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elbuick

Renton, WA

#1 Oct 17, 2008
Anybody else miss the "Old Birch Bay" like I do? I have been going there since I was a young boy on vacation and have fond memories of the amusement park, roller rink, penney arcade, etc. My wife and I just purchased a home in Birch Bay so our kids and grandkids could enjoy it as well. The problem is that modern times have caught up with it and the "Old" feeling isn't there anymore! The final blow came when the old dance hall (last known as the Palm's I think) got torn down for condo's to be built. Still love BB but...

Since: Feb 08

Location hidden

#2 Nov 4, 2008
elbuick wrote:
Anybody else miss the "Old Birch Bay" like I do? I have been going there since I was a young boy on vacation and have fond memories of the amusement park, roller rink, penney arcade, etc. My wife and I just purchased a home in Birch Bay so our kids and grandkids could enjoy it as well. The problem is that modern times have caught up with it and the "Old" feeling isn't there anymore! The final blow came when the old dance hall (last known as the Palm's I think) got torn down for condo's to be built. Still love BB but...
Yep, I know what you mean, the 'old' days are gone, never to be seen again. There is so much truth to old saying......."You can never go home again". It's all done in the name of 'progress', don't you know! It's too bad, really, because once it's gone, it's gone forever, for only in our memories will it live, but there, it can also live,'forever'.
jack mckenna

Canada

#3 Apr 9, 2009
You should get up to the air base soon - they are going to start tearing down some of the buildings - bring along your camera.
There are a few excellent internet sites with historic photos of Birch Bay - I don't have the addresses - go to google and see what you can find
Jack

Since: Feb 08

Location hidden

#4 Apr 10, 2009
jack mckenna wrote:
You should get up to the air base soon - they are going to start tearing down some of the buildings - bring along your camera.
There are a few excellent internet sites with historic photos of Birch Bay - I don't have the addresses - go to google and see what you can find
Jack
I will do that, thanks, and as for the camera and the old air base, I plan on doing just that. I would like to get pictures of the area before the demolition begins.
Birch Bay thriver

Abingdon, MD

#5 Apr 20, 2009
Shadow Walker wrote:
<quoted text>
Yep, I know what you mean, the 'old' days are gone, never to be seen again. There is so much truth to old saying......."You can never go home again". It's all done in the name of 'progress', don't you know! It's too bad, really, because once it's gone, it's gone forever, for only in our memories will it live, but there, it can also live,'forever'.
I agree that times and economics have altered the atmosphere of Birch Bay from point to point. I have been coming here since 1960 and remember all the old cars cruising up and down it's drive. I miss the public swimming pool and the Edgewater cabins. However, I also remember and did not like the change in the 1970's where the teens and college groups would scope for drugs, alcohol in scanty outfits looking to pick up a temporary mate, up and down this same drive until wee hours of the night. Once the old cabins fell way to condos, the peace of Birch Bay returned. I also remember the rickety carnival that began attracking less desirables. I am guilty of buying a condo in the vicinity but love sharing it with all my family and friends and feel much safer than during the 1970's strolling the bay.
Yes, the area has changed and so many new homes are going up. But that has taken many decades and plenty of loyal Birch Bayers to help keep it sane.

The larger golf course will be missed.
But the sewer disposal dumped into the middle of the bay of earlier years is gladly missed and gladly altered.
Memories are just that, and new ones are yet to be discovered. Just enjoy the hues and shades of reds, blues and yellows of the everlasting sunsets.

Since: Feb 08

Location hidden

#6 Apr 23, 2009
Birch Bay thriver wrote:
<quoted text>
I agree that times and economics have altered the atmosphere of Birch Bay from point to point. I have been coming here since 1960 and remember all the old cars cruising up and down it's drive. I miss the public swimming pool and the Edgewater cabins. However, I also remember and did not like the change in the 1970's where the teens and college groups would scope for drugs, alcohol in scanty outfits looking to pick up a temporary mate, up and down this same drive until wee hours of the night. Once the old cabins fell way to condos, the peace of Birch Bay returned. I also remember the rickety carnival that began attracking less desirables. I am guilty of buying a condo in the vicinity but love sharing it with all my family and friends and feel much safer than during the 1970's strolling the bay.
Yes, the area has changed and so many new homes are going up. But that has taken many decades and plenty of loyal Birch Bayers to help keep it sane.
The larger golf course will be missed.
But the sewer disposal dumped into the middle of the bay of earlier years is gladly missed and gladly altered.
Memories are just that, and new ones are yet to be discovered. Just enjoy the hues and shades of reds, blues and yellows of the everlasting sunsets.
You know, as we talk of the memories of Birch Bay, I feel, in a small way, like I have contributed to the decline of the many bits and pieces of the area, from what it once was, to what it is today. I have lived here for just about seven years now, and I have loved every minute of it, and continue to do so, and even in that small window of time, I have seen many changes take place, not the least of which has been the influx of new people and the rapid increase of homes, built where once was open and wooded areas. What a sleepy little area Birch Bay was, and in the winter, still is, although when we arrived here, there was almost no one 'cruising' the Bay drive, as it was deserted most of the time, now there are more cars moving back and forth through the area, and taking with it, that peaceful, serene aura that it (The Bay) possessed. I suppose that I am selfish in a way, for when you once find something wonderful, you wish to keep it the way you found it, and never let it go, but I suppose that can never be, really, for others will find what you have found, and sooner or later, will want that same thing. With my travels through life, I once thought that I'd found what I'd been looking for as far as a place to settle down for good, but that was an illusion of sorts, I guess, for I didn't find that, until I found Birch Bay. The summer time has it's own unique feel, and the pleasant evenings, with the Bay as a backdrop, is something to be savored. When out working in my yard, it's nice to wave and say hello to those who walk by, to have conversations with those who are out taking in the delights of just strolling through the area.
Yes, I found what something that is truly worthwhile, and I am holding onto it for as long as I can. I have many fond memories of growing up in another state, but now, I am making many more right here, and enjoying every minute of it.
The winter time too, has it's joys, that of fewer people and a more peaceful way of life, albeit for only half the time, but when summer comes again, with it's warm weather and sunshine, life is indeed, good, even with the influx of the many who visit this wonderful area for those few short months of summer sunshine.

Since: Oct 08

Renton, WA

#7 May 1, 2009
I agree with the feelings that everyone has shared. I have those wonderful memories of the way it once was as that is what I grew up with. I also know that there are many more new and yet unknown memories that will be there for my family in years to come. That is exactly why we decided to buy our home in Birch Bay after all these years to continue living the love of the area. By the way, our home was built in 1949 so we bought back a piece of "Old Birch Bay"...
Tim

Kirkland, WA

#8 Jul 12, 2011
I moved here with my family in 1964, my dad was stationed at the Air Base and I just turned 10 years old. Now I'm living in a house I helped my pop build back in 1969 just a mile up the road from Birck Bay Center. I have fond memories of this small area from before it was the mad 70's and early 80's till now. I was one of those who cruised the Bay till the wee hours of the morning but it sure seemed like the thing to do at the time. The whole area from the Border to Point White Horn was alive with people, the bars were open fromearly in the morning till 2:00 am. Bands played from early afternoon on the summer week ends. The blue laws in Canada and the young men from the Air Base,the pretty girls from all over but mostly from Canada and not much chance of a drunk driving ticket then either. I don't miss the late night times we all spent then but I do like to remember them. I can't take a drive through the area or go down some of the old roads without some memory of things in the past. Going out to Giles pond for a swim in the hot afternoon then heading to Birch Bay for a few hours till we picked up our girl friends and went out to the Holiday Drive In for the rest of the night. Or after the show was over heading into Blaine to Denny's for something to eat if we still had any money left. The whole area has changed and only time will tell if it's for the better but I think it is. Now if we could just get the pet owners to clean up after there pets when they take them for walks this great place would have no real faults. The water slide has been around for a while now and I find it a good additiuon to what once was a play ground for families. I see the bike and Kyack rentals making a come baxck and also of a horse drawn cab starting here soon so the future looks as good as it ever did but with a cleaner twist to the old ways. A few more people on the beach would be a good thing during the summer and more people at picnics in the state park would be nice too. Just a relaxed place to spend some time with your family like we did when we were younger ourselves.
Jacqueline from Victoria

Victoria, Canada

#9 Aug 15, 2011
Our family went to Birch Bay every summer in the 1960's what a wonderful place to take your family. We rented cabins that all were named after flowers, I've been trying to remember the couple's name that owner these cabins and corner store and the bike rentals.If you have any idea please let me know. I loved the little fair, roller rink, archade. I can't remember the dance hall, but it was such a fabulous place for a child to visit or even better live. In the 80's my new husband and I drove through birch bay to see all the cabins (named after flowers) being moved, destroyed, and sold and making way for the condos. I haven't been back since, but feel a need to go back every summer.

Since: Feb 08

Location hidden

#10 Aug 15, 2011
Jacqueline from Victoria wrote:
Our family went to Birch Bay every summer in the 1960's what a wonderful place to take your family. We rented cabins that all were named after flowers, I've been trying to remember the couple's name that owner these cabins and corner store and the bike rentals.If you have any idea please let me know. I loved the little fair, roller rink, archade. I can't remember the dance hall, but it was such a fabulous place for a child to visit or even better live. In the 80's my new husband and I drove through birch bay to see all the cabins (named after flowers) being moved, destroyed, and sold and making way for the condos. I haven't been back since, but feel a need to go back every summer.
I know of what you speak, and it's shame that so much of what we remember as children or young adults, has been destroyed to make way for..........Condos!! I've lived here in Birch Bay for 10 years now, and have loved every minute of it, and even in that short time, it took just about 2 years after we moved here, for it to be 'discovered' by the general populace, and with it, all the charm and mystic that used to be here, has slowly dissolved away. But, don't get me wrong, it's still a wonderful place to live, and I wouldn't trade it for anywhere else. Would you still remember it? I think you would.....true, some of the things that were here have disappeared, to be replaced by those dreaded condo's, but I still believe that enough of the 'old ' Birch Bay still exists, to bring back a ton of memories. I remember the little place to eat, called the 'Pepperdock', and I mourned the passing of that little eatery, and to point, still do, but things and life, move on, and so, little by little, I've adjusted. The street I live on continues to be the same quaint little street we first moved to, with only an occasional speeder who thinks he's on I-5, but we'll find an answer to that soon enough. Otherwise, We really love this area, and we'll never move.
Jacqueline from Victoria

Victoria, Canada

#11 Aug 16, 2011
living in Birch Bay must be so wonderful. The sight of the bay and the ocean smell, the warm sand, clams, and crabs. I will probably visit with my daughters one day. It's too difficult to stay away...one day.

Since: Feb 08

Location hidden

#12 Aug 17, 2011
Jacqueline from Victoria wrote:
living in Birch Bay must be so wonderful. The sight of the bay and the ocean smell, the warm sand, clams, and crabs. I will probably visit with my daughters one day. It's too difficult to stay away...one day.
It is a very nice place to live, we love it. I thought I'd never leave Montana, but Birch Bay convinced me that there ARE, better places to live. We live up on the hill, and our house overlooks the water, and we just couldn't be happier with where we are.
Sharman 1960 at Birchbay

Anacortes, WA

#13 Sep 4, 2011
I was searching for someplace I could buy a few black and white photos of Birchbay back in the day of the amusement park, roller rink and Yes....cruising the beach. I was lucky enough to be a teen and I tell people it was like living the movie "Beach Blanket Bingo' with Fabian and Annette Funicello (sorry about the spelling). The Air force base was up the hill, the Navy base was down the road and every day at the beach was exciting. Those days seemed so safe for everyone just wandering the beach. I remember when I was just 11 a bunch of us entered the first sand castle contest and won for the junior division. We did the Peace Arch and the Canadians stood on one side and the Americans on the other shaking hands....made the local paper and we all got to share $5.00 to spend at the local gift shop in one of the little grocery stores. From 12 to 16 I roller skated and learned to skate dance with the best of them. From 16 on up dating a military guy was the thing to do. Even thou I was Canadian my family spent every weekend and all holidays at Birchbay so I was destined to marry an American. Anyway, here we are all these years later remodeling the cabin on Terrell Creek and plan to make it our retirement home as soon as we can. This is still a wonderful community for families and as some people have said....a well kept secret as the prices for property are incredibly low compared to anywhere else in the U.S. for beach front etc. If anyone knows of where I can buy some black and white photos of the 40's through the 60's let me know....not having any luck on the search through Google.
Jacqueline from Victoria

Victoria, Canada

#14 Oct 7, 2011
I found a Christmas Post Card from the owners of the store/cabin rentals from the 1960's....the husband's name was Bob Vogt the wife's name I can't quite remember will check it again. The photo shows the store exactly how I remembered it and that store sold absolutely everything. I wish I could scan it to this web site for all to enjoy, as there are very few older photos of Birch Bay.
Leslie

Marquette, MI

#15 May 29, 2012
Our family and friends had their own cabins there from the 1940s through to today. Oh, the changes! Cabins were clapboard things full of castoffs and 4th-hand materials. We used to ride our bikes all over the main drag (the speed limit was 10--remember that?) hitting the stores along the way and then venture up to the quiet backroads. No such thing as condos then--hundreds of rental cabins and trailer sites. The barefoot walk down to the beach and back--many side streets weren't paved then. Sand everywhere in the cabin--there was a big metal tub we had to soak in before we came in. Sigh. Nothing but memories now, really. Birch Bay is darn near unrecognizable.

Since: Feb 08

Location hidden

#16 May 29, 2012
Leslie wrote:
Our family and friends had their own cabins there from the 1940s through to today. Oh, the changes! Cabins were clapboard things full of castoffs and 4th-hand materials. We used to ride our bikes all over the main drag (the speed limit was 10--remember that?) hitting the stores along the way and then venture up to the quiet backroads. No such thing as condos then--hundreds of rental cabins and trailer sites. The barefoot walk down to the beach and back--many side streets weren't paved then. Sand everywhere in the cabin--there was a big metal tub we had to soak in before we came in. Sigh. Nothing but memories now, really. Birch Bay is darn near unrecognizable.
Everyone has fond memories of where they grew up and lived during their young lives, and it appears that this Birch Bay forum is no exception.
When I left home in 1965, I never realized that one day I'd land smack dab on the far West Coast, but it was when I went back 'home' after being gone for 12 years, that I found out the old saying 'You can never go home again', is quite true. The old homestead for the vast majority of cases, is never the same as you left it, and that is so sad. Some of the changes are subtle, some are just outright outrageous, and the landscape is so changed, that you just find it difficult to vision it the way is was, but still, in your minds eye, it will never change. Some call it 'progress', but in another way, it's almost desecration, to me. How much fun those days were. Oh to be so naive about life again, as those days were, so full of promise and excitement.
Steven berg

University Place, WA

#17 Jul 9, 2012
My parents used to take my brother and sister and I here every summer for the week . We used to stay at the old cabins , and went to the roller skating arena ,my brother and I were usually at the little store at the cabins playing arcade games .i really miss how this place used to be some of my best times in life were coming here for the week ,and meeting friends that we saw every year ..really miss this place the way it used to be&#128546;&#128546;
Karin Jakobsen

Denmark

#18 Jul 14, 2012
We also used to go to Birch Bay each weekend in the summertime in the late 60's, early 70's. We had our trailer at the same place each summer at the trailer park just by the golf course, even our friends from Coquitlam, Canada would be there too. I too would skate at the roller rink as much as possible, had even my own roller skates. I think
I can remember that the name of the lady who had the roller runk at that time was Betty. At the beach we would catch crabs, clams and catfish. Had my first crush at Birch bay, Bobby was his name. Never got around to cruisin along the beach, as I wasn't old enough at the time being, but I always imagined that I would do it some day. But never got around to it as we moved to my parents home country, Denmark. It's great to be able to have good childhood memories of Birch bay.
Diane - Birch Bay WA

Bellingham, WA

#19 Oct 18, 2012
I too miss the old Birch Bay. I spent part of every summer from the age of six months at our family cabin above Halvorson's Sea Shore Inn Resort. As an adult I had a summer cottage built so that my children and grandchildren could enjoy Birch Bay as I did. I enjoyed being "home again" so much that I sold my house in Bellingham, bought a house in Birch Bay Village and live there permanently. It isn't the same. No cruising at 10 mph bumper to bumper and the resort cabins are gone but I love going home after work to the salty air, the sound of the water and the sunsets. Being a teen at Birch Bay in the 1960s was the best but the peace and tranquility in 2012 is pretty nice too.

Since: Feb 08

Location hidden

#20 Oct 19, 2012
As for me, Birch Bay has been a 'recent' event. We moved here ten years ago and we've enjoyed every minute of it. Just in those ten years, we've noticed a very much noticeable change. I guess as we all move toward those middle to later years in our lives, our thoughts seem to gravitate to those years past, when things seemed so much simpler. As stated earlier, I didn't grow up here, so my minds eye only can go back as far as those ten years, but I certainly can relate to those days when things were so different. It appears that the rest of Washington as well as others, are beginning to find Birch Bay, and like many other things in life, moderation is good, excess is not so good, and it looks like it is moving toward excess here. I would have hoped that we wouldn't see a huge influx of people, or 'progress' as some put it, but is it really 'progress'? With the attitudes of people these days, it certainly isn't 'progress' at all, because with those throngs of people, come all the things that most people would care to avoid.....the crime, the congestion and all the trimmings connected with 'crowds'. Oh well, I guess we can never fully keep away from what some call 'progress', I guess we can only hope to keep it contained, and work hard to keep it from exploding out of control.

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