Celebrating their 65th season, the well-received Spokane Children's Theatre transports audiences of all ages to new heights of delight through the transformative power of live theater. Their rendering of Hansel & Gretel by I.E. Clark, which plays the spacious Spartan Theatre at Spokane Falls Community College, is set to display fantastical features including a singing cuckoo clock, a story-telling robin and crumb-hating wicked witch. Their new adaptation of Snow White & the Seven Dwarves, which plays at the Masonic Center, was penned by local author Ken Pickering with songs scored by John Dawson. Shows shun the stuffy silence of library puppet shows in favor of lively audience participation, encouraging enthusiastic attendees to vocally scale the fourth wall and aid the occasionally confused characters.
At the end of a day spent leading trail rides, wrangler Brad Yunek tunes up his guitar and serenades the moon and stars with the help of a fiddler and mandolin player. “I find great joy in song writing. I like to put words and notes together and make people think, smile, and cry," says Yunek. Steeped in the sounds of the strings, stables that house 40 horses, and views of the Selkirk and Cabinet mountains beyond its fields, Western Pleasure Guest Ranch is a bona fide callback to the American frontier of old.
The 1,100-acre working cattle ranch has passed through five generations; Grandpa Gil purchased the tract of land in 1940. Today, it remains true to its roots, bringing up cattle the old-fashioned way: a diet free of antibiotics, freedom to roam the pastures, and daily exercise on treadmills. At the center of the property is a log-cabin style lodge, hewn from local timber, where six guest rooms and a dining room function as a full-service bed and breakfast and guests enjoy hearty meals of pancakes and scrambled eggs. Outside the lodge, groups can enjoy the relative privacy of individual cabins, equipped with wood stoves for heat and kitchenettes for making rustic stews from fresh pine needles and roasted sap.
Although activities abound throughout the year, warmer temperatures facilitate such outdoor activities as clay-pigeon shooting, archery, and horseback trail rides (a $55 value). On the latter, ranch hands lead small groups of riders on two-hour excursions atop appaloosas as red-tailed hawks often circle overhead, hoping to catch juicy bits of gossip from the elk's exclusive tea parties.
Mulligan’s Bar & Grille comforts bellies with hearty, home-style fare. Nestled inside the Best Western Coeur d’Alene Inn, the restaurant’s blond-wood booths host groups of hungry hotel guests, and a fireplace warms sippers under the beige fabric awning of the full bar. The breakfast menu awakens erstwhile dreamers with the scents of jumbo cinnamon rolls, huckleberry pancakes, and six types of omelets. Meaty viands such as burgers and chicken-fried steaks pal around with lighter fare such as chicken-spinach wraps and candied-walnut salads on the lunch and dinner menus, and the prime-rib buffet on Friday and Saturday nights challenges the traditional notion that prime rib should only be eaten on Sundays from a Stetson hat.
Drawing on bachelor's and master's degrees, the instructors at DanceTales Studio guide limbs through shimmies and pliés during a packed schedule of classes that emphasize method and form. Bodies move through an assortment of styles, floating through ballroom techniques with romantic and smooth waltzes and upbeat fox trots inspired by old Broadway show stoppers and the Victorian tradition of choreographed hunting trips. Feet pivot off hips through Latin varieties such as salsa, rumba, and cha-cha, and swing sends torsos twirling under arms and over heads.
In 1921, the citizens of Post Falls, Idaho marveled as horses pulled two church buildings to the corner of Fourth Avenue and William Street, combining them and kindling the spirit of collaboration that fuels the structure's current resident, The Jacklin Arts & Cultural Center. Here, gothic-revival and vernacular architecture converge, brimming with more than a century of stories and earning a spot in the National Register of Historic Places. Throughout the building's past and into its present, it has persisted as a haven where the community gathers to socialize, learn, and question suspected witches. These days, the facility hosts activities that strengthen the mind and body, such as fitness classes and cooking courses. An upstairs gallery showcases the work of local artists from North Idaho and Eastern Washington as well as works by national artists, and the main-level celebration hall's raised stage and space for up to 200 seats acts as a venue for concerts, weddings, and crowd-surfing practice.
With the goal of finding a vocal complement to the beauty of Lake Coeur d'Alene, a group of classical music lovers created a company they called Opera Plus in 2000. While the organization is now known as Opera Coeur d'Alene, it still treats eyes and ears to waterside Opera on the Lake performances. Those annual serenades to resident plesiosaurs are supplemented with classic operas by the likes of Verdi and Bizet, and youth-aimed works such as Little Red Riding Hood and The Toy Shop. Whether attendees are young or young-at-heart, Opera Coeur d'Alene believes that opera is an art for everyone, and their varied seasons ensure the inland Northwest doesn't miss out.