March 22, 2015

Idaho: A Hidden Gem with Beth Hanggeli

Idaho. Yes, the Potato State. It’s even on our license plates: Famous Potatoes. Although truth be told, the famous ones are grown nine hours south of where I live in the northern panhandle. In fact, we don’t see Idaho potatoes in our stores; they’re exported so you can enjoy them!

Up here, we relate more to our nickname, the Gem State, because Idaho truly is the jewel of the Northwest. Emerald green mountains, crystal blue lakes, shimmering white snow and black lava combine to form a kaleidoscope of color that fills your senses.

We’re located in the northwest corner of the country, sandwiched between Montana and Washington. (You’d be surprised how many people think we’re in the Midwest: “Aren’t you one of those ‘I’ states?”) We’re the 14th largest state, yet the 7th least densely populated, with 19.2 people per square mile. Most of those folks live in the southern part of the state, though; less than 10% of the population calls my county home. So we have plenty of room to stretch out.

You’ve probably never met anyone from Idaho; we don’t travel very far. There’s too much to do here! Winters are spent snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and cuddling by the fire. Spring and fall, it’s hiking, whitewater rafting, bike riding, or hunting. But summer...ah, summer. With 16 hours of daylight on the longest day, there’s plenty of time to swim, sail, kayak, sunbathe, and camp. The days are warm, the nights cool, there’s no humidity, and very few bugs!


My little town, Coeur d’Alene, is nestled on Lake Coeur d’Alene, considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Whether it’s sipping a latte at a sidewalk cafe, schussing down a run at one of five nearby ski areas, riding your bike on a rails-to-trails bike path, or playing golf at the Coeur d’Alene Resort (home of the world-famous floating green), you’ll find something to love here. In the summer, baskets filled with fragrant petunias grace the downtown light posts; in the winter, fireworks light up the night as Santa parades through town the day after Thanksgiving. In fact, our holiday light display was voted #4 in the country by USA Today!

If you do find yourself in our neck of the woods, be sure to stop at Michael D’s for breakfast. Thirsty? Slate Creek Brewery offers locally made microbrews and free peanuts (just toss the shells on the floor). Don’t miss the huckleberry ice cream at Roger’s, handmade gourmet pizza at Capone’s, or the Bowl of Soul (a Mexican mocha, complete with hand-whipped cream) at Java on Sherman.

As a writer living in Idaho, I’m in grand company: think Papa Hemingway. My first book, Soul Searching, the story of a house that teaches a woman the truth about her past, can be found at and in most eReader formats. My second, Forget Me Not, will be available as soon as I find time to finish editing it.

Stunning natural beauty, gourmet dining, art galleries, shopping, recreational activities, and a host of other amenities make Coeur d’Alene — and North Idaho — the perfect vacation spot. Come visit us!

If you’ll leave a comment, I’ll give away an autographed copy of Soul Searching to one lucky winner (or an e-version, if you prefer, although obviously I can’t autograph it).  Easy contact information please, so I can find you to award your prize!

Beth Hanggeli is a writer and a lyricist. She loves the beach and the mountains, friends and family, tequila and chocolate, although not necessarily in that order. While she has spent most of her life traveling the world, these days she calls North Idaho home. When she’s not working on her next novel, she dreams about sipping a cold drink at a tiki bar and listening to a Trop Rock band. Visit or follow her on Facebook to learn more about Beth and her work. Her lyrics can be heard on Radio Margaritaville and on your local CD player.
To my book on Amazon: (both paperback and Kindle)
(information provided by author)


  1. It was fun reading your comments about Coeur d’Alene. I grew up in Owyhee County--same state, but high mountain desert. Love CDA, though. I spent quite a bit of time there when I was at the UofI. Enjoy! It truly is beautiful country.

  2. Greetings from one of the "I" states! Loved the mental tour, and now I want to come visit. Sounds like a place to snuggle in and explore, even if it is by yourself! <3

  3. Thanks for a nice tour of your place in the sun. Sounds like a nice place to visit--but don't expect me in the winter. Not a fan of temps below 70.

  4. Never been to your areas but you made it sound just lovely!

  5. Quite honestly, What I knew about Idaho could stuff a small baked potato! Beth, I learned a lot from your article! Tnank you.

  6. A multi-talented author living in a place that inspires her. My best high school friend moved to Kuna years ago and never returned. Her family is still there. She used to write and tell me how wonderful it was. Your pictures bring it home again.

  7. My husband has always wanted to visit Coeur d'Alene simply because of the golf, but now I MUST go. The entire area sounds just wonderful!

  8. Idaho is the best kept secret in the USA. My son/grandkids live in Boise and I love Idaho. It's gorgeous and there is so much to enjoy. In the SW, Boise is a lovely city to visit, small but still has a cosmopolitan flair as the capitol and home to BSU. Thanks for sharing the top of the state with us. Good luck with your writing.

  9. I never realized that Idaho was so awesome. I have to add it to my bucket list of states to visit. Thanks for sharing enough to make me want to go see more.


  10. Looks like I have another state to add to my "must camp there someday" list. Thanks for enlightening me about what sounds like a great state to visit.


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