Palouse is a perfect little road-trip town to visit
I don’t often come across the perfect, middle-of-nowhere town. One that’s charming, historic and revitalized, with fabulous scenery and one main drag.
Too often, such places go in one of two directions: straight downhill—because there’s nothing left to sustain them—or overrun and loved to death. Hitting the sweet spot of overlooked yet vibrant is the rarest of feats.
I might have found the holy grail in Palouse, Washington, a “city” of 1,000 and a stone’s throw from the Idaho border. Perhaps its greatest attribute is the location, along the eastern edge of the other-worldly Palouse Hills and their rich farming soils.
The fabulous Palouse Hills, just north of Pullman, Washington
Anyone who’s used those AAA state maps is familiar with their dotted lines, indicating a scenic highway. I follow those highlighted routes whenever I can, because they’re a pretty reliable indicator of a fabulous drive, often on a winding, uncrowded secondary highway. But occasionally, I’m left scratching my head.
For instance, I was recently driving north of Moscow, Idaho on Highway 95. Pretty enough, I guess, but hardly worthy of its exalted dotted status.
But just to the west, across the Washington border, are the Palouse Hills, crisscrossed by a network of secondary and smaller highways. Nary a one of them has earned the precious dots. Now, this is a crime. Continue reading →