Most of Lynden’s early settlers were dairy farmers from the Netherlands, and the town now plays up that heritage to attract tourists. The town has become a favorite stopping place for tourists from British Columbia (three miles north) heading to Bellingham (12 miles away) via Highway 539. Many downtown buildings have been outfitted with Dutch false fronts.
Front Street, the main drag, is dominated by a four-story, 72-foot-tall windmill that is part of the Dutch Village Mall, which also has a 150-foot indoor “canal” with colorful koi fish, a theater, and shops along a simulated Dutch cobblestone street. Many of these are cloyingly sweet, with places selling fudge, books, cards, kitchenware, knickknacks, and heart-shaped doormats.
The Dutch theme includes provincial flags flapping in the breeze, Dutch food and gifts (yes, wooden shoes) sold in stores, and costumed clerks on special holidays such as Holland Days during the first weekend in May. Residents in costumes sweep the already-immaculate streets—just like in Holland.
Lynden is home to one of the finest small museums in Washington, the Lynden Pioneer Museum (217 W. Front St., 360/354-3675, www.lyndenpioneermuseum.com, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 1:30–5 p.m. Sun. summers, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Sat. the rest of the year, $3 adults, $2 seniors and students, $1 ages 5–14, free for kids under 5, free to all on Sunday). On the main floor is a re-created turn-of-the-20th-century Lynden town and a collection of artifacts. The basement is a must-see, centering on 40 or so buggies, wagons, sleighs, carts, and other horse-drawn vehicles, plus antique tractors and farm machinery, and a big antique car and truck collection.
Holland Days (360/354-5885), held the first weekend of May, brings wooden shoe races, Klompen dancing, and costumed Lyndenites scrubbing down Front Street.
Mid-August brings the largest event: more than 240,000 people come to the Northwest Washington Fair (360/354-4111 or 800/992-8499, www.nwwafair.com), with farm animal exhibits, carnival rides, a tractor pull, demolition derby, and musical entertainers.
The Harvest Festival in mid-October brings rows of scarecrows, hayrides, a huge maze made from bales of hay, and other fun activities. The Dutch Sinterklaas Celebration in early December is a Christmas parade with lighted farm equipment, antique vehicles, horses, and floats, plus Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) atop a white horse. The Christmas season also features Lynden in Lights, with animated light displays all over downtown.
The town of Lynden is quiet, with only a few options. Spend a night in a windmill at the Dutch Village Inn (655 Front St., Lynden, 360/354-4440, $79 s or $89 d), where six hotel rooms (three are in the windmill and two have hot tubs) feature Dutch furnishings, antiques, and a coupon for breakfast at a nearby café.
Near the little town of Everson, southeast of Lynden, Kale House B&B (201 Kale St., 360/966-7027 or 800/225-2165, www.bbonline.com/wa/kale, $95 d) is a comfortable house in the country and a great home base for those who want to be central to the border, Bellingham, and Mt. Baker. This early-20th-century home features a downstairs bedroom and upstairs suite, both with private baths. No children are permitted.
Those looking to experience a bit of luxury in Lynden should look no farther than Homestead Farms Golf Resort (115 E. Homestead Blvd., 360/354-1196 or 800/354-1196, www.homesteadfarmsgolf.com, $149–169 d), an ideal sanctuary for duffers and scratch golfers alike. The resort offers reasonably priced links-side lodging in cabanas, lodge condos, and hotel units, as well as a fitness center and indoor pool facility.
You’ll find more Dutch specialties and country-style dinners at Dutch Mothers Restaurant (405 Front St., 360/354-2174).
The always-busy Lynden Dutch Bakery (360/354-3911) is a wonderful place for enormous sandwiches and pastries, including excellent Dutch apple pie.
Get good steaks and other mesquite-grilled meats in nearby Everson at Black Forest Steakhouse (203 W. Main St., 360/966-2855, www.eversonsteakhouse.com).
Located at the golf resort of the same name, Homestead Farms Restaurant and Pub (115 E. Homestead Blvd., 360/354-1196 or 800/354-1196, www.homesteadfarmsgolf.com) offers upscale dining three meals a day, with vistas of Mt. Baker from the deck.
Watch as cheesemakers work their craft at Appel Farms (6797 W. Pole Ln., 360/312-1431, www.appel-farms.com), making a variety of traditional cheeses, including Dutch-style gouda, a European yogurtlike cheese called quark, and Indian paneer.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition