Byway Bites: Foodie Stops Along the Snake River Canyon Scenic Byway

 

Begin your beautiful drive of the Snake River Canyon Scenic Byway with a tummy full and ready for the day! Whether for breakfast or lunch, The Orchard House provides food made from scratch. The chef is “hand cracking” each egg and utilizing as much locally sourced product as possible. In fact being located on the byway they are able to get fresh fruits and vegetables directly from local suppliers. They also have their own garden they tend in the back. The Sunnyslope Scramble is very popular as well as their seasonal offerings such as Peach and Apricot Pancakes. Located right on Sunnyslope Road across from Ste. Chapelle Winery, a day of wine tasting at the 14 wineries along the Byway is a great way to show off the state of Idaho to friends visiting. The Orchard House owners, Kris Thompson and Sherri McCay, along with Head Chef Rubio Izaguirre, Jr. welcome you into this charming historical location with a full outdoor patio with waterfall and creek.

The road leads to wine on the Snake River Canyon Scenic Byway.

The road leads to wine on the Snake River Canyon Scenic Byway. Courtesy ID Wine Commission.

Culinary Specialist, Chef Patrick Rolfe stopped by to visit the Orchard House to find out more…

Q: What is it like to be on the Snake River Canyon Scenic Byway?
A: Being surrounded by all the famous Idaho wineries, there is hardly a day when we don’t have a local wine maker enjoying a meal here. Some of the wineries do not have tasting rooms, so we will set up private tastings upon request. We were highlighted in the Sunset Magazine Fall Travel edition in 2011. Additionally, we are proud to serve only Idaho wines – over 85! We have been voted the “Best wine list in the State of Idaho” by the NW Wine Press for the last two years. For those on a winery loop tour, we offer box lunches to go. One of our signature items is our fresh pear pie, an afternoon treat.

Q: What else can you say about your menu?
A: We have three separate menus: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We keep up on current menu trends; in fact we have recently embraced Gluten Free offerings. People come from all over just to have a bowl of our made from scratch soups. Our sandwiches are made with the highest quality bread which to the Orchard House is the base of a true quality sandwich. Only Rice Bran oil is used in cooking which is lower in cholesterol, but also is so light that less oil is absorbed into the food so the flavor of the food lingers in your mouth (and reduces overall calories). We have many customers who purchase bottles of rice oil to use in their own cooking. Customers know that good scratch food takes a little longer to prepare. Our motto is “Fresh, Local, and Seasonal Cuisine. We think all happiness depends on a leisurely meal!”

Q: What is your biggest success?
A: We’ve been in business now for five years and I think our biggest success is “We’ve survived!” Opening up when the recession was first hitting, and gas prices were soaring was a challenge. Located out this far, we really had to develop ourselves as a destination spot. Now we are packed most weekends. Many people really enjoy the scenic drive to the countryside of Sunnyslope. We host special events like “Meet the Wine Maker”, and “Christmas at Sunnyslope”. Besides the regulars like birthdays and anniversaries, large group reservations include rehearsal dinners (for weddings at nearby wineries), tea parties, bridal showers, and class reunions. The large outdoor patio makes a perfect place for celebrations!

Chef Patrick finishes the Snake River Canyon tour by visiting Brick 29 in Nampa. A perfect location to end your tour with a dinner you will never forget. Executive Chef/Owner Dustan Bristol and his wife Keela welcome their guests with a smile. And why not, according to food lovers in southwest Idaho, the best restaurant in Boise is actually in Nampa! Brick 29 is the culinary love child of the Bristols where Chef Bristol brings a culinary panache to traditional comfort food.

Vineyards are a frequent site along the byway.

Vineyards are a frequent site along the byway. Courtesy ID Wine Commission.

Culinary Specialist, Chef Patrick Rolfe stopped by to visit the Brick 29 to find out more…

Q: Explain your concept of reinventing comfort food.
A: Well here is an example. I like to take something traditional, for example Poutine (a Canadian dish of fries, gravy, and cheese curds) and put my spin on it. So I created an Idaho Poutine from all locally sourced products: Potatoes from Wada Farms, Ballard cheese curds, Beef Cheeks from Homestead Farms, Purple Sage chives, with a glaze sauce made with a local Snake River Appellation Cabernet. I happened to serve my creation to a gentleman from the Idaho Potato Commission who ate three of them and had one packed to go! That was a compliment.

Q: What else on your menu have become your signature dishes?
A: Four entrees have really evolved to my customer’s liking. Bistro Chicken: sautéed chicken breast with mushrooms, shallots, bourbon and cream served with crispy polenta. Angus
Ribeye Steak: dry aged, spice rubbed, fingerling potatoes, blue cheese fondue and crispy onions. Eggplant Napoleon: Parmesan crusted eggplant layered with roasted pepper, mozzarella, and basil, oven roasted and served with polenta, tomato coulis and seasonal vegetable. Lamb Shank: domestic raised lamb, slow braised, smoked mushroom risotto and red wine demi glace. Even though these are my signature dishes per se, I don’t particularly like repetition myself so I’m always coming up with something new. Right now my favorite thing on the menu is our new BLT Pizza (with brown sugar and chili bacon)!

Q: Do you enjoy being on the tail end of the Snake River Canyon Scenic Byway?
A: Yes, we see many people ending their wine loop having dinner here. We offer “Free Corkage” when guests bring a bottle from any local winery. And we have just completed some Brick 29 brochures with two separate wine loops designated with a full map and history of the SW Idaho local wineries to visit. Our wine list consists of 25% local wineries, where most fine dining restaurants carry about 10%. And we only have beer taps from Treasure Valley breweries. I love supporting all Idaho products, mostly to support the local economy as I myself am a local business owner. We also have a Happy Hour from 4-6 if you want some light snacks after your tour, because then we also offer “Grab and Go” dinners.

Q: What is your biggest success?
A: I think it is the evolution of my staff and that we work as a full team. My Sous Chefs really understand my palette and have begun to think like me. They are thinking and creating on their own which is exciting. I also have my wait staff work 6 hours a month in the kitchen and 2 hours at the bar. They understand personally about how everything is prepared and become the spokesperson on the floor for the Chef. I don’t do any suggested wine pairings on my menu as I think everyone enjoys differently. So the time my wait staff works in the bar, they are tasting the wines and become a part of knowing how to recommend.

Q: I know you also have your Food Truck B29 Streatery that’s taken off with the Food Truck craze. What’s next for you?
A: We opened On The Fly Rotisserie Deli in downtown Boise (8th & Main). It serves breakfast and lunch with sandwiches and salads made fresh every morning. A couple soups are available, but just minimal seating so we will are set up for “grab and go” too. Perhaps I’ll add a business delivery service with kids on bikes. But I really want an avenue to explore braising meats and rotisserie. And maybe we will try a Happy Hour from 4-6 before closing for the day. It’s just an exciting project to expand.

For a list of wineries in the Snake River Canyon visit www.idahowines.org.

Travel & Dining – Check out these Byway Bites Blogs.
Sawtooth Scenic Byway Bites
Thousand Springs Byway Bites
Ponderosa Pine Byway Bites
Western Heritage Scenic Byway Bites

Learn more about the Snake River Canyon Scenic Byway and all of Idaho’s scenic byways here.

Idaho Winter Giveaways Are Back! Enter to Win!

Vitamin ID Winter Giveaways graphicIdaho’s snow-capped scenic landscapes and bustling outdoor activity create a winter wonderland. With 18 ski areas offering more than 20,000 skiable acres, and an extraordinary array of Nordic trails and loops, skiers and boarders from around the world travel to Idaho for a winter experience like no other. Crystal clear skies, fresh powder, and short lift lines are just a few things to expect during an Idaho winter getaway.

Idaho Tourism and Ski Idaho want to give everyone a chance to experience the greatness that is winter in Idaho. Beginning October 6 and running through February 2015, snow lovers may visit www.idahowinter.org to enter the Vitamin ID Winter Sweepstakes. Prizes include getaways to some of Idaho’s most popular destination ski areas including Sun Valley, Brundage Mountain, and Schweitzer Mountain, along with lift tickets, cat ski excursions, indoor water park adventures, and more! New offers are posted on Fridays so enter weekly for your chance to win!

Idaho Winter Giveaways and new prize post-dates for October:

10/6/14: A two night stay at the Coeur d’Alene Resort and two tickets to the Holiday Light Show Cruise.

10/10/14: A one night stay at the Wallace Inn and four lift tickets to Lookout Pass.

10/17/14: A two night stay at the Sun Valley Resort and two lift tickets to ski Sun Valley.

10/24/2014: A one night stay at Silver Mountain Resort, four lift tickets to ski Silver Mountain and four 2-day passes to Silver Rapids indoor water park.

10/31/2014: A two night stay at the Shore Lodge, and one day of cat skiing for two at Brundage Mountain Resort.

Favorite Haunted Happenings and Family Fun in October

October in Idaho is the time to relax after a busy summer, acclimate to cooler weather and best of all…Celebrate Fall!  If we had to choose a favorite month, it would be October. From corn mazes and pumpkin patches to football games, changing leaves and caramel apples, Idaho knows how to do fall.

When you see dry corn stalks standing in fields and huge bales of hay and straw strategically placed in open fields, you know it’s time to visit your favorite corn or straw bale maze!  From family-friendly to terrifying, you can find a corn maze, haunted hay field or a delightfully confusing straw bale maze wherever pumpkins grow—which is pretty much anywhere in Idaho!

All aboard the Zombie Slayer Bus at the Incredible Corn Maze.

All aboard the Zombie Slayer Bus at the Incredible Corn Maze.

Corn Cannon at the Incredible Corn Maze.

Corn Cannon at the Incredible Corn Maze.

Start your tour of tricky terror in northern Idaho at the Incredible Corn Maze in Hauser.  It has a corn maze, a corn cannon, helicopter rides, Zombie Slayer Paintball, pumpkins and gourds for sale, and lots of games.  If you’re brave, try out the Field of Screams at night. This separate 3.5 acre maze will scare all who dare to enter.  

If you’re traveling in southwest Idaho between Boise and Meridian on Interstate 84, you won’t want to miss The Farmstead and its many autumn offerings, including Idaho’s original corn maze, u-pick pumpkin patch, hayrides and family-friendly activities. Ride the potato sack slide, and watch the pig races and enjoy live entertainment on Saturdays. The Field of Screams is open Fridays and Saturdays beginning at dark.

Linder Farms in Meridian takes pumpkins seriously. Test your directional skills in a corn maze designed in tribute to the Boise State Broncos. Three paths range from a quarter mile to over three miles. Up for a challenge? Conquer all three for a total of nearly six miles of trails!  Other attractions include hayrides, 20-acre pumpkin patch, pumpkin slingshot, rock climbing wall, zip line, food concessions and more! The nighttime Trail of Terror is open Thursday-Saturday. Or take a one-of-a-kind bus tour through zombie infested terrain with only a paintball gun for protection.

QueysMaze, located near Mountain Home, offers fun for the whole family.  Kids will enjoy climbing on the hay pyramid, playing in the corn box (a sandbox, but with corn), mini mazes, hay rides and a pumpkin patch.  And don’t forget the “Who Knows?” corn maze. See if you can answer the questions to map the maze. Open Fridays and Saturdays.

Creepers await at the Burley Straw Maze.

Creepers await at the Burley Straw Maze.

In south central Idaho, the Burley Straw Maze awaits. Test your skills and try your luck in the straw maze, where over 1,000 straw bales are used to create a maze with 8-foot walls! Enjoy the regular straw maze during the week but bring your courage to the haunted straw maze on weekend nights through October 26.  Spooky!

In eastern Idaho, it’s easy to fill your evening at Wild Adventures Corn Maze in Blackfoot.  Get lost in over three miles of trails and three mazes. On Fridays and Saturdays, Hunt for Hundreds in the ultimate scavenger hunt. Win your share of prizes, coupons and a chance to win the grand prize! Other activities include the Farm Scene Investigation game, corn cannon, Farm Scene Tracks, tube slide, jump houses, barrel train, paintball, concessions and more!

Get lost at The Squealer’s Fun Park Maze in Rigby! They’ve changed it up this year with a Sunflower Maze, rather than corn.  Play #sunflowermazing – search for characters hidden in the maze and post a facebook selfie with them and tag it #sunflowermazing for a chance to win weekly drawings. Open Monday-Saturday.

Maybe the corn mazes and pumpkin patches are a bit too tame….  If being terrified is more your style, check out these frightening options.

It’s been said that the Haunted Mansions of Albion is the nightmare you never wake up from! Are you scared of clowns? Then the “House of Clowns” should get your heart racing. Not scared yet? Maybe the “Zombie Academy” will do the trick. Visit this great attraction to see its new haunts and old favorites!

For the brave at heart, creep on over to The Haunted World in Nampa for a terrifying, 30-acre voyage full of deadly dungeons, vampires, zombies, and monsters. Wind through Gristle’s cornfield then make your way underground and into his 700 ft. dungeon of torture. Those still on their feet must pass through Gristle’s barnyard to visit his ravenous animals and find their way through the tortured halls of Skullvania. Timid guests will enjoy the friendly corn maze, bonfires, and Halloween celebration.

The Northwest’s largest theme park, Silverwood, becomes Scarywood Haunted Nights for the month of October.  With attractions like the Crypts, Clowntown, Zombiewood Express and Total Darkness, this normally happy theme park becomes the nightmare you never imagined! Even the rides are more frightening!

Otus the Discovery Owl on display at Scarecrow Stroll.

Otus the Discovery Owl on display at Scarecrow Stroll.

A more refined adventure awaits you at the Idaho Botanical Garden where scarecrows adorn the Garden during the annual Scarecrow Stroll. Created by local school kids, area businesses and artists, the variety and styles of custom built ‘crows invite giggles and smiles. Garden guests are invited to join the fun by voting for their favorite through October 31.

Let’s not forget football!  Football fans anxiously anticipate October game days. Join communities as they gather for high school Friday night lights. Tailgate with blue and orange scarves and school spirit at Boise State’s Albertson’s Stadium. Catch some Coyote action in the College of Idaho’s first football season in over thirty years. And if you’re up north, wear black and gold with pride at the University of Idaho’s famous Kibbie Dome. Even if you don’t understand the game, it’s easy to be entertained by the marching bands, fight songs, cheer squads, mascots, tailgating, sports pubs, and nightlife that make up Idaho’s football fanfare.

For more Idaho vacation ideas and information visit www.visitidaho.org.

Top Spots to See Fall Colors in Idaho

Colors line the Payette River near the Rainbow Bridge. Credit Idaho Tourism

Colors line the Payette River near the Rainbow Bridge. Credit Idaho Tourism

As September draws to a close, we start receiving calls asking for suggestions for the best places to see fall colors in Idaho. The foliage displays east of the Mississippi are legendary, but Idaho’s trees and native vegetation put on a pretty darned good show with the added bonus of wildlife, flowing rivers, and magnificent mountains as their backdrop. Our evergreen landscapes present a stark contrast to the vibrant golds, oranges and scarlets that dot the hills and countryside.

It is impossible to say exactly when and where the colors will be at their peak, but generally they start popping in early October in northern, central and eastern Idaho, and by mid-October the colors are coming on in the more southern locations.

The US Forest Service also has a hotline and website offering suggested Idaho viewing locations and foliage webcams.

Here are some favorite locations we’ve collected over the years.

Northern Idaho

Two safe bets for fall color in the northern Idaho panhandle are along our Scenic Byways and at ten State Parks. Riparian areas around lakes and rivers are home to species of trees and shrubs sporting splashes of color that contrast the soft muted greens of the pines.

Color along the St. Joe River

Color along the St. Joe River. Credit ID Transportation Dept.

Northern Idaho’s segment of the Selkirk Loop runs from Priest River, through Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry, to the border town of Porthill. A beautiful drive any time of year, it’s especially lovely in the fall. To get an up close view of the fall foliage, spend some time at The Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge.

Traveling the St. Joe River Scenic Byway, the combination of latitude and reflections on the lazy St. Joe River create a kaleidoscope of warm shades all along this 89-mile route.

The University of Idaho campus in Moscow is awash in color in the fall, both from students dressed in Vandal gold, and from the venerable old trees that have witnessed the school’s growth. At the University of Idaho Arboretum you may learn the roles the various trees play in the ecosystem.

Southwest Idaho
Boise, nicknamed the City of Trees, is ground zero for deciduous, non-native trees. Oaks, maples, and ash add brightness to the downtown, area parks and the North End neighborhood. The Boise riverbanks and adjoining parks are resplendent with mature trees adding brilliant oranges and deep reds to the landscape. Cottonwoods and aspens add gold to the palette, with native low-growing plants and shrubs adding shades of red. The Boise Greenbelt – perfect for a walk or bike ride – follows the river, keeping you smack dab in color central.

Southwestern Idaho’s State Parks are ready for fall color seekers. Eagle Island State Park near Boise and Three Island Crossing State Park in Glenns Ferry have plenty of mature trees and native shrubs that beg to have a photo taken.

Traveling north from Boise on Hwy 55, the Payette River Scenic Byway and the Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway to its east promise riverside color including reds, golds, aspen and native shrubs.  Traveling  Hwy. 55 through Cascade, Donnelly and McCall, you’ll see pockets of color in the surrounding mountains with red bursts along the roadside and rivers.  The Rainbow Bridge overlook is a great spot for a photo.

Central Idaho

Gold contrasts with green in the Salmon Valley. Credit Sacajawea Center.

Gold contrasts with green in the Salmon Valley. Credit Sacajawea Center.

The whole of the Salmon River Scenic Byway  will dazzle you, and the closer you get to the Idaho/Montana border, the more amazing the painted landscape will be. With increased elevation, the color increases. It is also likely that you will see wildlife so be aware that you may be unexpectedly sharing the road!

The areas around Stanley and the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway are always beautiful. The Boulder Mountain Range to the east frames the pallet of golds and oranges of the aspen and cottonwoods and their attendant red shrubs. If you’re ready for a hike after your drive, head for Redfish Lake and its surrounding trails. Just sitting by the lake is good too!  The Sun Valley/Ketchum area also has some beautiful views.

Eastern Idaho
Our first suggestion for eastern Idaho is easy: Mesa Falls Scenic Byway. Stop at the Mesa Falls Visitor Center and walk down to the viewing platforms for a spectacular view of the falls. Mother Nature is quite the accomplished artist.

Lower Mesa Falls.

Lower Mesa Falls. Credit Rexburg Chamber.

Continue to the Island Park area and up to Henry’s Lake to extend your trip. Being close to the mountains means plenty of water for a wide variety of plants and trees, and the colors are magnificent. River corridors and mountains promise blazing golds and oranges sprinkled amongst the evergreens and along the riverbanks. There is also a strong likelihood of seeing wildlife when traveling the area’s four scenic byways.

As you can see, Idaho is packed with fall color. As locals, we sometimes feel they are a bit elusive, but we welcome the subtleties of color and vivid contrasts against our majestic backdrop. Fall is a special time in Idaho, but it is a beautiful state year-round. For an Idaho fall preview, visit our Pinterest board.

Steve Stuebner suggests some Idaho City area trails that offer plenty of leaf peeping.  Read his blog here.

Ten Surprising Attractions in Northern Idaho

Sometimes a lesser-known attraction ends up being a diamond in the rough.  We’ve listed some off-the-beaten-path Idaho favorites that deserve a look.  From chapels to memorials, wildlife to railways and hops to history, these special places contribute greatly to the fabric and experiences of northern Idaho.

Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge.

Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge.

Wildlife enthusiasts or bird watchers shouldn’t miss a visit to the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge near Bonners Ferry.  The refuge hosts more than 230 species of birds, 45 species of mammals, 22 species of fish and more scenery than can be absorbed in a day. The refuge lies along the Pacific Flyway, attracting tens of thousands of migrating ducks, geese and swans each fall. With luck, one may spot big game such as elk, deer, bear or moose. The refuge also has a system of foot trails, including Myrtle Falls trail. This well-maintained trail is winding and steep but the view of the falls makes the hike worthwhile. Also in the area, the McArthur Lake and Boundary Creek Wildlife Management Areas offer more wildlife viewing opportunities.

Mission of the Sacred Heart.

Mission of the Sacred Heart.

Coeur d’Alene’s Old Mission State Park in Cataldo is home to the oldest building in Idaho. The Mission of the Sacred Heart, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was constructed between 1850 and 1853 by Catholic missionaries and members of the Coeur d’ Alene Tribe. Guests may also see the restored Parish House and historic cemetery. The world-class Sacred Encounters Exhibit includes artifacts from the Smithsonian and Museum of Natural History and tells the story of how Jesuit missionaries came to the interior Northwest at the invitation of the Coeur d’ Alene and Salish tribes and the profound effects this sacred encounter had on both cultures.

The Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center in Sagle showcases the contributions of aviators and innovators who have helped create modern technology and celebrates those individuals who have forever changed the way we live. The museum was founded by Dr. Forrest Bird, inventor of the medical respirator, and his wife Pam in 2007. Allow plenty of time to see Dr. Bird’s personal collection of aircraft, invention displays and flight exhibits. Be inspired! It only takes one person to change the world.

A train funneled through Sandpoint follows the lakeshore.

A train funneled through Sandpoint follows the lakeshore.

Sandpoint Rail Funnel.  Sandpoint has the great honor to be the site where the east and westbound railways in the northern states converge, better known as a railway funnel. For train-spotters and railfans, Sandpoint is the place to be with more than 50 trains chugging through town daily. Railfans from around the world travel to Sandpoint to watch and photograph the trains, some more than a mile in length, as they traverse the bridge over Lake Pend Oreille and through the forested mountains.

Sunshine Mine Disaster Memorial

Sunshine Mine Disaster Memorial

To learn about northern Idaho’s mining history, head to the towns of Wallace and Kellogg. The Wallace District Mining Museum’s artifacts, models, photographs, paintings and displays of mining activity and techniques take you back in time and deep into the history of one of the most lucrative mining districts in the country.  In Kellogg, the Shoshone County Mining & Smelting Museum or (Staff House Museum)  occupies a two-story American-revival style house constructed in 1906 for a mining company executive. It has 12 rooms of exhibits, a gift shop and outdoor displays including a 73.5 ton Nordberg air compressor. Learn about the human cost of extracting the earth’s riches with a visit the Sunshine Mine Disaster Memorial in Kellogg.

Scenic Hiking Trails.  With the breathtaking scenery around Sandpoint, we are most fortunate to have hiking trails that offer access to some exceptional vistas. Bring a camera when hiking these two trails.

Mineral Point Interpretive Trail contours along Lake Pend Oreille about 14 miles south of Sandpoint near Garfield Bay with magnificent views across the lake to the Green Monarch Mountains. View the map and details at Forest Service Mineral Point Trail No. 82.

Views of the Green Monarch Mountains.

View of the Green Monarch Mountains.

One of the closest and nicest hikes adjacent to Sandpoint, the Mickinnick Trail is a challenging trail that rises more than 2,000 feet in its 3.5-mile length (seven miles round-trip). The workout is worth it, affording splendid views as you climb through big granite features ending at a rocky knob commanding a view of Sandpoint, the Long Bridge, the Cabinet Mountains and Lake Pend Oreille. Click to see the Forest Service map and elevation profile.

Bonner County Historical Museum.

Bonner County Historical Museum.

The Bonner County Historical Museum in Sandpoint has numerous displays including Native American artifacts, an extensive collection of Ross Hall photos, a pioneer kitchen and more. Exhibits tell the story of the longest residents of Bonner County – the Kalispell and Kootenai people – and how early residents interacted with the landscape to make a living at farming, logging and mining.

Elk Mountain Farms north of Bonners Ferry grows hops for parent company Anheuser-Busch. The intricate system of poles and trellises is impressive, as are the vines that grow 20 feet tall. Harvest is in late August to early September. To view the field, drive north on Highway 95 to Highway 1 and turn left on the Copeland Road. Drive to the Westside Road and go south for outstanding views overlooking the fields. The operation can also be seen from Porthill.

The Panida Theater.

The Panida Theater.

Sandpoint’s historic performing arts center, the Spanish Mission style Panida Theater, has a rich winter season filled with concerts, plays, fine art films and events. The Panida opened as a vaudeville and movie house in 1927 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Then, as now, its name reflected its mission: to showcase great performers and performances for audiences of the PANhandle of IDAho.

Discover the fascinating history of the Coeur d’Alene region at the Museum of North Idaho, located at the front of Coeur d’Alene’s City Park. Exhibits explore steamboats, railroads, communities, recreation, the U.S. Forest Service, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, Farragut Naval Training Station and the Ice Age Flood. Guests may also visit the Fort Sherman Chapel. Built in 1880 by the U.S. Army, the chapel is Coeur d’Alene’s oldest church, school, library and meeting hall. Scheduled historic walking tours of Fort Sherman Chapel depart from the Museum.

Fall Fishing on Idaho’s Waterways

Thanks to our guest blogger, Dave Parrish, with  Idaho Fish and Game

Smallmouth Bass are plentiful in Idaho's Reservoirs.

Smallmouth Bass are plentiful in Idaho’s Reservoirs. Photo by IDFG.

Fall is an exciting time in Idaho. Crisp, cool nights and warm, comfortable days lead to some of the best fishing of the year. Autumn vegetation also is vibrant with many hues of reds and orange covering the landscape – which makes the outdoor experience that much more breathtaking.

Lake and reservoir fishing is at its best in the fall. As water temperatures cool, trout patrol the shorelines in search of food. Fishing with bait or using imitation fish/crayfish are delicacies rainbow trout, yellow perch or channel catfish in C.J. Strike Reservoir just can’t pass. The same is true for Cascade, Salmon Falls, and Dworshak reservoirs – but with differences in the types of game fish you will catch. Fish in about 5 – 8 feet of water with bait and you will find large rainbow trout, smallmouth bass or yellow perch actively feeding. Dworshak, Brownlee and Salmon Falls Creek reservoirs are also a fall favorite with smallmouth bass being very active. Use plugs or jigs in 6 – 8’ of water to catch one of the best fighting fish found in Idaho’s “flat-water.” Most of these waters are stocked with fish by Idaho Fish and Game. Check our Fishing Planner at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/fishingPlanner/ for directions and up-to-date information.

Stream fishing on a fall afternoon is an experience like no other. The St. Joe River, Henrys Fork of the Snake River, Wood River and Silver Creek present abundant afternoon insect hatches and vivid fall colors. Rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout are all aggressively feeding in the low, clear water. If you want to learn the secrets of these world-class fisheries, hire a guide for the afternoon.

Bright red kokanee salmon.

Bright red kokanee salmon. Photo by IDFG.

Check the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association (IOGA) webpage for licensed individuals who can teach you the fundamentals of fishing at: http://ioga.org/fishing/rivers-and-streams/. If you would prefer to just look at fish, bright red kokanee salmon can be seen on their spawning migrations in pools along the South Fork of the Boise River, tributaries to Payette Lake, and Deadwood River in southern Idaho from just before Labor Day to the first of October. Kokanee in northern Idaho are a later running variety and can be seen in tributaries to Lake Pend Oreille and Lake Coeur d’Alene in November and December.

If big fish are your quest, the Clearwater, Snake and Salmon rivers are the place to be after Labor Day weekend. Steelhead trout can be found in all three rivers. Back-trolling with “hotshots” and plugs can produce exciting fishing from a drift boat or jet boat. Steelhead can just as easily be taken using a spey rod and fly while fishing eddy or current lines from the edge of the river. You can also throw lures or use side-planers from the bank to catch these 20 – 30” fish. Barbless hooks and a steelhead card are required to fish for steelhead in Idaho. The Lewiston and Riggins areas both have many reputable Outfitters and Guides to assist – if you are unfamiliar with the area or methods for finding steelhead. Check the IOGA website shown above for contact information.

Fall sturgeon fishing on the Snake River is my all-time favorite get-away. These 3 – 8’ fish can weigh upwards of 300 lbs. and can give you the

Sturgeon are found in Idaho's Snake River.

Sturgeon are found in Idaho’s Snake River. Photo by IDFG.

fight of your life. To see one of these monsters come out of the water and stand on its tail is a remarkable sight. It’s not uncommon to need 30 minutes or longer to battle one of these river giants into submission. Sturgeon can be found in the free-flowing Snake River from above Idaho Falls to the Lower Granite Dam pool upriver from Lewiston. You need to fish pools or back-eddy’s that are 20’+ in depth. Cut-bait, pickled herring, or other “smelly” baits work the best on these bottom-feeders. Heavy gear (50 lb. test line) and rods and reels designed for hefty action are mandatory. Again, licensed outfitters and guides are available in all areas to assist in your adventure.

Novice or pro – it doesn’t matter. Get your fishing license and hit the water at the best time of the year to experience what makes Idaho so special. If you have questions send us a note at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov and click on the “Ask” icon.

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If you happen to land a kokanee, here’s a tasty recipe you can try.  Charlie’s Tea Smoked Salmon with Wild Apricot Ginger Glaze.  Yum!!
Charlie Reinhardt's Tea Smoked Salmon

Charlie Reinhardt’s Tea Smoked Salmon with Wild Apricot Ginger Glaze.


The Glaze:

  • ½ gallon wild apricots, washed well to remove road grime, halved and pitted, cut away any brown spots
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger,  peeled and grated
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (more or less depending on the apricots and how sweet you like it)
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Aji-Mirin (optional if you don’t have it, but delicious if you do)

Simmer apricots until very soft, mashing and stirring often. Transfer to blender and puree. Return to pot and add remaining ingredients. Simmer 20 min. Stir often to prevent scorch.

The Fish:

Get your grill (or fire) started. Grill with medium, indirect heat.

Set 3 to 5 green tea bags to soak (about 2 min).

Prepare a whole fish fillet for the grill. Make sure the skin is clean and well descaled. Pat the flesh dry. Salt lightly.

Make a foil bowl for the tea bags. Squeeze the excess water from the tea bags (you can drink the tea), and place them in the foil pouch, but do not close it all the way.

If using a gas grill, turn off one side of the burners. Place the tea bags in their foil over the lit burner. Place the fish, skin down, over the other (turned off) burner. Baste with glaze. Close the lid. Reapply glaze every 1 ½ minutes until fish is done. The total time depends on the size of the fish.

If using charcoal, push the coals to one side and place the tea bags on top of them. Grill the fish on the side without coals.

Chef’s Notes
Charlie Reinhardt concocted this dish after a trip to Hells Canyon. Along the banks of the Snake River down by Oxbow Dam grow a large amount of feral apricots. These work best because of their wild, not quite sweet, tart flavor. In a pinch you can use any fresh Apricots. If you’re really desperate, apricot jam would be ok, I guess. Any Idaho salmon will work well and I especially love this on Kokanee.

Eat Local and Celebrate the Bounty of Idaho!

EventSeptember welcomes a Super Harvest Moon, tomato tailgate parties, Farm to Fork feasts and beverage events around the gem state.

Eat local and celebrate Idaho’s bounty!

 

Here are several food-related events to add to your Fall Harvest calendar.  Eat, drink and be merry!

September 4: Uncorked in the Garden, Idaho Botanical Garden, Boise  

September 5 – 6: Taste of Idaho, Ford Idaho Horse Park, Nampa  

September 6: Harvest Moon Winemakers Dinner, Carmela Vineyards, Glenns Ferry  

September 9: Tomato Tailgate Truck Rally, North End Organic Nursery, Boise

September 12: Farm to Fork on the Creek, Caldwell, 6th Avenue Indian Creek Bridge.  

September 13: Between the Vines, Carmela Vineyards, Glenns Ferry  

September 13: Boise Craft Beer Festival, Memorial Stadium, Garden City  

September 13: Eagle Food and Wine Festival, BanBury Golf Club, Eagle.

September 13: Snake River Valley Harvest Festival, Ste. Chapelle Winery, Caldwell

September 18 – 21: Sun Valley Harvest Festival, Ketchum and Sun Valley  

September 20: Idaho Spud Day, Shelley

September 23: Tomato Tasting and Harvest Festival, Edwards Greenhouse, Boise  

September 26 – 27: Oktoberfest, Coeur d’Alene  

September 27: Oktoberfest, Lava Hot Springs  

September 27: Oktoberfest Street Dance, Pocatello  

September 28: Idaho Wine Run, Caldwell

Food & Scenery Roadtrip Ideas

Sawtooth Scenic Byway Bites
Thousand Springs Byway Bites
Ponderosa Pine Byway Bites
Western Heritage Byway Bites

Eat Local in Idaho
Read more about Idaho’s art, culture and food on the Culture Trip

Live-Eat-Local
Idaho Preferred Cookbook
Enjoy over 100 delicious recipes organized by season, making it easy to learn about and cook with the freshest Idaho-grown products throughout the year.

Cookbook

9.5 miles + 2,600 vertical gain = An Awesome Bike Ride

Written by guest blogger, Steve Stuebner 

 This fall ride tip is about the loop trail around Stack Rock called Freddy’s Stack Rock Trail. Stack Rock is a signature granite pyramid-shaped rock on a timbered ridge to the west of Bogus Basin Mountain Resort located 45 minutes from Boise.

It’s a 9.5-mile hike or bike ride from the trailhead to do the loop around Freddy’s Stack Rock Trail. I would rate the bike ride as advanced to intermediate because of a number of fairly steep continuous climbs along the way, and I’d rate the hike or trail run as moderate to strenuous because of the distance and 2,600-vertical-foot gain/loss.

Just so you know: The trailhead is not marked. It’s a major pullout on the left as you’re heading to Bogus Basin after the road passes the turnoff to a number of cabins on the left. Set your odometer when you leave the stop sign at Curling Drive, and you’ll find it, no problem. Mile 12.

You should allow 2+ hours for the biking loop, and 4-5 hours for hiking the loop. Be careful when you’re climbing around Stack Rock. Going up is the easy part, it’s getting down that’s hard.

Have fun & click on link for Two Rides in the White Clouds http://stuebysoutdoorjournal.blogspot.com   – SS

 

Idaho is Ideal for the Foodie who Seeks an Authentic Culinary Travel Experience with Breathtaking Scenery

Wine SawtoothsHarvest Idaho – One Bite at a Time

We know that people think of potatoes when they think of Idaho and some Idaho farmers do grow the nation’s best potatoes. However, did you know that the state’s fertile soil and moderate climate yield an abundant harvest of fruits, meats, fish, cheeses and libations throughout the year?

Statewide, farms grow fruits and vegetables as diverse as asparagus, cherries, table grapes, lentils and all kinds of beans, onions, tomatoes, squash and zucchini, and eggplant. During the fall harvest months, grocery stores are full of locally-grown, fresh produce and farmer’s markets are plentiful throughout the state.

Make plans to attend these upcoming Harvest Festivals.

September 3 – 7: Taste of Idaho Adventures in Nampa
Includes the Idaho Sanctioned International Chili cook-off and a BBQ Competition for pork, chicken, and beef.

September 18 – 21: Sun Valley Harvest Festival in Sun Valley  Elegant fine dining and edible, rustic simplicity rolled into one. The Sun Valley Harvest Festival, voted one of the top fall festivals in America by Fodor’s, is four days of foodie events and outdoor experiences like no other. It’s a chance to enjoy the fruits of our local and regional “slow foods” brought to you in farm-to-table style by passionate, celebrated chefs who artfully prepare dishes with local ingredients.  (Janice Nieder explores Sun Valley Harvest Festival)

Trailing-Of-The-Sheep-IdahoOctober 9 – 12:  Trailing of the Sheep Festival in Ketchum. Premier cultural event celebrating the arts, history and culture of the west.  The Festival celebrates Idaho’s sheep ranching families highlighting its principal contributors – the Basque, Scottish and Peruvians.  The weekend includes storytelling, ethnic dancing and singing, culinary events, a Folklife Fair, cooking lessons and demonstrations, fiber classes, children’s activities, entertainment, sheepdog trials and the Big Sheep Parade with 2,000 sheep stepping lively down Main Street in Ketchum.  (Experience Trailing of the Sheep with born wanderers- Jürgen and Mike, from Germany and the USA)

For more culinary events click here.

Food & Scenery Roadtrip Ideas

Sawtooth Scenic Byway Bites
Thousand Springs Byway Bites
Ponderosa Pine Byway Bites
Western Heritage Byway Bites

Let’s go hiking! Five of my favorite kid-friendly hikes in Stanley and McCall

Reposted with permission from Steve Stuebner, Stueby’s Outdoor Journal

The summer is fast slipping away! There’s only a couple of weeks left before school starts, so time is running short to get the kids and family out of town for some mountain adventure in our state’s top scenic locations in SW Idaho — Stanley and McCall.

For my outdoor tip this week, I’m recommending five kid-friendly hikes in these cool, high-elevation areas:

4th of July Lake

4th of July Lake (courtesy panoramio.com)

1. Short hike to 4th of July Lake and Washington Lake, Stanley area – This one is ideally suited for young kids because it’s not a very long hike. It’s about 1.7 miles to 4th of July Lake, and 2.8 miles to Washington Lake. Very easy hiking in a beautiful mountain setting in the White Clouds! Access the trailhead by driving south of Stanley to Iron Creek Road on the left side of Idaho 75. Take the road about 10 miles to the trailhead. Bring your flower book.

Alpine Lake

Alpine Lake has some nice camping spots.

2. Iron Creek Trail to Alpine Lake or Sawtooth Lake, Stanley area – The Iron Creek Trailhead is located a few miles west of Stanley. Follow the Iron Creek Road to the trailhead and park. It’s 8 miles out and back to Alpine Lake and 10 miles out and back to Sawtooth Lake. Alpine Lake lies in a shady forested setting. Sawtooth Lake is much higher with open views of the Sawtooth Mountains. It’s a hefty hike to either location on a steep mountain trail, but your kids will do great. I also see a lot of young kids backpacking to Alpine Lake on this hike.

Marsh Creek

Marsh Creek

3. Marsh Creek fishing special, Stanley area - Fish for native westslope cutthroat trout on the Marsh Creek trail (single-barbless hooks only; catch-and-release) in this key tributary of the famed Middle Fork of the Salmon River. It’s a 5-mile hike one-way from the trailhead to a glory hole at the junction with Bear Valley Creek. It’s worth the walk if you’re a diehard. Access the trailhead by taking Idaho 21 to the Lolo Campground and Bradley Boy Scout turnoff in the Cape Horn area. Turn left and proceed to the Lolo Campground. The trailhead is just past the campground.

Snowside Lake Trail

Snowside Lake Trail

4. Snowslide Lake, McCall - It’s a steep two-mile hike on a rocky trail to Snowslide Lake, but it’s a lovely forested lake with a bunch of small brook trout available for kid fishing. My son, Drew, and I hiked up there with Wendy and Huck last weekend. Had a great time! Took us about an hour to get to the lake at a swift pace.

Huckleberry Trail in Ponderosa State Park.

Huckleberry Trail in Ponderosa State Park.

5.Huckleberry Trail, McCall - Ponderosa State Park built an addition to the Huckleberry Trail late last fall, and hikers and mountain bikers are really enjoying it — for good reason. The trail runs alongside the east side of the peninsula, providing great views of this quiet side of Payette Lake. The trail starts off of the Fox Run Trail, best accessed from Pilgrim Cove Road. Follow the Huckleberry Trail along the lake for 2-3 miles until you join the main Huckleberry Trail. Continue on if you wish and enjoy a more deep forest setting to the top of Osprey Point.

There you have it!
Have fun!