By Linda Wallace

Author's thoughts on the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


My husband and I just returned from a lovely little Valentine getaway at the Semiahmoo Resort at Blaine, Washington, near the Canadian border, about a two-hour drive from Seattle. From the hotel you can see White Rock, British Columbia, across Semiamoo Bay. Every three months, before the Medicare prescription drug benefit was established, we used to line up for the custom inspection at the Peace Arch Border Crossing in order to drive to a White Rock pharmacy to buy medicine at a reduced rate. This trip was way more fun.
Semiahmoo is located at the end of a narrow, mile-long spit which curves around and forms the entrance to Drayton Harbor. The entire 1,100-acre development is a natural wildlife preserve, home to bald eagles, great blue herons, sandpipers, cormorants, belted kingfishers and many other shorebirds. Unfortunately, because it is such a beautiful place, the inevitable developments are springing up at a mad pace. You would think construction would be limited in a wildlife preserve, but that doesn’t appear to be true.

The site was once a salmon cannery operated by the Alaska Packing Company. Salmon were packed there until 1965 and labeling of packed salmon continued until 1974. The hotel displays numerous fascinating historic photos documenting the salmon-canning days and the Native Americans who lived in the area long before the cannery was built. Of special interest to me were the pictures of the women who worked at salmon packing. Why do you suppose in old group photos the women are smiling and the men look grim? Attitude, I think. I imagine the work was equally hard for both sexes.
One of the main attractions at Semiahmoo for my husband and me was the spa. During our courting days, we visited La Costa in California and loved it. My husband thought facials weren’t for manly men but changed his mind after relaxing under the ministrations of Gracie’s magic fingers. We both booked massages at Semiahmoo, and all I can say is, "More!!" Massage is addictive. Now that I’m home I’m craving another one. Neck and back are just too tense—must have muscles kneaded. I think Semiahmoo will be seeing us again quite soon.

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