinctive additions to indoor and outdoor living spaces. The store has an extensive collection of bronze reproductions: wild horses, ballerinas, cowboys, birds, fountains – even life-sized deer. The have Tiffany-style lamps, carousel rocking horses, porcelain vases, bone artwork, oil paintings and period furniture. How about a French Victorian rolltop desk or an eight-foot mahogany birdcage? They’ve got it.

Petal Attractions
(M-F 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sat. 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.)
Blaine’s newest flower shop has more than seasonal wreaths and floral displays in their holiday inventory. At its new location in the Drayton Harbor Professional Building on Peace Portal Drive you’ll find an imaginative home decor collection including mirrors, plants and tapestries. The store also features a selection of Victorian-styled costume jewelry to add sparkle to holiday finery.

West Marine Express
(M-S 9-5, Sun10 - 5)
The local branch of the world’s biggest marine store starts their holiday sale December 2 with sale prices on binoculars, ship’s clocks and bells, books, tools, electronics, safety equipment and more. This year they have a variety of nautical calendars, including one that features sailing disasters. For local hunter-gatherer types the store also sells fishing, crabbing and shrimping gear.

Blaine Marine Services
(7 days a week 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
Dealers for Caribe inflatables and Honda outboards, Blaine Marine Services can put together a package to get you or yours out on the water fast. The store also has more modest gifts for any boater, such as Smart Tabs, a new arrival that will help small boat owners trim their crafts without paying for an expensive hydraulic system. The Semiahmoo branch of Blaine Marine Services starts their holiday sale December 3, offering discounted clothing and house or boat wares and tree ornaments.

Blaine Marina
(M-S 9a.m.- 5 p.m.)
Blaine’s own furniture and appliance store is always a good stop for a present that someone special will use every day of this year and next – from a new dishwasher to a comfy recliner.

NAPA Auto Parts
(M-F 8-6, Sat 9-5, Sun 10-3)
Just the place to find stocking stuffers for the car nut in the family. Pick up a NASCAR toy car and action figure for the young and young at heart.

Wolten’s True Value
(M-F 8-5:30, Sat 9-5:30,
Sun 10-4)
Come in here looking for Christmas gift ideas and you just might leave with all your shopping done. From tools that you can slip into the big fella’s stocking to small appliances for the better half, Wolten’s has it in spades.

Downtown Dining

Truffles By the Sea
Open for lunch Sundays and dinner Tuesday through Saturday with reasonably-priced fine dining. Book now to have them cater your holiday party! 332-2528.

Seaside Bakery Cafe
Open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with daily lunch specials and the ever popular Reuben sandwich, with meat roasted at the site. They will also take special orders for breads, rolls and quiches for the holidays. 332-YUMM

Blackberry House Cafe
Come in and sample their special blackberry cobbler and pumpkin spice cookies or order a selection of baked goods for the holidays. Open M-F 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. 332-9556

Bella Marina
Traditional Italian dining on the water, open W-Su, 11 a.m. - 9 p.m..

Paso del Norte
Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner with traditional Mexican family food. Take out appys are a no-stress answer to what to bring to a holiday potluck. 332-4045

Pizza Factory
Pizza, salad bar and great selection of Italian dishes. Beer and wine. Eat in or they’ll deliver. Open 7 days a week. 332-3636.

Drop by for a quick fresh-baked sub sandwich with all the fixings.

332-9494 (pizza and chicken). Bring home family dinners after a day of shopping so Mom doesn’t have to cook.

Cafe International
Just the place for a hearty breakfast, whether it's at the crack of dawn or after sundown. Home cooking and big portions are offered up from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. 332-6035.