Art history professor on sabbatical heading to Japan seeks exchange of Bellingham, Washington, home for Kyoto residence. Bellingham is a small but vibrant and friendly college city on salt water but near the mountains, roughly half way between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. It's known for its quality of life, beautiful scenery, and outdoor recreation, including skiing, paddling, hiking, climbing, sailing, and bird-watching. Easy access to big city attractions and several national parks. Local university also offers cultural events. (For a city of its size, Bellingham offers a great range of activities, especially through the local parks department.)
3-bedroom, 2 full bathroom home is available 15-August 2010 through 14-August 2011. Modern, warm, bright and well-lit, with great office space and nicely equipped kitchen. Much lovely woodwork. Cool kid room. Quiet and friendly neighborhood, 5 miles to local universtiy (WWU--Western Washington University). Close to "green belt," bike path, Whatcom Falls Park, Big Rock Sculpture Garden, Lake Whatcom, Bloedel Donovan Park/beach, good schools, Barkley Village for shopping. Good territorial view; "peek" view of the Olympics from upstairs bedroom and dining room. Very safe and pleasant neighborhood. Preference for somone willing to cat-sit.
Nice territorial view, pretty gardens, pleasant neighborhood FEELS like subburbs but is close to downtown. Bellingham is known for it parks and trails. VERY close to good walking and hiking. Several ponds, fresh-water beach nearby. 1 hour drive to Mt. Baker, home of snow boarding/skiing and stunning views. Good access also to San Juan islands and ferries in Washington and British Columbia. Few hour drive to Whistler and other great BC destinations. Great area for easy weekend trips to quite varied destinations.
Bellingham has mild but gray winters, but usually with enough sun breaks to keep one sane. And it's always green. We rarely have snow but can easily access snowy mountains.
Because of it's location and mil weather, we get many birds visiting in winter. There are many good bird-watching sites near Bellingham. And it's only a few hours' drive to the east side of the mountains, which is also scenic but has a much different climate, with cold snowy winters and hot summers.
We are a family of three plus several sweet but lazy cats (who will not be coming to Japan). We include an art history professor (who speaks Japanese) who specializes in Japanese art history, a technical editor, and a 5-yr old boy, who is very busy thoughtfully exploring the world (especially as it relates to trains, busses, and planes). For fun, we travel, cook, hike, watch birds and wildlife, and read. We've live in Japan before, but not with our child. The kid is, however, an experienced and spirited traveler, who has visited Japan and is excited about living there (and attending kindergarten).