I Heart Coeur d’Alene

After our Yellowstone adventure, we stayed the night in Missoula, Montana. We got a motel room and hung our tent out to dry. FYI, motel rooms are expensive in Missoula. We flirted it up with the guy and still couldn’t get a discount. Something about “summer rates.” There are a lot of things I’m excited to one day see in Montana, but I didn’t catch anything summer-rate worthy in the parts of Missoula we saw.

I did find this awesome doormat at a Montana truck stop. I’m wondering if I’ll regret my decision not to buy it, because it still makes me laugh.

Well, what do you know? Amazon has me covered. I’ll give it a coupla weeks to see if I get over it, as I currently have a perfectly good and boring doormat. In the meantime, I’ll tell you this truck stop also had a trout aquarium. FANCY. It was even called St. Regis. (The truckstop, not the aquarium.)

So after Montana, we crossed into Idaho. I was giddy with anticipation. I first met Coeur d’Alene back in 2009 during a solo roadtrip. It was love at first sight, and a drive-by affair. Without even stopping the car, I put the lakeside town on my short-list of destination wedding locales. That’s right. Idaho. (Side note: As far as I know, I’m not getting married any time soon.)

This go round we had time to not only stop the car, but to get out and spend as much of the day as we wanted. So of course…it was cloudy.

The world’s longest floating boardwalk

Sea plane! Sea plane!

We perused the shops along the main drag, including the well-reviewed Figpickels Toy Emporium.

I resisted the urge to sit on that tiny bench and read the latest book in the Pigeon series. (Bee tee dubs, I heart the Pigeon series and enjoy reading the books aloud in voices.) I’m a sucker for books and lights and fantastic places. And just like a proper fairy tale, when we emerged, the sun was coming out!

Moose!

We asked a boutique clerk for a lunch recommendation. (Travel tip: always ask locals – even gas station attendants – where they eat. Or check Yelp. Or drive a few miles off the highway and look for something random with a fun name. Those experiences will ALWAYS be more interesting than the Subway at Loves.*)

We ended up at Scratch. Where the house salad was a pile of spinach/apple/brie deliciousness. Honey I’m home.

Next to the restaurant was a sandwich board advertising gluten-free cupcakes. The friend I was traveling with was gluten-free so this was very exciting.

I like that the “One Way” sign points right into the cupcakery. Sweet B is also listed as one of the top things to do in Coeur d’Alene. How could we not?! As it turns out, B is indeed super sweet. Her name is actually Shawna and we had a super fun little chat. At one point I mentioned the whole CDA being on my short list thing, and she got all excited and was like, “I’ll make your cake!” And then another girl in the store was all, “I’ll do your hair!” (Small towns are my favorite.) So, I guess I’ve got those things covered should I in fact ever say I do in Idaho.

I’m not a huge cake person (even less of an icing person), but we were having so much fun I had to get one. I asked her which one was her favorite and chose Halfbaked based on her cookie-dough-flavored recommendation.

I ate a lot of it (more of the cake than the icing), but her icing is so good she sells it by the shot. Not kidding. Good thing our stop in CDA also included a little hike up Tubbs Hill.

Now that the sun was out, I wanted to see more of the lake and from different views. So that’s what we did. Because the best part of road tripping on a loose schedule is doing whatever you want.

The word “breathtaking” was invented for places like Lake Coeur d’Alene. Pictures just can’t capture it. I’m not sure if it’s the enormity or the surrounding landscape or the combination. The air is so crisp and clean and refreshing and piney. Glad to see my initial reaction in passing three years ago was right on the money. If you ever find yourself along I-90 or anywhere in the vicinity…take the time to see this place.

*Not knocking Subway at Loves. I know they’re there because I’ve eaten at several. I’m just saying if you’ve got the time…explore a little bit more.

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