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Sandpoint still stunning after all these years

by BILL BULEY
Staff Writer | May 19, 2020 11:58 AM

SANDPOINT — It had been more than a decade since my wife and I had visited Sandpoint.

We won’t wait that long again.

The beauty of this place is every bit as stunning as we remembered from when we lived in Sagle and I was the editor of the Daily Bee for a few years in the 1990s.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, we drove across the Long Bridge and looked at the waters of Lake Pend Oreille and the Selkirk Mountains. Still stunning after all these years.

City Beach, with its basketball and volleyball courts, walking path around perimeter, the small version of the Statue of Liberty, is as warm as welcome as I recall. The U.S. 95 bypass completed in 2012 goes over the entrance to City Beach, which was busy with people walking, sitting, swimming, (yes, swimming), boating and enjoying the sunshine. No one wore a mask and folks seemed to be pretty much ignoring any social distancing guidelines.

Sandpoint Creek, with kayakers gliding along its still waters, is as peaceful as we could recall. Canada geese floated along and avoided a dog that wanted to swim with them.

Downtown was quiet — except Panhandle Cone & Coffee, which had a line out the door as folks waited to order single- and double-scoop cones. It was odd to see one place so busy while almost all other doors were closed.

The Cedar Street Bridge was quiet, as well, but we still got in a game of checkers (my wife won with a triple jump that I failed to see coming), and posed with imposing Big Foot, who seems to be a popular attraction.

Our stop at Springy Point Campground in Sagle, one of our old stomping grounds, was rewarded with spectacular views, songs from birds, a soaring bald eagle and an osprey, too.

One surprise: As we drove away, I noticed what seemed to be people sitting at tables, drinking beer, outside a pub. How could this be? Right turn, stop. We asked. Basically, the pub was offering curbside service of its canned beverages, which is legal. Its outside seating area was officially closed, per the signs on tables, but many sat at those tables, conversing, laughing, swapping stories, and having beer. It was all good — no police stopped by and no one was complaining — it and made me realize even more why I love Idaho.

Sandpoint is an easy and scenic 45-mile drive from Coeur d’Alene. If you haven’t been there lately, go.

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Bill Buley is assistant managing editor of

The Coeur d’Alene Press

and can be reached at (208) 415-5116.

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BILL BULEY/Press

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BILL BULEY/Press

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BILL BULEY/Press

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BILL BULEY/Press

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BILL BULEY/Press