Pullman Page Turners (Book Club): Grown-Up Time

One of my favorite non-kid activities is book club.  I am in the Pullman Page Turners, sponsored by the Neill Public Library.  Once a month we meet at a member’s home to discuss a book, drink wine and socialize.

For information, see the Pullman Page Turners page on the library website:


Neill Public Library also hosts another book club, The Grand Avenue Book Club.  I have not attended that one, but its reading list looks similar to the Pullman Page Turners.  Their meetings are held in the library.

The library website has a GAB page:


and they have their own site/blog:



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Zeppoz (Pullman, Washington)

It is really, really adorable to see kids bowl.  And it is good to have things to do when it is too hot or too cold to be outside.  Enter Zeppoz.  In case you don’t know, Zeppoz is bowling alley, arcade and casino located in Pullman.

Lots of lanes at Zeppoz

Zeppos is very kid friendly.  It has racks for assisting the kids to bowl, and you can put bumpers on the lanes to prevent gutter balls.

Strike! (Assisted)

It also has an arcade, which of course my boys love.  It is a struggle to keep them away from the forbidden games…..

Kids, can we do "Dance Dance Revolution????"

The bowling is fairly inexpensive for kids – we can only do one game max – and there are often specials.  They also take part in kidsbowlfree.com during the summer, which is a very cool program to check out.

The vitals:


Hours of Operation:
Monday-Friday 11:30AM – 2:00AM
Saturday-Sunday 9:30AM – 2:00AM

Happy Hour 4-7 PM Weekdays

Dinner Served 4-10 PM Everyday
780 SE Bishop Blvd. Pullman WA 99163
509.334.7101 main
509.332.3352 fax

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Conservation Park (Pullman, WA)

Path, Conservation park

I love to get the boys outside, especially when it is close and easy.  Today we went to Conservation Park, and it was both.

Conservation Park Entrance

Pullman’s website gives the story of Conservation Park:

“The City’s ‘old nursery’ site having outgrown it’s initial purpose made it’s transformation into the Conservation Park as a result of WSU student Angie Kenney’s Master Thesis; Environmental and Societal Benefits of Conserving Open Space: An in Depth Analysis and formal Park Proposal for Pullman, Washington. The Boy Scouts have improved trails and made the initial improvements to the entrance site at the western terminus of Darrow Street, Park staff added a pergola and volunteers from Windermere Realty installed the landscape. Cub Scouts have added plantings and a bench site overlooking the Palouse River. The future vision includes pedestrian connections to Cooper  Basin, Military Hill and Grand Avenue Greenway.”

A new friend

The park is basically just open space with a rough trail.  The trail is probably about a half mile, winding downhill to the road where the water treatment plant is(!)  It took us about 45 minutes to go all the way down and back – and that included breaks for finding sticks, throwing rocks, and a bit of arguing (naturally).

This was a mini nature experience- not the wilderness by any means, but a good chance to run around and enjoy the sunshine.  In the summer it should be beautiful.

And you get to see the water treatment plant!

The City’s “old nursery” site having outgrown it’s initial purpose made it’s transformation into the Conservation Park as a result of WSU student Angie Kenney’s Master Thesis; Environmental and Societal Benefits of Conserving Open Space: An in Depth Analysis and formal Park Proposal for Pullman, Washington. The Boy Scouts have improved trails and made the initial improvements to the entrance site at the western terminus of Darrow Street, Park staff added a pergola and volunteers from Windermere Realty installed the landscape. Cub Scouts have added plantings and a bench site overlooking the Palouse River. The future vision includes pedestrian connections to Cooper Basin, Military Hill and Grand Avenue Greenway.

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South Fork Public House (Pullman- Restaurant)

Ahhh, beer!

Pullman has a new restaurant and bar:  the South Fork Public House.  I have been here about five times now, and I really recommend it.

It was only empty because it was very early

It is a rare place you can take kids but yet it still feels like a grow-up establishment.  I have gone for happy hour, lunch and dinner – each time the service was excellent and the food was good. I like that you can substitute any meat with falafel or veggie burger, so if you want to go veggie you don’t end up eating just steamed rice and vegetables.

Full bar

The atmosphere is relaxed but contemporary, as is the decor.

The prices are reasonable (around $10 for salads, around $9 for sandwiches, and around $10 – $20 for entrees).  The location is unexpected- between the Ace Hardware and the Dollar Tree – but who cares?  It has tons of parking, and it is especially convenient for Pioneer Hill and Sunnyside Hill people.

Exterior Sign

Address: 1680 S. Grand Ave, Pullman, WA, 99163
Phone: 509-332-3675
Hours:  Monday – Sunday, 11:30 am to close (which I think means late night if there are customers)

Check out the Facebook page and the website!



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Palouse Ice Rink (Moscow, Idaho)

Palouse Ice Rink

I have a theory:  we will look forward to winter if we get into some winter activities.  So, while we have yet to learn to snowshoe or cross-country ski (next year, I swear!), this winter we tried ice skating.

Interior (with an open end) of Palouse Ice Rink

The one ice rink here is Palouse Ice Rink.  It is located in the Rotary Veterans Memorial Pavilion at the Latah County Fairgrounds in Moscow, Idaho.  It is basically across the street from the Eastside Marketplace Shopping Center.

My older son (who is now 4) has been doing skating lessons, which have gone well.  Sign up for lessons through the Pullman or Moscow Parks and Recreation Department.  It is a bit expensive, but skates are included, as is a punch card for 6 open-skate visits.

Skating Lesson

Skating has been a nice cold weather thing to do.  I also like the idea of the boys knowing at least the basics of skating so that someday all four of us can go and all have a good time. (This year my 2 year old was really not quite ready, but I did see other kids that age enjoying skating.)

Skate Rental at Palouse Ice Rink

The Palouse Ice Rink has a lot of open skate times.  Check the schedule on their website:


It also has adult lessons in addition to kid lessons.

Because the rink has an open end, it is not open year round.  The website says ice skating season is typically late October to early April.  In the summer, I believe they do roller skating, including Roller Derby.  I will make sure to do a post on that this summer!


Filed under Moscow Idaho, Things to Do, What to do if it is snowing

The Storm Cellar (Shopping) Moscow, Idaho

the Storm Cellar storefront

There is a new store I am REALLY excited about.  It is called The Storm Cellar.

Storm Cellar: Cheap and Chic

The Storm Cellar bills itself as “Independent Consignment and Local Goods.”  It is basically a very cool second hand store, filled with clothing and household goods that are obviously hand-picked and very well cared for.

Storm Cellar: Window Display

There is also some new merchandise, such as stylish dishes, pillows, cards, and so forth.

I have not had a chance to really shop the clothes (kids with me), but the Storm Cellar has clothes for women and men (not kids), and they look great.  It has a very Anthropologie/city vintage feel.

So, about kids.  I have been to the Storm Cellar twice, and had kids with me both times.  I don’t recommend this.  There is  a lot of stuff to grab and break, and large round clothing racks in which your kid can hide – and if you are like me, after about six minutes of trying to pull said child out, you will consider letting him stay.

The prices are good.  As an example: I saw some (unfortunately for me very impractical but) gorgeous high heel 9 West boots for about $23, I bought a vase for about $8 and a shot glass set (yep, I’m classy) for $11.

the Storm Cellar

212 S Main Street.

Open 10 am – 6 pm Tuesday through Saturday.



Filed under Moscow Idaho, Shopping, Things to do without kids

Swilly’s Restaurant: Lunch Date

Exterior of Swilly's Restaurant

A week or so ago I had a lunch with a girl friend at Swilly’s, one of Pullman’s nicer restaurants.  Swilly’s was actually the only nice restaurant here when I moved here two and a half years ago, and it still holds its own against its newer competitors.

Swilly's Cozy Interior

Swilly’s decor is sunny and warm, with real art and exposed brick.   The front patio is a wonderful place for lunch in the summer.  The bar is small but perfect for a mini-date (that is, a glass of wine squeezed in between the end of work and the close of daycare).  It is not a happy hour type bar, so only go with one or two people.

Swilly's Bar

I have always had excellent food here.  The soups are very good (my favorites are the roasted tomato and the shrimp bisque served only on Fridays), as are the sandwiches (I have had the Black Bean Burger, the Grilled Cheese, and the Roast Turkey), and the desserts (they have a few different huge cookie bar type things that are fantastic).  I have only had dinner here once or twice, and the only thing I recall was the Sage-Chipotle Pork Tenderloin, which was very good.  If you sit at the bar, the bartender will help you make some good wine selections, and will let you taste before you order.

Swilly's Interior

Lunch items are around $10, and dinner items are around $25.  The service is usually quite good, but can be spotty (but not so much so that I don’t keep going back.)

200 NE Kamiaken St ·

Pullman, WA 99163

(509) 334-3395


Swilly's Hours

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Brused Books (Pullman, Washington)

Cavernous Interior of Brused Books

I love used bookstores, and used books.  I like hunting for something great, and coming across good bargains.  I like books that have already been loved (hopefully) or that are just in need of the right reader to appreciate them (me?).  This is why I was happy when I moved to Pullman and discovered it has a used bookstore, Brused Books.

Brused Books has an explosion of books of every type.  The best approach to Brused, like any used bookstore, is to come ready to browse.

Brimming with Books

Brused is also a great place to take your kids because it has a separate area for children’s books.  If your kid likes books, you can unleash him in the kid area and let him choose a few for himself – for about the cost of a sandwich.

Children's Book Room at Brused Books

Brused also has a selection of fair trade gifts (sorry, I did not get a picture because I started feeling sheepish about the photo-taking).

I am sure they also buy books, but I have not sold any there.  Maybe next time I move!

Brused Books

235 E Main St

Pullman, WA 99163

(509) 334-7898

Monday–Friday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sunday: Noon to 5 p.m.


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Indoor Play Places

Pullman McDonald's Play Area

It’s too cold to go outside, and the kids are bored.  More to the point, YOU need to get them out of the house, or you will all go crazy.  Enter the indoor play area.

Longer View, Pullman McDonald's Play Area

The only indoor play area I know of in Pullman itself is McDonald’s.  (If there are others, PLEASE let me know!)  Even if you would never have stepped foot in a McDonald’s before moving to Pullman, you will do it once you live here.  And it is actually quite pleasant- it is clean and bright, and is the nicest of the area McDonald’s and McDonald’s play areas.  Order some coffee if you are anti-McD’s food, and let the kids run wild.

1620 GRAND AVE S – PULLMAN, WA 99163-4905 – (509)332-6725

Pullman McD's

Other McD locations with play areas:

Lewiston McDonald's Play Area

Lewiston:  This is the second best.  It is the largest, and it can help make the drive to Lewiston worth it for kids.  There is a sign that says Mondays are Family Nights, which I think means the whole family can play on it.  Like all these McD play structures, if your kid gets stuck/scared or just refuses to come out, extracting him or her would be basically impossible.

119 THAIN ROAD – LEWISTON, ID 83501 – (208)746-3032

(The McDonald’s website indicates there is also one in Clarkston, WA with a play area, but I have never been there.  Address: 350 BRIDGE ST – CLARKSTON, WA 99403-1929 – (509)758-9603)

Moscow, Idaho McDonald's Play Area

Moscow, Idaho:  This one is my least favorite, as it seems like the least clean of the three (just my take on it from looking!).  But it is still not bad, and you know, it is something to do.

1404 MOSCOW-PULLMAN HIGHWAY – MOSCOW, ID 83843 – (208)882-2900


Eastside Marketplace, Play Area

The Eastside Marketplace in Moscow has a nice indoor play area.  It is in front of the movie theater.  It is clean and free.  You can even have a birthday party there.  I highly recommend this play area.

Eastside Marketplace Rules

The play area is also in front of Wild At Art, the paint-your-own pottery place, which is an excellent thing to do with kids (maybe I’ll do an entry on that too).

Eastside Marketplace

1420 South Blaine Street
Moscow, ID 83843-3973
(208) 882-1533


Eastside Marketplace

And then, there is Bumpers.

Bumpers, Palouse Mall, Moscow, Idaho

Bumpers is in the Palouse Mall in Moscow, Idaho.  It is kind of notorious around here because it truly appears to never have been cleaned.  [Note, I do not mean to libel Bumpers.  This is just my opinion, which I have formed from going there and from hearing stories of other parents who have gone there.]  It is obnoxious and way overpriced, and of course, kids LOVE it.  I walked by many times without relenting.  Finally I had to use it as a bribe to get the kids through a particularly long Bed, Bath and Beyond trip, and I lived to tell about it.  I doubt I will ever again get through a trip to the mall with the boys without going there.

Bumpers, Palouse Mall, Moscow, Idaho

Bumpers has arcade games, air hockey, Foosball, etc. for bigger kids (which the little kids will want to do) and a play area for small kids.  You will not want to let your kids play in the play area because it seems so gross.  But over time, you will probably do it!  (Full disclosure:  I have not let my kids on the play area yet.  I have let them do the arcade games and skeeball.  I am sure this winter we’ll finally go on the play structure!)  There are also bumper cars, but I have not seen anyone on them.

Bottom line is that the kids are really thrilled by this place.  And it is pretty cool to impart so much joy for a hand full of quarters and some Purell.

Bumpers Small Kids Play Area

Right outside Bumpers is the coin centrifuge.  It is cool.  It will make you feel a little better about going to Bumpers.

Palouse Mall

1850 West Pullman Road
Moscow, ID 83843-4014
(208) 882-8893


Palouse Mall Coin Centrifuge

I know Pullman parks and Rec opens the Sunnyside Elementary gym sometimes over winter break, and I have heard there is a Moscow rec center (?) that has something similar.  You may also be able to play at Gladdish Community Center and the Pioneer Center (both in Pullman) but I have not done it.


Filed under Food, Free, Idaho, Moscow Idaho, Pullman Washington, Things to Do, What to do if it is snowing

Black Cypress: Date Night!

Black Cypress is Pullman’s newest restaurant, and it makes a lovely night out without the wee ones.  Get a sitter and have a date!

Black Cypress Interior

I have been here a few times – three times for drinks and once for a full dinner.  I have had a great experience each time.

The Bar at Black Cypress

First the bar:  It seats about eight to ten people and has a very cozy feel.  The bartenders have been perfect – attentive but not overly chatty.  This places gets a tad noisy, so sitting at the bar works best if you either go early or just plan to talk to the person next to you.  I went for drinks and light appetizers with a group of ladies and they let us sit at a table.  The selection of wines was fine, and the prices were generally moderate.  (I think about $7-10 per glass.)  There is a beer selection, too, but I did not pay much attention!

The Decor:  The “theme” of the decor is antique mirrors.  With the candles on the tables reflecting off the mirrors, it creates a very nice atmosphere.  The ceiling is draped with lengths of a rough material (burlap?) which gives it a pretty, tent-like feel. (Note these photos were taken during the day, through the window.  At night is has a more romantic feeling.)

The food:  The menu is small but the food is excellent.  The menu has a Mediterranean influence (as you would expect from the name) but this is by no means a “Mediterranean” restaurant.

The Special Board

Black Cypress seems to really excel at the meat dishes.  I had the lamb chops (so good, and actually cooked the way I ordered, which is a rarity).  My dining companions gave rave reviews to the beef, the pork chops, and the scallops.  I have had the beet salad and the cheese plate, which were both good (though perhaps not the best versions of these dishes I had ever had).  For dessert, the apple spice cake and the smores both got high marks.  In fact, no one had a bad thing to say about the food.

The cost is on the high side for Pullman, but it is not out of line with what you would pay at a similar restaurant in a bigger city.  Dinner for five (three salads, five entrees, two desserts, and two bottles of the cheaper wine) came to around $50 per person.

The service has always been very good, also.  I am not sure who does the hiring, but it seems like the wait staff is made up mostly of very good-looking twenty-something guys, who also happen to be professional and attentive.  This does not hurt the overall experience!

The hours are as shown above.  The address and phone:

215 East Main Street
Pullman, WA 99163-2769
(509) 334-5800

It is located next to Prune Orchard, which is open until 6, giving you one hour of overlap to do a combined shopping and wine drinking excursion!

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Filed under Food, Pullman Washington, Things to Do, Things to do without kids