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!