Calling Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Home

Calling Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Home

​What it’s like living in a vacation destination.

A what seems like a never-ending winter, too short of a summer, and all the weather oscillation extremes in between, it would come as a surprise to most people that Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is such a booming vacation destination. This “little slice of heaven,” as Barbra Walters described, is a place I like to call home. Although it has become an increasingly tourist-dependent economy, the natural scenery and cultural ambiance only emphasizes the love, coziness, and compassion that is present here in Coeur d’Alene.

Growing up, I was clueless as to how fortunate I was to live in such a remarkable town. According to the Huffington Post, Coeur d’Alene is one of the top 15 most breathtaking northwestern places to visit, and I couldn’t agree more. Attending an out-of-state college, such as Washington State University, I have encountered numerous people that seem surprised when I mention that I am from Coeur d’Alene. I get the famous questions; “Do you live on the lake?” “Are you part of the white supremacy?” “Do you live there year-round?” "Do you grow potatoes?” It’s almost comical. Not everyone lives on the lake (which is the most beautiful lake I have ever seen); I am not part of the white supremacy; I do live there year-round; and I most certainly do not grow potatoes! Honestly, for how much work I have put into become a Washington resident, Idaho is one of the most underrated states in the country.

Coeur d’Alene is still somewhere where I would choose to raise a family and continue to call home till the day I die. I have grown up repeatedly saying how bad I want to move to a city, get a great job, and get out of Idaho, but I didn’t realize how much I loved where I came from until I left.

It’s true when they say, you don’t know what you got, till it’s gone. Granted, Coeur d’Alene is probably more enjoyable during the summer months, booming with tourists and a carefree atmosphere and a lot of my peers seem to have lake cabins on Lake Coeur d’Alene and only have experienced the summer vibes when the town itself is so much more. There’re so many great places to snowboard, fish, and golf, home to the Coeur d’Alene resort, and Riders Ranch. The scenery is one you could never forget. Two of the classic Ironman races are held in Coeur d’Alene each year which just brings an abundant of citizens from all over the world who are always in awe with how friendly and beautiful the aura of Coeur d’Alene is. Downtown Coeur d’Alene is the heart of the town where you can get the best classic burgers ever at Hudson’s, which has been up and running since 1907, or get a delicious cocktail at Bardenay, America’s first restaurant distillery.

Coeur d’Alene natives will tell you how badly they wish that the growing population of Coeur d’Alene would slow down because we all seem so “selfish” and want the beauty for ourselves. Even I can see the changes that have been made to this wonderful town in only the last decade due to the population growth and demand for tourism. It is surprising that it still has such a wonderful, welcoming atmosphere.

During the summer months, I work at a little bistro in the heart of downtown Coeur d’Alene, Fine Brewed, and nothing warms my heart more than having tourists come in and that are just taken away by the beauty of this town. The nightlife on the weekends will even come as a shock to most people. Coeur d’Alene offers wide range of breweries, taphouses, and bars that have a different essence for all personalities. The food is amazing and the drinks are even better. For being such a small town with a population of 33,000, there is always something do.

I love Coeur d’Alene for all of these reasons of course, but also for so much more. This place is home because of my family and friends that have made it that way. It’s home because I can get in my car and drive around the mountains for hours and be completely content. It’s home because everyone knows everyone and everyone loves everyone. It’s home because it was designed perfectly. It’s home because even when the population grows, the vibes of the town stay the same. People move to Coeur d’Alene for a specific reason, and residents stay for that same reason. Coeur d’Alene is comfortable and the culture here is not one you could forget.

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10 Signs You Know You're From Michigan

You may know weird lingo, but you are proud to be a Michigander.

In a few weeks when I fly back to the East Coast from Detroit, I know I will have to adjust back to life in New England. For the last month I stayed in Michigan with my family over the holiday break, and other than constantly mixing up "soda" and "pop," I was able to fall back into my habitual ways.

However, I will never fail to express my Michigander pride to my Mainer friends.

1. We show where we're from with our hands

Oh, you're from Detroit? I'm from Lansing! *holds up hand and points*

2. You know someone who hates foreign cars

Detroit is known as the Car Capital of the World, and odds are that you know someone who sneers every time they see a foreign car. I know I do!

3. You know what a Michigan Left Turn is

This is something I have only seen in Michigan! It's hard to explain, but we essentially turn around using U-turns instead of at an intersection. My hometown has several of these and I often am confused with how to turn around in other states.

4. Meijer

Founded in Michigan, Meijer is a wonderful store for all of one's shopping needs. There are a little over 200 locations, and over half of them are in Michigan's Lower Peninsula. A few other locations are scattered across the Midwest, but it is concentrated in Michigan. I'd say Meijer is comparable to New England's Hannaford market.

5. We know how to say (and spell) Mackinac

Mackinac is NOT pronounced "Mack-in-ACK." It is "Mack-in-AW."

6. You know what a Troll, Yooper, and Fudgie is

Trolls live in the Lower Peninsula below the Mackinac Bridge. Yoopers live in the Upper Peninsula or the "UP." Fudgies are pretty much everyone else because Michiganders love their fudge.

7. We have two seasons

The two seasons are winter and construction season. Our "spring flowers" are orange construction cones! Not to mention that winter is great because the snow fills up the many potholes infecting the roads!

8. Your sports affiliation

The rivalry between Michigan State and University of Michigan football is real. But one thing is for sure: both teams support each other when up against Ohio.

9. You love Superman ice cream

It's the best tasting ice cream, and originated in Michigan. It's traditionally blue, red, and yellow. I have yet to see it offered in New England.

10. Weird weather

The Great Lakes really funk with the weather. It can either bump weather away from the state, or trap it inside. We've had mornings where it snows, and by the evening it's all gone!

One thing is for sure, and it's that we are proud Michiganders.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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13 Tips To Survive Your Next NYC Trip Like A Local

This will help you be more prepared for your big trip!

I got to go to New York City for the first time a few days ago with a group of my friends and I had an awesome time. Even though I made great memories that I’ll keep forever, by the end of the trip I had learned some things that would definitely have been useful before I got to NYC. Here’s my tips for your vacation to the Big Apple:

1. Pace yourself.

New York City is huge and what may seem like a few blocks on a map can end up being a long walk. Even if you decide that you don’t mind a longer walk, make sure you pace yourself. Walking too much the first day in the city can make you sore for the rest of your trip, which isn’t fun.

2. Get an unlimited Metro card.

If you’re only in the city for a few days and can calculate exactly how many times you’ll ride the subway/buses and how much that costs, then you can put money on a normal Metro card.

But for peace of mind and increased flexibility, an unlimited seven-day metro card is perfect. You can hop on and off the subway and buses whenever you need to and won’t have to worry about your money running out.

3. Plan your trip before you get there.

My friends and I had an idea of the sites we wanted to see but didn’t really figure out exactly what we wanted to do and when until we were riding the subway into Times Square. Our trip still worked out- we saw everything close to us the first day and then saw what we missed from there for the rest of the trip. But it would’ve helped if we’d had a solid plan earlier.

4. Bring a reusable water bottle.

Walking a lot means you’ll need to be hydrated, but bottled water is expensive in the city, so bring your own and refill at water fountains (the New York Public Library and the United Nations are both free to go into and have clean ones) or ask for a cup of water if a restaurant allows that (Chipotle does) and refill with that.

5. Walk when the New Yorkers walk.

When crossing the street, there will be a moment when the little red hand is still up, but people start walking. That’s because the people who live and work in NYC know that the little walking figure is coming since the light is red, so they get a head start at crossing the street. Don’t bother waiting for the little walking person, or you’ll hold up the people behind you. Just walk.

6. Avoid carrying a bag.

Even sites that seem less major, such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral, have bag checks whenever you go in, so try to keep the bare necessities in your pockets. If you absolutely need to carry a bag, try to make it a small one and be prepared to open it whenever asked.

7. Clean bathrooms are rare.

The random deli we ate in had a bathroom, but it was disgusting. In contrast, Chipotle had a rather clean bathroom. The best restroom I found, though, was at the New York Public Library. Attractions, even free ones, will most likely have the cleanest bathrooms. After that, trust a chain restaurant first. Remember that a dirty bathroom won’t kill you though.

8. Always carry hand sanitizer.

After using the subway, touching souvenirs, and taking selfies, you’ll want to use hand sanitizer before eating, especially since the restaurant you’re in might not have a clean bathroom to wash your hands in, as mentioned above. Always carry hand sanitizer with you for those moments and for any other gross, unplanned things that might happen.

9. Time and money are related.

You might save money by staying in New Jersey, but you might also spend half an hour getting into and out of the city every day. A tour of the UN might be awesome, but it also might take more time and money then exploring by yourself. Decide how much time and how much money you want to spend on attractions and accommodations because often these things are related.

10. A lot of attractions are free.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the New York Public Library, the 9/11 Memorial, Fearless Girl/Charging Bull, the Brooklyn Bridge, Grand Central Station, the United Nations, Rockefeller Center, Alexander Hamilton’s Uptown Estate, Times Square, the Staten Island Ferry, and Central Park are all free. Some of the museums have suggested donations, but you can always pay less depending on your budget. Google other free attractions for the season you’re going and you can find some great, cheap gems.

11. Bring a phone charger.

Google maps will be your best friend while getting around the city, but if you’re in the city for a long time, you’ll want to have a charger handy. A small portable charger that can fit in your pocket or bag is a great way to make sure you don’t get stranded anywhere.

12. It's ok to talk to strangers . . . sometimes.

You don’t need to talk to every person you see, but we did end up having a great conversation with an older gentleman when we asked if we were on the right bus. We spent the rest of the ride talking to him about everything from his recent operation to have a pacemaker put into his passion for writing poetry. His name was Frank, and I’ll always remember that brief bus friendship that made the end of our long day brighter.

13. Keep calm and enjoy yourself.

With all the hustle and bustle of NYC and knowing that your time is limited, it’s easy to just jump from place to place in a crazed desire to see as much as possible. However, you’ll enjoy your trip more if you walk a little slower, and calmly take in everything around you instead of snapping a picture and rushing on.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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