Five Ways to be a Tourist (Again) On the Palouse

I remember when my family first moved to Heidelberg, Germany. We spent weeks doing all the tourist-y stuff: taking the official tour of Heidelberger Schloss (Heidelberg Castle), getting on a boat tour of the Neckar River, and watching a “Burning of the Castle” fireworks show. Once we had lived there awhile, though, those tourist activities stopped being so interesting, and yet now I wish I had done more. If, like me in Germany, you “toured” the Palouse when you first arrived but have forgotten—in your day-to-day routine—about some of the interesting things to do in the area, here’s a list for you.

Visit the town of Palouse, Washington. It may be small. It may be quiet. But it is a great place for a tourist to begin—particularly if said tourist likes to antique or thrift, because Palouse has several antique and thrift stores worth rummaging around in. If you’re interested in journalism, writing, print technology, and history, Palouse also houses a newspaper and printing museum (the Roy M. Chatters). Just make sure to be there on a Saturday afternoon. Otherwise, make an appointment to get the tour.

Like cheese? Ice cream? Washington State University has their very own creamery. It’s called, oddly enough, WSU Creamery, but it also has an attached ice cream shop, Ferdinand’s. While you may know all about their delicious cheeses and ice cream, you may not have known that you can take a self-guided tour of the creamery to see just how the cheese gets made. Have a group? Given enough notice, they will also provide educational field trips. One thing to remember: it is not open on weekends.

Palouse Falls is about a two-hour drive west of Moscow. If you’re looking for a view, this is the place to go. The falls drops a total of about 200 feet and is situated in a deep canyon. Go hiking, camping, and boating at Palouse Falls State Park for a well-rounded adventure.

Looking for a good self-guided tour? McConnell Mansion, built in 1886, is located within walking distance of downtown Moscow. The historic rooms are decorated in different time periods between the 1900s and 1930s, and during nice weather, guests are encouraged to relax in the garden.

’Tis the season for roadtrippin’. The Palouse Scenic Byway is a lengthy 208 miles—and isn’t a circular drive, so there are two or three day trips a driver can take. Make plenty of stops along the way to do the tourist thing justice. For guidance in your journey, visit palousescenicbyway.org.