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Sandpoint after dark…we love this town!

Posted by on August 29, 2014

The Panida theater in Sandpoint opened as a vaudeville and movie house in 1927. After a complete renovation in 1985, it now is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

AUGUST 29, 2014.

SANDPOINT AFTER DARK: While we were walking around the village the other day, we came across the little Panida Theater…steeped in history and the cornerstone of cultural activities for the entire Sandpoint community. Whether hosting a film, local performers, recording stars like Bonnie Raitt or the San Francisco Opera, the theater is treasured by all in the community because it brings quality entertainment to the area. It’s a long drive to Spokane! So, we decided to go to the theater tonight. Good call.


See this film!

THE PANIDA THEATER. We parked on the street about a half block from the theater. Colorful hanging baskets of flowers adorned the sidewalk. We bought our tickets at a ticket booth barely large enough for the one lady working inside, and proceeded into the quaint old lobby. Volunteers at a tiny concession stand sold popcorn, coffee, wine and cookies. A movie ticket: $6.00. Popcorn: $2.00. No waiting in line. Everyone seemed to know one another. Lots of smiles, hugs and conversation.  A very warm, pleasant feeling. We took our seats inside and listened to a guy seated on a stool on stage strumming his guitar and singing soulful old Gene Autry songs. Corny? You bet. Fun? Absolutely. Tapestries drape the walls. Sconces and dim indirect lighting create an artsy ambiance. Soft. Quiet. Before the lights dimmed, the Theater Director took the stage, welcomed us and told us about upcoming events. She was dressed in “Sandpoint Casual.” No theater uniforms here. What a nice change from the “AMC-Fashion-Valley-Mall-18 Screen-Mega-Theater Complex” in the big city.! The film was tasteful…even charming…obviously selected with care. Very nice.


Sandpoint’s Panida Theater. We loved it. People walked, rode their bikes, chatted, laughed…this is one fantastic community. Folks obviously like living here.

“BEGIN AGAIN.” We saw a musical-drama film called “Begin Again.” It’s a soul-stirring comedy about what happens when lost souls meet and make beautiful music together. Gretta and her long-time boyfriend Dave are college sweethearts and songwriting partners who decamp for New York when he lands a deal with a major label. But the trappings of his new-found fame soon tempt Dave to stray, and a reeling, lovelorn Gretta is left on her own. Her world takes a turn for the better when Dan, a disgraced record-label exec, stumbles upon her performing on an East Village stage and is immediately captivated by her raw talent. From this chance encounter emerges an enchanting portrait of a mutually transformative collaboration, set to the soundtrack of a summer in New York City. Funny, heartwarming, uplifting, entertaining…a very good film. Very good musical score, as well.


“THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.” We enjoyed the little Panida Theater so much last week that we went again this evening. This time we say “The Fault in Our Stars,” the story of two intelligent teenagers who fall in love at a time when each is dying. How they spend their time together and the lessons they learn and teach results in a film that has received positive reviews and speculation of Academy Award recognition. Rolling Stone called the film a “fresh, lively love story, brimming with humor and heartbreak.” That it is. Not a dry eye in the house. Thought-provoking and engaging. Worthy of your time and attention. See it if you get a chance. You won’t be disappointed.


“The Fault in Our Stars.” Watch for this one at the Oscars!

SANDPOINT…A PLACE TO LIVE? We really like this town. It’s for sure on our list of places we’ll consider living when our Great American Adventure is done. I hate using cliches, but “the vibe” here is very good. Sandpoint and the surrounding area “looks good,” there are lots of freight trains (I’m serious…I love that!), there is a huge lake for boating, fishing and swimming (I don’t like being too far from the ocean, but…),  it’s close to other beautiful areas and the people are welcoming and friendly. In fact, unusually friendly. About 6,000 folks, altogether. It’s a small enough town that I can imagine getting involved in local politics…maybe even running for a seat on the City Council. Who knows?  We’ll see…something for us to think about as we continue with our Adventure. It’s too soon to start calling me “Mr. Mayor.” But we’re definitely not done with this place!

IT’S FUNNY HOW LIFE UNFOLDS. But for a day trip here on a whim from Spokane a few weeks ago, we’d never have even seen Sandpoint, Idaho. On that day trip we decided to come for a week-long visit. Turns out we’ll be here a full three weeks before we depart. That tells you how special this town has become to us. It is one of our favorite spots so far on our Adventure. It’s nice not having an itinerary…we go where we wish and stay as long as we want. If approaching winter weather wasn’t now starting to dictate our travel plans, we’d probably stay even longer!


One of many tempting restaurants in Sandpoint. This one is called The Hydra…one of the best steaks I’ve had for a very long time.


This is a little boutique shopping area in town. It’s located on a covered bridge, spanning Sand Creek. 

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