BirchBay opens up visitor center

Published on Thu, Apr 28, 2005 by ack Kintner

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Birch Bay opens up visitor center

By Jack Kintner

The Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce opened a new visitor information center earlier this week in the Trend West building in the 7800 block of Birch Bay Drive. Chamber president Geneé Haws Kay said that “it’s nice to get this going, we’ve been talking about it for some time.”

Kay said that John Cooper of the Bellingham-Whatcom County Convention & Visitors Bureau was helpful in launching the center. “He spoke to (the chamber) a couple of weeks ago and afterward came by to look at the place,” Kay said, “ and then said that he’d suggest to his board that they help us out with a little seed money.”

Before long, Cooper’s agency sent $2,500 to the chamber as seed money. Matt Brennan, manager of World Mark properties that operates out of the same building complex, organized volunteers to paint the interior of Suite C, the last door on the right as you enter the building’s central breezeway from Birch Bay Drive. Kay said that volunteers Reneé Cooper, Maureen Kelly and Shelley Olason dressed up the bare walls with muslin drapes and fishnet on the back wall to give the small office a Birch Bay kind of look.

“This is now the office for the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce and the visitor information center,” Kay said proudly. She said that people will be there “between 12 and 5 p.m. until the summer season begins, when they’ll be open every day from 10 until 5.”

The Visitor Information Center has two bright blue signs on vertical posts it shares with other businesses and a street sign outside the building on the sidewalk when someone’s in the office. Kay’s son Cory Anderson painted the new signs last week. Signs advertising the Beachcomber Trailer Park were hand made by her dad, Wynn Haws, in the 1980s when he was about 75.

Kay said that as a girl in Blaine, “Birch Bay was where we all met as kids. It was all little cabins and had a 10 mph speed limit, and in the winter was deader than a doornail.” She added that a skating rink was a favorite gathering place, located almost exactly where her office now sits. “We’d water ski in the bay, and ride on what we called surf boards, plywood boards with a rope through the front that we’d tow with a boat.”

The physical address of the center is the same as Trend West, 4880 Beachcomber Drive, Suite C, and the phone is 371-5004. The Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce web site is www.birchbaychamber.com.