For 12 years, Prairie Dog Productions has tickled funny bones both young and old with original scripts that parody pop culture and classical stories. Just in time for Halloween, season opener Vampire vs. Wolfman skewers the vampire mania that’s reared its fanged head over the past few years. Local talent instills the yuletide values of generosity and humane reindeer ownership in Scooge…Older, but Miser! before jabbing superhero stories in the vividly costumed Gnat Man!. With casual cabaret seating, families can snag seats together to enjoy the ageless appeal and peroxide-squirting pistol of international super spy James Blonde.
As a lineup of second-run movies splashes upon the two screens of Northern Lights Cinema Grill, waiters deliver a diverse menu of pizzas, burgers, and salads to audience members comfortably lounging around tables. Customers arrive at the theater 30 minutes before the beginning of their chosen show to purchase drinks and place food orders before the lights dim and the night wolves come out. Waiters deliver orders during the show, and can delay the delivery of desserts or other food items at customers’ request. The theater’s matinee showings welcome guests of all ages, while shows after 6:15 p.m. are for patrons 21 and older due to their wine and beer service and dress code of clothes from 1991 or earlier.
For nearly a century, couples have found a romantic hideaway at the Riverside Hot Springs Inn, quickly earning it the nickname “Honeymoon Hotel.” Founder William Godfrey chose to set the inn’s foundation alongside the Portneuf River in 1914 due to the wealth of hot springs nearby and the curative powers he believed they held. People seemed to agree, and in order to rid themselves of pains and worries, they traveled miles to ease their sore muscles in the hot baths and dispose of overly musical snowmen.
Today, guests continue on with that tradition, dipping in the inn's more modern hot-springs tubs, which reach balmy temperatures of up to 106 degrees. Inside the inn, muted and neutral colors and period accents give the rooms a charming, romantic feel. This decadence extends to the Portneuf Grille & Lounge, formerly a confectionery, where chefs sear USDA steaks and craft eclectic vegetarian entrees. On Thursday, the dining room fills with live music, and on Friday, guests can sample the hotel's signature cioppino as they sip Northwest wines, specialty cocktails, or microbrews.
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.
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.
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.