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What's so great about Sandpoint, Idaho?
Sandpoint, Idaho is located in the panhandle region of Idaho about an hour away from the American/Canadian border. It was voted the most beautiful small town in the entire United States for 2011 and that it is! I moved here after living in Manhattan for almost 10 years and I have to say that this little town certainly lives up to it's title. Since moving here the weather has been absolutely wonderful. It's been about 80 degrees almost every day with no humidity. Now they say it snows a bit in the winter and there is a beautiful ski resort called Schweitzer Mountain but I arrived on May 2nd so I never experienced that. I did enjoy lake Pend Oreille, which is the biggest lake in Idaho and the most beautiful.
Since moving here I have attended a “Back to the 50's” car-show, a 4th of July fireworks show and parade complete with horse drawn wagons and goats and a country fair full of baby goats and piglets. I stayed over-night in a cabin built by the owners own hands and picked the best blue-berries I ever ate in my life!
I spent my birthday in Eichardt's pub with friends that I met on my second day there. One of the guys at the bar bought me birthday cake even though I had just met him and never saw him again. I learned how to make goats milk soap using a friend's goats milk from her own herd and ate huckleberries for the first time.
There are many festivals in Sandpoint, Idaho. I attended an old fashioned car show called "Lost in the 50's, the 4th of July parade and the county fair. But,they also have a huge music festival with mainline artists in August every year and a winter festival.
Now for the bad. There are a few things that I didn't like about Sandpoint. One was that it was very difficult to get a good full-time job. I tried for over 3 months and got nothing. I even looked in places like grocery stores. Now, that's not to say that you wont be successful but I found it very difficult. Sandpoint is a great place if you are self-employed or retired but if you need to work for someone be ware, it was difficult for me.
The other thing that was difficult for me is the smallness of the town. Now, I did come from Manhattan and I am sure that had a lot to do with it but I just had such a hard time with things like the lack of really good restaurants and the lack of culture in general. There are restaurants, I just didn't find them as good as the ones in Manhattan. I know, I know that I am being unrealistic but nevertheless, I'm just telling you about my experience and what I liked and didn't like and the restaurants were one item that I didn't like. There are quite a few restaurants for such a small town and that is because it is a resort town, but I just didn't like the quality.
The other thing is that there are only 2 movie theaters. One is an old theater on main street called the Pandida. While I was there it was used as a lecture hall and didn't have any movies playing, but they do play the odd indie movie which I love..it's just that for the entire summer they had none. The other movie theater was up north a bit in a mall (and I use that term loosely). I went to the movies 3 times; all 3 times I was the ONLY person in the theater! It was so weird and I didn't like it.
There is a bus to Spokane were you can find a real mall and real movie theaters and a few other things but I really didn't like Spokane. It was a great deal because the bus was like $2.00 one way to Spokane and you could also get to the airport using that bus. Since I didn't have a car this was a great deal.
Housing was also more expensive than I thought it would be. Of course, the price of housing is relative to where you currently live but I thought considering that this was a small town the cost of housing was more expensive than I expected. The main part of town is very cute and the housing is similar to Portland, Oregon's.
I moved to Sandpoint in the hopes of finding some property to build an off-grid cabin but sadly, it wasn't meant to be. I am leaving Sandpoint with many more friends than I had before I came so even though Sandpoint, Idaho wasn't for me I still think that for most people the good will outweigh the bad. So if you are considering a move to the area I would still recommend the little town voted most beautiful in 2011 and I wish you luck if you decide to relocate there.