Hayden Lake

An expert from Sixth Lit Times

Love of Idaho and Vacation Rental Authority are proud to present another story from the 6th grade literature class at Charter Academy.

The Amazing Life in Hayden Lake

By:  Sydney

   Where can you find fresh water fish and aquatic plants?  One place is in the waters of Hayden Lake, Idaho.  Many people find these things daily when they’re out fishing in this lake.

If you want to know what fish you’ll find when you’re out fishing on Hayden Lake, here are a few examples of people’s favorites.  You could catch a rainbow trout, pumpkinseed, cutthroat trout, or a bullhead catfish.  Other favorites that you can find in Hayden Lake include smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, crappie, northern pike, or yellow perch.  As you can see, you’ll most likely catch a fish that you will be proud of and find delicious.

Not only are there fish in this lake, but plants, too!  Some of the most commonly found plants are the Robbins’ pondweed, elodea, large-leaved pondweed, Eurasian water milfoil, and flat-stemmed pondweed.  Other, less commonly known plants include coontail, musk grass, northern water milfoil, slender naiad, nitella, and yellow pond lily.  More aquatic plants that live in Hayden Lake include leafy pondweed, variable leaf  ponweed, floating leaf pondweed, whitestem ponweed, clasped leaf pondweed, white water buttercup, and wild celery.

Next time you go out on Hayden Lake look for these fish and plants.  Though not everyone likes the taste of fish or these water plants we still need to look for the environment and our community.

North Idaho Wildlife

An excerpt from Sixth Lit Times

Love Of Idaho is proud to present a series of stories written by the 6th grade class of Charter Academy. Watch for all our postings from “Sixth Lit Times”

Wildlife of Northern Idaho: The moose and the Grizzly Bear

By: Ben

   There are many are amazing animals that live in Northern Idaho.  Two of the most famous of all them are the noose and the grizzly bear.  These two North Idaho favorites have unique qualities.

The bull-moose has antlers that can grow up the six feet in

family vacation ideasdiameter.  They can live up to fifteen to twenty year old.  Moose are naturally extremely good swimmers.  They can swim continously for several miles.  Moose can hold their breath under water for thirty seconds or more.   A moose can measure roughly six and a half feet tall, measured at the shoulder.   Moose can run at 35 mph, and trot at 20 mph.  Also they can weigh up to 1800 pounds, being the largest wilder herbivore in Idaho.

Grizzly bears are the largest bears in North Idaho, as well as the largest predator.  The easiest and most obvious way to tell grizzly bears from other bears is not their size but the distinct hump on their back.  That hump is made of pure muscle connected to their frontal paws, giving them enormous strength for digging and clawing.  Also, unlike other bears they have long claws, up to four inches long.  A grizzly bear’s color can be blond, black, or brown.  Adults can grow up to three to four feet tall on all fours, but when standing on their back paws they can be six to seven feet tall.  A grizzly bear’s average weight is 300 to 600 pounds and some can weigh as much as 1000 ponds.  Grizzly bears can live up to 30 years.  They are very agile animals. Can climb trees, are good swimmers, and can run at 35 mph.  Originally the grizzlies were hunted to near extinction.  The United States added grizzly bears to the endangered species list, illegalizing hunting the grizzly bears.  But today in the Northwestern United States they are no longer endangered, but in some places, like Idaho, they are still illegal to hunt.

Like most traits, there are advantages and disadvantages.  For example, a moose uses its large antlers in a wide space to rut (fight) with other moose or to fight off predators.  A disadvantage to these antlers would be in confined spaces a moose’s large antlers could get it stuck.  An advantage a grizzle bear has is that it can fun very fast, up to 35 mph, but only for short bursts.  A disadvantage would be, if a grizzly does use that burst of speed for too long than they become extremely tired and fatigued.

Northern Idaho is fortunate to be home to such massive animals.  The moose live in the forests and the wetlands while the grizzlies live in the forest and in mountainous terrain.  And it’s because of Idaho’s low population that the grizzly bears and the moose have such a large habitat.  Both of these animals are amazing, and both of them are native to Northern Idaho.

Sources:  Natgeo.com, Be Bear Aware. Org pamphlet, and Idaho Fish and Game.com

North idaho wildlife photo
Idaho black bear

Looking for a North Idaho Adventure, Visit Vacation Rental Authority to find great FAMILY VACATION IDEAS.

How to Spend a Tasteful Day in Spokane

Admittedly, I’m an Idahoan at heart and am passionate about all Coeur d’Alene has to offer visitors.  Our neighboring city of Spokane, however, has a remarkable allure and worthy attraction all its own.  The afternoon spent there yesterday, on my first “culinary tour,” was definitely worth repeating!

foodie tour of Spokane, near Coeur d'AleneNot knowing what to expect, I figured a culinary tour would entail huge meals, over indulgence and leaving with the regret of an overly full stomach.  This couldn’t have been further from our experience with Savor Spokane, as the food stops were more like fun breaks, well-timed refreshment along our walking tour of the town.

A small group of us were lead on a sight seeing, story telling, history learning, river viewing, culinary tasting, friend making delight of an afternoon. The time passed quickly, as we walked a lovely path along the river, through town and from local restaurant to local restaurant.

Along the way we learned the significance of various art, buildings, people, events and geological structures.  Far from stuffy, it was a light-hearted, friendly environment, purposely crafted and energized at each step, by our knowledgeable guide Lesley.

Personally, I will join this tour many times more in the future, bringing local friends and sharing the experience with guests who visit from across the country.  Is there anything better?  Don’t know, I hear there’s also a wine tour….

Despite Weather CDA Holiday Parade is Packed

Looking out my Post Falls window earlier this afternoon, I was excited to see our first snowfall of the year!

My 12-year old daughter is leading the Coeur d’Alene Holiday Parade tonight, though, along with the rest of the 2013 Figpickels Board of Directors.  I hoped it wouldn’t flop due to the weather.

Luckily, everyone in town turned out.  It was festive, fun, and didn’t even feel cold. We bought hot cocoa and cookies, people watched & just generally enjoyed the holiday kick-off.  It’s Christmas time!Leading the Coeur d'Alene Holiday ParadeCoeur d'Alene Holiday Parade

Ski Resorts

Top 2 Ski Resorts

Do you need more!Image, ski resorts, ski vacations

The top 2 ski resorts in Northern Idaho can be found within a 1 hour drive of Coeur d’Alene. There are more great mountains within that same short drive but how many mountains can you really ski this winter?  If you need more than 2 mountains, visit Vacation Rental Authority and ask about “Get Your Quad On.” You can ski 4 great mountains in just 1 week. They even pay for your lift tickets. That’s right, FREE lift tickets with your vacation rental reservation. Image, ski vacations, ski resorts

Getting back to our top 2 ski resorts near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, let’s introduce Silver Mountain Ski Resort and Schweitzer Ski Resort.  These mountains offer distinctly different skiing options with some great accessibility features that make getting to the slopes very easy. They also offer some great skiing, lifts and onsite amenities that make the day fun for the whole family. Let’s take a look at these ski resorts in a little more detail.

Silver Mountain Ski Resort

This ski resort is accessible by the worlds longest gondola making your trip to the mountain easy. You just take the freeway to Kellogg, grab your gear and relax on the gondola while you are whisked up to the slopes.

There are plenty of lifts to carry skiers to the top so if there are any lines they are short. The terrain is varied and offers challenges for all levels.  The tubing hill is fun for children and food is available at the lodge.

  1. 73 trails
  2. 5 chair lifts / 1 High speed quad
  3. 1600 acres
  4. longest trail 2.5 miles
  5. 2,200 vertical feet
  6. Terrain park, Tubing Hill and magic carpet
  7. On mountain cafeteria style dining
  8. $52 adult lift tickets

Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort

This ski resort offers a huge variety of dining and some shopping at the Alpine Village, enough to keep family and non skiers happy while you get your last run in, again and again.  Find cafeteria style dining or find a table at one of the many restaurants. The Village is entertaining and fun for the whole family even before you get to the actual skiing.

To get to the top of the mountain you can drive up the well maintained winding mountain road to several large parking areas at the top.  Don’t worry if the upper lot is closed, you can ski from the lower lot and ride the lift back to get your lift ticket. At least once. Another great option is to ride the bus up to the ski resort.  Buses run every 30 minutes from the lower lot to the top of the mountain. Cost? it’s only $2.

  1. 94 Trails and incredible open glade skiing
  2. 9 Chair lifts / 6 pack chair / 2 quads
  3. 2900 acres
  4. 92 trails
  5. 2400 vertical feet
  6. Terrain Park
  7. Several on mountain dining choices
  8. $71 adult lift tickets

Vacation Rental Authority offers discount lift ticket packages to 4 great ski resorts in Idaho.  VRA also has resort quality lodging in Coeur d’Alene so you can get to all the great ski locations in Northern Idaho. Ask for your free booking service to get exactly what you want from your winter vacation.

Top 5 Winter Vacation Ideas

Our Best Winter Vacation Ideas

Summer vacations are easy!  Pack a swimsuit and off you go to…well, pretty much anywhere.  It’s always been more challenging to come up with winter vacation ideas, though.

Well, it was challenging until I moved to Coeur d’Alene several years ago. Turns out this is the secret capitol of winter vacation ideas, so I’ve compiled my Top 5.  Hint: They all start here in CDA!

#5. Extreme Snow Vacation

Best for: Adventurers

The Idaho wild is here for you to explore during your winter vacation.  Pick 3 of the following for every 5 days of vacation; then add in some hot cocoa, a little warm fire and some loved-ones for the perfect winter vacation.

  • Snow Shoe (you’ll love this if you’re a hiker!)
  • Cross Country Ski
  • Sledding/Tubing
  • Ice Skating
  • Build a Snowman
  • Snowball Fight
  • Downhill Ski

#4. Eat Your Heart Out – A 2 State Tour

Best for: Girls’ Getaway or Couples 

One of the best winter vacation ideas ever is to secure a great vacation rental in Coeur d’Alene with your girlfriends (or family).  When you book through Vacation Rental Authority, use the concierge service to set up a gourmet cooking class right there in your “home.”  Turn on the fire, pop open some wine, learn to cook a yummy meal and then sit down and devour.

Another evening during your winter vacation, you’ll get picked up and taken on a delicious culinary tour of Spokane.  If you’ve never been on one, this is like a wine tasting tour but with food!  (And you can still have wine J)

Breakfasts can be just as exciting, visiting a local restaurant, or whipping up some customary huckleberry pancakes in your pjs.  Again your concierge at Vacation Rental Authority can supply the fixings on request.  SO good.

#3. Summertime in the Snow

Best for: Families

There’s a little secret I know of, which can turn your winter woes into summertime delight during a winter vacation.  Right nearby Coeur d’Alene is an indoor waterpark!  Bring your swimsuit, bring your trashy beach novel, and enjoy some relaxing time pool side.  Or, wave-pool side I should say.

Back to your vacation rental to enjoy frozen margaritas, summer flicks and a soak in the hot tub.  Aaahhhh.

#2. Get Your Quad On

Best for: Boys Week, or Anyone Up for a Challenge

Now I’ve never conquered this personally, but I’ve heard tale…If you stay in Coeur d’Alene, there are at least 4 ski hills within 90 minutes.  Those up for a real challenge ski a different hill each day, 4 days in a row.  Whoa.  If you think you can do it, I suggest documenting the evidence.  So far, it’s only legend, and you are sure to need proof!

#1. Visit the North Pole

Best for: Families

Okay, this is not really the North Pole, but we will not tell your kids.  Here in Coeur d’Alene, there’s a ferry boat that takes you on a lovely tour of Lake Coeur d’Alene, passing by Santa and the North Pole!  It’s magical, and something kids remember forever.

The Christmas light show, downtown shopping magic, festival of trees, Christmas parade, pageant and much more are going on in our magical town.  I never knew, but it is definitely the best winter vacation idea of them all!

Ho, Ho, Ho!!  If we can help you plan one of these winter vacation ideas, let me know!

winter vacation ideas, family vacation ideas

FREE Vacation Rental Services





Sometimes it’s easy to make the right decision.  In the last post we talked about how a personal shopper can not only save you time and money but make your vacation funner and so much easier. 

Vacation Rentals earn their income when they book your reservation and provide your lodging. If your booking agent is not being helpful enough, you should shop around. Vacation Rental Authority offers free booking, listing and marketing for our vacation rentals and on top of that we offer an abundance of services for guests who are looking for FREE and paid services to make their vacation perfect. 

Don’t hesitate to click the button above. It’s FREE. 

1 Step to an Easy Vacation

Stress Free Vacations

How exciting is it to have a vacation to plan for. Your next adventure is just around the corner and you are thrilled to be planning all your activities, tours and culinary experiences in a new, fun destination. So what can you do to make all the planning just a little easier?  How can you be sure your plans are going to come off just right?  As head of the 1 person planning committee you have a lot of responsibility and several people trusting you to do a good job of planning the itinerary.  Vacations are always to short and you want to make the most of every second.

Your guide to flawless vacation planning.coeur d'alene vacation rentals

STEP #1   Ask for help.

It really is as simple as that. Ask for help, professional help and it does not have to cost you a single penny.  Many local businesses offer FREE services or packages to help guests find their services.  Seek out a helpful vacation rental manager and ask for those services you plan on shopping for yourself.  You will be surprised at the response you will receive from some small business owners.

Top 6 Questions to ask your vacation rental manager

  1. Ask for a “professional quality activity guide”.  Not a note jotted on the back of an envelope or a collection of flyers left over from other travelers.  Ask for a quality activity guide so you can review the latest tours, attractions, restaurants and rental providers. An excellent guide will be recently composed, contain contact information and description of the event, attraction or service. Great images are a must have and it should be easy to use.  Ask your vacation rental agent to email you their activity guide and if they don’t have one then shop around before you find out what else they do not have.
  2. Ask for a vacation package. You are very likely to purchase event tickets, ski passes, rent a boat, and dine out.  Ask your booking agent for a vacation package that includes at least one of these items. Be sure to ask if your agent marks up the price of your requested item, a good booking agent will not mark up these types of services. Vacation Rental Authority offers services like these for the same price you will pay if you purchase directly.  In some cases you will save money and make your vacation easier.boat rental coeur d'alene, coeur d'alene vacations
  3. Ask your booking agent for help finding things to do in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Send a list of things you plan on doing while on vacation and ask your agent for advise on what to do and who offers the best services.  Be sure you booking agent lives locally and then trust their judgement. Who would know better than a professional tourism provider in their own home town?
  4. Ask for dining suggestions and even take out menus.  your LOCAL vacation rental agent will know where to dine and what you can expect. If you want good local food at reasonable prices, your local agent will know.  If you are looking for fine dining with exquisite service with a stunning view, your agent will know.
  5. Ask your booking agent to do your grocery shopping for you.  Yes, your agent should be doing this at a very low cost if not, shop around for a helpful agent.  Arriving at your vacation rental with all the condiments and groceries you will need for a couple meals is a great way to start out your relaxing or adventurous vacation. Have your coffee and bagels ready!  Again trust your local agent, they will know the best places to find quality local baked goods, fresh produce and meat.
  6. Request a gift certificate for yourself or family member that you can use on a return trip.  Returning guests are likely to receive a discount coupon if they are going to be coming back.  Ask before you book and let your agent know you would like a nice certificate to offer friends and family.  Be sure to ask before you book and you may be surprised at the results.

Our 6 ideas for stress free vacations just begins to touch on the options and services you can get for FREE. Lets consider the value to you in the following example

  1. Free Local Attraction Guide to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho           $ 0.00
  2. 5 day boat rental for 10% off                                     $ – 400.00
  3. Grocery shopping and delivery                                         $ 29.00
  4. Free restaurant advice and menus                                     $ 0.00
  5. Itinerary for tours, trips and events                                    $ 0.00
  6. $200 in Gift Certificates for family and friends                $ -200.00

Total Savings for asking for help                                                                            $ 371.00

You just saved $371.00 on your vacation by asking your super helpful booking agent to do exactly what an agent should do.  Your groceries are in the fridge when you arrive, your boat will be delivered at a discount, your family and friends are getting great gift certificates and you have a wonderful amount of insight about the local fun, dining and adventures available during your stay. Not only did you save money but you saved something more valuable, time.

Ask for an activities Guide  from Vacation Rental Authority.



vacation rentals, vacation rental, family vacations

We are going to extend this great offer through December.

We are going to extend this great offer through December.

Get Your Quad On! Ski 4 mountains in 4 days with Vacation Rental Authority.

Click the photo to see details.

Get Your Quad On! Ski Coeur d’Alene

Ski Coeur d’Alene with Vacation Rental Authority

4 Mountains in 4 Days?  Can you rise to the challenge and put all 4 peaks in your trophy case in just 4 days.  Vacation Rental Authority will pay for your lift tickets if you can rise to the challenge.  Read on to find out how to get your free skiing from Vacation Rental Authority and then call Vacation Rental Authority to book your stay and get your tickets. 800-679-3661

idaho ski vacation, idaho ski condo, idaho ski lodge

Vacation Rental Authority has wonderful lodging available for ski trips unlike anything you have seen before. Ski 2,3 or 4 mountains in one long weekend or over the span of a week.   Stay in our luxurious ski lodges with private hot tubs, spas, and fire places and never be more than an hour to the slopes.

Ski Silver Mountain, Schweitzer, Mt Spokane and 49 Degrees North all from your home base in Coeur d’Alene. Each mountain offers excellent skiing and combined you are getting a chance you cannot pass up.  Head to Coeur d’Alene this winter and get your Quad On!

If you are ready to take on a real challenge, then contact Vacation Rental Authority and book your 3 night stay at one of our private lodge homes.  Ski Silver Mountain, Schweitzer, Mt Spokane and 49 Degrees North in just 4 days and VRA will pay for your lift tickets.

Call NOW 800-679-3661

Coeur d’Alene Destination Weddings

Are you planning a wedding in Coeur d’Alene?

Coeur d’Alene has become a destination city.  Our resort town is well known and in high demand for those precious summer days.  What a pleasant thing to note, Coeur d’Alene is your destination wedding opportunity.Image  If you are looking for a location to have an incredible, unforgettable event, Coeur d’Alene is the place for you.

All four seasons offer the unparalleled beauty of stunning outdoor scenery unlike anything you can find elsewhere.  Planning your event in Coeur d’Alene has become easier as local small businesses reach out to brides to be.  Red Letter Event Planning and Vacation Rental Authority offer a combined service that can provide everything brides and yes, grooms need to tie the knot.

Many venues are available throughout the year but proper planning is critical to finding the best location at the best price.  Summer is going to require booking early, a year ahead of time is a good idea.  Fall, Spring and Winter weddings can be stunning and unique for those who want wonderful prices and something fun and different.

coeur d'alene weddings


Vacation Rental Authority offers extraordinary homes for your wedding.  Relax in luxury while your wedding party prepares for the big day.  Enjoy jetted tubs, spas, master suites and fireplaces.  Your caterer can use the gourmet kitchens and formal dining rooms to prepare for the event and rehearsal dinners.  Family and friends can gather for dinner or relax in the theater room to get away from it all.  Sleep in beds with fine quality linens and be rested and ready for your special day.

The outdoor venues are spotless and manicured to provide room for your guests.  A full range of services and rentals are available and managed so you do not have to worry about those details.  Just set your expectations and let VRA and Red Letter Events see that it gets done.

Vacation Rental Authority private rentals are excellent, professionally cleaned and staged.  Every service you may choose is available with worry free management from Robyn at Red Letter Event Planning.  Rest comfortable in luxury in preparation for your wedding with Vacation Rental Authority and Red Letter Event Planning.

The Hayden Lake Estate-6180

The Hayden Lake Estate-6182







Jacklin Arts & Cultural Center

I recently visited the oldest building in Post Falls, a historical landmark beautifully restored.  Previously 2 church buildings, it now houses an active arts and cultural center.

Beautiful historic building in Post Falls, ID

With art shows upstairs, in lovely light, plus performing arts, musicians, cooking classes and much more, this local gem is a “must visit” for everyone in the area.

Keep an eye on our events calendar, and visit their website for upcoming performances.  This Friday is a Jazz Concert…can’t wait!

Jacklin Arts & Cultural Center

Delightful Morning of “Books & Coffee” in Spirit Lake

Bagels, Coffee, Spirit Lake, Books
Largest Bagel in Idaho
These bagels are unbelievable – homemade, chewy & flavorful.
Spirit Lake Coffee & Books Award of Excellence
Award of Excellence
coffee & books in Spirit Lake, ID
Coffee & Books Welcomes You
books & coffee in Spirit Lake
Did we mention books?

Cross Country Skiing at Mt. Spokane

A group of dear friends and I decided to give cross country skiing a try.  About 90 minutes from Coeur d’Alene, Mt. Spokane was an ideal location.  Nordic trails were labelled for every level of difficulty, well-organized with a map and lodge, plus it was not crowded.  Wahoo!

As an alpine skier in years past, I was surprised to find how much different this was.  The skis are narrower, bowed upward, and more difficult to balance on.  On the positive side, the shoes were very comfortable…especially compared to alpine ski boots!

Although we all enjoyed our lesson, and the experience, the consensus was a preference for snow shoeing. We’ll have to try it a couple more times to know for sure.  It’s worth doing, though, there’s no doubt about that!

Stay tuned for pics!!

Liberty Lake Hike







Snow Shoe Adventure Along Pack River








Frozen Lake Pend Oreille






Kids & Pups Play in Sandpoint








Mystical, Magical Morning


Fall leaves are beautiful, sure. But winter trees? Magical!


Today I awoke to shimmery, crystal adorned wonder…


…just had to share.

New Year’s Day in CDA

Polar Bear Swim 2013
Headed toward Lake CDA for the Polar Bear Swim
Eagles in Coeur d'Alene
New Year’s Eagles – They were everywhere! (Lake CDA)
Eagle eating a fish
Breakfast of Fresh Fish
Eagle Pic Overlooking Lake Coeur d'Alene
Enjoying the Lake View
Flying Eagle in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Soaring Eagle

Breathtakingly Crisp

Breathtakingly Crisp

Kelly Smith Photography

Watch Idaho the Movie!

North Idaho Eagle

I’m excited about a new documentary about the wonders of Idaho, by someone who loves Idaho as much as I do! Can’t wait to see the full movie.

A quote I love from the trailer is “If you’re tired of Idaho, you’re tired of life. There’s always something different, something surprising…” SO TRUE! View the Trailer here: http://vimeo.com/44546590


Snow Baby – We Got It!!

Why Travelers Love Vacation Rentals

Why Vacation Rentals Infographic