A city’s downtown may shape its identity to outsiders, but it’s a place’s neighborhoods that give it character.

If you really want to know a place, visit its residential areas—their homes, parks, landmarks, gathering places. Neighborhoods are the enclaves we come home to each day. Whatcom County’s neighborhoods range from Bellingham’s distinct, park-rich districts to the jaw-dropping view from Ferndale’s Lawson Church Hills neighborhood. In the San Juans, pocket neighborhoods are subsets of each island’s personality. Skagit County’s La Conner, Anacortes, Mount Vernon, and Burlington feature neighborhoods shaped by water and agriculture. We set out to find what made each place special by talking to a resident or family, each of whom spoke with pride about where they live. We hope you feel the same.

Place with a View

Word is the view from Yvonne and Eugene Goldsmith’s balcony is the fourth-best in Ferndale. Eugene says he has yet to find the other three.

“You can repair and replace anything on the inside, but you can’t replace that view,” says Yvonne, a resident of the Church Hill neighborhood.

Perched on a hill with a view of Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, and the Puget Sound, residents are blessed each day with breathtaking scenery, something the community does not take for granted.

Those who live on the hill stay on the hill. The Goldsmiths have lived in the neighborhood for about 28 years, with those around them ranging from 15 to 28-plus years.

When the Goldsmiths first moved to the area, Church Road, the main road through the neighborhood, was narrow. Once the road was widened, those who lived north near the city limits and those at the southern end started to walk the road, adding foot traffic to the area. When Eugene works in the garden, neighbors stop by, chat, and usually end up with something from the garden to take back with them.

Circa 1953, the “neighborhood” consisted of a dairy farm and the Goldsmith’s house—before the Goldsmiths. Over the years many more homes were built, including a bed-and-breakfast right next door.

Downtown activities and some businesses are a quick five-minute drive away, but mostly banks and restaurants occupy the spaces. Easy accessibility to the highway makes shopping convenient.

“Everyone we have met in this neighborhood has just been very welcome with open doors,” says Yvonne. “Nobody’s pretty closed off, we are all really friendly.”

Whether neighbors walk down Church Road and stop to chat, or host dinner parties where everyone is genuinely interested in getting to know you, Church Hill is a safe, stable, and friendly community with quite a view. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to that scenery?

On the Market

2544 Sievers Way, Ferndale $375,000 | MLS# 1093655

This three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom house has no homes behind it, allowing for added privacy for a family. With dark cabinets and granite counters, walk-in closets, and a gorgeous master suite, the home offers elegant touches and beautiful contrasts between the colors of the features and the light wood floors. On a sunny day, one might be able to catch a glimpse of Mount Baker as well.


Number of Homes: 59

Average Days on Market: 99

Median List Price: $360,000

Schools: Eagleridge Elementary School, Horizon Middle School

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"Perched on a hill with a view of Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, and the Puget Sound, residents are blessed each day with breathtaking scenery"