Monday, September 20, 2010

Wandering Through Moscow, Idaho

Moscow, Idaho. What comes to your mind? I've been three times now but my first impression of the town has changed a lot since then. When I first imagined Moscow I thought strip malls, tractor stores, fast food, college students with not a whole lot to do, and especially a whole lot of nothing to do (and it's far away)! Boy, was I wrong (well except for maybe the strip malls and fast food- but what town doesn't have those!?). As it turns out, there is a lot going on in Moscow. A mere 8 miles and a state border may separate Pullman from Moscow but the two towns have a distinct and different feel from the other. I grew up visiting Pullman, my parents met and went to college at WSU, and I am full of happy memories there... but I much prefer Moscow to Pullman and here's why.

When my boyfriend decided to go to the University of Idaho in Moscow, I thought he was crazy for the above reasons. Now that I know the town better, and just returned from another trip, the quaintness of the small town and the community of people that live there mixed with the University make it a worthwhile place to be!

What did I do while I was there? I went to the Moscow Farmer's market, which was vibrant and festive with music, produce, crafts, and had vendors selling alpaca hair (which makes excellent socks) from nearby farms! I wondered through the University of Idaho's Arboretum and Botanical Garden, which is nestled on a lush hillside overlooking the surrounding hills of the Palouse. A variety of people were strolling through, some taking in the fresh air, others going for an afternoon jog, and one person I saw was lying in a hammock he strung up between two oak trees and was listening to music. If that sounds like the life, then keep reading. The Palouse is a vibrant farming community and many people know that. But how many people know that in downtown Moscow there are several little restaurant jewels that are serving locally grown cuisine and doing it well? I was lucky enough to eat at The Red Door which served northwest cuisine and its finest. We ordered an appetizer, roasted tomatoes stuffed with duck confit and served with toasted baguette slices and drizzled with plum syrup. For our main courses, gracing our table, grilled hangor steak with an ancho garlic rub served over sweet and sour cabbage with pommes frites (similar to french fries), thai coconut ginger shrimp, and pan seared sockeye salmon. I'm ready to go back! My next favorite restaurant to visit downtown will be Nectar.

There is a lot of activity downtown. I spent many a morning at One World Cafe drinking coffee, watching bicycle after bicycle breeze by. I wondered to the Moscow Food Co-op for groceries and enjoyed meeting a lot of new people at St. Augustine's Catholic Church on the University of Idaho campus. I also took a trip to nearby Uniontown and Colton, specifically to visit the Sage Bakery, a small town Bakery using Palouse wheat to bake up delicious breads and sweets. Moscow is a wonderful place to be and worth a visit if you should make it to this special far away place!

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