Everyone is always asking each other, "City or Country?"
Ok, sure, most people either live in a city, or out in the country. But we all know that there are plenty of towns that are neither. And not every city is New York City. But not every town is a one stop light so-small-you-know-everyone kind of town. There is an in between, or even a few. My town, is one of those in between ones. Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Most people not from here can't even pronounce the name correctly. (It's French, btw, for Heart of an Awl.) Anyway, I happen to think it's one of the best places on Earth! Really, the whole Northwest is quite a beauty. But let me give you a look at just my hometown.
I love to visit big cities, take in the mass amount of people, advertisements, sky scrapers, and taxi drivers. However, the traffic gets old, the people get annoying, and there's just so much, too much, everywhere you go.
Out in the middle of no where, I find myself loving the peaceful, quite, and serene life, surrounded by the mountains, trees, and the wild life. However, it has it's
downsides, like the amount of time driving, the thought of no one near in case of emergency, and the grocery store is just a bit too far away for my taste.. for a quick fix of chocolate.
But here at home, I'm perfectly happy. Cd'A is not huge, we don't have sky scrapers, or even many 4 story buildings at that, we don't have every fancy restaurant chain, or a big shopping mall, and we certainly don't have bad traffic. (That's my favorite part.)
The Panhandle of Idaho:
We are content with what we do have. Because what we do have is beautiful! We have many natural big lakes, mountains, and ski mountains, and we have four seasons. Sure, not every year we get four perfect equal seasons.. some years we don't get very much snow, and some years, our spring gets ignored, and a long winter jumps to summer. But for the most part, we pretty much have it all. And there's just something so nice about having each season. There's more to enjoy. :)
Our downtown is not where our big businesses are arranged, but where our tourists (and yes, we get lots of tourists,) gather most. We have a tall hotel, The Coeur d'Alene Resort, that over looks Lake Coeur d'Alene, the marina just below, the public beach and a few parks, and then a main street, called Sherman Ave., that is the place to be. Local shops with clothing, home decor, or touristy things line Sherman Ave. alongside cafes, bars, coffee shops, and a moose or two.
In the summer time, downtown is full of people, young and old, tourist and local. Tubb's Hill is next to downtown and it's covered in hiking trails and large rocks to jump off of into the lake. The main park is covered with kids, birthday parties, concerts, and picnics. There are boats all over the lake, and even a floating plane.
Every summer, we have what we call "Art on the Green." It's an open to public festival for artists to showcase their work. But because it's such a big deal, and everyone gathers downtown for it, Cd'A has a large amount of vendors who set up all the way from Sherman Ave. (which is closed off during the weekend) down to and through the park, and across to North Idaho College's campus (which is where the real art is located.) People come down, walk through the tent set ups, and shop a bit, grab food or a refreshment drink, and just hang out. It's very fun, and there are always lots of people, free concerts, and fun activities.
I like to tell people about our city's fascination with floating objects... ;) We have three main floaters: The longest floating boardwalk in the country, a floating restaurant (that has the best ever lobster bisque,) and the famous Floating Green! An actual (playing) part of the Cd'A Resort Golf Course.
In the winter time, it's a whole new feel. People tend to migrate in the cozy coffee shops when the weather starts to cool. But the best night of all, (I think it's my most favorite night downtown,) the city, and some friends from near by, all gather downtown. It always happens the day after Thanksgiving. A Christmas parade marches it's way down Sherman. Everyone is there bundled up in warm coats, hats and gloves, while the kiddos watch for the parade partakers (normally local businesses, churches, and City of Cd'A officials) as they sing, dance, march or just wave. After that, everyone walks just past the street, and gathers in front of the Resort, with hot chocolate in one hand, and a ready-to-be-lit-candle in the other, we sing along with carolers (on mics) and sing Christmas songs. Finally, as the last song is about to begin, everyone lights their candle, and we all sing Silent Night together. It's pretty amazing. Once the song has ended, we count down from ten, and a huge firework production, out over the lake, begins. They play Mannheim Steamroller Christmas music, and we all "ooo" and "ahhhh" together. As soon as the fireworks have blasted their last, over 1.5 million lights appear down the whole boardwalk, and the trees along the main streets, and a big tree on top of a main building comes to life. It is the largest on-the-water resort holiday light show in the country. And it's a special treat to see! The Christmas lights and decor are up for the whole season to enjoy.
We also get to enjoy what Spokane Washington, just a good 40mins away, has to offer. It's a bigger city, with better shopping and a beautiful fun view of the Spokane river (which flows out and from Lake Cd'A). They hold fun events, including the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the nation, called HoopFest. But you can just Google Spokane if you must.
I'd rather spend my time writing about my favorite hometown, and why I love it here so dearly. There is so much to enjoy here, (Oh! Did I mention we have NO poisonous snakes?!? It's PERFECT here.) and if you are from here, then you know exactly what I'm talking about! ;) I love to travel, and I do often. I love seeing other cities, and enjoying what they have to offer that we don't, but no matter what, at the end of the day, I'm always happy to come home. :)