On the South Side of Bellingham, as the streets of Fairhaven stretch out from the bay and move up the low hill and down the other side, they discreetly transition into the Happy Valley Neighborhood. Many of the homes from the late 1800s and early 1900s still occupy the streets. At the crest of the hill is one of the neighborhood elementary schools of the 1920s vintage. Down the other side of the hill is the real Happy Valley that a century ago used to be a collection of small farms and loosely assembled neighborhoods.
Today there are still areas of large open fields and many eras of homes with a good concentration of apartments in the part of the neighborhood that borders on Western Washington University
Many of the residents of Happy Valley would never consider living in a different part of Bellingham. They enjoy the culture and rhythm of their neighborhood. Happy Valley is home to Bellingham's only co-operative housing community and several schools and preschools whose students flourish on creative and alternative learning environments. During the summer months, Joe's Garden
provides much of Bellingham's best fresh local produce to markets and to on-site customers. The seven-acre farm is the last of its kind in Happy Valley and an excellent place in the summer to get fresh vegetables and potted flowers.
Happy Valley has several walking paths that stretch many miles, crossing over fields and through the woods of the Connelly Creek Nature Area
. On Happy Valley's northern edge is Sehome Hill Arboretum, a 180 acre forested park with several miles of walking trails and an observation tower. On the south edge of the neighborhood is the beginning of the Interurban Trail. From here you can walk, run or ride your bike south about six miles, under the forest canopy to Larrabee State Park
. In another direction, a trail system skirts along the southern edge of the neighborhood and up the hill to Lake Padden and the network of trails found there, along with all the other amenities Lake Padden Park
has to offer.
Happy Valley kids go to Happy Valley Elementary
School, which has an excellent reputation for many extra programs that the kids are involved with. The older kids attend Fairhaven Middle School
and then later they attend Sehome High School