Originally Posted by newfydog
A bit more on our experience:
Sandpoint seems way bigger than it is. They are getting ready to fill in Sand Creek downtown to make a four lane road. It is in a nice open setting. Schweitzer is a good mountain, and we found a fabulous lake front house, at a good price by Bend standards. We have a good friend there who moved from Bend and McCall, and says she loves the place. In the end it was in the US, and we wanted to work on Canadian citizenship. Nice place though.
The commitment to any sort of long-range planning vision is sketchy at best.
The Sand Creek bypass should alleviate some of the traffic problems, if it ever gets built. The roads were in a state of perma-repair while I lived there. And it helps if you think that life in a small town wouldn't be complete without the sound of trains rumbling through at all hours of the day and night.
I occasionally saw some seriously leathered-up Harley dudes pulling out of long remote driveways on my bike rides north of town, and the first thing that crossed my mind was not "Ghost Riders in the Sky" but rather "White Supremacist meth packers in disguise." But maybe they were just retired accountants who stopped bathing and shaving 6 years ago. I don't know.
On the sense-of-community continuum -- where 10 is a real community and 1 is "don't make eye contact with your next door neighbor; he might be in the witness protection program," Sandpoint is about a 7 or so. It's better than most, not as good as some. One of the first things I asked a realtor who took me on a house-hunting tour was whether she locked her doors at night. To her (and, to some extent, Sandpoint's) credit, she didn't think the question was weird, and she didn't have me arrested as a potential stalker. But her answer was no, she didn't lock her doors. It's a safe place to live.
The city beach is a jewel. The Cabinet Mountains and the Bull River are just a short drive to the east, across the Montana border; and the Canadian Selkirks and Kootenays are just across the border to the north. The Bitteroots and some of the best cutthroat fishing in the world are just down the road a ways towards Missoula. I'm starting to talk myself into going back.. grumble grumble