By Whitney Carter
The best thing about having a perfect day is that the idea of a perfect day is different for everyone. Everyone’s opinion and values are different. Spokane’s South Hill neighborhood offers customizable activities, interests and items. There are plenty of things to do and the neighborhood stays interesting all year round.
I recommend you start this perfect day at The Shop. This South Perry coffee shop is in an old mechanic’s shop. Many of the original fixtures remain. They have those massive garage doors that can roll up and create an open-air building in the heat of the summer.
I am a fan of coffee shops and have talked about one of my hometown favorites in a previous post. The Shop is definitely added to the list of favorites. It is a small shop. There are no more than two dozen spots to sit. The dreary, cloud-filled morning when I chose to explore this neighborhood, there were only two others sitting in The Shop, sipping their coffees and munching on snacks.
I got the chai, like I always do. I checked out there menu and found a variety of sandwiches available. One I did not understand.
“It stands for build your own,” said one of the men behind the counter, sensing my confusion.
The chai was excellent, but similar to what I have had at many Spokane cafes. I sat on an old church pew and observed. There is so much to look at inside. They have a community corner, which is a place where community members can post flyers, business cards or other information about the happenings of this neighborhood.
I talked to one of the workers at a women’s workout clothing store called Title 9, next door about the neighborhood and about The Shop.
“It has a great atmosphere,” said Jacque Alston. Alston has been working in Title 9 since October.
“I think it used to be an old shop,” Alston continued. “It’s the perfect weather for coffee.”
Additionally, The Shop’s menu had many options. They had ice cream, which would be perfect in the warm, sun-drenched summer months in Spokane, but was not perfect for this rain-soaked morning. I mentioned the sandwiches, they had coffee, lemonade, pastries, cupcakes and much more. I could easily have spent hours there. I also learned they often have live music in the evenings.
Next, on this perfect South Hill day, I recommend heading to Manito Park. The park is the most beautiful in the spring and summer, when all of the gardens are in bloom. Manito is a Spokane staple. It was commissioned in 1903 and contains five distinct and well-manicured gardens.
“The 90 acre park includes spacious manicured lawns, playgrounds, walking and biking paths, flowers, topiary shrubs, a greenhouse conservatory and multiple picturesque gardens,” according to the park website.
It was at one time a zoo, before closing because of a lack of funding due to the great depression. Now, what you decide to do at Manito is going to depend on what time of year it is. On this rainy day, I did not much feel like wandering around the grounds because it was raining and most of the flowers and grounds are covered in a melting, drippy snowy mess. I chose the greenhouse.
I was not disappointed. When I entered, I was immediately hit by the contrast. It was warm inside the greenhouse, even the air I breathed was scented with warm life. I was surrounded by green, growing things and bright hues of flowers and plants. Heading one direction, I was immediately surrounded by prickly things of all shapes and sizes. I pointed out one cactus that looked like fingers and pulled the tag to find that I was correct in my assessment and its name was “lady finger.”
I turned another direction and found all manner of tropical plants. Bright fuchsias, lush greens, all kinds of bright colors and warmth transported me to a tropical jungle. This warm adventure is the perfect respite from the cold that lay beyond the greenhouse walls.
However, if you are lucky enough to plan this South Hill Adventure in the spring or summer, possibly the fall if you plan your trip early enough in the season, then you are in for a treat beyond the greenhouse. The rose gardens are magnificent and the pond is beautiful. There are plenty of spots where you just want to pull up at blanket, lay down with a book and enjoy the scenery.
The only way I can think to end this day on the South Hill is pasta night at Huckleberry’s. This is a little-known adventure on the South Hill. Huckleberry’s is a grocery store that has a variety of all natural, organic and locally grown goods. It tends to be more expensive than the average college student can afford, but for two nights every weekend, they have a ridiculously good deal. Fridays and Saturdays starting at a late lunch time of 1:30 to a late dinner of 9:00 they have pasta bar.
Information about this pasta bar is seemingly hidden on their website and I only learned from someone who had gone before. For a mere $10, you can get a humongous serving of the pasta of your choice, a breadstick and a salad with their tangy vinaigrette. They offer a variety of options for sauces and vegetables. It is completely customizable. I like to get creative and mix sauces.
The pasta chef wears a puffy chef hat as he whips together your pasta. You carry it back to your seat in the bistro area. Often they have live music playing; the night I went it was a local folk/rock/country band. Diving into that pasta is the perfect end to the perfect South Hill day, however the best part, as a broke college student, was that I had leftovers and could relive that perfect day a little bit when I dove into that pasta again.