Saturday, October 22, 2016

Books I Love / Places I Love in Coeur d'Alene -- Part 1

My Favorite Things Part 1 (Fun Stuff)

Today I thought I’d do something a little different.  After I had so much fun touring Spokane’s Little Free Libaries (and oh, yes I’m definitley going back for more), I wanted to highlight some of the places I love in my own town—Coeur d’Alene, ID.  I’ve already given you a Little Free Library Tour of CDA. Now I’m combining some of my favorite places with some of my favorite books.  Fasten your seatbelts—here we go!

1st Stop. 
Summers Glass & Beads and 
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

Summers Glass and Beads 
Summers Glass in downtown Coeur d’Alene is more than just an awesome store where you can buy gorgeous jewelry, all types of gifts, and an amazing assortment of beads.  At this store, you can also take classes and create your own dazzling fused-glass jewelry, suncatchers, windchimes, mosaic bowling balls, or even stained glass birdhouses!  My sisters and I took our first class years ago.  It was so much fun, we were hooked!! The best part is that you can do it with a group of friends, have a blast, and voila, you also have some sensational Christmas gifts that are sure to impress. Visit for more information or stop by 211 E Sherman Ave, Coeur d’Alene.

Gifts and Beads at Summers.
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn has nothing to do with glass.  But this book is just as entertaining as taking a glass class.  In fact, this book had me smiling all the way through it.  It’s about a small nation that has outrageous laws enacted to omit certain letters of the alphabet in spoken or written form when those particular letters fall off a monument. Sounds crazy?  It is!  It’s crazy fun.  Click on the title to read the full review.

2nd Stop. 
Mountain Madness Soap Co. and
Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran

Mountain Madness Soap Co.

Just a short stroll away from Summers Glass & Beads is Mountain Madness Soap Co. at 310 E Sherman Ave. I recently attended the grand opening of this new location on Sherman Ave. and the lines went from one end of the store to the other.  There’s a good reason for that. The handmade soaps at Mountain Madness are wonderful—no animal fats, fillers, or by-products. But you’ll find so much more here:  candles, lip balms, scrubs, giant bath bombs, laundry detergent, air fresheners, even shower fizzies which can wake you up with a refreshing citrus zing. Or you can get the hangover fizzies for when you zinged down a wee too many glasses of wine the night before. After visiting this store, you’ll want to run right home, light a candle, grab a good book, and soak in a tub with bath bubble confetti.

Sachets and Bath Products at Mountain Madness.
One book I’d recommend reading while lounging in your bath is Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran.  It’s about three sisters who emigrate from Persia to a small town in Ireland where they open up a café. The dishes they serve somehow conjure up past dreams and aspirations, which keeps people coming back for more. But there’s one person who’s not so happy about the café or sisters.   Click on the title to find out more.  

3rd Stop. 
Ft. Sherman Park or McEuen Park and
Mudgy and Millie by Susan Nipp; 
Illustrated by Charles Reasoner

Mudgy and Millie Statue by the Library.

After you’re done browsing through the many other tempting stores downtown, it just may be time to relax on a bench in a park and take in the sights. In the warmer months you can sit by the promenade along the lake and watch the parasailers. Been there, done.  I parasailed with my mom, stepdad, and son one year. It’s an easy, gentle ride that’s not scary as I thought it would be. Or maybe kayaking or paddleboats are more your style. I’ve done that, too.

A couple months ago I got to put another check on my bucket list:  I went paddle boarding, and what a ride it was! I don’t remember when I laughed so hard—mainly because I got to see my husband being dumped over and over again into the lake. He had NO sense of balance. LOL. The only time I fell off was when I was laughing so hard at him and the time he actually pushed me off.  TIP: there’s no clock at the North Idaho College beach where we rented the paddleboards, so it was hard to gauge when our time was up.  Bring a waterproof watch.

McEuen Park Playground.
Of course, we took our granddaughter to the beach in the summer. Ft Sherman is a delightful park by the beach for the kids to play in the shade of the trees. But if you’re looking for a sunnier spot for the kids to run and play, check out McEuen Park—my granddaughter’s favorite hangout.  The new park has a dream playground and even a big splash pad that runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. You’ll also find basketball and tennis courts, a dog park, and a snack shop that’s open during the summer months.  Good place to get some ice cream and even a beer or wine for the adults.

At several places downtown, you’ll run into bronze Mudgy and Millie statues, which brings me to another favorite book—one of my granddaughter’s actually. 

Mudgy and Millie Book.
Mudgy and Millie by Susan Nipp is a kids' book where Mudgy Moose and Millie Mouse are playing hide-and-seek in Coeur d’Alene. You can follow the playful duo in the book as well as downtown Coeur d’Alene where five bronze statues are situated in a two-mile area.  Copies of the books are available for purchase at Second Story Books in the library or the Well-Read Moose book store in Riverstone.

4th Stop. 
Tubbs Hill and
A Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Nicholas Drayson

Tubes Hill, CDA, ID

If you’re at McEuen Park, you’re right by Tubbs Hill. Tubbs Hill is a forested 165-acre nature park with walking trails alongside Lake Coeur d’Alene. You can hike just a little or go all the way around the 2.2 trail where the kids will be excited to discover a small suspension bridge at marker 18. Along the way you see naturalized flowers like the yellow arrowleaf balsamroot in spring or snowberry bushes bearing white little ball-like berries which birds will snack on in the winter.

Tubes Hill.
Speaking of birds, A Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Nicholas Drayson is another book I love. This is an original and charming novel about two men who engage in a wager to identify the most birds in Nairobi in order to win the right to ask a woman to a ball.  Click on the title to learn more.  

5th Stop. 
Coeur d’Alene Library and
Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland

Coeur d'Alene Library, Park Entrance.

Guess what?  Right by Tubbs Hill and McEuen Park is the beautiful Coeur d’Alene Library.  If you don’t live here you might be thinking, so what?  I can’t check books out there.  Oh, but there’s a treasure inside that book lovers from all over will have a hard time resisting. The library has a little shop packed with used books for sale. It’s open 10am-4pm every day except Sundays and holidays. I volunteer there about once a month and ALWAYS find something good.
On the Balcony and at Second Story Books in the Library.
Hardcovers are just $2 and paperbacks $1.  Don’t overlook the 25 cent rack. I’ve shopped off the rack numerous times and one book ranks right up there as a favorite, Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland. It’s a novel about Renoir as he creates his famous painting of the same name in late 1800s in Paris.  Click on the title to read more about it.

6th Stop. 
Bakery by the Lake and
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Bakery by the Lake.

Has all this running around made you thirsty?  Well, you’re in luck. The park and library are right across the street from Bakery by the Lake (601 E Front Ave #104). Besides a hot cup of coffee, you can find pastries (try the chocolate croissants—yum!), sandwiches, soup, salads, beer, wine. Inside or outside, you’ll get an expansive view of the park. It’s a pleasant place to sit, relax, and even read for a bit. 

White Chocolate Mocha with a Chocolate Croissant.
One book I really liked reading is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This novel is about a bizarre circus with extraordinary displays and acts, coupled with a mysterious competition and magic.  Intrigued?  Learn more by clicking the title.

Check back next week for Part 2 of my favorite places in Coeur d'Alene along with some more favorite books!
In case you missed the Little Free Library Tours:

Happy Reading,


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