Well... maybe not. It's not news to you that I love Lake Coeur d'Alene, in northern Idaho. There are currently 14 posts with the tag "Cd'A", the abbreviation for Coeur d'Alene? I'm not exactly exclusive about my love for the giant lake.
But let me tell you about my love for the little town of Harrison, Idaho. You might remember it from my posts about getting married there last summer. I'll recap our wedding, someday, but this post is devoted to a little town.
I'll only give you ten reasons, though I could go on and on.
It's the ugly stepsister to the city of Couer d'Alene, which is located at the north end of the lake along I-90. Harrison's location 45 minutes south of the interstate, and on the less-accessible east side of the lake makes the town more remote. More remote means Harrison remains an actual town; a geographical location where miners and loggers from across the area gather to purchase groceries and ice cream and drink at One Shot Charlie's Bar. It's an authentic place where the people are friendly.
Main Street, Harrison, ID.
Gretchen, Dusty and I eating ice cream.
Its beautiful. Want to disagree with me? Yeah...imagine yourself here and tell me that's hard to look at. .
The water-sports options are pretty sweet. Wanna go ski-boating? Head out onto the lake to go intertubing, wakeboarding and waterskiing. Take a jet-ski up the winding Coeur d'Alene River to see wildlife or fish. Or go up the St. Joe River, through Lake Chatcolet to the town of St. Maries, for dinner.Boats are available for rent here: Just wanna hang out on a beach? Try the city beach next to the boat launch.
Multiple options to answer the where-to-stay question. Feel fancy? Stay at the Lakeview Lodge, where the manager Claire will bend over backwards to make you feel at home. Many rooms and suites have small kitchenettes, if you feel like cooking your own meal. Try the Osprey Inn or Wild Boar Bed and Breakfast. Or camp, at the City Campground right on the bike trail, or the State campground a mile or two north of town. Or, if you're planning on staying a while, try one of the many vacation rental houses around town. (Insider tip: my parents rent both their main house and "The Shack" out).
Hungry? Check out One Shot Charlie's Bar for food ("Best Dive bar on Lake Coeur d'Alene), or the Marina for fancier stuff. The Landing Restaurant is good too, and the The Creamery next door even has huckleberry ice cream. The Harrison Traders store has a deli for sandwiches, and basic foodstuffs in the aisles. (Insider tip: Harrison Traders also has doughnuts. AND a State of Idaho liquor license) (Insider tip #2: pair the huckleberry vodka with lemonade. Be careful, it's delicious and refreshing and deadly when you realize you've split an entire bottle with your friend Ali).
Like to bike ride? Let me introduce you to the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes; a rails-to-trails program which stretches 85 miles from Mullan, Idaho (on I-90), down the CdA river, past it's mouth into Lake Coeur d'Alene in Harrison, then along the east side of the lake, across a former railroad bridge and up the hill to Plummer, Idaho. Harrison is about mile marker 15, and riding the trail is freaking AWESOME. I sprint out 25 mile bike rides every morning when we're there, in an effort to burn the drinking and food calories.
Oh, you want to do more bike riding? How about riding another rails-to-trails program out of Kellog (1 hour from Harrison), The Route of the Hiawatha. Follow the old Milwaukee Road path on a 15 mile ride from Lookout Pass ski area (on the Montana/ Idaho border) through the headwaters of the St. Joe river. Let me tell you, this is some of the most rugged, remote, spectacular landscape in the United States.
Going to be in Harrison for a while? Check out the public library to restock your pile o'books. Check out one of the summer concerts in the park, or a movie in the park, or one of the festivals like the Old Time Picnic or Car Show and Chili cookoff.
Nightlife? At the lake? I'll admit, nowadays I mostly want to finish dinner and enjoy a glass of wine on the deck while I read a book. But not so long ago, and occasionally still, I'll head down to One Shot Charlies or the Marina for cocktails and live music. One Shots is a family tradition, I even dragged D in there the day of our wedding (okay, for water, not a drink. It was too hot). The Marina has great live music on Saturday nights, and if the boats are lined up on the docks, you know it'll be a good night!
A little cultural tourism. There is a museum, City jail and walking tour brochure for the little town.
All in all, Harrison is probably the best place in the world.