Category Archives: Spokane

Is North Idaho romantic?

It’s that time again. When everyone gets all twitterpated and I gorge myself with chocolate and sour gummy hearts (Speaking of which, the Chocolate Affair is this Friday!).

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Photo By: Jennifer Haas Photography jhaasphotography.com

I’ve always thought of North Idaho as a romantic place because of its pretty lake beaches, starry nights and great food (is it a surprise that I equate love and food? It shouldn’t be). But I recently read on Time Magazine’s website that Amazon release a list of the “Top 20 Most Romantic Cities” and good ‘ol Cd’A wasn’t mentioned.

Normally I don’t mind when we’re left off a national list like this, for two reasons:

  1. We’re very small and not many large-scale publications and businesses know we exist.
  2. The more people that know about Cd’A, the more people will want to move here rather than just visit. And we don’t need that.

However, when you look at the list, number 9 (go ahead, I’ll wait) you’ll notice that our neighbor to the west is listed. Spokane doesn’t strike me as a romantic city at first thought. Especially in comparison to one of the many quaint North Idaho towns. When I think of Spokane (or Spokompton as I lovingly refer to it as) I think of the homeless problem, the many robberies and crimes I see on the news each night, bikini barista controversies, getting high, and extremely awesome minimum wages.  But then I stopped to think about some of the more unique spots in Spokane – I don’t really know of many actually. Come to think of it, the most romance I’ve seen come from Spokane are the sad souls looking for love in the “I saw you” section of the Inlander.

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Here are some spots (the few I’m aware of) that offer a bit of romance:

  1. Manito Park (and the Tap House!)
  2. Riverfront Park – the gondolas over the falls are beautiful!
  3. Davenport Hotel
  4. Italian Kitchen
  5. Fox Theater

So I thought of five. Please keep in mind that I know very little about Spokane other than how to get to the parks, malls and Trader Joe’s. And actually, I would add Trader Joe’s to the list. I do love that place.

I attempted to look up a few places to add to my list via KXLY’s Facebook post. What I ended up getting was a great laugh – apparently the majority Spokanites aren’t very passionate about their city. Read their hilarious comments. My favorite is, “Smoking meth in Riverfront Park,” or, “Nothing brings a couple together like being mugged downtown, such a bonding moment.”

I have to add that Amazon’s list has more to do with who’s buying what off of Amazon than the actual romantic-ness a city has to offer. Which makes me feel better. Maybe we’re not on that list because we are romantic enough in real life and don’t need to buy the entire box set of 50 Shades of Grey.

I’m compiling my own list of favorite romantic spots in North Idaho and I’d love to include yours! Send them my way!

xoxo
Andy

How many Oktoberfests can you pack into one weekend?

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Here’s to the weekend! A weekend full of fall celebrations and probably more drinking than the average person should partake in.

Before I tell you all about all the merriment to be had, here’s a little factoid about how everyone’s favorite fall kick-off event got started. Courtesy of Wikipedia, of course.

So apparently Oktoberfest began in 1810 when Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. They had a grand celebration in Munich that ended with horse races. The celebration and races continued each year with new additions such as an agricultural show (which is still a part of the Munich Oktoberfest every three years) and of course food, beer and other festivities.

2013 marks the 180th Oktoberfest in Munich. It’s now a 16-day festival running from late September to the first weekend in October with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year.

Talk about crazy.

So now on to our local celebrations of this event which has little to no relevance or historical significance in Coeur d’Alene.

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The downtown Oktoberfest is today from 4-9 p.m. and tomorrow from 1-8 p.m. The cost is $20 and includes a mug and six tickets for tasting. There’s live music, family festivities and food. You can pay and pick up your mug/tickets in the Plaza Shops.

Hayden
Daanen’s Deli’s annual Oktoberfest is tomorrow beginning at noon. This event is very family-friendly. There’s great food, music, fun activities and of course good craft beer.

Sandpoint
The downtown Sandpoint Oktoberfest is actually on October 5 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the old Granary. There’s live music from four bands, a funky waiter race, dachshund derby, fire dancing, magic, arts and crafts vendors, and food by Trinity and Jupiter Jane. There’s also a beer taste-off featuring Bitterroot, River City Brewing, Laughing Dog, Selkirk Abbey, and Mick Duff’s. A wine walk featuring wine from Pend d’Oreille Winery will also be happening and of course dancing all day long.

Spokane
The Inland NW Craft Beer Festival takes place in downtown Spokane at Riverfront Park on Friday, September 27 from 4-8 p.m. and Saturday, September 28 from noon to 8 p.m.

This festival features 28 Washington-based breweries and two breweries from Idaho. They’ll be pouring over 90 beers, including a unique selection of pumpkin beers. Live music and food will be on site.

So there you have it. All the places to celebrate your Bavarian ancestry – or love of beer.

Cheers!
Andy

Fall Favorites

I know it’s still 90 degrees outside (for now) but fall is definitely on its way. Last night it was dark by 7:30, the mornings are cool and crisp and on my way to running group I saw a tree starting to turn gold. So call me crazy… but I sense fall is near.

I love the fall in North Idaho. I know I say this every year, but it is definitely my favorite season. I think because of its energy. Probably the reason so many people like the spring too. I feel like whenever nature changes hats we feel the energy it creates. There’s something about the vivid colors and the little bite in the wind that just sparks creativity and brings our area to life.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing better than a summer spent downtown Cd’A, but the fall is just different. Kyle says it’s my favorite because my birthday is at the end of October – and that very well could be the case – But I choose to believe that autumn is my favorite season because of the festivities, cozy clothing and the  creative bursts it gives me.

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Here’s a little preview of my favorite fall activities:

Coeur d’Fondo – I have never actually participated in this ginormous biking event. Admitted. But it sounds amazing and beautiful AND I swear if I had a bike with gears I would totally participate. A beach cruiser doesn’t really bode well for long distances and hills. But I do love this event because it includes family riders and distance riders.

Downtown Oktoberfest – So. Much. Fun. This is the one time of year that drinking outside in public is totally doable. Just don’t get out of control and ruin it for everyone, OK?

It seems like every year this event gets larger. Participants get to bounce around from shop to shop testing different beers. There’s live music, German food and a lot of lederhosen. There’s a lot of family activities too. So don’t bail because you’re afraid Jr. isn’t welcome. This year the downtown Oktoberfest is two days, Friday, September 27 and Saturday, September 28.

Daanen’s Deli Oktoberfest – Also a fun event for the whole family, Daanen’s Deli puts together an awesome event in their parking lot. Games, music, food, and great beer. I actually tend to like the beer at Daanen’s over the selection downtown. This year’s event is Saturday, September 28. Check out their Facebook page for more info. (linked above).

Apple Festival at Green Bluff – This is beyond my favorite thing to do in the fall – and it’s the most family-friendly. Pick a day in October to drive out to Green Bluff north of Spokane to pick apples, pumpkins, taste wine, listen to music, and participate in all of the merriment that is fall on the farm.

Two things to HAVE to do:

1. Go to Knapp’s and watch Punkin’ Chunkin’. It’s purely amazing.
2. Buy at least a dozen pumpkin doughnuts. When they get stale, microwave them for 5-8 seconds and they’re almost like new again. Yum! Chances are they won’t make it to the stale point – you’ll be lucky if they make it home.

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Here’s a map to each of the growers.

Scarywood – Just when you think you can’t handle Silverwood’s awesomeness, they turn scary. Every year it gets better, with new attractions and characters. This may not be the best option for little kids. Only open at night, the entire park fills with smog and creatures roam around looking for the right person to scare. Several of the rides are turned into a haunted attraction and you can even ride the Timber Terror backwards. I didn’t like it that much – too jerky and it made me want to barf a little. Normally I’m good with coasters, but apparently not backwards. Overall, I don’t think this is the scariest option there is, but it definitely has its moments.

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Post Falls Lon’s Club Haunted House – This is the scariest haunted house in the area. For the longest time it was a tradition to go for my birthday, but the past two years we opted for Scarywood instead. This is a more traditional haunted house, where you wait in a 2-hour line (no kidding, please dress warm!) and spend about 5-10 minutes inside. The scenes are terrifying and the actors are great.

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So those are my favorite things to do every fall. I try to pack in everything because, like summer, it goes by so fast! What are you favorite things to do in the fall? What about in the outlying areas?

Please share!

xoxo
Andy

Star Spangled North Idaho

There is so much to do here for the Fourth of July. Growing up I loved going to the parade downtown every year. The costumes, local floats and the spirit of the day was so captivating and fun. Then in high school I got to march in the parade as a cheerleader for CHS and now it’s still fun to continue the tradition of watching with my three nephews and family.

For those of you who are not already tuned into the schedule, here’s how it goes (every year):

  • The Parade begins at 11 a.m. and runs along Sherman Ave. from 15th to Government Way.
  • Following the parade, head down to the city park for fun activities, music and food vendors.
  • To wrap up the evening head down to the city beach to watch the firework show around 9:30. Beautiful! Although I still think the lighting ceremony in November is a better show… but that’s just my opinion.

There are a ton of other celebrations going on in the area. Bayview Daze is probably my favorite, even more than our downtown show. I just love how the little town of Bayview turns into one huge community festival. Then on Saturday there’s a lighted boat parade on the lake and a beautiful firework show. This is a must-do for everyone at some point.

Other celebrations include:

  • Harrison: There’s live music all afternoon followed by a firework show at dusk.
  • Hayden: The Hayden Lake Country Club hosts a small firework show at dusk that can be seen from Honeysuckle beach.
  • Spirit Lake: Parade from the senior center up Maine Street and back to the City Park beginning at 11 a.m.
    Following the parade there’s live music, vendors and family activities at the City Park until 4 p.m. The firework show begins at 10 p.m.
  • Spokane: Riverfront Park knows how to do it right. This is one celebration I have yet to attend, mostly because of the drive and large crowds. But every year I hear how great it is and how many fun activities there are to do. Maybe someday we’ll brave the crowds to check it out. I would love to have a window seat at Anthony’s for this firework show!

The Inland Northwest definitely knows how to celebrate the Fourth. How do you celebrate? Do you attend one of the big shows or put on your own in your driveway? Either way I hope everyone has a safe and happy Fourth of July! I’ll do my best to take some photos and post them to Facebook. Please feel free to post your own too!

Andy

 

How do I know if an event or activity is Fido-Friendly??

Because I’ve been posting so many awesome things to do with your pooch, I decided to create a couple images that I can 20130531-153216.jpgadd to a post so you all know it’s doggie safe, or as I’m calling it, “Juneau-Approved.”

So never fear dog lovers! Juneau will let you if Fido is invited.