Summer Ideas

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Wine Country

Anytime is a great time to experience a glass of classic Idaho wine. Travel itineraries should include a stop off at one of the many wineries in the Snake River Valley, Idaho's newest AVA (American Viticultural Area) located in the Southwest corner of the state near the Snake River where a majority of Idaho's vineyards are located. A combination of long summer days, moderate climate, and unique soil makes the Snake River region of Idaho an ideal area for growing wine grapes.

Farmers Markets

Idaho has a rich history as an agriculturally-based state. But Idaho owes its reputation to more than just famous potatoes. From sought-after Kobe beef to seasonally fresh fruits and vegetables to award-winning wines, Idaho has made a name for itself as a producer of high-quality, home-grown products.

Farmers' markets are a great way to experience Idaho's bountiful offerings. They're also celebrated for being "green" events. Since locally-grown produce does not travel as far to get to your table, the difference in mileage saves fossil fuels. Whether you're a visitor or a local, if you want to experience local Idaho fare in one location, a farmers' market is the ideal setting.

In downtown Boise, the Capital City Public Market takes place on 8th Street between Bannock and the Grove every Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m April through October. Vendors include artists, bakeries, dairies, florists, wineries and organic vegetable and chicken farms, to name a few. The market also features live music.

The Wood River Valley has two lively farmers' markets in Ketchum and Hailey on Tuesdays from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursdays from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Hailey's market also features an artist's market where local artists and craftspeople can share their work. Vendors at the Wood River farmers' markets must live within 100 miles of each city, ensuring the locality and freshness of the products.

In North Idaho, the Moscow Farmers' Market has been occurring since 1977. Located in Friendship Square next to the historic Hotel Moscow, the market takes place every Saturday from May through late October from 8 a.m. until noon. Like others, the Moscow Farmers' Market allows citizens and visitors to interact with local producers. Live music is featured - check out the schedule here.

Other Idaho farmers' markets include Mountain Home, Hollister, Soda Springs, Riggins, Pocatello, St. Maries, Twin Falls, Caldwell, Nampa, Eagle, Grangeville, Idaho Falls, Kuna, Meridian, Middleton, Sandpoint and others. Click here for a listing of all farmers markets across the state.

Culture and Cuisine Combined in Boise

Where else would you want to be on a midsummer night's eve than basking in the rosy glow of a western sunset with the immortal words of William Shakespeare? The Idaho Shakespeare Festival's season runs June - September and has featured performances of such favorites as "Love's Labor's Lost," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "Romeo and Juliet," "The Merry Wives of Windsor," and "As You Like It." So pack up the picnic basket and spend a delightful evening of fun, merriment or drama with the Bard and the Idaho Shakespeare Company. Enjoy a glass of wine or a picnic dinner under the stars. Web:

To continue your cultural experience, visit the Boise Art Museum. This 75-year-old museum shines as the only accredited art museum in the state of Idaho and includes a growing permanent collection focusing on regional and national artwork, nationally acclaimed exhibitions and several education programs including an interactive children's gallery. Recent exhibitions include Georgia O'Keeffe's "Visions of the Sublime," Edgar Degas' "Degas in Bronze: The Complete Sculptures" and "Beauty in All Things: Imperial and Folk Art of China and Japan." Upcoming exhibits include "Frank Lloyd Wright and the House Beautiful" along with many others. Web:

Finally, the right cuisine to round out your trip is imperative. Boise's downtown community is a thriving metropolis with endless options for dining. For the contemporary, several wine bars are located within walking distance of each other including Grape Escape, and 8th Street Wine Company. Asian cuisine can be found at Mai Thai, Shige and Zen Bento, while specialty markets including Le Poulet Rouge offer unique options. And there are of course casual, fine dining, French, Italian and Mexican options for those looking for a specific flavor. Whatever you're in the mood for, downtown Boise can deliver. Web:

Outstanding Golfing in Idaho

Although scattered throughout the state, nine of Idaho's finest courses have joined together to comprise the Idaho Golf Trail. Each course offers a great golfing experience on the challenging courses and luxurious resort accommodations. Enjoy the scenic beauty on the courses and on the journey between each course as your route travels past picturesque lakes, incredible mountains and impressive vistas. A description of each can be found in the "Summer Activities" section of this CD. Web:

Idaho Whitewater Trail

With over 3,000 miles of whitewater, Idaho offers adventure opportunities for everyone. Whether your taste runs from a white-knuckled roller coaster trip or a mellow scenic float, a river awaits you in the Gem State. All levels, abilities and time on the water can be accommodated. Choose anything from a half-day float on the Main Payette River to a multi-day trip on one of the top 10 whitewater rivers in the world, the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Don't you owe it to yourself to try something incredible and take advantage of the most plentiful whitewater in the United States? Web:

Idaho Train Trips

Enjoy a leisurely trip back through time as you travel the winding canyon of the North Fork of the Payette River on the historic Thunder Mountain Line. Choose from many different routes, each with its own unique flare. Special events throughout the year include Dinner Train, Wild West Train Robbery, Wine Tasting Train, Pumpkin Liner Train, Easter Egg Hunt and the North Pole Express. Web

Idaho's Scenic Crossroads

Enjoy the beauty of northern Idaho on one of many scenic drives through this picturesque part of the state.

Begin your adventure through Idaho, Washington and British Columbia on this breathtaking drive which was named "The West's Best Scenic Drive" by Sunset Magazine. The International Selkirk Loop encircles the Selkirk Mountains and encompasses all aspects of natural beauty; from breathtaking forested mountain peaks to soft, lazy streams and majestic waterfalls. There are even several small towns along the way to enjoy. This 280-mile round-trip route meanders by rivers and streams nearly the entire way. Experience the entire loop, or hop on at any of the several towns along the way and choose your path. Activities range from hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, fly fishing, boating, water skiing, windsurfing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, diving and rafting during the summer to skiing and snowmobile touring in the winter. Web:

Another route is the Lake Coeur d'Alene Scenic Byway which begins at the junction of Interstate 90 and Idaho Highway 97. Follow Idaho Highway 97 south and east along Lake Coeur d'Alene to Idaho 3. The total length is 35.8 miles and features tremendous scenic beauty including the lake, dense mountain forests and gentle hills. Wildlife along the way includes elk, moose, deer, bear and several bird species including bald eagles and the largest population of nesting osprey in the Western states. Web: www.coeurd' or

Finally, check out the sights on the Gold Rush Historic Byway. Beginning at the junction of U.S. Highway 12 and Idaho Highway 11 on the Clearwater River at Greer, this 42.5 mile trip takes travelers by Lewis and Clark historical sites, Idaho's first county courthouse, Pierce City Library, Bald Mountain Ski Area and through the Clearwater National Forest. Rolling fields of grains lead to an easy climb up the Greer Grade which provides a breathtaking view of the Clearwater Valley below. Enjoy wildlife along the way including eagles, elk and deer. Web:

Mountain Biking - One of Idaho's Best-Kept Secrets

If mountain biking on picturesque pathways, high-mountain tresses and along alpine lakes is your idea of a great family vacation, it's here waiting in Idaho. This family adventure follows the Route of the Hiawatha. Once a railroad passage called Milwaukee Road, this span was noted as one of the most scenic stretches of railroad in the country. With the rails removed and construction complete, the now wilderness biking and hiking trail path winds through 10 tunnels and across seven high trestles on a 15-mile route that crosses the Bitterroot Mountain Range. It's best known for the long, cavernous St. Paul Pass or "Taft" Tunnel which descends into darkness for 1.66 miles underneath the Idaho/Montana state line. This relatively easy trail is great for riders of all ages and abilities from beginner to novices and certainly features something for every member of the family. Web:

The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes is a spectacular scenic trail with 73 miles of paved asphalt running through Idaho's Panhandle and is perfect for mountain biking, hiking, inline skating and much more. This trail, created through a partnership between the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, Union Pacific Railroad, the U.S. government and the State of Idaho, begins in the historic Silver Valley and runs along rivers, Lake Coeur d'Alene and past scenic farmland. This is another trail great for all ages and ability levels and offers plenty of trailheads and waysides with picnic tables and benches for an afternoon break. Web:

Base Jumping at Twin Falls

One of the few places in the United States where it is legal to jump off, the Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls begs thrill seekers from across the globe to attempt this unforgettable challenge. Base jumping is a sport with quite a large following and the Perrine Bridge seems to be the place to do it. Jumpers plummet toward the Snake River below at over 70 mph and release their chutes just in time for a safe landing after falling 486 feet into the canyon. World-class BASE jumpers travel to Twin Falls' Perrine Bridge to enjoy what they consider one of the best and safest spots to practice the sport of free falling from buildings, antennas, spans and the Earth (hence the name BASE). Web:

Culture Extremes in Cottonwood

If you've ever wanted to experience the thrill of sleeping in a dog-shaped bed and breakfast inn, Dog Bark Park is the place for you. The world's largest beagle at Dog Bark Park is indeed a bed and breakfast inn and guests sleep inside old Sweet Willy's nose. Visit this mom-and-pop business just outside of Cottonwood, Idaho where guests enjoy the artists' studio, walk the grounds or visit the gift shop. Web:

Next, take a short drive to the Historical Museum at St. Gertrude. Located on the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood this museum (established in 1931) houses a unique collection of over 70,000 artifacts which reflect the region's early history. Rediscover the pioneer days through exhibits from the early mining and farming era, plus a varied collection of minerals, firearms, Nez Perce artifacts and religious items. Highlights include the Rhoades Emmanuel Memorial and an extraordinary collection of fine Asian and European art. The Museum hosts a Victorian Tea on the Saturday before Mother's Day and an annual Raspberry Festival the first Sunday in August. Web:

Silver Valley Mining History

Idaho is filled with history and stories from the days of the big mining era. Experience this look back in time with a trip to the northern Silver Valley including the communities of Wallace, Murray, Prichard and Kellogg.

Start your adventure in the mining town of Wallace, where mining was the lifeblood of this small community's existence until recently. The entire town was established in 1882 and served as supply center for one of the largest silver producing areas in the world. Today the entire town is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Northern Pacific Depot, an architectural gem and the Coeur d'Alene District Mining Museum serve as interpretive centers for regional history. The Oasis Bordello Museum provides a more "colorful perspective" of the town's past and the Sierra Silver Mine gives a good feel for the life of an underground miner.

Located near Wallace in the Idaho Panhandle Murray and Prichard are also full of history of the early mines that put Idaho on the map. Travel to Murray to see the famous Spragpole Museum Restaurant & Bar along with the Bedroom Gold Mine Bar.

Next, travel southwest to Kellogg where kids enjoy panning for their own gold on the Crystal Gold Mine Tour. This 30-minute tour takes visitors deep inside an old mine which, after miner Tom Irwin blasted the mountain away to hide the mine's entrance in 1882, lay hidden to the world for more than 100 years. Visitors experience a time gone by witnessing Tom's old mine car and tools inside. Paved walking paths make it easy for all ages to get around.

Unique Festivals

One thing Idaho has for sure is a large assortment of unique festivals. So if your family is ready for a one-of-a-kind adventure, you've come to the right place.

Start out your journey in Weiser at the National Old Time Fiddlers' Festival, considered the most prestigious fiddlers' contest in the country. This annual event brings together fiddlers each June for a jam-fest unlike any other. Musicians jam throughout town during a week-long celebration where fiddlers from around the world compete in the "superbowl of fiddling."

Next travel north through Cascade and check out the town of Yellowpine and the annual Yellowpine Harmonica Festival. This quiet mountain community becomes the harmonica capital of the West each year as thousands of people come from across the country to participate in this annual show honoring prospecting pioneers and their pocket harps. The festival has grown into one of the world's largest harmonica events. This fun-filled weekend features live music from classical to blues, bluegrass and rock, competitions, a street dance and more.

Enjoy Broadway Under the Stars

Starlight Mountain Theatre is nestled in the beautiful mountains of Garden Valley just 45 minutes north of Boise. The professional cast and crew are gathered from throughout the country and are committed to producing top-notch family entertainment each summer. The season begins in June and runs through September and has featured past performances of such favorites as "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," "Hello Dolly," "The Scarlet Pimpernel" and "Oklahoma."

Idaho Spas

After all the fresh air, exercise and exposure to the elements a day of pampering could be just what's needed for the Idaho traveler. All of the state's day spas offer the best in tranquil services including body wraps, massages, facials, hydrotherapies and body exfoliations, as well as mud wraps and mineral baths. Spend the entire day cleansing and revitalizing, or if time is limited enjoy a chair massage and a 20-minute foot reflexology that will refresh and ready you for the rest of the day.

Enjoy the tranquil Spa at the Coeur d'Alene Resort. Pamper yourself and let go of the stress of life with a treatment at this luxurious retreat. Trained professionals deliver wellness therapies such as massage, facials, body wraps, body exfoliations and hydrotherapy baths. Salon treatments include hair, make-up, manicures and pedicures and packages are also available.

The Santé Spa at Tamarack Resort is sure to please. All areas are covered including health and wellness, body treatments such as wraps and massage, facials, hair and make-up, manicures and pedicures. This little indulgence into bliss will leave you with a sense of peace and harmony.

For information on spas located throughout Idaho, please visit the "Spa" section of this CD under "Attractions."

Idaho River/Lake Cruises

Travel in style on beautiful Idaho waterways and experience breathtaking scenery and superb service.

Return to a more leisurely, gracious time with a cruise on the West Coast River Queen, a 115-passenger Mississippi-style paddle-wheel boat on a Spokane River Cruise. Daily (seasonal) scenic cruises follow the Spokane River to Lake Coeur d'Alene with dinner and sunset cocktail cruises. With its two decks, a mahogany-lined dining area, dance floor and sun deck, the River Queen is perfect for large group gatherings or an intimate Sunday brunch. Contact: Red Lion Templin's Hotel, 414 E. 1st Ave., Post Falls, ID, 83854; Tel: (208) 773-1611. Web:

Next, travel south to Coeur d'Alene to enjoy spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife and views of beautiful homes along the lake's northern shore on one of four charter boats on a Coeur d'Alene Resort Lake Cruise. Along the way catch a glimpse of the world's only floating green. Other options include a six-hour tour up the St. Joe River, sunset dinner cruise and a Sunday brunch cruise. Private charters are also available for weddings, parties or business events with amenities including catering, photography and musical entertainment.

Finally, experience Idaho's largest lake with a cruise on Lake Pend Oreille in Sandpoint. Views of majestic mountains and lush forests surround you as you sail in comfort on the Shawnodese, a beautiful vessel with a history all its own. Cruise options include a wine cruise, Fourth of July cruise, sunset dessert cruise and fall foliage cruise, among many others.

Travel Idaho's Old West Trails

Much of Idaho's history is seeped in its trails. Travel down one to get a glimpse of what life was like for pioneers traveling West.

Today, Three Island Crossing at Glenns Ferry looks remarkably like it did when emigrants and Native Americans encountered it more than 150 years ago. Upon reaching the Three Island ford, emigrants had a difficult decision to make. Should they risk the dangerous crossing of the Snake, or endure the dry, rocky route along the river's south bank? The rewards of a successful crossing were a shorter route, more potable water and better stock feed. About half attempted to cross by using the gravel bars that extended across the river. Not all were successful; many casualties are recounted in pioneer diaries. Learn more about these two fascinating cultures at a new center which offers interactive exhibits, a gift shop, future genealogical library and conference room. Visitors are encouraged to take a self-guided tour, see wagon replicas, view the Snake River or rent a teepee for an overnight stay.

Traveling southeast to Montpelier, you'll encounter the National Oregon/California Trail Center. At this museum travelers ride in a computer-controlled covered wagon and enjoy a real encampment next to a waterfall, all inside on actual Oregon Trail soil. Original murals depict the journey along with a recreation of the old Clover Creek Wagon encampment and interactive experiences in the mercantile, blacksmithing and gun shops.

From 1804-1806, the Lewis and Clark Expedition was one of the most dramatic and significant episodes in the history of the United States. The Idaho portion of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is on a tree-lined ridge high above the Lochsa River and represents the most difficult part of the Corps of Discovery's trek across the western territory to the Pacific Ocean. Retrace their epic steps at your own pace and catch a glimpse into the past.