Sometimes you stumble upon places that are hidden gems. To the outsider, they may be anomalies or unexpected treasures or both! And the best part is that they are in plain sight of people in these places every day. I recently experienced these in Arlee, MT and Moses Lake, WA.
The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas – Arlee, MT
I would never have found this site unless my good friend Therese had sent me the link to Atlas Obscura which shows sites all over the world that are obscure. The Garden of 1000 Buddhas is just that. It sits on land within a Native American Indian reservation which I believe is part of the Salish tribe. Arlee is the name of a Salish Chief. The Garden was created by a Tibetan Buddhist monk as a place to create peace for the world – placing 1000 buddha statues there to radiate the message. The statues are arranged in the 8 spokes of a dharma wheel with the mother of buddhism at its center. The wheel frame is composed of additional statuary with buddhas located inside. There are gardens around the wheel and it is an extraordinary peaceful place. Arlee, MT is situated between Glacier National Park and Missoula. This was an incredibly meaningful location for me because I had just completed reading Deepak Chopra’s – Buddha which if found to be a very enjoyable novelization of the life of the man who became enlightened and known to us as Buddha.
Moses Lake, WA
I go through a lot of small towns, some with lakes, some not. Most are run of the mill. Not so with Moses Lake. Google it for some great shots of the lake itself and it has several fingers and offshoots. It’s nice. I found some other unique attributes to this place. First stop is Mom and Pop’s Diner. The main part of the diner sits in a converted railroad dining car from the late 1800s. It was part of a rail line that ran between Seattle and Everette. I don’t know how it got to be a diner in Moses Lake, but the preservation is really nice. Scroll over pics for captions.
Second gem in Moses Lake is the Japanese Peace Garden. Tucked away, it is a tranquil park dedicated to the Moses Lake sister city in Japan. It has a red gate, zen garden, waterfall, koi pond, and benches everywhere to sit and view the manicured gardens. The sounds of the city and highway disappear in this enchanted spot. I especially liked the Blue Koi who was extremely friendly and reminded me of one of my favorite restaurants – Blue Koi, in Kansas City, MO!
While not unique, I did enjoy getting fresh berries, organic produce, and locally grown lavender at the Farmer’s Market! Bonus score!
Watch the blog for more hidden gems as I find them. I think there is great joy in being mindful of what I see. Though it is new to me, these places are seen every day by the people in these places. As Thornton Wilder expressed in his play, Our Town, appreciation of the here and now can bring joy. Be joyful!
So glad to see that you’re enjoying Atlas Obscura! I thought it would be perfect for your adventure in spontaneity.