August 9-13, 2018
We call ourselves “interviewing” places for extended winter stays and had high hopes for Spokane, Washington based on recommendations from locals. So we set our sights there, but had to pass through Idaho on the way. That’s no longer a pass-through state for us and likely THE place!
The Heat Wave
We last left you in Libby, MT with some smoky skies and 90+ temps. Fast forward to our next interim stop for two days in Moyie Springs, Idaho. The forecast for those fateful two days was 104 degrees for the high with extreme fire danger and smoky skies. Yuck.
We’ve never been so grateful for towering trees and shade in our lives. This spot in Twin Rivers Canyon Resort was just the ticket. Getting there involved a very steep narrow gravel road with four hairpin turns, but we knew this from online reviews and disconnected Bitsy first. I led the way in the Bits and boy was it a stunning view looking down over the huge dropoff. The place is at the confluence of the Moyie and Kootenai Rivers and really is beautiful. Since we only lazed around in the AC, I have no other pictures to show for our stop except this one. Trust me, it’s pretty there.
Our next stop was Farragut State Park, only a short drive away from Coeur d’Alene and the reason we chose it. Unfortunately it’s still smoky and we almost stayed cloistered there, too. Almost. A little cabin fever and a reasonably clear day got us out the door to our goal. We must figure out why people love this town. I’ve read several blogs and articles touting the wonders of CDA – yeah that’s the short name – and we wondered what all the fuss was about. In addition, Cecil & Eloise (my parents) mentioned this as one of the places they loved when they explored the area. Other than a quilt store Mom frequented, I had no idea what they saw in the place. They never said and I never thought to ask.
Now we know, or at least we think we do. Beautiful, friendly, and easy to navigate are just a few of the reasons. CDA has a great downtime vibe with a long beachfront right on Lake Coeur d’Alene. Check off one of our wants – a body of water in or near town with a nice place to stroll. We had a dynamite meal overlooking the water so check off good dining options. It may not have some of the chains we’re used to, but appears to have all the cuisines we enjoy. And with a population of about 45,000 people, it’s not too big and not too small. In Three Bears terms, it’s just right.
The waterfront with the floating dock walkway. Lot of boats in the marina including sailboats. Pat misses his sailing, so this is a true plus.
Lots of people of all ages were enjoying this gorgeous city park and they were in the middle of a weekly free concert when we strolled by. Oh yes, there’s a college here, too, so you get the added “young” feel and all the amenities that colleges bring like trendy restaurants and cultural activities.
Sailboats, seagulls, and more red geraniums than I could imagine.
And the largest dandelions I’ve ever seen decorating even more green space. We even had a person waiting on a bench help us score a nice free parking spot. Add friendly people to the mix.
We were pleased to read about mild winters here (relatively speaking), but they do have all four seasons. In my whole life, I’ve never lived anywhere with four seasons. Florida and Texas have two at best. And not too far away are ski slopes. Pat could even get his downhill skiing fix and I could, well, not. I mean I’d like to try cross-country skiing, but I find anything bigger than the bunny hill stressful. Add hiking and biking to the list and this place has all the outdoor boxes checked.
Any big city stuff we’re missing is only about 30 miles away in Spokane, Washington. This place felt like living in DeLand with the option of popping over to Daytona Beach or Orlando for shopping, eating out, or catching a plane.
Anyway, I know this post is short on photos and long on feelings, but it’s hard to capture a “vibe” on film. Just know that Coeur d’Alene felt right to us both, plus I learned to spell it. Pat says Idaho is a hidden gem of a state and we’ve barely scratched the surface exploring it.
Our next step in the “extended stay” plan is to get a place in CDA for the winter of 2020-2021. Apartment, condo, small caretaker shack. We don’t know what exactly, but we’ll plop ourselves down for December through March or April and see how we really like it. Why so long in the future you ask? Well, we already have our reservations in Arizona this winter. Ugh, I know. More desert, but somehow we’ll manage. Then the following winter is back to our home state of Florida for a round of family and doctor visits.
So there you have it. Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Idaho is the place.
Next up – Spokane, Washington. See you on the way!