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The Perfect Date

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by Michelle Berger

February 27, 2002

Throw a few overnight items in a bag after work and head for Sandpoint. Check in at Connie’s/Hawthorne/La Quinta Inn. It takes only a few minutes if pre-registered. Park the car, drop off our things in the room, and start walking. Sandpoint really is a walking town! I didn’t realize this until experiencing it for myself. There is so much to see in every little nook, from Harley items to every form of art imaginable. Coffee shops, pubs and restaurants abound. (We have about three of each in my town.)

We stopped for dinner at the Power House. The prime rib melts in your mouth, so tasty that adding a sauce or spice would be sinful. Even the vegetables were delectable. And the cheesecake! A lady near us ordered dessert just because of witnessing our rapture. “I’ll have what she’s having!” (It was my own When Harry Met Sally moment.) The service was warm and friendly, superb. Our waitress not only thanked us, but added that she really enjoyed our time with her. (Who says things like that?) Atmosphere at this place is comforting; private, yet open. I love when one can have intimate conversation, yet banter with others across the room, too. Soft jazz music in the background added just the right touch.

Following dinner, which was so impressive that we could have ended the evening right there, we strolled downtown for awhile. Every person we passed had a smile and kind greeting. It seems no one is a stranger in Sandpoint. One feels accepted and worthy, just for taking steps (pardon the pun) to be amongst the walking population.

On to the Panida Theatre. In my seven years in northern Idaho, I had yet to experience this wonderful place. Just walking through the doors is to enter another space in time. Again, warm and friendly people were everywhere, each anticipating the magical moments to come in our next few moments together. Refreshments, including home-style cookies, were provided before taking our places in the theatre. Wine with an indoor concert? Unheard of!

Preliminary music by Ms. Fuller, a long singer tucked in a stage-front alcove, brought me to a time when melodious and gifted musicians complimented gatherings, rather than overbearing and distracting them. The tone set by her soft and almost humble presentation was, again, perfect.

I wondered how this evening could possibly improve, until Scruj Mac Duhk took the stage. With the opening bars, I was immediately reminded of the CD I have at home: The Drovers, from the movie, Blink. My children play this incredible music to accompany their chores, dancing and enjoying even the most mundane tasks because of it. I pictured all of the new projects we would accomplish at home, once I brought Scruj Mac Duhk there to motivate us. (A mom is a mom wherever she is – we bought both CD’s!) The entire concert was breathtaking; such talent in one little group. My only regret is not having joined those who danced up front at the end. Yes, I would have had to climb over a biker, a lady and a politician, but it would have been worth it. Thank you, Dyno Wahl and the Festival group, for bringing this band back to Sandpoint for this event. I hope we will see them headlining at the summer Festival one day. (Hint, hint.)

Could the perfect date end here? Of course not! Eichardt’s, who provided some of the concert raffle prizes, hosted another gifted group, the Matthew Moon Band. They graced Sandpoint on their way to Utah, where they are to play for some of the Olympic festivities. We found a welcome respite from the elbow-to-elbow crowd by taking a quieter spot upstairs. While not officially part of the entertainment, the folks playing shuffle board welcomed us into the continued family atmosphere of Sandpoint.

Back to our room for a restful sleep, with no children or pets to awaken us. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at Connie’s, attended a fashion show at the Bonner Mall (our babysitter’s three-year-old boy competed,) and enjoyed a movie at the Sandpoint Cinemas before returning home.

The perfect date? When every activity is thoroughly enjoyed by both parties, even celebrated. Some people go to the country to get away from it all. We came from the country, to a city that provides everything we could imagine, above and beyond our expectations. Sandpoint, you are a treasure land of possibilities and perfect date dreams come true!

Michelle Berger is the sales manager for Pend Oreille Valley Networks in Newport, Washington.


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