Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A day in the city

The whole family decided to take a day and go into Coeur d'Alene.  Not to shop, but just to enjoy ourselves and see the lights.  Being as rural as we are, sometimes it's fun to indulge in some urban hustle and bustle and see the holiday gaiety.  Cd'A has a gorgeous downtown section right on the shores of the lake, and they decorate it splendidly over Christmas.

We also treated ourselves to lunch in the fancy (some might say snooty) Coeur d'Alene Resort Hotel.  Of course we normally couldn't afford this, but last year some friends gave us a gift-card to the hotel as a thank-you for a favor.  We decided to use it up.

The hotel has a neat four-chambered slowly revolving door for its main entrance.  In the center of the door is a display area.  At this time of year they have the most beautiful nativity scene.  I can't tell you what a pleasure it was to see that - a hotel not afraid to remind us of the Reason for the Season.

Since dining out - especially in such an expensive restaurant - is a rare-to-unknown treat, we asked to be seated right on the water.  The staff was happy to oblige, so we had a splendid view of the lake...

...including a sea plane, which are actually fairly common around here.

After lunch I left Don and the girls in our favorite hole-in-the-wall used bookstore while I ducked out to go find a (cough... achooo.... sniff... hack... wheeze...)

Sorry, where was I?  Oh yes.  Well, let's just say I went somewhere and saw in passing what had to be the world's ugliest Christmas tree.  Fluorescent pink?  Oh please.

I came back to fetch Don and the kids and was pleased to note the little beauty salon right next to the book store had this painted on their window.

Back to the downtown area and into one of our favorite places to browse, All Things Irish.

Contrary to the name, the store also features Scottish items.  This wedding poster was on the brick wall of the store, and I thought it was lovely.

Walking past another shop window, we were startled to see... another fluorescent pink Christmas tree.  I didn't think there could be two such ugly trees on the planet, but I was wrong.  This one even featured (cough) black ornaments.  And a cheery goth Christmas to you too.  (The girls begged me to take a picture of this so it could be posted on the blog.  Seeing is believing, they told me.)

We also passed this moose statue, of which there are quite a number scattered around town.  The moose is sort of the unofficial symbol of Coeur d'Alene.

Our next (and last) stop was Figpickel's Toy Emporium.  I don't care how old you are, this store is phenomenal.  It features clever and old-fashioned and creative toys, not the plastic schlock you see in Toys-R-Us.  Wonderful wonderful place with a perpetually cheerful staff.

The front window is a marvel.  This time it featured an entire carnival.  Everything - all the rides - moved.   It has to be seen to be appreciated.

With its hardwood floors and copper ceiling, the store is beautiful and bright.

We got a particular kick out of this display - a dragon sporting a Santa hat, carrying a stuffed cow in its claws.

We purposefully timed our departure at dusk so we could enjoy the downtown lit up.

After this we had to head home to feed the beasties.  But what a nice excursion!


  1. HA HA I have seem a blue and purple tree. YUCK, I am a traditional rustic Christmas woman. Meaning GREEN tree, wooden beads, wooden ornaments, bird houses, tin ornaments etc. I love when places remind us what Christmas is all about, It is getting ridiculous that we can not celebrate what founded our country with out offending people. HELLO, if we really want to go that way then people need to stop talking because I am so tired of people cussing in normal conversation, it offends me! SIGH sorry I am done. :0)

  2. I'd always wanted to visit Coeur d'Alene! Thank you for the tour...and without having to get out into the cold, yet! lol

    I can almost hear the footfalls on that old wooden floor of the toy store. Too cool.

    Thanks for taking us along on this little jaunt. It was fun, and heartening to see so many displays focused on The Real (and everlasting) Reason for the Season.

    Merry Christmas!

  3. What a magical, wonderful place (Cd'A)! And EVERY toy store should be like Figpickel's! Do the floors creak when you walk on them?

    Thanks for his, Patrice,

    Bill Smith

  4. I am trying very hard not to be envious of your day out. The last photo is so very nostalgic. Some of the buildings remind me of the historic district of Hannibal, MO where I lived for during my teen years.

    And yes, the pink tree is horrendous! I am very traditional anyway so I love green, red and sometimes white for Christmas.

    Ouida Gabriel

  5. Figpickels is the best! Glad your family had such a great day :0)

  6. Darn it! I never saw any of those stores when I was in CdA last August. Guess I should have had Patrice and family give me guidance before arriving. LOL Such a lovely town.

    Florescent pink Christmas trees? Ick. Seems like something Hollywood would have, not Idaho. Well, I guess they are better than nothing.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Patrice, and to all the readers of your blog.

    Anonymous Patriot

  7. How pretty!

    Sometimes it's nice to visit a city in order to re-appreciate the rural lifestyle ;) but that looks like a real nice city.....

  8. Oh heavens, I've passed that same darn tree (and it's smaller blue cousin) as well.
    What also makes Figpickel's awesome? They give out some neat little toy on Halloween instead of candy - the kids love, love love it there.

  9. The moose statue downtown (with the mouse on its antlers) is part of the "Mudgy & Millie" tour. There are several statues along the tour, and a story at each one. Susan Nipp, a long-time Coeur d'Alene resident, wrote some popular children's books involving Mudgy and Millie, moose and mouse.