I have to admit that we never thought we’d spend a month in Spokane, Washington. But after visiting the downtown area one day, we started to consider it. We researched lodging options with extended stays, apartments, and VRBO, but ended up connecting with a wonderful woman via Craigslist who spends her time between Seattle and Spokane and had her newly renovated home available to rent for the month. It was a perfect fit.
We had lived as a family together in one room/cabin/yurt/tent for over a month, so we all welcomed the space to spread out. Two stories, 4 BR, many comfy couches and beds. We appreciated all the little things we had probably taken for granted just a month before!
Well, something about living in a new home and starting a new school year kicked me into action. When in a new place, I have a tendency to spread my net wide and get to know as many people and places as I can, as quickly as I can.
Fortunately and serendipitously we met a wonderful neighbor before we even moved into the neighborhood. We were eating lunch at Jimmy Johns and hit it off with this fun mom and her daughter. Their whole family has made the neighborhood feel welcoming and normal. In addition, I quickly connected with the homeschool groups in the area (Yahoogroup and Facebook group) and was able to join in on park days and field trips.
It’s been such a wild blast for me to be in a totally new place and still feel like life is the same in so many ways. It really blows my mind. And yet, there are many new places to explore and gorgeous hikes to hit, all within an hour’s radius. I had felt like a month was a long time to be in one spot, and yet in many ways, I feel the days slipping by so quickly!
Whenever we get to talking with someone – a cashier at Albertson’s, salesperson at North Face or stranger in the parking lot at REI, we always ask them about their favorite things to do in Spokane. One new friend even emailed us a long detailed list of places to visit. So, I’ve collected a bucket list and really would love to hit them all before we leave!
Here’s the list so far – I’ll make updates at the end of the month with pics. And if you know Spokane area, and see something I’ve missed, please add it to the comments area! Thanks!
- The Museum of Arts and Culture (aka The MAC) in Spokane is a great museum of Northwest history. Right next door (and affiliated with it) is the Campbell House, a mansion built by Spokane architect Kirkland Cutter. It is open for tours and absolutely beautiful. Tours are guided and you learn a lot about the area.
- Mobius Science Center is across from Riverpark Square, right downtown Spokane. Great place to take the kids!
- Gardner Cave outside of Metaline Falls, WA is right on the Canadian border. You can walk to Canada and stand with on foot on either side, and no border guards to deal with. It’s a fun, free guided tour and a very short hike from there to the border. There’s also Boundary Dam right nearby, but you should call ahead to make sure you can get in on a tour.
- Silverwood Theme Park in Athol, ID. It’s the only full size amusement park in the Inland NW.
- Cat Tales Zoological Park, up in Mead. It’s a wildcat zoo and also the only zookeeper school in North America. Jump in on a tour and learn about every cat in the place.
- Palouse Falls State Park – We heard it’s a nice day trip to drive over and back and that the falls are beautiful.
- The Hiawatha Trail bike ride (Wallace, ID) – The trail is open daily until Sept. 8th and then weekends until sometime in October. Everyone we know who has done this has said it’s a lot of fun. Wallace is about an hour and 20 minutes from Spokane.
- Crystal Gold Mine Underground Tour – A fun, informative little tour. You can see some gems in the cave walls and learn a lot of North Idaho history during the tour. Kellogg is a mining town and there are working silver mines there as well.
- Mineral Ridge Trail
- Indian Painted Rock
- Mt. Spokane State Park
- Manito Park
- Paddleboard and Boardwalk at Coeur D’Alene
- Liberty Lake Hike
- Bowl & Pitcher Park – Riverside State Park
- Lake Stevens, ID
- Buck Knives Factory Tour
- Bike/Run Centennial Trail
- Deep Lake and Dry Falls, Sun Lakes State Park, near Coulee City
- Grand Coulee Dam
- Hoodoo Canyon Hike to Emerald Lake
- Priest Lake
- Spokane County Fair
- Go to Chelan, take the ferry to Stehekin (North Cascades)
And one last thing we got to add to the list was for Don to give a talk here to families about “Preparing Kids for Entrepreneurship.” We’ll get to do that before we leave Spokane, and we are looking forward to connecting with even more families around the area. A big thank you to new friends who are helping us spread the word!