Welcome one and all!
This blog will introduce you to the Idaho Panhandle, one of natures prettiest places on earth. Truly a recreational paradise, our area offers beautiful pristine lakes, rushing rivers, world class sking on snowcapped mountains, camping, fishing, backpacking, and almost every other outdoor activity you can imagine. I will include information about Sandpoint, Clark Fork, Hope, Priest River, Priest Lake, Coeur d’ Alene. I will post about everything from real estate for sale, photos of the area, attractions, events and more.
BIKE TOURS. Sandpoint has long enjoyed the Long Bridge as a bike path; it’s a 2-mile long, flat bike ride that starts downtown behind the Old Power House. The path has been extended south four miles to Sagle to create an easy, rolling scenic ride through the countryside along Highway 95. There’s a second bicycle path, beginning at Larch and Fifth in Sandpoint and heading about two miles west to Dover, built upon an abandoned railroad track. A route has also been extended from that path’s terminus at Larch to Boyer then west about .5 mile to E. Mountain View Drive and then down to Sand Creek, where riders can cross the Popsicle Bridge over Sand Creek.
Certain important steps need to be taken before you put your house on the market.These simple steps will better prepare you to sell your home and make the task easier.
Home Loan Approval for your next Home
It is never a good idea to sign a contract to sell your home before you are fully sure of your ability to buy a new home. Circumstances may have changed since your last purchase not allowing you to qualify for your desired loan amount. To get a good idea of what you can afford you will need pre – approval before selling the house. Having gained this information, you can make a more reasonable decision on whether or not to sell your home at the time.
Determine Fair Market Value of your House
The ideal situation for any seller is to get the best price for the property in the shortest time period possible. However, over – pricing may cause you to lose on potential buyers and under pricing the lot may land you a raw deal. An agent or an appraisal service can guide you in determining the fair market value of your home. Another way of judging the appropriate price is by determining the value of the other houses in the vicinity. Irrespective of which method you use, make sure it’s the right price and is sold in good time.
Estimate Cost of Selling
Even when selling your home you will have certain expenses and it is very important that you know this to be able to keep a check on it. The first and most obvious cost is that of an agent and the real estate agency. But if you do choose to sell the house on your own then advertising will be a major expense. Professional fees of the attorney, closing agent etc will have to be taken into account. Other expenses will include various taxes, home owner association fees etc.
Make Necessary Repairs
This is probably the best time to make all the necessary repairs and amends to your home. A visible repair that is unattended to may turn a potential buyer away. A well tended to house makes for a better sale.
Get the House Ready to Show
Apart from making repairs, it is very essential that your house is sparkling clean, organized and attractive. It should be able to give the buyer a sense of well – being and good health. This will add more value to the property.
These are some of the necessary steps to be taken to make the selling process easier and more effective. This will ensure a good and quick sale.
Before Selling Your Home
By Anjana Appanna
Every Saturday and Wednesday: Farmers Market. This open-air market of fresh produce, garden starts, handcrafts, flowers, food and music runs for the season at Farmin Park, on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. 208-290-3088
9 Monday Night Blues Jam. The Blues Jam, hosted by Truck Mills, has been an ongoing Sandpoint music tradition for more than 12 years. Weekly at Eichardt’s, 212 Cedar Street. Starts at 8 p.m., no cover charge. 208-263-4005
9-13 Schweitzer Adventure Day Camp Session 1. Every week Schweitzer day camps offer a different adventure theme from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, for kids entering grades 1st to 5th. 208-263-9555
10-12 Girl Scouts Day Camp. Unit 402 Girl Scouts presents the Windy Willows Girls’ Camp at Mud Hole State Park in Priest River themed “Native American Fun.” Day camp hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the overnight stay starts at 4 p.m. on Thursday to 9 a.m. the following morning. All campers under 10 years of age must be accompanied by an adult for the overnight stay. Prices are $25 for registered girl scouts, $35 for non-registered girls and $5 for the overnighter. All girls attending must be registered by June 9. Contact Heather Bunty for more information. 208-265-9893
10 Five Minutes of Fame. Join other blossoming or seasoned poets, musicians and songbirds for monthly open mic night at Cafe Bodega in Foster’s Crossing. Sign up to perform from 6:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Show begins promptly at 6:30 p.m. No cover charge and open to all ages. Five Minutes of Fame happens the second Tuesday of each month. 208-263-5911
10 Trivia Tuesday. Test your knowledge and win prizes at MickDuff’s weekly trivia night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at 312 N. First Ave. Play solo or with a team. 208-255-4351
11 Pizza, Wine and Jazz Jam. Stage Right Cellars, 302 N. 1st Ave., offers a slice of pizza and a glass of wine or domestic beer for $5 starting at 5 p.m. each Wednesday, followed by a Jazz Jam hosted by Ken Rickicki from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. 208-265-8116
11 Open Mic Night. This weekly open mic for poets, songwriters, comics and performers of all kinds at Downtown Crossing starts around 9 p.m. 208-265-5080
12 Music Lab. Downtown Crossing, 206 N. First Ave., hosts this weekly open jam session for musicians starting at 8 p.m. All musical styles and instruments welcome. 208-265-5080
12 Open DeeJay Nite. Spin tunes at Synergy during Open DeeJay Nite every Thursday. Bring and play anything you please, beginning at 8 p.m. Any music mediums accepted. Live beat matching not required. Open to those 21 and older. No cover charge. 208-255-4412
12 Art Unveiling. The Festival at Sandpoint’s 25th season art poster by local artist Janene Grende is unveiled during a celebration from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Seasons at Sandpoint. Light refreshments and appetizers will be served. This event is free and open to the public. 208-265-4554
12 Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Deadman’s Chest. In celebration of the upcoming boat show, the Wooden Boat Festival and the Downtown Sandpoint Business Associaton sponsor a free showing of the swashbuckling sequel at 7 p.m. in the Panida Theater. 208-263-9191
12-15 Sandpoint Wooden Boat Festival. This 5th annual event makes a splash with a classic wooden boat show and more at Sandpoint Marina and City Boardwalk. Sponsored by the Inland Empire Antique and Classic Boat Society and Downtown Sandpoint Business Association. Click here for the entire event schedule. See Hot Picks above. 208-255-1876
13 Artist Reception. The Timber Stand Gallery, 225 Cedar St., will host an artist reception for Sandpoint artist Janene Grende and her sister Montana artist C.A. (Carol) Grende from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Carol Grende has been diagnosed with Acute Lymphatic Leukemia so a portion of every sale will go to support her medical expenses while she fights this life threatening disease. Janene Grende, a professional painter and the 2007 Festival at Sandpoint poster artist, has been painting for over 25 years. 208-263-7748
13 Wine Tasting. Stage Right Cellars, 302 N. 1st Ave., offers five flights of Pend d’Oreille Winery’s wines for $5 and a chance to meet Steve Meyer, winemaker and proprietor of Pend d’Oreille Winery at 5 p.m. 208-265-8116
13 Cellar Music. Stoney and Laura perform live folk music from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Stage Right Cellars, 302 N. 1st Ave. No cover charge. 208-265-8116
13-14 Away from Her. This Global Cinema Cafe film directed by Sarah Polley follows a couple married for over 40 years when the wife, played by Julie Christie develops Alzheimer’s Disease. Showings at 7:30 p.m. each night. Click here for more information or see reviews and ratings. 208-263-9191
14 Pancake Breakfast. In conjunction with the Wooden Boat Festival, the Bonner County Historical Society hosts a pancake breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Sandpoint Community Hall. The breakfast including some sides and beverages is $5 per person. 208-263-2344
14 Artist Coffee Talk. The Outskirts Gallery in Hope presents an Artist Coffee Talk at 10 a.m. with Val Carter and Glenn Grishkoff at the Hope Market Cafe. This event is free and open to the public. 208-264-5696
14 Arts Alliance Stash Swap. The Arts Alliance hosts an event for those who want to trade or sell art supplies or are looking for a source of affordable art supplies. This benefit for the Arts Alliance will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the courtyard of the Mountain View Plaza at Stitchin’ Sisters, Sandpoint Outfitters and Sandpoint Music, with live bluegrass music, a BBQ and lots of art supplies. There is no charge for admission. To set up a table, bring $5, your supplies, table and chairs between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. 208-255-5273
14 Summer Sounds at Park Place. POAC hosts this free concert series at Park Place stage, corner of First and Cedar, from noon to 2 p.m. every Saturday through Labor Day Weekend. Doug and Kim Bond perform. See ArtinSandpoint.org for more information. 208-263-6139
14 Winery Music. Larry Mooney performs eclectic guitar and vocals, featuring standards, brazilian and classical, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Pend d’Oreille Winery, located downtown at 220 Cedar St. No cover charge. 208-265-8545
14 Cellar Music. Josh Hedlund performs live music from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Stage Right Cellars, 302 N. 1st Ave. No cover charge. 208-265-8116
14 Bow Wow Boogie. Friends of the Shelter, Exit Realty and Charlie Parrish, owner/broker of Evergreen Realty, sponsor the 2nd annual Bow Wow Boogie Dance and Auction at the Dover Bay Homestead Barn starting at 7 p.m. Event features an silent auction and live music by Carl Rey and the Blues Gators, with dancing starting at 8 p.m. Tickets $15 per person. Visit PasIdaho.org for more info. See Hot Picks above. 208-255-4152
14 Tea with Ben Franklin. Round Lake State Park, on Dufort Road in Sagle, hosts this tea with Dr. Benjamin Franklin from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the campground’s program area. Veteran actor Tim McNeil will portray the renowned inventor and founding father as he reminisces about his life during the year 1788. Vehicle entrance fee for the park is $4.00 without a pass. This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council. 208-343-2189
14 The Sandpoint Airport Fly-In has been rescheduled. Please check Aug. 11 (scroll down) to learn more about this event at Sandpoint Airport.
14-15 Spots of Fun Horse Show. The Bonner County Fairgrounds hosts the Spots of Fun Appaloosa horse show, sponsored by the North Idaho Appaloosa Club. Event takes place in the Outdoor Arena. 208-263-8414
14-15 Summer Hike. The Friends of the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness sponsors this moderate overnight hike to Little Spar Lake as part of its 2007 summer hike series. One-day trip option available. For more details visit Scotchmanpeaks.org. Contact hike leader Bill Martin to reserve a spot. 406-295-5258
14 Art Workshop. The Arts Alliance holds a one-day workshop on Mosaic Birdhouses led by instructor Lynn Guier at The Studio, 518 Oak St., from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Fee $45 adults, $35 youth ages 10 and up. Visit ArtsAlliance.info for more information or to register for a class. 208-255-5273
14 Art Workshop. The Arts Alliance holds a one-day workshop on Stained Glass Dragonflies led by instructor Sara McEvily at Skeleton Key Art Glass, 1223 Michigan St. Suite B, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Experience cutting glass preferred; Fee $50. Visit ArtsAlliance.info for more information or to register for a class. 208-255-5273
14 Life Workshop. The Gardenia Center hosts a workshop titled “Becoming an Alchemist: Practicing the Art of Personal Transformation” by professional life coach Katrina Mikiah from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Rose Room. The workshop will focus on gaining personal control and fulfillment in everyday life. Cost $65; registration deadline is Friday, July 6. Visit GardeniaCenter.org or click here for more information. 208-882-1198 or 208-265-4450
14-15 Artists in Residence Workshop. The Outskirts Gallery in Hope presents the Artists in Residence Summer Workshop Series in the Hope Circle Classroom behind the Hope Market Café. Val Carter and Glenn Grishkoff lead the lecture and class “Clay, Paint, Brush and Paper” from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. Class fee $175, lab fee $75. Call to register; University of Idaho credit available. 208-264-5696
15 Jacey’s Race. Sandpoint High School hosts a 5k and 1k walk and run to benefit local children with cancer or other life threatening illnesses starting at 8:15 a.m. Event will feature prizes, food, drinks, massage, clowns, face painting, a jumping castle and a free concert with Nina Storey at 10 a.m. Fee $25 to participate in the 5k and $10 for the 1k. Children 12 and under are free, as well as all observers. For additional information or to register online visit Jaceys-race.com. 208-610-6480
15 Sunday Concerts on the Lawn. The POAC hosts this free live concert series featuring regional musicians on the lawn in front of Edgewater Resort at City Beach from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. every Sunday. Sol’Jibe performs. See ArtinSandpoint.org for more information. 208-263-6139
15 Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon. Di Luna’s Cafe hosts the band, A Touch of Jazz, every Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. 208-263-0846
16 Monday Night Blues Jam. The Blues Jam, hosted by Truck Mills, has been an ongoing Sandpoint music tradition for more than 12 years. Weekly at Eichardt’s, 212 Cedar Street. Starts at 8 p.m., no cover charge. 208-263-4005
16 Greentree Naturals Workshop. The workshop “Harvesting the Bountiful Garden” starts at 10 a.m. at the Greentree Naturals Farm, 2003 Rapid Lightning Rd. Class covers harvesting techniques for optimum yields. Cost of class $25. Visit GreentreeNaturals.com for more info. Call to reserve a space. 208-263-8957
16 Water Adjudication Workshop. The North Idaho Water Adjudication Workshop will be held at the Sandpoint High School Gymnasium, 410 S. Division, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sponsored by the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation and the Idaho Groundwater Appropriators, the informational workshop features Idaho Water Resources Director Dave Tuthill, Idaho legislators, and members of the Idaho Water Resources Board, as well as legal and technical experts who will help explain Idaho water rights adjudication, groundwater hydrology and aquifers, how water adjudication will be conducted in the northern Idaho river basins and who will be affected. This workshop is free and open to the public. 208-301-3394
16-20 Schweitzer Adventure Day Camp Session 2. Every week Schweitzer day camps offer a different adventure theme from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, for kids entering grades 1st to 5th. Cost per week $175, with $15 off for Season Pass holders; includes transportation from the bottom of the mountain to the village and back to the bottom each day, snacks and souvenirs. This week’s theme “Wild about Woods and Wildflowers” features fun facts about the plants, wildflowers and trees found in Schweitzer’s woods. 208-263-9555
16-20 Vacation Bible School. Northside Christian Fellowship Church, 4400 Colburn-Culver Rd., offers Vacation Bible School from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Dinner will be served for children and their families at 5 p.m. each day. Classes for children in kindergarten to 6th grade will include Bible stories, crafts, songs, skits and games. Registration starts on Monday, but children are welcome any day. R.S.V.P. for evening dinners. This is a free event. For more info visit NorthsideChristianFellowship.org. 208-263-4991
17 Trivia Tuesday. Test your knowledge and win prizes at MickDuff’s weekly trivia night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at 312 N. First Ave. Play solo or with a team. 208-255-4351
18 Open Mic Night. This weekly open mic for poets, songwriters, comics and performers of all kinds at Downtown Crossing starts around 9 p.m. 208-265-5080
19-21 Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles. This Global Cinema Cafe films follows a Japanese fisher man who embarks on a life-changing journey to help his ailing son, a documentay filmmaker. The 107-minute film is in Mandarin and Japanese with English subtitles. Click here for reviews and ratings. 208-263-9191
19 Music Lab. Downtown Crossing, 206 N. First Ave., hosts this weekly open jam session for musicians starting at 8 p.m. All musical styles and instruments welcome. 208-265-5080
19 Open DeeJay Nite. Spin tunes at Synergy during Open DeeJay Nite every Thursday. Bring and play anything you please, beginning at 8 p.m. Any music mediums accepted. Live beat matching not required. Open to those 21 and older. No cover charge. 208-255-4412
19 Blood Drive. Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1900 W. Pine St., holds a Sandpoint Community Blood Drive from noon to 6 p.m. The donated blood will help patients in Bonner General Hospital, Boundary Community Hospital, Kootenai Medical Center and over 30 other medical facilities in North Idaho and Eastern Washington. Sponsored by Inland Northwest Blood Center, Northern Lights, Inc. and Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. Visit inbc2.org for more info. 208-667-5461
20 Cellar Music. The Shook Twins perform live music from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Stage Right Cellars, 302 N. 1st Ave. No cover charge. 208-265-8116
20-22 Artists’ Studio Tour. Visit 40 artists and 28 locations in the 5th annual free, self-guided driving tour with special events planned for July 20-22 and July 27-29. Many studios open June 1-Sept. 4. Visit ArtTourDrive.org for more information. 208-597-6394
20-22 Centennial Celebration. Bonner County Fairgrounds hosts a three-day event celebrating Bonner County’s centennial. A variety of activities, demonstrations and exhibits will pay tribute to our history. On Friday, the Sandpoint Battle of the Bulls starts at 8 p.m. On Saturday, author Marianne Love gives a reading from her latest memoir Lessons with Love at 11 a.m. and Bonner County 4-H Livestock Committee hosts a dance and old fashioned Pie Social at 8 p.m. On Sunday, a nondenominational church service is followed by a Pancake Breakfast provided by the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce. Click here for more details. 208-263-0887
21 Art Workshop. The Arts Alliance holds a one-day workshop on Fabric Boxes and Bowls led by instructor Terrie Kralik of Moose Country Quilts at The Studio, 518 Oak St., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Fee $50. Visit ArtsAlliance.info for more information or to register for a class. 208-255-5273
21 Milfoil March. Panhandle Environmental League sponsors “March for Responsible Milfoil Management” starting at 2 p.m. All are welcome to walk or dance through downtown Sandpoint to the accompaniment of drums and flute. Sign making activities start at Farmin Park after the Farmers Market. 208-263-2217
21-22 Artists in Residence Workshop. The Outskirts Gallery in Hope presents the Artists in Residence Summer Workshop Series in the Hope Circle Classroom behind the Hope Market Café. Sally Machlis and Glenn Grishkoff lead the lecture and class “Handmade Journals: Drawing from the Land” from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. Class fee $175, lab fee $75. Call to register; University of Idaho credit available. 208-264-5696
21 Artist Coffee Talk. The Outskirts Gallery in Hope presents an Artist Coffee Talk at 10 a.m. with Sally Machlis and Glenn Grishkoff at the Hope Market Cafe. This event is free and open to the public. 208-264-5696
21 Summer Sounds at Park Place. POAC hosts this free concert series at Park Place stage, corner of First and Cedar, from noon to 2 p.m. every Saturday through Labor Day Weekend. Bridges Home with Tami and Dave Gunter performs. See ArtinSandpoint.org for more information. 208-263-6139
21 Schweitzer Bluegrass Festival. The Monarch Mountain Band, Bluegrass Conspiracy and others perform live music on the lawn at Schweitzer Mountain, with an outdoor barbecue and beer, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. Visit Schweitzer.com for more details. 208-263-9555
21 Piedmont Region Dinner. Di Luna’s, 207 Cedar St., hosts a five course dinner at 6:30 p.m. featuring six wines and food from the Piedmont region of Northern Italy. The Piedmont region is famous for Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera and Dolcetto wines and home to the slow food movement. Cost is $75 per person, inclusive. Reservations required. 208-263-0846
21 Comedian Rick Reed. Stage Right Cellars, 302 N. 1st Ave., presents “Rick Reed for President” at 9 p.m. Comedian Rick Reed launches his 2008 presidential campaign. Tickets $10 advance purchase, $8 for Wine Club Members or $15 at the door on the evening of the show. 208-265-8116
22 Sunday Concerts on the Lawn. The POAC hosts this free live concert series featuring regional musicians on the lawn in front of Edgewater Resort at City Beach from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. every Sunday. Coeurimba performs. See ArtinSandpoint.org for more information. 208-263-6139
22 Sunday Afternoon Tea. Greentree Naturals Certified Organic Farm, 2003 Rapid Lightning Rd., hosts a Delightfully Decadent Sunday Afternoon Tea at 4 p.m. followed by a tour of the farm. The tea features scrumptious organic sweet cakes and pastries along with something fresh from the garden created by chef Sora Huff. Local “music farmer” Kathi O’Leary will play traditional Celtic folk music. Cost of event $25. Visit GreentreeNaturals.com for more information. 208-263-8957
22 Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon. Di Luna’s Cafe hosts the band, A Touch of Jazz, every Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. 208-263-0846
23-27 Schweitzer Adventure Day Camp Session 3. Every week Schweitzer day camps offer a different adventure theme from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, for kids entering grades 1st to 5th. Cost per week $175, with $15 off for Season Pass holders; includes transportation from the bottom of the mountain to the village and back to the bottom each day, snacks and souvenirs. This week’s theme “Animal House” features watching for insects and wildlife (and the clues they leave behind) to learn more about the creatures that prance, crawl and buzz over the mountain. Bring binoculars for better viewing. 208-263-9555
By AUSTIN CONSIDINE
Published: October 6, 2006
THE thought of autumn leaves conjures up images ofNew England, with its crisp air and hillsides bursting with color. Leaf peepers in North Carolina annually crowd the Blue Ridge Parkway, and in Virginia, the Skyline Drive. Upstate New York is known for bursting color from the Hudson Valley to the hills south of Buffalo.
But fans of autumn color can find it far beyond these well known viewing spots. Communities from Wisconsin to Texas celebrate their own vibrant fall tapestries and invite visitors to come and have a look.
Clarion, Pa., about 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh and just south of the Allegheny National Forest, celebrates its colorful show of Japanese red maples and hickory, ash and oak trees with an Autumn Leaf Festival that has drawn as many as 500,000 people, its organizers say. The festival began in 1953 in conjunction with Homecoming Weekend at Clarion State College, now Clarion University. This year’s, with an antique tractor show, a flea market and other events, runs through Sunday.
Clarion’s claim to fall beauty rests on a country setting, rolling hills and the winding Clarion River: one of the best ways to see the foliage is by renting a canoe at any of several liveries at nearby Cook Forest State Park. “It’s really rural Pennsylvania,” said Tracy Becker, executive director of the Clarion Area Chamber of Business and Industry. Wisconsin has not only pretty fall foliage but plenty of water as well — a winning combination for autumn vistas. “We have more lakes thanMinnesota,” said Lisa Marshall, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. A favorite area for leaf peeping is Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, which covers more than a million and a half acres in the northern part of the state and is partly covered with maple, oak, birch, aspen, ash, cherry and tamarack trees. Visitors stay in surrounding towns including Eagle River, Hayward and Cable, and hiking is popular. “Trees are trees, but I think what we have is the infrastructure,” Ms. Marshall said. “The trail system is phenomenal here.”
She also recommended leaf peeping from a canoe or kayak on the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, made up of more than 250 miles of winding waters that flow through nearly unspoiled wilderness.
Indiana offers online leaf cams on the Web at www.enjoyindiana.com, with real-time camera images of the local foliage in different regions, updated every 15 minutes. Particularly popular in the fall is Brown County State Park, the state’s largest, nicknamed the Little Smokies for its rolling, densely forested hills and thick fogs at dawn and dusk. The nearby town of Nashville, Ind., has art galleries and craft shops.
The deep reds of the East are harder to come by in the West, but there are surprises. In Texas, Lost Maples State Natural Area — a limestone canyon near Vanderpool, about a two-hour drive northwest of San Antonio — is renowned for its beautiful bigtooth maples, as well as its black walnuts, elms and sycamores, all protected by the canyon walls.
In Idaho, leaf lovers in the know drive the Pend Oreille National Scenic Byway, which runs east from near Sandpoint, around Lake Pend Oreille, lined with birch, aspen and tamaracks, along the Clark Fork River and on to the Montana border. On the Teton Scenic Byway, southwest ofYellowstone National Park, the yellow of aspens mixes with the green of Douglas firs and pines against a mountain backdrop.
Ron Gardner, spokesman for the Idaho Travel Council, said that of Idaho’s 83,000 square miles of land, 60 percent was public and much of that was covered in forests that become radiant with color in the fall. “We’re pretty proud of the fact that we have more natural back country than any other state in the lower 48,” he said.
“Most people think it’s just one big, huge potato farm,” he added. “But we think that from the air, Idaho probably looks like a Norman Rockwell painting just about any time of year.”
What: Japanese red maples, hickory, ash and oak trees in the countyside in and around Allegheny National Forest; Autumn Leaf Festival in Clarion (www.clarionpa.com).
When: Peak color in late October; festival ends Sunday.
What: Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest for driving or hiking amid maple, oak, birch, aspen, ash and cherry trees and tamaracks; St. Croix National Scenic Riverway for canoeing and kayaking (www.travelwisconsin.com).
When: Leaves in peak color through mid-October
BROWN COUNTY, IND.
What: Brown County State Park for autumn leaves; Nashville for galleries and entertainment (www.enjoyindiana.com).
When: Best leaf viewing in late October
What: Lost Maples State Natural Area, a limestone canyon filled with bigtooth maples, black walnut trees, elms and sycamores (www.tpwd.state.tx.us).
When: Fall color in late October and early November.
What: The Pend Oreille National Scenic Byway (Route 200) for birch, aspen and tamaracks; Teton Scenic Byway on Routes 31 and 33 for aspens and evergreens (www.visitid.org).
When: Foliage viewing through late October.
Storybook villages, quaint harbors, and a thriving arts community make Door County, Wis., a cozy spot for retirees. But for adventurous people like David E. Nevalainen, there’s lots more: plenty of land — Nevalainen built a 3,000-square-foot log home on 70 mostly wooded acres with two private ponds — opportunities to indulge such hobbies as blacksmithing and target-shooting, and intriguing folks with whom to socialize.
Nevalainen, 62, and his wife, Jean Barrett, 55, moved to this bucolic peninsula jutting out into Lake Michigan in 2000, two years after he retired from his post as a scientist with Abbott Laboratories (ABT). They began vacationing in the area in 1986, bought their land for $150,000 in 1997, and built their home two years later. “We designed a house for two people to grow old in,” the PhD hematologist says. The county, a five-hour drive north of Chicago, offers Nevalainen enough privacy for “skinny-dipping in the pool” and enough civilization to please a fan of symphonies and Shakespeare. For Minnesota-bred David and urban New Englander Jean, “it’s an ideal combination.”
Vacationers from the Midwest have long been drawn to Door County’s boating, golf, and hiking, as well as such novelties as fish boils (featuring whitefish cooked the way Scandinavian settlers liked it over a century ago). Summer vacationers can triple the population to more than 84,000. Now more retirees are finding it a choice spot, too, whether they come only for the warm months or hunker down for the winters.
Year-round, there’s no shortage of things to do. Want to learn about ravioli-making, wood carving, or Nordic music? Take a class at The Clearing folk school (theclearing.org), a 71-year-old educational facility on a forested 130-acre site. In warm weather you can choose from concerts conducted by Victor Yampolsky, director of orchestras at Northwestern University, or a play by the Bard at Door Shakespeare. You can hike through five state parks, or check out 300 miles of shoreline, 10 lighthouses, and 11 golf courses (doorcounty.com).
For many retirees, such activities take a back seat to community-minded pursuits. Jim Kinney, 60, a former bank chief financial officer who dabbles in real estate, is involved with a land trust group to preserve open space.
While property costs have shot up in recent years — land goes for $3,000 to $4,000 an acre — a spate of condo development has put more real estate within reach. Condos can be had for under $300,000, although waterfront views can jack up prices above $1 million. Apartments for the elderly as well as assisted-living facilities can also be found in Sturgeon Bay and Sister Bay.
By Joseph Weber
First-time visitors to Sandpoint realize they have entered another world when they cross the bridge that spans the glacier-blue expanse of Lake Pend Oreille. It’s there they catch a glimpse of the charming town nestled beneath the mountains of northern Idaho. “It’s like turning back the clock 40 years,” says mortgage broker Steve Kirby, who moved from San Diego to Sandpoint last year and plans to retire there soon.
Irritated by rampant growth in California, Kirby chose Sandpoint for its natural beauty and recreational opportunities. He now has a waterfront home, which he could never have afforded in San Diego. “The town itself is a real town,” Kirby says. “It’s not like a Tahoe that was created as a resort.”
Sandpoint outgrew its roots in timber and mining and fully embraced tourism several decades ago. With the Schweitzer Mountain ski resort just 12 miles away and a lake that offers boatloads of recreational opportunities, Sandpoint has long attracted outdoor enthusiasts. It has been northern Idaho’s one relatively liberal, funky outpost, in contrast to the right-wing militias and neo-Nazis who once hunkered down in nearby Hayden Lake.
Affluent retirees and second-home owners from the West and as far away as Louisiana have begun flocking to the town and surrounding Bonner County. “Most of the influx is from California, and what brings us up here is the price of housing,” says semiretired Stephen Hoag, 56, who left Paso Robles, Calif., for Sandpoint in 2004, when the last of his kids turned 21. His three-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot house sits at the bottom of the mountain and overlooks the town and lake. It cost him $340,000 three years ago; he says he could sell it now for $420,000.
This appreciation is part of a trend all around Sandpoint. The median house price is $220,000, up from $121,500 in 2002, according to the Selkirk Association of Realtors. Since 1990 the county population has increased by more than 50%, to about 41,000. Two golf courses are being planned, and golfer Jack Nicklaus is buying a resort just east of town and turning it into a private club. Another group is trying to improve the airport so it can better handle landings in bad weather, while a new Chamber of Commerce committee is working with local merchants to make their services more elder-friendly by improving access to shops.
While retirees don’t often seek cold climes, the locals jokingly refer to upper Idaho as the “banana belt” on account of its low altitude and relatively mild climate (average January high: 32, annual snowfall: 70 inches). “We’re in late middle age, and living at 2,000 feet is a lot easier than living at 9,000 feet,” says Doris Sanger, 55, a former Denver resident who, with her husband Ken, had considered the Colorado Rockies before opting for Sandpoint.
More than just a town for nature lovers, Sandpoint also offers classic car shows, art galleries, restaurants, wine tastings, and plays and movies at the historic Panida Theater, which will host the first Idaho Panhandle International Film Festival next month. “There’s almost always something happening that’s culturally interesting,” Sanger says. “When you get here, it’s like going to a giant house party.” And everyone is invited.
By Stanley Holmes and Greg Hafkin
SEA ISLAND, GEORGIA
Lazy Atlantic ocean waves lap its wide beaches. Mansions dot its winding lanes. Residents and guests often sip cocktails at its renowned hotel, The Cloister, designed in the 1920s by architect Addison Mizner, who built Palm Beach, Fla. When retirees aren’t socializing here, they might be slipping out for target practice at the shooting range or playing a round of golf at one of three world-class courses.
For retirees with deep pockets, Sea Island could be Mecca. For decades the five-mile-long fingerlet halfway between Savannah and Jacksonville, Fla., has been known as “Millionaire’s Island.” The residents of its 700 “cottages” include a hefty share of CEOs, politicians, and artists who can afford the $3 million average price of a home. Last year the former home of playwright Eugene O’Neill, a 6,000-square-foot Mediterranean-style villa, sold for $20 million. “This place has a civility and genteel nature about it that I don’t think you can find anywhere else,” says J. David Everett, president of Sea Island Co., which owns the island and 800 yet-to-be-developed acres on neighboring St. Simons Island. (If developed, Sea Island Co. says it will build low-density residential communities.)
Residents say retiring to Sea Island keeps both the mind and the body active. On the first Monday of each month, 20 longtime residents attend the invitation-only Sea Island Roundtable to discuss finance, politics, books, and current events. It is one reason Sea Island is a cut above traditional retirement locales, says Reg Murphy, 72, vice-chairman of the National Geographic Society and a member of the Roundtable. “It’s the kind of place people come to who don’t want to retreat into golf, television, and laziness.”
Such stimulation helped entice Scott Ledbetter, 55, to head south permanently after vacationing on Sea Island for years. In 2004, nine years after selling his Greenwich (Conn.) cable company, Columbia International, to TCI (later acquired by Comcast) for $580 million, Ledbetter and his wife, Gail, 53, built a 6,000-square-foot, four-bedroom home in Sea Island’s Ocean Forest neighborhood. Now, Ledbetter, who says he is not retired but living “a new chapter,” spends his outdoor time running on the beach and sailing, while indoor time is dedicated to private investing. “Every morning my wife and I wake up in what seems like an earthly Garden of Eden,” he says. It’s a garden where the apples are tasty — but expensive.
By Brian Grow
The surrounding region, laced with “rugged mountains, dense forests (and) wide, empty rivers,” is “far more beautiful than I had dreamed. People laugh easily, and the laughter whispers out through the pines and over the still water,” gushes Hollywood game-show host and frequent visitor Ben Stein in a recent issue of American Spectator magazine.
Throw in a thriving arts scene, a top-rated but low-key ski area 11 miles from town, and outdoor restaurant decks filled with tourists schmoozing over huckleberry daiquiris and appetizers of ancho chili and espresso-encrusted tuna, and no wonder this eclectic enclave, some 75 miles east of Spokane, Wash., in northern Idaho’s Panhandle, is being touted as the Next Great Place.
Sunset magazine recently voted Sandpoint “best small town in the West,” the August issue of Outside crowned it one of 20 “dream towns,” and September’s National Geographic Adventure includes it among 10 “great adventure towns.” Now, its 7,500 residents are bracing for changes that many fear will not be for the better. (Related story: If you go …)
Founded as a lumber and railroad town at the turn of the 20th century, Sandpoint sits between the Cabinet and Selkirk mountains on the northwestern banks of Lake Pend Oreille (pond-dor-RAY).
One of the West’s largest bodies of water, Pend Oreille also is among the deepest and most pristine. The Navy has conducted sonar research more than 1,000 feet below the surface, and more than two-thirds of its 111-mile shoreline is publicly owned. Fishermen, kayakers, sailors and water skiers flock here during the summer, and reflections of golden birches, cottonwoods and larches draw leaf peepers from September to mid-October.
Most first-time Sandpoint visitors arrive by crossing a 2-mile span where the Pend Oreille River meets the lake, and the euphoria that inevitably follows is dubbed the Long Bridge Syndrome.
(Some of the besotted go on to sign up for the annual Long Bridge Swim; rumor had it part-time resident Viggo Mortensen may be a contestant in Saturday’s race.)
Until a few years ago, the community’s biggest draws were the lake, nearby Schweitzer Mountain ski area and the hometown store of Coldwater Creek, a women’s clothing company that served as de facto chamber of commerce for city slickers in search of the Northwoods nirvana they’d glimpsed through the company’s catalogs.
But to the chagrin of some old-timers and the delight of Sandpoint’s 175-plus real estate agents (many of whom moved here in the late ’60s or early ’70s, lived out “back to the land” fantasies and are now driving Cadillac Escalades), poring over “for sale” signs is becoming an increasingly popular tourist attraction. One glossy brochure describes a community “on the verge of discovery,” and demand for vacation and retirement homes is surging: Waterfront property that sold for $2,000 a foot last spring has more than doubled in value over the past year, with one Pend Oreille island on the market for $16 million. Linda Mitchell, co-owner of the Sandpoint-based Shawnodese tour boat, bemoans the fact that she’s seen more lakefront construction this summer than in the past 20 years combined.
“What we really need is a good, hard winter to flush (the newer arrivals) out,” jokes Kathy Borders, a Portland, Ore., refugee who built a lakeside home near Sandpoint eight years ago.
But truth be told, she confides over sips of Cougar Crest Viognier on the Shawnodese’s recent sunset wine-tasting/bald-eagle-watching cruise, she can’t wait for the temperature to plummet. Despite icy, unplowed roads and long stretches of leaden skies, there’s nothing better than watching a live evening performance at the Panida Theater (a 1927 Spanish Mission Revival landmark restored through community donations), then strolling through snow flurries for a chat with friends and neighbors.
“It’s like a scene out of It’s a Wonderful Life,” says Borders, “and it never wears off.”
She’s not the only devotee to link Sandpoint with mythical Bedford Falls.
Dann Hall, 56, a photographer and owner of Hallan’s Gallery, describes himself as a “remigrant” — a homegrown kid who struck out for distant horizons but found himself drawn back to Sandpoint’s spectacular scenery and “honest, veneer-free people.” Today, he sells prints of the evocative black-and-white photographs taken by his late father, Ross Hall. The best seller is a portrait of downtown Sandpoint on a snowy winter’s night in 1934. The title: It’s a Wonderful Life.
Jimmy Stewart might have felt at home here, but so does another celebrity with a more tarnished image. Former Los Angeles police detective Mark Fuhrman moved to Sandpoint after the O.J. Simpson trial, joining a large contingent of other officers. Fuhrman’s presence exacerbated Northern Idaho’s reputation as a haven for racists and extremists: Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler lives in Hayden Lake, about 40 miles south of Sandpoint, and the 1992 shootout at white separatist Randy Weaver’s Ruby Ridge compound took place north of town, near Bonner’s Ferry.
But along with self-deprecating jokes (“How do you know it’s springtime in Sandpoint? Mark Fuhrman is out planting gloves”), many Sandpoint residents work hard to dispel the stereotypes. The Web site of Church Street House, a B&B in town, links to that of the Bonner County Human Rights Commission. Popular bumper stickers, meanwhile, include “Diversity Is Natural” and “Idaho Is Too Great For Hate.”
Community activism takes other high-profile forms in Sandpoint. The Shawnodese is stocked with brochures for the Rock Creek Alliance, a non-profit group trying to block a proposed Montana silver and copper mine 25 miles upstream from Lake Pend Oreille. And downtown shoppers browsing for fleece jackets or cannabis incense sticks can’t miss the windows plastered with full-page newspaper ads taken out by opponents of the Sand Creek Byway.
The three-year project would divert lumber trucks and other commercial traffic away from Sandpoint’s increasingly noisy, congested downtown — already saddled with an average of 60 trains a day, thanks to the convergence of several freight lines in the area. But the bypass also would fill in part of Sand Creek, the setting for those Norman Rockwell-esque whoops on summer afternoons.
Some longtime residents fear the worst. “I want to protect my little corner of the world,” sighs Panida Theater executive director Karen Bowers. “But it’s inevitable that we’ll become another small town that’s turned into a place for the rich and the people who can’t afford to live there anymore.”
Others, like Hidden Lakes Golf Resort owner Richard Villelli, are convinced Sandpoint can still avoid the fate of such places as Aspen, Colo., and Jackson, Wyo.
“We are what they used to be,” says Villeli, whose fairways boast eight resident moose. “But we’re not going to be what they’ve become.”
For now, anyway, the small pleasures of Sandpoint prevail. Little girls tackle a faded hopscotch court in front of the Great Stuff gift shop, and Eichardt’s pub pours $1 microbrews on Thursday nights. On the picnic grounds at the annual Festival at Sandpoint, a resident osprey making a victory lap with a fish in its mouth will draw as much applause as the performers (who have included the likes of Judy Collins, B.B. King and Tony Bennett).
And at the Beyond Hope RV Resort, a half-hour drive away along the shore of Lake Pend Oreille, families who’ve been returning every summer for the past three decades still listen for the satisfying thwack of a spring-loaded wooden screen door. It is the sound of their past — and, they hope, of their future.
|6369 Colburn Culver Rd
Sandpoint, ID 83864