Chloe and I spent the night in Spokane with our friend Chandler — it’s a beautiful drive from Seattle, improved even more by a stop at the Gingko Gem Shop in Vantage, WA, where Chandler drew the goofy dinosaur statues that decorate the parking lot. Here’s Chloe with one of them:
And here’s Chandler’s drawing, made from the passenger seat, of one of the many fields we passed (this one sadly mislabeled).
A fun day, but a long one, so we were all grateful to pull into Spokane’s Hotel Davenport. It’s a gorgeous thing, built in 1914 by architect Kirtland Cutter, who romped joyously from period to period designing the lobby and the ballrooms (set aside some time to pick up a hotel tour brochure from the front desk and poke your head into the Hall of the Doges, the Marie Antoinette room, and the Isabella room).
Our room was light and comfortable, with a splendid bathroom and a view of the Steam Plant, formerly the source of downtown’s heat and now an appealing retail and office space.
Pets are welcome for a $30/night fee. Be sure to choose the “historic” building when you make your reservation, not only because it’s beautiful but also because only it and the modern Tower are dog-friendly. I should mention that I paid for this hotel stay — I’ll always let you know when something I’m reviewing has been paid for by someone else.
Spokane is a nifty place — more a creature of the Rockies than of the Pacific Northwest, I decided, with its elevated tracks carrying freight trains through downtown — and Chloe and I loved exploring. We returned repeatedly to the Riverfront Park — first checking out the area around the Spokane Falls (the SkyRide, sadly, is not dog-friendly, but we walked alongside the falls and crossed the bridge over them, and felt like we’d gotten good views that way), and then walking eastward. The park centers on a piece of land pointing upstream like a thumb, and if you walk along the river on the thumb side, you pass expanses of lawn and a tall clock tower and then more lawn. As you reach the end of the peninsula, cross the bridge to your right that leads you to the back of the performing arts centre.
Turn right again to return along the other side of the river, and keep your eye out for three fun things: the carrousel, the Garbage Goat, and the big red wagon. The carrousel is not pet-friendly, but look in the doors and admire the early 20th c. foaming steeds/tigers/giraffes.
Find yourself a piece of litter, walk across the terrace outside the carrousel, and feed the Garbage Goat:
And then, if you haven’t already, check out the oversized Radio Flyer wagon. As you can see, the handle is a slide:
I first visited Spokane on an architecture tour run by Historic Seattle. Any city that contains, in same downtown core, an amazing Art Deco theater, a Kirtland Cutter masterpiece, and an exquisite mid-century parking garage — no, really — gets my respect, and those were just three of the stops on a two-day forced march. It’s not perfect (this is the time to mention that I wouldn’t walk in the park after dusk — even during the afternoon there were groups of disaffected youth lounging about near the SkyRide entrance), but what place is? I’ll return happily, and we’ll certainly stay at the Hotel Davenport.