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Winter storm watching

Experience the stunning Semiahmoo Resort

The calm before the storm at Semiahmoo Park in Blaine. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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Storm watching by its very nature involves bad weather, and the more dramatic the storm the better. When choosing a place to stay, a full-service resort makes the most sense because while you may want to watch the storm, you don't want to drive in it. The Semiahmoo Resort fits the bill with a facility that is jam-packed with activities and amenities. Located about two-and-a-half hours from Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Blaine is the perfect distance for a weekend getaway.

Located on the Washington coast between Semiahmoo Bay and Drayton Harbor, the resort sits on a long spit of land that allows water views from both sides of the hotel. On the western side, watch storms roll in across Semiahmoo Bay, obscuring your view of Canada, while on the eastern side the stunning views of Mount Baker disappear as storm clouds rush in.

The thin peninsula offers more than 300 acres of tidelands with plenty of trails. It's a short 15-minute walk to Semiahmoo Park on the paved Coast Millennium Trail, which extends from the resort to the park. Some of the many amenities the resort offers are bike rentals, with one hour included in your resort fee. Borrow binoculars at the front desk along with a birding brochure for a self-guided tour to watch the birds, seals and otters that frequent the area. On Saturdays at 2 p.m., the Semiahmoo offers an expert-guided bird-watching tour.

With wet, wintery weather at peak, the coast becomes off-season. With fewer crowds, the staff has more time to interact with guests. Semiahmoo has a warm and welcoming lobby with a roaring fireplace and lots of cozy seats. The staff is very friendly and helpful. Time just seems to slow down; I observed families sitting in the library by a warm fire playing board games. Check in at the front desk to request a movie to be played in the Discovery Theater. Each evening the staff starts a fire on the beach and offers complimentary s'mores.

Schedule a beauty treatment at the full-service spa. If you are feeling more active, lap swim in the indoor/outdoor heated pool or try the indoor golf simulator and pick your favorite course to play on. Hit the hot tub for a relaxing soak while the kids play table tennis. There is more than enough to do to fill your time.

The Semiahmoo Resort has multiple dining venues at both the hotel and golf courses. Check the website for hours; during the offseason, more options are available on weekends.  If you are a foodie, plan your visit around one of the monthly Vintner Dinners.  The culinary team under the direction of Executive Chef Bruno Feldeisen, a renowned chef who serves as a judge on The Great Canadian Baking Show, works closely with the winemakers to carefully craft each seasonally-inspired menu. Enjoy champagne and appetizers, then sit down for three to five courses with a wine pairing for each. The dinners are interactive, and you will learn about each course and its pairing. The events are very popular, so early reservations are recommended due to limited seating.

Watch the weather and plan a storm-watching trip to the coast. It makes for a relaxing weekend whether on a couples' getaway or family trip.

Semiahmoo Resort, Golf and Spa, daily, 9565 Semiahmoo Parkway, Blaine, 855.917.3767,

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