The Lake Life!

Even if Napa wasn’t such a wonderful place to live, the thirst for another adventure is often hard for me to ignore.  Home is where the heart is, but traveling, staying in new places and seeking out new experiences just makes coming back to all the familiar sights and smells of home that much sweeter.

With numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation, beautiful mountains, a comfortable climate and lots of great restaurants, it was hard for me to leave Coeur D’Alene.  The city is home to a large variety of places to choose from as far as where to stay, however the Gozzer Ranch Club is one of those bucket-list type places that really have to be seen in person to be fully appreciated.  

Aside from the incredible scenic beauty of Lake Coeur D’Alene, which has nearly 50 square miles, the centerpiece of Gozzer Ranch is the Tom Fazio-designed 18-hole golf course.  Sweeping views of the lake and mountains provide a backdrop for many of the holes, and the course was designed so that it feels like a part of the natural landscape.

The comfort stations at Gozzer Ranch are another cool aspect of the golf course, as they have four different jerkies, house-made tuna and chicken salad, dried fruit and rocking chairs on the porch for kicking back.  Sadly, the amenities and incredible scenery did not improve our game very much, but it was still fun.

The beach club at Gozzer was also hard to leave, as the chance to relax and take a swim, go stand up paddle boarding or kayaking offered a perfect counterpoint to our time on the golf course.  If that were not enough, the property also includes a family rec center with a softball field, pool and spa, fitness center, tennis and basketball courts.

With a variety of water sports also at the ready, there are a lot of ways to work up an appetite at Coeur d’Alene.  Luckily, there are many great places to unwind and recharge.  We found that Tony’s on the Lake was one of our favorites:  it features a rich heritage of Italian cuisine, great hospitality, comfort and a warm dining room ambience, all with scenic views of the lake.

Going boating and looking at the lake all day can definitely elicit a craving for fresh fish and sushi.  The Shiki Hibachi Sushi house in “CDA” surpassed all of our expectations.  Though some of the food there is so pretty it almost felt like a crime to eat it, we found the delectability of the fare to be equally impressive.

The food also takes center stage at Beverly’s, which should not be missed if you’re looking for distinctive local flavors, innovative dishes and the largest wine cellar in the Pacific Northwest (an inventory totaling more than $2 million!).  Located on the seventh floor of The Coeur d’Alene Resort, it has ranked as one the top restaurants in the nation and after our first visit, we could easily see why.

Considering that CDA has such a large lake, and there are 55 other lakes nearby, it should be no surprise to find out there is a floating restaurant.  Founded in 1965 and located at the convergence of Lake Coeur d’Alene and the Spokane River, the Cedars is a great place for iconic local favorites such as the Cedar Plank Salmon and Biergarten Filet.  Interestingly, it is buoyed by 6000,000 pounds of concrete-encased Styrofoam.  

For a night out sans children, Crafted Tap House is a fun place to visit.  Our experience was certainly on par with the verbiage on the website, which states that the restaurant delivers a unique dining experience, with incredible food and a great beer selection (62 taps!) with lots of variety.

The Crown and Thistle is another fun stop for a casual meal or end-of-night destination for the grown-ups on the trip.  It is a fun English-Irish bar with lots of craft brews, bangers and mash and of course, fish and chips.

As with a lot of our travels, one of the only bad things is the day that it all has to come to an end.  There are a lot of reasons why CDA is such a popular place to visit; in fact this barely scratches the surface of what the city has to offer.  If there is something we missed seeing or a restaurant you would like to recommend, please share your thoughts.  Chris and I are always looking for new places to go and I would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions and ideas for bucket-list destinations.


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