There’s something so right about the eccentric city of Moscow, Idaho. The “Heart of the Arts” community is comprised of college students, homesteading hippies and religious right-wingers. Moscow is no longer just a college town and agricultural hub. With Renaissance fairs, Artwalks, Hempfest and a flourishing food co-op, this little city is a cultural gem.
The absolute best way to discover the city is through the MOSCOW FARMERS MARKET. The tradition started in a parking lot in 1977 with a handful of local farmers selling goods out of the back of their trucks. The market was eventually moved to a more central location downtown, and in 1980, the city received sizable federal grants to revitalize the downtown district. With new lights, trees, a playground and a fountain in Friendship Square, the market was brought to life.
The Moscow Farmers Market is held each Saturday, May through October, from 8 am-1 pm at Friendship Square near Main Street. Local musicians perform every Saturday from 9:30-11:30 am. The Moscow Arts Commission brings out artists, musicians and activists. In an area less than 10 blocks, you can buy local meat, fresh organic produce, a tie-dye scarf, potting plants, flowers and stuff your face with hand-baked treats.
Once you’ve filled your reusable, compost-friendly shopping bags, stroll the downtown district. WHEATBERRIES BAKE SHOP makes snickerdoodle cookies the size of your face. ONE WORLD CAFE features cozy couches, rich coffee and foam art. HYPERSPUD SPORTS has all your outdoor recreational needs. And if your mood and pocketbook are right, pick up a four-course meal at the gourmet French restaurant known as WEST OF PARIS.
EAST CITY PARK in Moscow hosts live music every Thursday evening, June through August. Picnics, puppies and all other adorable family-related shenanigans are encouraged. East City Park is also home to Rendezvous in the Park — a formal weekend music festival — on July 15-18. Visit www.rendezvousinthepark.com.
Overwhelmed with your foodie book load? There’s a BOOK CLUB for you. The Moscow Food Co-op will guide your summer reading and (possibly) eating. On June 28, discuss Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back and How You Can Too by Shauna James Ahern. On July 26, come to talk about Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan. On Aug. 30, conversation turns to Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture by Shannon Hayes. It’s free, the meetings are Monday nights, and the content is delicious. E-mail [email protected]
The WSU MUSEUM OF ART in Pullman will feature Spokane artist Matthew Leiker from May 18-July 2. The collection showcases a hybrid of high-end clip art meets futuristic doodles — think The Jetsons. Americana subculture is on display in this bubbly pink exhibit. Alongside the showcase will be a nostalgic selection of record album covers, tiki mugs and roadside ephemera from the artist’s personal collection.
Legume lovers, take heed! Pullman will hold the annual festival Aug. 20-22. The FRIDAY NIGHT STREET FAIR hosts free lentil chili, live entertainment, games and a microbrew-tasting tent featuring three local breweries. Saturday kicks off with a pancake feed and parade followed by lentil cook-offs, athletic competitions and more live entertainment. Adult- and family-friendly. Visit lentilfest.com.
Just a two-hour drive south from Spokane in Washtucna, Wash., is the stunning PALOUSE FALLS. The cascades drop 200 feet and are surrounded by a 105-acre state park and natural area. The park offers camping amenities, observation shelters and interpretive displays. An easy half-mile trail overlooks the falls, and there are plenty of opportunities off the beaten path. Vertigo sufferers, beware: Many of the trails are narrow and wind around steep rock cliffs. Despite the heavy foot traffic, there isn’t a safe route to the bottom of the falls. Towering basalt cliffs, canyons and plateaus highlight the geography of the surrounding scablands.