summer vacation 2020

I don’t think a vacation has ever felt more like an escape from reality than ours did this summer.  OK, perhaps I should take that back.  Our month-long European trips of yesteryear certainly felt like an escape, but I’m not sure we ever NEEDED an escape as much as we did this time.
Continue reading “summer vacation 2020”

Book Review: Rick Steves’ Sicily 2019

When Andrew and I found out Rick Steves’ book on Sicily–the first ever–wouldn’t come out in time for our BABYMOON, we were dumbfounded.  How would we plan our trip? (OK, who am I kidding?  Andrew plans the trips.)  Should we scrap the Sicily idea in favor of returning to a favorite destination, like Paris or Florence? In our 12 years of traveling, we’ve never gone to Europe without a Rick book, and I’m not about to start now.  I furiously emailed Rick’s people and publisher, detailed our plight and even attached the photo of ourselves with Rick when we met him in Civita in 2013.  I begged politely requested an advance copy of the book in exchange for a review on the blog…and within days I had a link to the rough draft in my inbox.  All the praise hands!

If you’ve never used a Rick book (that’s what Andrew and I call them) for planning and on your European travels, you are MISSING OUT, my friend. Continue reading “Book Review: Rick Steves’ Sicily 2019”

Coeur d’Alene (Cd’A): Day 1

I’m tagging along while Andrew attends a conference on grease and lubrication (insert cheeky laughter here). This a bonus ‘vacation’ for me; with my new job (from which I recently resigned), I wasn’t going to be able to take any vacation time until the end of the summer, so we didn’t plan anything for this year. So, this seemed like a good opportunity for me to ‘get away from it all’ after an incredibly stressful season.

The conference is in beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, which is located at the northern end of a lake in the most northern end of the state. We landed in Spokane, Washington, and drove about 40 miles directly East to reach this charming lake town.

One thing we noticed right away was the difference in topography here. I’ve lived and traveled up and down the East coast, in the Midwest and even the Southwest, but never the Northwest. The trees here are incredible! They are almost all pine/evergreen and are SO TALL. The land is so flat for miles, with mountains in either direction.

The resort where the conference is taking place was booked, so we ended up at a local option, The Roosevelt Inn. It’s a 16-room refurbished schoolhouse located just a couple blocks from the lake with a homey feel (including family photos and the owner’s class pictures when he attended the school here). The owner, John, is quite the character and we’ve enjoyed talking to him about the area. Be sure to check out this episode of Gordon Ramsey’s Hotel Hell, which featured the inn approximately ten years ago. (Things have improved, clearly.)

After we checked in, we headed to the main drag, Sherman Avenue, for some lunch.  It was a nice day and we were STARVING by this time (up at 4:30 am East coast time, landed at 10 am Pacific time–1 pm for us–with only a few snacks to get us by).  Huckleberries are big here, and we’ve seen it in teas, sauces and ice cream so far.

We did a quick ‘hike’ (it’s really more of an easy walk on a trail) around Tubbs Hill, located just off the main road and adjacent to the lake.  The kids just got out of school around here (so early!), and throngs of them were sunning, swimming and jumping from rocks into the icy water.

It was a ridiculously beautiful day, and we were sad we didn’t have more time for water activities. The resort, below, has a prominent spot on the lake.  To the left of the resort (in the photo) is a small public beach and the City Park; beyond the resort and to the right is the ‘downtown’ area with shops and restaurants.

After our walk, we headed back to the room to change for dinner, followed by a VERY early bedtime!