One of the last things I am going to share from my trip out west is a small winery that was not the least bit view challenged.
This will wrap up my trip out west. I know, finally.
What was once a private 70-acre estate named Eagles Nest overlooking the Spokane River back in 1924 is now home to Arbor Crest Winery. I got to see it and it’s fantastic panoramic views one Sunday afternoon when Ron and Myra took me about 40 minutes, maybe less, west from their farm in Post Falls, Idaho.
Here stands a place that will NEVER EVER have it’s view blocked.
I know you should never say never but really, I can say never here. Never. Not ever.
No chance of view blockage.
We went for the concert series the winery puts on every Sunday all summer. Sometimes it’s Big Band, sometimes Country or Blues or Jazz…The evening we were there a local band was playing a mix of different rock music.
The band and dance floor was all under a tent…
and everyone brings picnic baskets or coolers, folding chairs or plastic ones, whatever they’ve got and claims a shady spot.
A group of women, who looked like they were having a bachelorette party, had this spot under the gazebo. Suffice it to say…they were having a blast. Course at this point, when I took the picture, they were ALL out on the dance floor giving it what for. Too fun.
The estate was built with a ‘gate-keepers’ house which you pass thru to get to the house. I understand that they used it as a guest house even from the beginning. No “real” gate-keeper existed but doesn’t it lend the place some serious charm?
And true to what they were probably trying to capture, or convey, once on the other side you feel like you’ve “arrived”. Pictured here is Myra holding my wine glass and marking ‘my spot’ where I could have stood if I’d would’a looked around for someone to take our picture.
There on the chain link fence where Myra is standing is a picture of what the Florentine-style house used to look like…a power strip in one of the main level rooms caused a fire last December 23. They lost a great deal of the house but the owners are in the process of rebuilding to it’s original condition. Wine tastings, parties, etc. will go on again in there in the near future. Probably not “Summer 2010” like it says as this was mid July when we were there.
I understand back in 1924 when a man by the name of Royal Riblet had it built it was the most electrified home in America. I guess Fox Studios even shot a newsreel of it in 1929.
For 30 some years the only convenient access to it was by a tram designed by Riblet’s brother, Byron. He inspired Royal to install a passenger tram from his estate to the river valley 450 feet below. With the help of Royal, Byron later became the biggest chairlift manufacturer in the world. On a funny note: They say that sometimes Royal would stop the tram on the way up and fish the Spokane river from above! How great is that? Catching dinner on your way up to the house? And the next obvious question should be: “Why not?” Oh and Royal himself was quite the inventor too from what I gather…sprinkler systems and mechanical parking garage patents were just a couple of his accomplishments; he had 90 patents in all.
This here is a bridge that goes from the house over to the open-air pagoda. I stood there thinking…that might take a little getting used to.
I decided I would give it a go though if they asked me to live in the house and “just deal with it already!”
Well…if the house was re-done and all that is.
(This is looking south with Interstate 90 down there somewhere for those of you who care – I always like having a directional reference.)
Original sunken rose garden, pagoda beyond. See the bald eagle weather vane? I didn’t notice it at the time…wonder if it’s original?
Also notice the rock light pillar in the foreground…very cool. Alex…??? give you or Eric any ideas?
I read they used to have some cool stuff here on this property like a waterfall, a ski slope, toboggan run, airstrip and bridle paths. What’s still here is the 60,000 gallon rock swimming hole. I say “hole” cause it looks like a hole, not much bigger than a 12×12 box stall, and lined with rock. Not your typical pool. They call it a “Swimming Pool” in the brochure though. I laughed. In a nice way. I wish someone would come build me one just like it!
There’s terraced herb and flower gardens and a 16’ square original checker board game which Riblet fashioned to cover up a massive rock on the grounds….and this pictured above is what they used in winter as an ice rink and in the warmer months a croquet court. Yah, they covered it not by grass but by a layer of sand. Being self proclaimed ice arena makers, I thought Jake and Todd would appreciate this “homemade” ice rink.
Todd said, “You wouldn’t want to get slammed into those ‘boards’ playing hockey”. “Deadly.” Ummmm…No and you wouldn’t want to chase your puck either I suspect.
I bet Ron and Myra were thinking the very same thing.
Simply a world unto itself up there. Just…well, dumpy like the last place I showed you right?
Here are the grape vines the winery planted when Arbor Crest bought it in 1985.
Looking west/south west.
These kids asked me take their picture with their camera…so I did and then when their backs were turned I took one with my camera too. You’ve probably noticed I’m not much of a people kinda picture-taker but here I couldn’t help it, the four of them looked so cute admiring the view.
I wondered what they were talking about. I couldn’t hear them. Maybe in addition to admiring the view they were figuring out which direction they came from or where who’s house was where or maybe like me they were wondering and trying to figure out what it must have looked like way back when. Way back when there was a lot less stuff down in the valley. Sure, it’s a gorgeous view now from this winery on the side of a mountain, but musta been quite the view back in the day!
Yup, a vintage view indeed.