Take a Walking Tour to Learn About Downtown Boise’s History and Architecture

Walkabout Boise Tour on the streets of downtown.

Walkabout Boise Tour on the streets of downtown.

BOISE, Idaho – Preservation Idaho announces to the public an opportunity to walk through downtown Boise with local experts to learn about downtown’s history and growth since 1863. Every Saturday, April 18 through October 31, 2015 at 11:00 AM. Tickets are $10 (or $8 for members of Preservation Idaho) and will be sold online in advance of each tour at www.preservationidaho.org/walkaboutboise

When: Every Saturday, April 18 through October 31, 2015 at 11:00 AM
Where: Downtown Boise

Boise's First National Bank Building.

Downtown Boise’s First National Bank Building.

Join us for WalkAbout Boise — an approximately 1.5-hour guided walking tour through 150 years of history and architecture. Let us introduce you to the built environment that makes downtown Boise like no other place. This tour is great for visitors and Idaho residents who want to learn more about how Boise’s vibrant downtown developed and the people who made it happen.

Walking Tour highlights include:

  • Downtown’s evolution from gold rush boomtown, through urban renewal decline, and 21st century revitalization.
  • The oldest and newest buildings downtown, spanning 150 years of construction
  • Buildings associated with Boise’s historic Basque, German, Jewish, and Chinese communities
  • The Idaho State Capitol and Boise City Hall
  • Buildings designed by early pioneers and nationally known master architects
  • The Egyptian Theater

No minimum attendance required. Max group size 25, but larger groups can be accommodated with advance notice.

The Idanha Building.

The Idanha Building.

Preservation Idaho is a statewide non-profit that was established in 1972 by Idahoans concerned with the alarming rate at which historic sites and resources were being lost. Today, Preservation Idaho receives the support of hundreds of individuals, corporations and foundations as it continues the mission of its founders by advocating heritage education and preservation throughout the State of Idaho. Our goal as detailed in our mission statement is: “Preserving Idaho’s historic places through collaboration, education, and advocacy.” For more information about our organization, visit www.preservationidaho.org.

Live Web Cam Lets You Watch Nesting Peregrine Falcons in Downtown Boise

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon. Credit Brian Porter

The daily life of a wild peregrine falcon family in downtown Boise is once again on view via a web camera in the nest box.

This is the seventh year the webcam has provided a bird’s eye view of the daily activities of the nest on the 14th floor of One Capital Center, 10th and Main streets in downtown Boise. The webcam is available at: http://peregrinefund.org/webcam-peregrine.

This year, the camera was started on April 6 with four eggs already in the nest. Both parents have been observed incubating and taking care of eggs.

A peregrine incubates eggs in its downtown nesting box.

A peregrine incubates eggs in its downtown nesting box.

Since 2003, breeding peregrine falcons have used the nest on the building that simulates the high, steep cliffs the falcons use in the wild.  When in a dive, peregrine falcons are the fastest members of the animal kingdom, reaching speeds as high as 200 miles per hour. They use that speed to prey on other birds. Downtown Boise provides a plentiful supply of pigeons, mourning doves, starlings and other species.

Once an endangered species, the peregrine falcon was restored through the release of captive-bred young by The Peregrine Fund.  It was removed from the endangered species list in 1999, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and individual states continue to monitor peregrine population numbers.

In 2009, Idaho removed the falcon from its list of state threatened species. Like all birds of prey, the falcons remain protected by state and federal law.

Peregrines were essentially gone from Idaho by 1974.  Starting in 1982, captive-bred falcons were released into the wild in Idaho and nearby states.  In 1985, the raptors were again documented as a breeding species, and releases were discontinued.  Eight falcons were released in downtown Boise in 1988 and 1989.  Today, there are about two dozen breeding pairs scattered around the state.

The web camera is sponsored by The Peregrine Fund, Idaho Fish and Game and Fiberpipe.  The nest can also be viewed on television monitors in the lobby of One Capital Center.

Spring is a Great Time to Visit Craters of the Moon National Monument

Spring wildflowers. Credit NPS

Spring wildflowers. Credit NPS

With sparse crowds, nice temperatures and abundant birds and wildflowers, spring is a great time to visit Craters of the Moon National Monument. The loop road is open early this year and late May through mid-June is the peak of wildflower season. Plan your visit around these special events:

April 18-26 – National Park Week
The nation is buzzing about National Park Week, America’s largest celebration of national heritage, April 18-26. It’s about making great connections, exploring amazing places, discovering open spaces, enjoying affordable vacations and enhancing America’s best idea — the national parks! Free admission to all national parks April 18-19.

April 18 – Nature Journaling Workshop
Learn to create your own illustrated nature journals. Crater’s Artist-in-Residence, Poo Wright-Pulliam, will lead a workshop beginning with a 10 a.m. classroom session (1 hour) and ending with 2 hours of “journaling” in the field. Bring a notepad, color pencils and a lunch. Workshop will conclude at noon.  Meet at the visitor center. Call (208)527-1335 to make a reservation, workshop is limited to 20 people.

The Lava Landscape at Craters of the Moon National Monument. Credit NPS

The Lava Landscape at Craters of the Moon National Monument. Credit NPS

May 9Bird Walk
In celebration of Interna-tional Migratory Bird Day, join avid birder, Poo Wright-Pulliam for a hike to view spring birds. Spring migration will be underway and a variety of our feathered friends should be on display including the beautiful Mountain Bluebird, Idaho’s state bird. Hike participants will meet at the Broken Top Loop Trailhead at 9 a.m. and the hike will be approximately 2 miles in length. The hike will conclude at approximately 11:30 a.m. Call (208)527-1335 to make a reservation, walk is limited to 20 people.

June 6 – Pioneers Bike Tour (5th annual)
Bring a mountain bike and join us for a tour of Goodales Cutoff…where the Pioneer Mountains meet the lava. This 22-mile ride covers relatively flat terrain along the old pioneer trail with part of the loop circling back on the highway. Mountain bikes are recommended due to soft sections of trail. Meet at the Visitor Center at 9 a.m. Ride is co-sponsored by the Pioneers Alliance. Call 208-726-7485 for reservations. Bring water and snacks and join us for lunch in Carey after the ride!

The sun sets on Craters of the Moon. Credit NPS

The sun sets on Craters of the Moon. Credit NPS

Begins June 13 – Ranger guided Walks and Talks
Climb a volcano, explore a lava tube or join us for an evening presentation in the campground. Walks and talks and Junior Ranger activities are offered daily throughout the summer. Look for a detailed schedule at http://www.nps.gov/crmo/planyourvisit/calendar.htm

June 12 & 13 – Star Party
Join experts from the Idaho Falls Astronomical Society and experience the universe under our naturally dark skies. Enjoy a presentation about the night sky and Craters of the Moon’s “unearthly” connections both nights in the campground amphitheater at 9:30 pm. Then head to the Caves Area parking lot for telescope viewing of the skies above. Call 208-527-1335 for more information.

A delicate Cinquefoil wildflower grows on lava. Credit NPS

A delicate Cinquefoil wildflower grows on lava. Credit NPS

June 13– Wildflower Walk
June is the peak of the wildflower season at Craters of the Moon. Join us on this guided 3-mile walk that will cover a variety of habitats and introduce participants to a number of plant species. Pack a lunch to be eaten in the field, wear sturdy shoes, and bring water. Meet at the Tree Molds parking lot at 10 a.m. Call (208)527-1335 to make a reservation. Walk is limited to 20 people.

June 19 & 20 – Nature Photography Workshop
The Craters of the Moon Natural History Association will be offering a photography workshop taught by photographer and retired park ranger, Douglass Owen.  You will learn photographic techniques and naturalist skills that will lead to greater success in nature photography.  Friday evening there will be classroom session from 5  to 8 p.m.  Saturday will be spent in the field shooting pictures.  Lunch will be provided on Saturday. Half of the registration fee ($25) will go to assist schools with travel expenses for field trips. Call 527-1360 to make a reservation, workshop is limited to 15 people.  Meet at the visitor center.

Idaho Mountain Snowpacks Look Favorable for 2015 Whitewater Season

While parts of the American West are suffering from a lack of snow, Idaho mountain snowpack levels are ranging from 80 to 97 percent of normal in Central Idaho, home of the nationally popular Salmon, Lochsa and Payette rivers.

Rafters on the Salmon River.

The snowpack in the Salmon River drainage is 97% of normal. Photo shows the River of No Return section. Photo credit Silver Cloud Expeditions.

“We look to our neighbors, and we look pretty good,” says Ron Abramovich, water supply specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

“It looks to me that we have solid snowpack where it counts,” adds John May, executive director of the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association (IOGA). “We’re already seeing some national media coverage of the drought in California, and we just want folks to know that our world-renowned whitewater rivers are going to have a great season.”

IOGA recently launched the newly branded web site Raft Idaho (raftidaho.org) to make it easier for customers to select river trips and outfitters for a trip-of-a-lifetime rafting experience. Idaho is nationally known for its whitewater, with more than 3,000 miles of white-knuckle rapids, the most in the lower 48 states.

Snowpack levels for the Selway River are 106 percent of normal, the Lochsa 93 percent of normal, the Middle Fork Salmon River 94 percent of normal, the Main Salmon 97 percent of normal, and the upper Snake River 109 percent of normal, according to NRCS snowtel sites.

“The water levels look great like always for the Lochsa and Selway,” Abramovich said. “Kayakers are out there boating right now.”

All of the key reservoirs on the Payette and Snake rivers should fill to 100 percent of capacity, storing water for irrigation and recreation, Abramovich said.

“So far, we’re in really good shape,” says Chris Swersey, owner of Silver Cloud Expeditions, an outfitter in Salmon that runs fishing and rafting trips on the famed Salmon River – River of No Return. “We’re really excited about the summer season. We’re feeling really good about it.”

“I’ve been talking to a lot of people in California who think we’re in the same situation that they are, and I’ve assured we’re looking good,” adds Jerry Hughes, owner of Hughes River Expeditions. “I’m pretty optimistic that we’re going to have a great season.”

Deep snow in the Upper Snake region usually translates to a fun-filled summer in the Middle Snake River region near Twin Falls, says Olin Gardner, owner of Idaho Guide Service. They’ve seen a big increase in Stand-up Paddle Board use on their flatwater trips to the base of Shoshone Falls, and on the Hagerman whitewater section of the Snake River.

“2015 is looking to be an epic season for us,” said Gardner.

48 Hours In McCall, Idaho

McCall's Payette Lake. Credit Austin Rogerson

McCall’s Payette Lake. Credit Austin Rogerson

We still have some snow on the ground here in Idaho, but the blue skies and warmer temperatures have us thinking about what’s to come. McCall is a favorite summer vacation destination, with all recreational activities and attractions open by Memorial Day weekend. Here are some ideas for a quick getaway.

Day 1

Kelly's Whitewater Park

Kelly’s Whitewater Park. Credit Gary Ertter

If you’re visiting southwest Idaho, chances are your trip will begin in the Boise area. Leave Boise after breakfast and you can easily make it to McCall by lunch as

it is only a 2.5 hour drive straight through. Traveling north on Hwy. 55, the Payette River Scenic Byway, you’ll pass through the town of Horseshoe Bend, home to Zip Idaho and the Thunder Mountain Line scenic train. A number of whitewater rafting outfitters operate on the Payette River near Banks, so a morning float is an option. Stop for a bathroom break and stretch your legs at Kelly’s Whitewater Park in Cascade, ID. The welcome center is beautiful (so are the bathrooms!) and features a gallery with changing exhibits – and you can watch kayakers playing in the waves from the park-like grounds or from the 2.5 mile river trail. If you happen to be in the area the third weekend in June, plan to be a part of the Payette River Games. Watch the whitewater competitions or join in the activities ranging from beach volleyball to yoga and river surfing.

Ponderosa State Park. Credit Idaho Parks

Ponderosa State Park. Credit Idaho Parks

Once in McCall, you’ll have plenty of options to fill you day. McCall’s most obvious attribute is Payette Lake. Moms and dads can relax on the beach while kids play in the shallow

waters, or rent a wave runner for a faster-paced fun. Ponderosa State Park also offers lake access for swimming and boating, as well as hiking and biking trails, canoe and kayak rentals, and campsites and cabin rentals. After some time on the lake, plan a visit to the McCall Fish Hatchery to learn about the rearing of Chinook salmon. The hatchery consists of an incubation area and early rearing room containing 14 rearing containers, two large outside raceways, and a collection basin. The hatchery receives rearing water from two sites on Payette Lake. Admission is free and you’ll need about an hour to explore. In the evening, take

The 'Idaho' on Payette Lake.

McCall Lake Cruises offers narrated, sunset and themed cruises.

a scenic sunset cruise aboard the Idaho with McCall Lake Cruises. During their 90-minute narrated tours offered during the day, cruisers will hear about local history and points of interest. And you’ll want to keep an eye out for “Sharlie”, the local lake monster!

Day 2

Burgdorf Hot Springs

Burgdorf Hot Springs

After a tasty breakfast, travel about 45 minutes up Warren Wagon Road to the historic town of Burgdorf and Burgdorf Hot Springs. There are very rustic cabins so you could spend the night if you like, but the main attractions are the hot springs and spectacular surroundings. The large swimming pool maintains around 100 °f year-round and is fed by natural hot spring water at the rate of 150 gallons per minute. There is a shallow pool for the little ones but parent supervision is required. The pool is open from 10:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m; towel and swim suit rentals are available and simple snacks and drinks may be purchased.

Back in town head to Manchester Ice Center for some turns on the ice or take a scenic ski lift ride to the top of

Kids ride the lift to bike down Brundage Mountain.

Kids ride the lift to bike down Brundage Mountain. Credit Brundage Mountain

Brundage Mountain. You can ride the lift or hike down, and if you bring your mountain bike, Brundage has plenty of trails that guarantee an adrenaline rush. The summer lifts usually start turning in late June, so check the website for details.  Jug Mountain Ranch offers access to some of the state’s premier single track winding through the meadows and Ponderosa forest below Jughandle Mountain.  Refuel at the Clubhouse Restaurant and Bar; dust-covered bikers are welcome!

Try to make time to visit the McCall Smokejumper Base.  The smokejumpers lead tours through the base showing guests all aspects of their specialized training, from gear to parachute repair to paracargo.  Aircraft are also stationed at McCall during the summer.  Give the base a call before you go (208-634-0390) — if the jumpers are deployed to fires they may not be available to show you around.

Spending time in the great outdoors and breathing fresh mountain air makes us hungry, so here are a few family faves to try out in McCall.

For snacky eats….
Stacey Cakes, bakery and sweet treats
Ice Cream Alley, handmade ice cream, creative flavors
McCall Candy Company – candy, fudge and more

For coffee/cocoa….
Foglifter Café
Mountain Java

Want to try some local brews?
Salmon River Brewery in McCall’s old train depot
McCall Brewing Company
Local Idaho wines can be found at Bistro 45

Local favorites….
The Pancake House – breakfast, lunch and dinner – and a Christmas shop!
Rupert’s at Hotel McCall – upscale
My Father’s Place – burgers and fries, lunch and dinner

When you head back to Boise, take a different route following Hwy. 95 from New Meadows through an agricultural region and the small towns of Weiser and Payette before intersecting Interstate 84. Weiser has a charming small downtown and some interesting historical and architectural gems including the Galloway House Bed & Breakfast, Pythian Castle, and the Weiser Museum and Snake River Heritage Center, both located in the historic Intermountain Institute. Stop in Weiser Classic Candy’s deli for lunch or delicious shakes, sundaes and candy, then head over to Union Pacific Railroad Train Depot to savor your sweet treats. Weiser is also home to the annual National Old Time Fiddlers Contest and Festival, held the third full week of June. If you enjoy fiddle music, this is the place to be. If you want to take in a few days of the festival, plan very early. There is limited lodging and campsites fill up well in advance.

Arts and Culture Happenings in March

Artistic and cultural events play a unique and valuable role in Idaho’s communities and the state as a whole.  They enhance every aspect of life in Idaho—improving our economy, enriching our lives, promoting tourism and connecting people to Idaho’s creative community.  While many events are happening around the state throughout the month, there are a few standouts to highlight:

Idaho Day LogoIdaho Day March 4, 2015

March 4, 2015 is the great state of Idaho’s territorial anniversary and marks the first official year of celebration in honor of Idaho Day.  Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter will help kick off and commemorate the first Idaho Day Celebration with a program in the Lincoln Auditorium in the Idaho State Capitol building beginning at noon. Celebration activities will include the Governor reading a proclamation and taking part in a group selfie with students, student performances, and arts and cultural presentations.

svff-logo-blue-2015Sun Valley Film Festival March 4-8, 2015

What better landscape to experience the best in indie filmmaking than in the beautiful Sawtooth Mountains. In its fourth year, the Sun Valley Film Festival is setting the bar! This year will have everything, including Clint Eastwood receiving a Lifetime Vision Award, Coffee Talks with Bruce Dern and Bill Paxton, all-night-long parties, concerts, and 60-curated film screenings. Be sure to check the website for passes and schedules.

Ballet Idaho Presents “New Dance… Up Close” March 6-14, 2015

Experience the creativity of the company dancers as they express themselves as choreographers. New choreography challenges dancers to regenerate themselves through new technical and expressive goals. “New Dance” is an experience that puts you so close to the action you can almost touch it. Click here for more info.

Coeur d’Alene Music Walk March 13, 2015

5-8pm every second Friday from January to March, downtown Coeur d’Alene rings with live musical performances from local favorites! Visit supporting restaurants, shops, businesses and galleries with your friends and family. A family-friendly, free event! Click here for more info.

JUNK performers on stage.

Credit Brian Sanders’ JUNK.

Brian Sanders’ JUNK March 17, 2015

The College of Southern Idaho presents JUNK. JUNK is known for its ingenious use of found objects and clever inventions that bridge the gap between dance and physical theater. The company strives to produce work that is both artistic and accessible while maintaining a ceaseless desire to try new things. The troupe’s shows are an exhilarating feast of exciting physicality and creativity, elegantly served up with beauty and wit. Click here for tickets and more information.

Credit Treefort Music Festival.

Credit Treefort Music Festival.

Treefort Music Fest March 25-29, 2015

Treefort Music Fest invades downtown Boise for the fourth year in March 2015. Featuring over 350+ bands, yoga sessions, film screenings, story tellings, performance art happenings, technology hacks, plus a ton of beer and unforgettable moments over five days and across multiple venues. Click here for tickets, full lineups, and more information.

14 Ways to Celebrate Valentines Day in Idaho

If you’re looking for some ideas for Valentine’s Day, Idaho’s got you covered with some traditional, tasty and entertaining suggestions.

Sunset cruise on Lake Coeur d'Alene.

Sunset cruise on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

1)  Sweetheart Sunset Dinner Cruise on Lake Coeur d’Alene
Enjoy a romantic dinner on the lake that includes New York roast, shrimp stuffed lemon chicken, Caesar salad, sugar glazed rainbow carrots, smoked almond green beans, potatoes, fresh fruit, and chocolate raspberry marquis for dessert.  And of course, champagne will be served.  Choose from February 13 or 14; the cruise  departs at 6:30 pm, with boarding at 6:00 pm.  Brunch lovers won’t want to miss Lake Coeur d’Alene Cruises’ Valentine’s Brunch Cruise, sailing at 12:00 noon on February 14.

2)  Seductive Sipping at Idaho Wineries
Idaho wineries are ready for romance with wine tastings and chocolate pairings, Valentine’s Day bazaars, live music and dancing, and delectable wine dinners.  Find a full list of events at the link above.

Romancing the Pen.

Romancing the Pen.

3)  Romancing the Pen
Looking for something other than roses or chocolates this Valentine’s Day? The Old Idaho Penitentiary is offering a unique alternative to this day devoted to love. Stroll through the site and snuggle up with your Valentine or find the true meaning of “ball and chain.” See the special exhibit, “Romancing the Pen: ‘Love’ Stories from the Penitentiary,” about all the wrong things Old Pen inmates did for love, including stories about adultery, theft, and escapes (some stories may not be appropriate for younger children). February 14, 12:00 pm-9:00 pm; two-for-one admission.

4)  Romance Package at Silver Mountain Resort in Kellogg
Enjoy the Morning Star Lodge with your sweetheart. The package includes a luxurious condo, chilled champagne or huckleberry wine, two complimentary wine glasses, bath salts for the tub, a souvenir candle and sweetheart chocolates.

5)  Celebrate with your Valentine in Sun Valley
A sweet deal for the Valentine holiday is all wrapped up in a special package which includes a massage, breakfast for two and delicious handmade chocolates. Enjoy two night’s lodging, one massage, breakfast for two at the Konditorei and sweets for your sweet for only $210 per person, double occupancy. The package is available February 12 through February 16.

Couple enjoys a winter sleigh ride at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch.

Sleigh ride at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch.

6)  Guest Ranch Valentine’s Dinner
Treat your sweetheart to a romantic evening of fabulous food and music at the Western Pleasure Guest Ranch on February 13 from 5:00 pm-10:00 pm. Enjoy a candle-lit five-course dinner in the lodge prepared by chef Shelly, and take a step back in time in a one-horse open sleigh ($75 for a private ride). Extend your special evening and stay for a night in a cozy lodge room or a hand-hewn log cabin.

7)  Valentine’s Day weekend at The Riverside Hotel
Spoil each other this Valentine’s Day with a special night. The Sapphire Room Package is offered Feb. 13 and 14, and includes one night of lodging, a four-course dinner with wine pairings and tastings by Telaya Winery, music by Wayne White (Feb. 13) and Ben Burdick (Feb. 14); a performance of Love Letters by Kevin and Becky Kimsey, and The Riverside’s Grand Breakfast Buffet.

8)  Courtyard Courtship Package at Aura Soma Lava
Enjoy quality couple time with a one night stay in Courtyard Rooms 11 or 12. The package includes a 30 minute couple’s massage, Chocolove Chocolate Bar, a chilled bottle of sparkling cider, a candle, Mountain Body Bath Salts, popcorn and a romantic movie.

9)  Inn-Credible Idaho!
Seeking a bed & breakfast that is intimate, romantic or rustic?  Browse through “Inn-Credible Idaho”  to find the accommodations that are right for you and your valentine!

10)  Valentine’s Day Dinner at the Culinary Stone in Coeur d’Alene, February 13
This gourmet meal offers an impressive menu sure to start your Valentine’s weekend off right. Highlights include oyster fritter on-the-half-shell, sherried Maine lobster stew and roasted local beet and Dungeness crab salad, chocolate-espresso sorbet, pan-seared miniature Filet Mignon with Zinfandel demi, bistro potato cake paired with Alaskan halibut with New Bedford clams, grilled halibut on green and white asparagus and a de-constructed Chambord truffle cake with berry compote completes the meal. Reservations are required.

Sweet Heart Deal at Pomerelle.

Sweet Heart Deal at Pomerelle.

11)  Love is in the air at Pomerelle Ski Resort!
It’s a Sweet Heart Deal! For just $25, you and your special someone can enjoy two night skiing lift passes and hot chocolate and sugar cookies.  Snuggle up on the lift make some turns in the snow, then enjoy a Valentine’s treat as you warm up in the lodge.   Feb. 14, 4:00 pm-9:00 pm.

12)  “The Chocolate Affair” in Downtown Coeur d’Alene
The sweetest ‘Walk’ of the year ~ for the chocoholic.   Join in the tasting,  Friday, February 13 from 5:00 pm  – 8:00 pm.

13)  Valentine’s Dinner at Brundage Mountain
After a day of skiing, what’s more romantic than a delicious meal enjoyed in a cozy, slope-side venue?  Smokey’s Bar and Grill is serving a delicious menu of shrimp and sweetcorn chowder with peppered bacon; arugula with pink grapefruit, avocado, goat cheese and walnut vinaigrette; your choice of pan seared Alaskan halibut with Ricotta gnocchi in a saffron creme sauce with sauteed Swiss chard, tomatoes and crispy leeks OR slow braised brisket, sour cream smashed yucca, grilled asparagus and cilantro chimichurri sauce; and chocolate and pear upside down cake with Amaretto whipped cream for dessert.  Yum!  Choose from three seating times on Saturday, February 14 and reserve your spot for this sweetheart of an evening.

14) Oh Fudge!  Make your Valentine’s Day even sweeter with local Idaho candies.
If chocolate is the way to your sweetie’s heart, Idaho’s local candy makers can help you plot a direct course.  Check out these favorites!

Cowgirl Chocolates, Moscow, ID
Dream Chocolates, Boise, ID
Idaho Candy Company, Boise, ID
The Chocolat Bar, Boise, ID
Lee’s Candies, Boise, ID
Weiser Candy Co., Weiser, ID
Arno Chocolates, Twin Falls, ID
The McCall Candy Company, McCall, ID
Sandpoint Chocolate Bear, Sandpoint, ID
Coeur d’Alene Chocolates, in Coeur d’Alene, ID

February is the Last Month for Idaho Winter Giveaways

Vitamin ID Winter Giveaways graphicIt’s been a delightful winter season in Idaho, and we are keeping the spirit of snow alive in our last month of giveaways! All winter long we, in collaboration with Ski Idaho, have been giving away prize packages as part of the Vitamin ID Winter Sweepstakes to get you off the couch and into the mountains. Prizes include lift tickets to Idaho’s famous mountain resorts, luxurious lodging stays, and much more!

Idaho is a winter wonderland that we want everyone to explore. Be sure to check the website each week for the newest prize and adventures. Visit www.idahowinter.org for your chance to win!

February Prizes and Post-Dates:
1/30/2015: Five lift tickets to Bogus Basin and a two night stay at the Courtyard by Marriot Boise Downtown (Enter through Feb. 5)

2/6/2015: One day of cat skiing for two with Selkirk Powder Company and a two night stay at the LaQuinta Inn Sandpoint

2/13/2015: Four lift tickets to Pomerelle Mountain Resort and two nights at the Best Western Plus Burley Inn & Convention Center

2/20/2015:  Four lift tickets to Tamarack Resort and a night at The Lodge at Osprey Meadows

Thank you for a great winter season, and good luck!

Snowmobiling Idaho Après Ski

Special thanks to Heather Burke, ski guru at Boston.com and photographer Greg Burke of www.luxuryskitrips.com and www.familyskitrips.com for allowing us to post this story.
Snowmobiling in Idaho's northern panhandle.

Snowmobiling in Idaho’s northern panhandle. Photo by Greg Burke

Snowmobiling in Idaho was not on my bucket list, but it should have been.

Being a skier, I know I should have been cross-country skiing peacefully through the glorious pines of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest near Silver Mountain Ski Resort instead. But it was way more fun to be on a Polaris sled screaming along the groomed snow trails covering 40 miles (that would have been a lot of Nordic skiing) with spectacular views of the Coeur d’Alene River, and the Silver Valley.

An afternoon tour with Adventure Sports Rentals made for great afternoon adventure during our Idaho ski trip. First, it’s a great way to explore Idaho’s backcountry, a snow globe of 700 miles of trails – with a guide and well-kept, well-powered snowmobiles. Second, it’s beautiful, jaw dropping scenery around each turn. We saw a moose thrashing around in the trees, cougar tracks, and a bird’s-eye view of Silver Mountain, where we’d skied the day prior. And finally, snowmobiling in Idaho is a rush. On one straightaway we went full throttle, I looked down ever so quickly to see 70mph on my sled’s speedometer.

Riding is technical like skiing (weighting your turns, accelerating, anticipating), while providing a super scenic adventure. I recognize the hypocrisy that a snowmobile brings you to beautiful wilderness settings, but makes a lot of noise and fumes in the process. So it’s a once in a lifetime (ok, maybe twice) indulgence. If you get the chance to snowmobile in northern Idaho, go.

See Idaho's spectacular scenery by snow machine. Photo by Greg Burke

See spectacular scenery by snow machine. Photo by Greg Burke

There are many groomed and ungroomed snowmobile trails throughout Idaho giving the rider access to open powder riding, shadowy mountain trails and scenic vistas.  Explore www.visitidaho.org/snowmobile to learn more about our trails, services and lodging options.  And when you find yourself in a beautiful spot, take a moment to turn off your machine and enjoy the view. 

Take a Break from the Chill with Indoor Exhibits and Activities

Everyone loves the winter in Idaho. Between epic snowboarding at celebrated resorts, champion college football teams competing in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, winter carnivals in cities from McCall to Lava Hot Springs, to a ski-in culinary adventure at Blue Moon Yurt, there’s a little outdoor escapade for everyone available in an Idaho winter. The sites are beautiful, the adventures are thriving, and the temperatures are cold… of course. For some of us, a break from the frigidness can be exactly what the doctor ordered to get us back in the spirit of winter!

Without entering a semi-serious relationship with your Netflix account, we still encourage some extreme indoor activity during Idaho’s winter (and if you must, spend some quality time with Napoleon Dynamite, which is celebrating its 10 year anniversary since being filmed in Idaho). A little R and R never hurt anyone, so check out a few of these delightful Idaho offerings:

Cardinals player charging on the hardwood.

Credit North Idaho College Athletics.

College Basketball
Unlike college football, college basketball is enjoyed in the comfort of a climate-controlled environment. All your favorite teams from across the state, the College of Idaho Yotes, Boise State University Broncos, University of Idaho Vandals, College of Southern Idaho Eagles, North Idaho College Cardinals, Lewis-Clark State College Warriors, Northwest Nazarene University Crusaders, and the Idaho State University Bengals have packed schedules which are bound to be a good time for the whole family! Check out the teams’ websites for updated schedules and information.

The Supreme Price film poster.

The Supreme Price will screen at the Family of Woman Film Festival. Credit FWFF

Family of Woman Film Festival
The Family of Woman Film Festival was founded to bring attention to the issues confronting women and girls around the world through compelling cinematic stories. The 8th annual Family of Woman Film Festival, with the theme, Women and Their Dreams, will present a selection of films about exceptional women and girls who have taken control of their destinies. This beautifully composed event will have screenings in Sun Valley and Boise, February 23 – March 1, 2015.

Recommended eat while in Sun Valley: Enoteca Restaurant and Wine Bar

Crime Scene Insects at the Museum of Idaho.

Crime Scene Insects at the Museum of Idaho.

CSI: Crime Scene Insects
January 23 – April 11, 2015, be sure to make a voyage to the Museum of Idaho in Idaho Falls to discover the fascinating field of forensic entomology and learn the secrets of crime solving bugs in this rotating exhibition. CSI: Crime Scene Insects, inspired by the hit TV show, CSI Miami, offers visitors a rare opportunity to learn more about the mysterious world of crime scene investigation.

Packed with interactive components, visitors can observe real crime scene insects including: carrion beetles, dermestid (flesh-eating) beetles, blowflies and their maggots, and even investigate recreated crime scenes to collect evidence and solve the crimes.

Recommended eat while in Idaho Falls: The Snakebite Restaurant

Idaho Fries, 1963-68, neon, glass, and bronze, Gift of the artist.

Matter of Taste exhibit. IMAGE: Billy Apple, Idaho Fries, 1963-68, neon, glass, and bronze, Gift of the artist.

A Matter of Taste: Food for Thought
Through February 15, 2015, the Boise Art Museum invites visitors into a conversation about taste – what it is and how it is established, in their exhibit A Matter of Taste: Food for Thought. Taste is personal, and food is universal.  Food is an important part of Idaho’s identity, fully engrained in our minds and history. You get to make choices and decide your own preferences in developing a taste for food as well as art.

Recommended eat while in Boise: Saint Lawrence Gridiron

So this winter, take a break from the snow and check out an indoor offering or two. With so much happening in Idaho, it really is the ideal vacation spot any time of year, regardless of the climate!