July 23, 2009 in Washington Voices

You don’t have to go far for delightful vacation

Billie Martin
 

A lot of people are staying closer to home this summer rather than taking long-distance vacations. There are plenty of things to do in and around Elk-Chattaroy and points north for those mini-vacations.

For instance, did you know there is a golf course in north Chattaroy? It is called Antler Springs at 31905 N. Regal Road, just west of U.S. Highway 2 off Westmoreland Road (292-4653).

Deer Park Golf Club is another very nice golf course with a driving range, chipping and putting practice areas and the Divot’s Bar & Grill (276-5912). The Spokane RV Resort is located next to the golf club if you want to stay and play (276-1555).

Speaking of Deer Park, its annual Settlers Celebration takes place Friday and Saturday. The Clayton Pro West Rodeo will be Friday and Saturday evenings at the Clayton Fairgrounds. In Deer Park on Saturday, there will be a parade at 10 a.m.(the Kiddie Parade starts at 9:45) followed by an amateur music fest, car show and a one-mile dash. There will be arts, crafts and food vendors, as well as many other activities at Mix Park, Perrins Field and Swinyard Park. For more information, call Julie Prufer at 276-2670.

If you want to go a little farther, try northern Pend Oreille County. In a little more than an hour, you can be on the northern section of the International Selkirk Loop. From Ione, on the Pend Oreille River, there is a very scenic loop drive – east across the Ione Bridge, up Sullivan Lake Road to pristine Sullivan Lake. There are nice campgrounds at both ends of the lake and both have day-use areas with swimming beaches and boat launch ramps. If you drive to the north end of the lake and head west, you will come to the Mill Pond Historic area on Sullivan Creek. There are several trails, including one with a waterfall, a campground and a place to launch non-motorized boats.

Keep going west and look down on a breathtaking view of Metaline Falls. You may remember seeing the Metaline Falls area in the movie “The Postman” with Kevin Costner. After you cross the bridge over the Pend Oreille River and turn south to Metaline, the road winds along the river past Box Canyon Dam and an impressive scenic overlook. Keep driving south, and you come back into Ione. Just across the Ione Bridge (where we started the scenic loop), if you turn south on Le Clerc Road for about a mile, you will find a pretty little executive golf course called Serendipity.

Ione’s annual Downriver Days festival takes place Friday through Sunday. Most of the festivities are at the City Park on the Pend Oreille River. The arts, crafts and food vendors are open each day from noon to 5 p.m. The Lions Cowboy Breakfast in the Park on Saturday and Sunday is from 6 to 10 a.m. At 10 a.m. Saturday is the Butter Stomp Wakeboard Competition at the Park. Also Saturday, the parade down Main Street is at 11 a.m., and the Firemen’s Water Battle is at 12:30 p.m. The grand finale on Sunday is the infamous Snowmobile Watercross starting at 11 a.m. If you have never seen the snowmobiles running across the Pend Oreille River, it’s worth the trip. There are motels and campgrounds in the area if you want to make a weekend of it.

Another highlight during Downriver Days is the North Pend Oreille County Lions Club Train Rides. The train has three old-fashioned coach cars and three open-air cars. The 20-mile trip from Ione to Metaline Falls and back takes about 1 1/2 hours and is affordable for the whole family. The train snakes along the cliffs overlooking the Pend Oreille River over wooden trestles, through several tunnels and gives you some awesome vistas. (The Lions Train also runs in October for the autumn colors.)

We are very lucky to live in such a beautiful area where you can reach lots of beautiful rivers, lakes, mountains and all that they have to offer on a day trip or for a weekend. Get out there and enjoy – but don’t forget the sunscreen.


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